Net Neutrality (CRTC-style)

In light of the FCC’s recently proposed rulemaking around Network Neutrality, many of you might have missed a similarly lively debate in Canada a few weeks back around the traffic management practices of Canadian ISPs. Over a week of public hearings, there were some astonishing revelations around the practice of throttling BitTorrent and other P2P traffic. Michael Geist’s excellent blog covered the events in detail and of course you can get the legalese of each submission from the CRTC website here.

Since congestion was the primary justification for throttling among the ISPs, it was the perfect opportunity in our own filing to showcase μTP (“micro-transport protocol) as the solution to these problems as well generally educate the commission on the benefits and efficiencies inherent in P2P technology. If congestion is in fact the problem, μTP effectively removes that rationale for BitTorrent throttling while demonstrating the ability of good old-fashioned innovation to solve the hard problems on the Internet.

Many of the ISP filings ask the regulators to allow the market to work its magic (“don’t regulate us”). The irony of this position cannot be lost on those of us who must compete and reach consumers on these networks, and yet are subject to ad-hoc traffic management policies.  Traffic management by its very nature can skew the marketplace in favor (or to the disfavor) of any technology or business.   In recognizing the need to manage congestion on these networks, these traffic management technologies should therefore be very even-handedly applied.

We believe μTP will solve the ISPs’ greatest problems around congestion, and we would ask and hope that the ISPs will stand behind their market oriented principles (which we share as our daily reality) and refrain from throttling P2P traffic using μTP.  It would be a demonstration of good faith to the market and the power of engineers and innovation to solve a myriad of problems.

— Eric —

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