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Coalition pushes for Net neutrality

A group of Internet activists has launched a campaign to convince the CRTC to stop Net “throttling.” has set up a website with a link to a comment form that will allow users to give the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission their opinions on the controversial practice.

Internet service providers throttle, or shape, Net traffic when they deliberately slow the service for some customers. Last year, it was disclosed that Bell Canada was cutting the speed of the service it provided to members of the Canadian Association of Internet Providers. The association is made up of small independent ISPs who buy “wholesale” broadband from big ISPs and resell it to individual customers.

Bell argued that some practices used to handle large amounts of data, such as BitTorrent, slow down its networks and that throttling is necessary to keep traffic moving for everyone.

In November, the CRTC ruled that Bell’s throttling was not discriminatory, but did announce that hearings into net neutrality will be held in July. The public has until Feb. 16 to comment.

Steve Anderson, cofounder of and a Tyee columnist, said about 1,000 people have already sent comments to the CRTC through the group’s website.

“We’re hoping that there’s enough attention that they’ll act in the public interest,” he said.

Anderson said Net neutrality – the principle that all Internet traffic should be treated equally – is necessary to ensure technological innovation.

Tom Barrett is a contributing editor at The Tyee.

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