Net Neutrality vs Network Regulation, and the Impact on the Knowledge Economy
Submitted by Independent Digital Licensing Agency (IDLA) 2010–07–06 10:26:07 EDT
Theme(s): Canada's Digital Content, Digital Infrastructure, Innovation Using Digital Technologies
The regional monopolies granted to networks and the power that they will have over the public, government and the economy will continue to grow, and the danger of having so much economic power in the hands of so few poses a danger to our democratic society and economy, if networks continue to be minimally regulated as they are now. The public good and government's ability to regulate the networks will wane over time as the networks become more ubiquitous in society. The public interest and our economic health requires the Government to act now and introduce a more robust regulatory policy so that the digital knowledge economy meets its potential.
July 4, 2010
The promotion of net neutrality is more bad than good for the digital economy, especially for IP and content creators, who are at the core and will be the drivers of any potential growth of knowledge economy. The idea that the networks (ISPs/Telcos/Mobile Network Operators — those using public assets and granted regional monopolies) have been or ever will practice net neutrality without regulation is naïve. There is clear evidence that networks have for close to a decade practiced bandwidth shaping, re–direction of search, content blocking and providing personal information of their customers, but only when the practice is in their self interest.
Such practices should be structured and applied equally to all network users that break the laws of the country, whether it child pornography or copyright infringement. The practice should not be at the election or at the discrimination of individual networks. The use of the same practices to stifle competition or favour the services of one business over another should be subject to severe penalties and fines. Codes of conduct and rules governing network behavior — not just in pricing, but in network traffic management and privacy should be set out clearly and regulated by the Government. Networks have been using the privacy issue to cloud the issue and profit from the proliferation of file sharing. Codes of conduct for governing privacy should be set out — privacy is a right of all citizens — however when a citizen uses a network to connect to the Internet they are sharing their activities on the Internet with the public through the network and whatever they do becomes public information. Networks should not be empowered to be arbiters of privacy — governments should be through the laws they enact.
To promote the concept of net neutrality empowers the networks to continue their practice of self regulation, which has been demonstrated clearly to be one–sided and limited to self interest. This is evidenced by piracy of the content and IP businesses have suffered with their products being delivered by networks, networks that have profited by providing the access. Unregulated networks will continue their practice of self interest, protection and preservation of their revenues and expansion and power of their networks.
The unregulated networks have caused a market failure of the music industry, and will cause a market failure of the entire IP and knowledge economy by making available goods and services of IP and creators without payment to the producers. If networks are permitted to continue this practice, the growth of the knowledge economy will be slowed down to a crawl. What has happened to the music industry will repeat for all screen based entertainment, including film, episodal, books, games, and software.
Network regulation should be the priority of Ontario and all content industries and the public. The public deserves to see its creators and artists paid so that economic benefits of the networked economy flow to all contributors not just short term gain for those that own the networks.
The regional monopolies granted to networks and the power that they will have over the public, government and the economy will continue to grow, and the danger of having so much economic power in the hands of so few poses a danger to our democratic society and economy, if networks continue to be minimally regulated as they are now. The public good and government's ability to regulate the networks will wane over time as the networks become more ubiquitous in society. The public interest and our economic health requires that the Government act now and introduce a more robust regulatory policy so that the digital knowledge economy meets its potential.
Thanks for your time and consideration.
Prepared by Geoff Kulawick, Executive Director
Suggested URL: Independent Digital Licensing Agency — Members