The House

Ottawa's push to defend net neutrality

The impact of this week's decision by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission to reverse rules that regulated internet providers like utilities, freeing providers to block or slow access to content and services online, might not end up being felt by Canadians, but that won't stop the Liberal government from loudly voicing its concerns
A demonstrator opposed to the rollback of net neutrality rules holds a "Save The Net" sign outside FCC headquarters on Dec. 14, 2017. (Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg)
Listen7:21

The impact of this week's decision by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission to reverse rules that regulated internet providers like utilities, freeing providers to block or slow access to content and services online, might not end up being felt by Canadians, but that won't stop the Liberal government from loudly voicing its concerns.

"This will impact consumers, business and our democracy," Canada's Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, Navdeep Bains, told The House.

"When individuals or companies need to get access to the internet, have to pay more for that, or have gatekeepers, there's going to be consequences for consumers in terms of the information they receive and how much they pay for that information. Right now information is treated equally, that no longer will be the case going forward."

Bains said the Canadian government is working on ways to strengthen the legislation that is already in place in Canada which enforces net neutrality.

He also suggested Canada could use the ongoing NAFTA talks and the G7 to discuss the issue.

"The objective would be to make sure that no private companies or internet service providers or telecommunication companies should be throttling or blocking information," he said.

What impact will the Trump administration's decision to put an end to net neutrality mean for your digital future? We talk to Navdeep Bains, the minister of innovation, science and economic development. 7:21

But not everybody believes the FCC's decision will be felt beyond America's borders.

​"What the FCC does is only applicable to the United States," Srinivasan Keshav,  a professor of Computer Science at the University of Waterloo, told The House.

Keshav added that Canadian consumers shouldn't be worried.

"The Americans don't own the internet, and their rulings don't affect the rest of the world."

Srinivasan Keshav, a professor of Computer Science at the University of Waterloo, explains what the end of net neutrality in the U.S. might mean for Canadian consumers. 9:09