Net neutrality again before the House

By Paul Jay, CBC News.ca.

New Democrat digital affairs critic Charlie Angus has tabled another bill designed to enshrine the principle of net neutrality, his second attempt to bring the issue to the House of Commons through a private member's bill.

Bill C-398 will “ensure the future development of the internet is not impeded by unfair throttling or interference by telecom giants” the NDP said in a release Friday.

Angus introduced an earlier private member's bill, C-552, last year (eerily, on almost exactly the same day) that didn't get past first reading before it and other bills (including the Conservative government's first crack at copyright reform) all fell by the wayside when the election was called for the fall.

But the timing of this bill is interesting, because it comes about a month before the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission is set to hold hearings on issues of net neutrality, such as the internet service provider practices of traffic shaping and throttling. And it also comes about a week after small ISPs appealed a CRTC ruling on Bell Canada's throttling.

As Angus said in a prepared statement: “"The telecom giants didn't invent the internet. They don't own the internet and they shouldn't be able to use their position as service providers to give priority to their own content."

Once we get a hold of the bill itself, we'll see how it differs from last year's bill and keep you in the loop about what, if anything, might come from this latest salvo.