G&M Editorial: Why Net Neutrality Matters

In Canada, net neutrality is the long-standing policy of our equivalent of the FCC, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, and the desire to preserve it is largely shared by federal lawmakers from all parties. But when the country that is the centre of the global internet abruptly changes course, we risk being swamped by its wake.

Why does net neutrality matter? Start with the pocketbook issues: Without net neutrality, consumers could be faced with paying their internet service provider to access some otherwise free websites, or they could be entirely deprived of the chance to see some content, because the websites that carry it won't or can't pay ISPs.

An unfettered web also constitutes a key vehicle for the dissemination of Canadian cultural products which, coincidentally, is the subject of a wide-ranging CRTC consultation that wraps up on Jan. 31.

The broadcast regulator is pondering the future of Canadian programming, which has become inextricably tied to the digital world. It's just one of the major culture policy revisions slated for 2018, another being a long-awaited revamp of the Copyright Act.

What does this have to with net neutrality?

The transition to digital delivery of music, television and films continues – via streaming and other means – and it is taking up more and more of the space long occupied by traditional broadcasters.

Governments may have little affection for companies like Netflix, but the fact is they have become serious financiers of Canadian projects. – Continue reading the Globe & Mail editorial

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