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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

I Can Has Internets?




















No, you can't. Because it belongs to Bell Canada. At least that's what they say.

There's enormous shenanigans currently going on over Bell's recent habit of 'throttling' Canadian reseller ISPs.

Reseller ISPs: Indie internet service providers who provide innovative features the big boys don't, ie Wireless Nomad, a company that encourages you to whore out your wireless connection for the greater good. However, such companies need to borrow the actual line from behemoths like Bell, which means they don't own or control it, which allows Bell to...

Throttle: a means of limiting the amount of data a user downloads and uploads over the internet; essentially controlling how much you can do, and setting the stage for things like faster access at a premium price, and blocking your access to Peer-to-Peer services like BitTorrent and LimeWire.

This is bad. And dangerous. And could set a dangerous precedent. It could be, in the words of BoingBoing's Cory Doctorow, 'the end of the Internet':

If the world's telcos are in charge of what you're allowed to do on the Internet, the innovation stops here. From here on in, every new feature you want to add to the Internet depends on your capacity to send guys in suits to meetings with all the world's telcos and convince them that your idea won't hurt them. These are the companies that charge extra for caller ID -- according to that logic, you should have to pay extra to see the "From:" line on your inbound emails, too.

Needless to say, people are furious at Bell's flagrant arrogance and greed, as the TelComm argues its their way of ensuring no one takes up too much bandwidth on any given connection, but ultimately just prioritizes who gets information when. Rogers [my ISP, not my coworker] has done this since 2005, something I experience with its cheaper, 'Lite Internet' option, though I've never had speed issues enough to be bothersome.

At any rate, if you like the Internet the way it is, and don't want to wake up one day to find out access to Google now costs an extra $15 a month, you need to be aware of what's going on in this dreadfully boring area.

Links on the story:
Ars Technica
BoingBoing
The Globe and Mail
DSL Reports
Michael Geist

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