Call for comments: The Commission invites parties to comment on Internet traffic management practices of ISPs, including in particular the issues described below. In their comments, parties should provide full supporting rationale and all evidence on which they rely, and structure their submissions according to the topics and questions identified below.
· A primary reason given for Internet traffic management practices is the increase in Internet traffic volumes caused by end-users.5 This has been attributed to growth in the use of certain applications, as well as growth in online video consumption, which can lead to network congestion.
a) How has Internet traffic grown in the past three years and what are the predictions for its growth in the future? What has been the impact on Canadian ISP networks?
b) How has average end-user bandwidth consumption changed in the past three years and what are the predictions for future changes in Canada?
c) How should congestion be defined in an ISP's network?
d) Are there applications or services that are more likely to cause congestion, and if so, what are they?
e) What are the relative bandwidth requirements for different types of Internet applications?
· The Commission is seeking information regarding technical and economic solutions that are available now, or likely to be available in the future, for the purpose of Internet traffic management. The Commission would also like to understand the impacts of these solutions.
a) What technologies could be employed by ISPs (for example, deep packet inspection) to manage Internet traffic?
b) What developments are under way with respect to traffic protocol (such as modifications to transmission control protocols) and/or application changes (such as changes to P2P file exchange) which could assist in addressing network congestion?
c) What are the specific capabilities offered by the technical solutions identified in (a) and (b) above? For example, would these technologies allow for throttling of individual users or groups of users; would they allow for the collection of information about persons and to what extent?
d) With reference to questions (a) to (c) above, how effective would these solutions be in addressing network congestion in the ISP networks?
e) Also with reference to questions (a) to (c) above, what impact could the implementation of technical solutions have on the Internet Engineering Tark Force standards upon which the operation of the Internet is based? Could these solutions create interoperability challenges for application developers?
f) Describe the advantages and disadvantages (including end-user impacts) of employing the following practices in order to manage Internet traffic: i. monthly bandwidth limits (bit caps), ii. excess bandwidth usage charges, iii. time of day usage pricing, iv. peak period throttling, v. end-user-based throttling, vi. application-based throttling, vii. content caching, viii. upgrading network capacity, and ix. others not listed above.
· In Telecom Decision 2008-108, the Commission directed Bell Canada to develop and file with the Commission, proposed notification requirements to address future changes that impact materially on the performance of GAS.
a) Should these requirements be extended to other ISPs providing wholesale Internet services such as the third party Internet access services offered by cable ISPs?
b) Are similar requirements necessary and appropriate in relation to the provision of retail Internet services?
c) If so, what kinds of practices, and/or changes to practices, should trigger these requirements and what information and how much notice should be provided to end-users?
· Subsection 27(2) of the Act prohibits a Canadian carrier from unjustly discriminating, subjecting any person to an undue or unreasonable disadvantage or giving an undue or unreasonable preference toward any person, including itself, in relation to the provision of a telecommunications service.
a) What, if any, Internet traffic management practices employed by ISPs would result in unjust discrimination, undue or unreasonable preference or advantage?
· Section 36 of the Act states that unless the Commission approves otherwise, a Canadian carrier shall not control the content or influence the meaning or purpose of telecommunications carried by it for the public.
a) What, if any, Internet traffic management practices employed by ISPs would result in controlling the content, or influencing the meaning or purpose of telecommunications?
b) For any Internet traffic management practice identified in (a), what criteria should the Commission apply in determining whether to authorize such practice?
· Section 47 of the Act states that the Commission shall exercise its powers and perform its duties under the Act with a view to implementing the Canadian telecommunications policy objectives set out in section 7 of the Act8 (the policy objectives) and ensuring that Canadian carriers provide telecommunications services and charge rates in accordance with section 27.
a) What issues do Internet traffic management practices raise concerning the policy objectives of the Act?
· Section 47 of the Act also states that the Commission shall exercise its powers and perform its duties under the Act in accordance with any orders made by the Governor in Council under section 8. The Governor in Council has issued an Order Issuing a Direction to the CRTC on Implementing the Canadian Telecommunications Policy Objectives, P.C. 2006-1534, 14 December 2006 (the Policy Direction), which requires the Commission to, among other things, rely on market forces to the maximum extent feasible and when relying on regulation, use measures in a manner that interferes with market forces to the minimum extent necessary to meet the policy objectives. The Policy Direction also requires the Commission to ensure that non-economic measures are implemented, to the greatest extent possible, in a symmetrical and competitively neutral manner.
a) In light of the Policy Direction, address the requirement for, and the appropriateness of, implementing any regulatory measures in relation to Internet traffic management by ISPs.
b) For each proposed regulatory measure, comment on how such measure would be consistent with the Policy Direction as well as how these measures could be implemented in the least intrusive manner.
· The issue of Internet traffic management practices is increasingly a global issue that is being raised in other jurisdictions.
a) Discuss any initiatives being examined or undertaken in other jurisdictions in relation to the issues raised in this proceeding concerning the Internet traffic management practices of ISPs.
b) With respect to any initiatives described in part (a) of this question, discuss their possible applicability in Canada.
I like the last bit!