120 Metcalfe
Ottawa, Ontario K1P5M

Admission: Free.

Moderated by Pippa Lawson, Executive Director, Canadian Internet
Policy and Public Interest Clinic (CIPPIC) at the University of Ottawa

* Michael Geist: Professor of Law, Research Chair of Internet and E-Commerce Law, University of Ottawa
* Ren Bucholz: Electronic Frontier Foundation Policy Coordinator, Americas
* Andrew Clement: Professor, Faculty of Information Studies, University of Toronto; Principal Investigator, Canadian Research Alliance for Community Innovation and Networking

Please join us for a an important public discussion on the future of the Internet in Canada. Network neutrality recently became a major issue in the United States when telecommunications companies issued public statements asking for the ability to charge Internet content-providers for preferential access to Internet users. That meant that big corporations, especially media conglomerates, would get to Internet users fastest while smaller ones, which would be unable to pay the "tolls", would be left trailing. Meanwhile, Internet users could be restricted from using certain applications, and would likely have to pay more to access content of providers that weren't part of the telecommunications company's exclusivity deals.

Net neutrality has been an issue in Canada for at least two years, but the release in March 2006 of the Telecommunications Policy Review Panel's Final Report renewed both corporate and public interest in the topic. In the United States, net neutrality is currently on hold as legislators debate the issue; in Canada, the federal government is considering major changes to telecommunications regulation and its commitment to network neutrality is uncertain - hence the need for public debate before more decisions are made.

We are also inviting politicians to attend this panel discussion, and we hope that with a good turnout, our policy-makers will understand what an important issue network neutrality is for Canadians, and that the separation of telecommunications companies from content providers is in the interest of all Internet users. While the Internet has largely been managed as a democratic commons there are hints that it can become a privately-controlled medium. The 2005 move by Telus to block customer access to the "Voices For Change" Telecommunications Workers Union website is but one example of a private-sector threat to network neutrality.

For more information on the topic, please visit the following websites and online news articles:

Battle over 'net neutrality' arrives in Canada

The Telecom Policy Review: The Rest of the Story

The Alternative Telecommunications Policy Forum

Net Neutrality in Canada

If you are unable to attend, please note that a video of the event will be made publicly available. Please contact us for link information.

Official Website: http://www.neutrality.ca/

Added by fortrel on January 10, 2007