Strengthening net neutrality in Canada

Why does the CRTC support net neutrality?

We believe that it is important that all Canadians have access to choice, innovation and free exchange of ideas.

Internet providers should compete on the quality of their networks, by lowering their prices or increasing data allowances instead of treating certain content differently. In the past few years, we have issued many decisions in order to support net neutrality.

What the CRTC is doing to support Net neutrality

  • Internet Traffic Management Practices: Some Internet service providers have implemented Internet traffic management practices (ITMPs) in response to the growing traffic on their networks.

    The CRTC has established a framework to evaluate whether existing and future traffic management practices for both retail and wholesale Internet services comply with the Telecommunications Act. Make sure that you know your rights!

  • An open communication system: As Canadians turn more and more to the Internet for viewing content, it is important to make sure that new platforms are made available to Canadians in a fair and open manner.

    The CRTC issued a decision in 2015 in which it directed certain service providers to stop giving their mobile television services an unfair advantage in the marketplace, to the disadvantage of other Internet content. These companies exempted their own mobile television services from standard monthly data charges. Content from other websites or apps, on the other hand, counted against the customer’s data cap. This decision reinforced the CRTC’s commitment to an open Internet.

  • Differential pricing framework: In April 2017, the CRTC established a new framework regarding differential pricing practices. It strengthens the CRTC’s commitment to net neutrality by declaring that Internet service providers should treat data traffic equally. Therefore, consumer’s choice, innovation and the free exchange of ideas is fostered.

    When service providers offer products or services at different prices depending on the content, they are – in a way – influencing your choice of content. This is why we decided that service providers must treat data the same regardless of the content.


What is net neutrality?

Net neutrality is the concept that all traffic on the Internet should be given equal treatment by Internet providers with little to no manipulation, interference, prioritization, discrimination or preference given.

What is differential pricing?

Differential pricing is when the same or similar products or services are offered to customers at different prices. Examples include:

  • Zero-rating pricing can happen when an Internet provider exempts data from a particular application from a monthly mobile data plan.
  • Sponsored data occurs when an application provider enters into an arrangement with a service provider to exempt or discount the data associated with its application.
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