Submission to the Broadcasting and Telecommunications Legislative Review Panel

Who we are

  1. The Internet Society Canada Chapter (ISCC) is a not-for-profit corporation that engages on internet legal and policy issues to advocate for an open, accessible and affordable internet for Canadians. An open internet means one in which ideas and expression can be communicated and received except where limits have been imposed by law. An accessible internet is one where all persons and all interests can freely access websites that span all legal forms of expression. An affordable internet is one by which all Canadians can access internet services at a reasonable price.

What is the internet?

  1. Discussions of the internet almost invariably conflate the internet with the applications that run on it. The internet is a series of computer protocols that form a neutral vehicle of digital communications that runs over the infrastructure of incumbent telecommunications carriers – in that sense akin to telephony or telegraphy.
  2. In the traditional world of telephony, the intelligence was principally located in the centre of the network – the switching systems that routed calls from a residential number in Montreal to, say, a business number in Vancouver. The internet disperses the intelligence throughout the network and to both ends of the communication. A circuit is not created, and parts of a single message may travel by different routes to its destination, where it is reassembled into its original form.
  3. The absence of switching means that the distribution of information is limited only by the capacity of the communications paths (fibre, copper, cable, wireless) – and not constrained by the capacity of switches. Increasingly, telecommunications networks have been adapted to internet protocols – even for functions such as live voice communication.
  4. Applications are the content that is delivered over the internet: the search engines, social media, travel reservation and booking services, knowledge banks and streaming services – to name a few. These applications are seen as disruptive of existing industries and ways of doing things. Their reach is global. Their pricing is competitive. They are popular and addictive. They are what is of greatest controversy when “the internet” is seen as a benefit or a threat.
  5. We will not always make fine distinctions in this submission – we will generally use the popular usages, while always keeping in mind that carriage issues are central to the internet as a communications system.


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Final Broadcast & Telcom Review Submission