Data for driverless cars or cat videos? CRTC has tangled up its net neutrality priorities: report


Canada’s telecom regulator may need to rethink its net neutrality rules to accommodate the nascent Internet of Things industry, a think tank argued in a report released Thursday.

The Montreal Economic Institute’s fourth annual report on the state of competition in Canada’s telecommunications industry suggested that the expected proliferation of the Internet of Things – connected devices such as self-driving cars, home appliances, medical sensors – may require a caveat that all data shouldn’t be treated equally, the main tenet of net neutrality.

“For example, all these networks that will deal with self-driving cars, you will have to prioritize these data packets,” co-author Martin Masse said in an interview on the report he wrote with Paul Beaudry. “Otherwise cars will just bump into each other if you give them the same priority as some cat video.”

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission strengthened its net neutrality rules last month in a decision that prevents network operators from favouring certain content.

While the decision explicitly states it applies only to the public Internet, not managed networks that support certain uses including some Internet of Things applications, Masse said the CRTC may have to revisit the rules within a few years to account for the growing industry that will require next-generation networks to support massive amounts of data.

This article originally appeared on Financial Post.
Author: Emily Jackson

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