2010: Volume 3, Issue 1, pp. 9-29

Regulatory Lessons for Internet Traffic Management from Japan, the European Union, and the United States: Toward Equity, Neutrality and Transparency

John Harris Stevenson
Andrew Clement



As network neutrality has been one of the most contentious Internet public policy issues of the past decade, this article provides a comparative overview of events, policies, and legislation surrounding Internet traffic management practises (ITMPs) (e.g., network neutrality) in Japan, the European Union, the United States, and Canada. Using the frame provided by Richard Rose of “hybrid lessons”to create a policy synthesis, the paper details the telecom policy environment, Internet Service provider competition, legislative jurisdiction, remedies for ITMPs, consumer transparency, and adherence to privacy protection in each country. The analysis focuses on Canada’s first significant regulatory effort to address network neutrality, which came during the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission 2009 process on Internet traffic management. This paper presents a brief overview of the Canadian regulatory environment and the specific questions which were the subject of the CRTC review. Employing Richard Rose’s methods for comparative public policy analysis, we offer a number of regulatory “lessons” from Japan, the European Union, and the United States based on their experiences with traffic management issues. Applying these lessons to the Canadian context, we make several specific policy recommendations, among them that competition be encouraged within the Internet service provider space, that network management practises be reasonable and limited, and that ISPs provide full disclosure of network management policies and practises.



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