Canada Okays Data Throttling In "Last Resort" Cases - Is America Next?

Oh, Canada. What are you teaching those American regulators? While most consumer-oriented Americans (as in, the consumers themselves) are doing everything they can to resist the evil known as "data throttling," Canada's main telecommunication agency has just okayed the process. We're hoping this doesn't set some sort of precedence, but honestly, who knows how this will affect other nations (including America).

The CRTC, which has also been a recent pain for companies look to light up new high-def channels, has just passed regulations that will enable Internet providers to "throttle" traffic of its users. Of course, this rule only allows throttling--which involves the general slowing of throughput in order to increase the service level for most at the expense of a few heavy users--in rare, "last resort" scenarios, but it's going to be extremely hard to regulate this. How will the CRTC know when an ISP throttles? How will they know if it was a "last resort?" And who's the judge of what fits into the "last resort" category? Needless to say, there seems to be a lot of vagueness here, and it's all slanted toward to ISP and not the consumer.

The rule stipulates that ISPs are to use "economic measures" in order to better balance throughput before resorting to throttling, which could involve charging users more depending on how much bandwidth they use. The CRTC stated exactly: Technical means to manage traffic, such as traffic shaping, should only be employed as a last resort." The agency also claimed that there are "growing concerns about congestion," but we have to wonder if this isn't some knee-jerk reaction to a minor problem that's being talked up by loud-mouth ISPs who are scared are people actually taking advantage of the unlimited service that's being advertised and sold.

So, what's your take on all of this? Are you scared that such a decision could encourage something similar to happen in your country? Are we really getting to the point where video streaming and heavy use of the Internet service we're paying for is forcing ISPs to pay more or lobby for extra regulations?