An open Internet policy ensures that Internet access does not unduly influence Internet usage, especially if this influence favours private business interests over the public interest. Arguments against an open Internet may frame traffic shaping as a technological or business necessity – we challenge such arguments in the other sections of this report, and also assert that the social, cultural and political consequences of that throttling must be paramount in the minds of regulators and policy-makers.
For ISPs and Internet regulators to discriminate against certain avenues for accessing cultural content or participating in online social practices, for them to influence or determine a “proper” method for culture to circulate, contravenes the freedom of expression, diversity, and innovation that are necessary to enable Canadian culture to flourish. The goal of Canada’s digitalg policy should be to build and expand networks that facilitate the content and practices of contemporary online culture, not attempt to shape, prevent or punish emerging behaviours that do not fit with old market directives. Let citizens drive the structure of services supplied, let them freely create and share content, as they engage in the kind of cultural practices that are increasingly central to Canadian life.