Filmakers And The Disabled Argue Against Bandwidth Management

The CRTC hearings into Bandwidth Management entered day 3, and opponents lined up to tell the CRTC that they need to make Bandwidth Management verboten in Canada.

Film makers were the first to say how craptastic Bandwidth Management is:

“If allowed to take root, such practices may choke off the only distribution method that currently allows independent producers to directly reach their audience” without having to through gatekeepers such as broadcasting companies, said John Barrack, national executive vice-president and counsel for the Canadian Film and Television Production Association (CFTPA).

You’ll also note that the ISPs who are best known for employing Bandwidth Management techniques (that would be Bell and Rogers) also have TV and Pay Per View services that would be bypassed by film makers who go direct viewer(which means no money for them). The more cynical among us would argue that that’s a factor in their decision to employ Bandwidth Management.

But I digress.

People with disabilities also showed up at the hearings to express their displeasure at ISPs who throttle:

P2P file transfers are also an important resource for people with disabilities, argued representatives of the Council for Canadians with Disabilities and the ARCH Disability Law Centre Wednesday.

For example, many deaf people rely on closed captions and scene descriptions for educational and other films.

The Adaptive Technology Resource Centre at the University of Toronto encourages the public to create those and then distribute them via P2P networks, where people who are disabled can access them, said director Jutta Trevarinus, one of the experts who spoke on behalf of the advocacy groups.

But Trevarinus said she has noticed problems when using P2P distribution through Rogers and Bell internet services even at times of the day when traffic is low and the companies say they don’t use traffic shaping.

Advocates for the disabled also testified they are worried about proposals that certain programs should be given priority as part of internet traffic management, as a lot of people with disabilities rely on non-standard programs and devices.

Some of those already don’t seem to work well with the Bell and Rogers networks. Trevarinus said she isn’t sure why the speeds on the networks seem slow when using those applications.

That’s something that I wasn’t aware of. I’ll have to remember that the next time somebody tries to tell me that Bandwidth Management is good for customers.

A quick reminder. If you want to hear what’s going on at these hearings, there’s a live audio feed available.

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