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American net neutrality laws could target Canadian innovators

WATCH: With net neutrality being rolled back in the United States, could the same thing happen in Canada?

The day of the internet start-up could be coming to an end.

That’s according to critics of the United States’ Federal Communications Commission recent decision to repeal internet neutrality.

“You’re going to see far fewer start-ups that just come from nowhere.” explained Alec Couros, associate professor of information and communications technologies at the University of Regina.

“The Netflixs and the Snapchats; those companies are going to have a much harder time to emerge if people are controlling the pipeline.”

Couros claimed new companies that offer a similar service to those offered by larger internet service providers, or their associated products, will no longer be able to compete against ISP controlled products and their interest.

“They’ll either buy you or they’ll throttle you until you’re incredibly slow.”

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The symbiotic relationship between internet service providers and larger media corporations could lead to an internet without innovation, Couros added. Something that would affect entrepreneurs across Canada and throughout the world.

READ MORE: FCC ruling on net neutrality could lead to protracted legal battle

Like the United States, the market of Canadian internet service providers is dominated by a small number of companies. Those companies also own stakes in other forms of media, and could benefit financially from such a ruling.

The question is: can something like this happen in Canada? Couros certainly thinks so.

“Media companies are connected, whether it’s as subsidiaries, or direct relationships. You know the U.S. will test the market and see what’s available to consumers and they always follow suit here.”

READ MORE: FCC repeals U.S. net neutrality rules

SaskTel declined to comment when asked if they saw potential for a similar ruling in Canada.

Rogers said they value the current stance on net neutrality but didn’t say whether that stance could change in the future. Both Bell and Shaw could not be reached for comment.

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