back to article Regulators back Bell Canada choking indie ISP traffic

Canada's telecom regulators gave Bell Canada the OK to throttle peer-to-peer Internet traffic on pipes it leases to third-party ISPs. The Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) announced today that the country's largest Internet provider won't have to stop its P2P "traffic-shaping" practices on …


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  1. Dave

    Not what it says on the tin?

    I suspect the ISPs need to look closely at their contracts. If they've paid for (say) 100Mbit with no restriction then they should be able to use 100% of that at all times regardless of the nature of the traffic. If the ISP wants to do its own traffic filtering, or ask Bell Canada to do it for them, then fair enough, but if I'm paying for a large pipe I don't expect someone else to block it. If they haven't got the capacity to cope then either they should have refused to sell it or jacked up the price and used that to improve capacity.

  2. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects

    Court of appeal?

    Is there a precedent for international legal appeal? I vaguely remember the European courts becoming involved with British fishing laws that was about throttled capacity.

    Mind you that was in another century.

  3. Pierre

    Gotta love the pic

    Content-free body

  4. yeah, right.

    In the pocket

    Unfortunately, the CRTC has a history of being not so much a regulator as an enabler for the larger companies like Bell Canada. Consumers? Who are they, they didn't bribe my political bosses enough.

  5. joe
    Thumb Down


    It sucks to be Canadian,

    Dave is right! If i buy a circuit from an ISP to connect my network to another than i should be able to max it out with whatever i want to my heart's content! Unfortunately, the truth of the matter is that the smaller ISPs are just resellers of Bell services. Out here we have another ugly monopoly called Telus and they have a few DSL wholesale clients, like the one i'm using. Since my ISP resells for Telus there maybe nothing that we end L-Users can do. If the agreement is written that they resell and not provide access to my ISP's NOC and then to the internet then we all are screwed. Now that i think about it, Bell and whoever can still get away with traffic shaping as well as any other Telco/ISP that our internet traffic flows threw.

    I wish Google would have won the bidding war in the states for the open frequencies. It may have started a cascade of users and services rushing to wwW (wild wild West) of free and open communications.

    As soon as someone invents a sub-space communicator the telecoms will finally die and be forgotten.

  6. mike kiely

    Managing Busy Hour

    Affordable Broadband means busy hours need managing. We should, under the trade descriptions act have full transparency of our Broadband service parameters, so we know what resources underpin the service we pay subscribe too.

    Slowing Peer to Peer is non-discrimatory (equal misery for all) but it is a crude engineering fix.

    Ignoring, free for all, unlimited, total and complete Broadband offers is a necessary step in setting some rules in how the Digital Commons is to be managed.

    Our routers should allow us to mark traffic real time, best efforts and skavenger and given the throughput and quality each to conclude the session.

    Whining about mis-selling is counter productive! We need to be informed of the limits of each package sold (embedded in the planning rules) and how best to use what we have purchased. This is net neutral but with the mind set that any system has limits - there is no information on the tin on this subject. We can work within those limits if we are informed of what these limits are when purchasing the service. I have had a go here -

    Fibre helps but does not change the need to manage busy periods.

    We should be more creative, this throttled traffic (non-time critical) should be classed as skavenger and charged in a different way, or perhaps it is free as it is now not contributing to the peak cost.

    The informed user needs to make these decisions, not the engineer (whom I admire) keeping the network alive - while his marketing and sales colleagues have mis-sold the service. In mis-selling they have also undersold the true potential of the service.

    Sorry, begining to rant and it's only 8am.

  7. Iain


    Your picture caption is incorrect. It should read "An internet, yesterday"

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Has no-one else noticed

    ...that as far as we can tell, Bell are trying to change a contract without the agreement of the other parties.

    Now, I know that if I was setting up an ISP, I wouldn't want the company who owned the cables to be able to change the contract whenever they liked without asking!

  9. Stephen


    you know what really causes network congestion? users.

    get rid of em all and your network will be free of all that nasty traffic that creates congestion...

    or you could get a clue and just give people what they want, an honest service.

  10. James

    Wholesale v retail

    It sounds to me as if this decision applies to the Canadian equivalent of BT's IPstream ADSL service, rather than to leased lines. With a leased line, you pay for X Mbit/sec of bandwidth and should be able to use that 24x7 without any impact on anyone else (which is why they're also called "private circuits": it's a dedicated link from A to B which is entirely yours), so I doubt they're talking about throttling those. Bad - I'd rather see Bell Canada provide raw connectivity and leave filtering policy to the ISPs - but also easy to circumvent if the ISP wishes: just tunnel or perhaps encrypt the traffic as it traverses Bell Canada's network VPN-style. Now, if Bell Canada start interfering with that traffic, there's a problem.

  11. Klaus

    Throttling even when no congestion

    From what I've seen and read Bell is throttling regardless of volume, which is what I find the most despicable thing about it!

  12. Kenneth Chan

    @ James

    You got it right, expect Bell is using DPI to throttle the connections. During the first few days my VPN was throttled until my connection timed out. It is much better now, but still.

    Now that Bell won, they can snoop at all the wholesaler's lines and throttle as needed. Fair, I think not.


  13. Kaitlyn Kincaid
    Paris Hilton

    @ dave

    100Mbit? where are you buying your internet and how much?

    I'm paying ~$100 a month for 8Mbit, and that is about as fast as you can get here. Canadian internet is so far behind the rest of the world it is an embarrassment.

    Paris, cause even she can get things faster then most Canadian internet users

  14. Dave
    Thumb Down

    @Kaitlyn Kincaid

    That's what an ISP may purchase not an end-user. The case is about Bell Canada being allowed to apply filtering and shaping to ANY connection on it's network - even those that are managed by third parties through licensing / reselling agreements. e.g.: a local ISP resells Bell Canadas Sympatico (note spelling El Reg!!) as "CoolInternet ISP". CoolInternets customers would then be subject to filtering and shaping of their traffic by Bell even though their contract is with CoolInternet.

    To be honest; I am not even sure why they are bothering - the monthly bandwidth quotas in Canada are so bleeding low that anyone involved with light to moderate P2P will have HUGE additional data charges. I have a middle-road Cogeco connection, and that only has 60GB / month, most common is 30GB or less.

    I do agree though, connections out in Canada are a long way behind others - and cost a friggin' fortune :(

  15. Keith T
    Thumb Up

    The rest of us shouldn't be subsidizing you.

    In a standard contract, is a shared tube you rent, not your own tube. Stop being greedy. Be prepared to pay a fair price.

    It isn't the ISP you are asking to subsidize you, it is other customers.

    It isn't the ISP's internet telephone or live video that is interferred with by your music sharing, it is other customer's.

    If you want use more than 10 times your fair share of the tube, you should pay a fair price for it.

  16. Keith T
    Thumb Up

    Contracts open to change. Canada not in the EU

    And as you say, the ISPs should be more open and transparent about all this.

    It is just good customer relations: Keep the public informed of the real issues, and the public will support you. This is, after all, an issue where the ISPs are trying to protect regular customers.

    Of course the wholesale P2P freeloaders are going to be upset, they'll no longer be getting an unfair share for free, but that is the price to be paid for being fair to customers.

    @AC: noting claiming Bell is changing contracts without the other party's consent. I find, and I think most retail Bell customers will find, they consented to such changes when they agreed to their existing contract.

    Wholesale customers will probably all find their contracts are time-limited and subject to renegotiation on expiry.

    @I: Canada isn't in the EU, there is no EU court to appeal to on this kind of internal commercial affair. NAFTA is a much more primative free trade agreement that the EU. (Personally I'd like to see NAFTA re-opened and democracy, minimum human rights, commerce, pollution control, and medical care standards added.)

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