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Bell allowed to continue throttling ISPs, users

updated 11:40 am EST, Thu November 20, 2008

Bell Wins CRTC Ruling

Bell Canada today won a largely clear victory in an anti-throttling lawsuit filed with the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC). The government body has issued a ruling dismissing claims by Internet providers using part of Bell's network that accused the carrier of unfairly throttling the connection speeds of their services while also constricting its own. These rivals, represented by the Canadian Association of Internet Providers (CAIP), had accused Bell of trying to hinder competition and violating the basic concepts of net neutrality by discouraging large transfers.

The CRTC's dismissal is based on the observation that peer-to-peer usage does appear to have a detrimental impact on Bell's network and so requires at least some level of control to keep service running properly for all users. It also rejects neutrality concerns by claim that Bell's throttling system, which uses deep packet inspection to investigate traffic, is adjusting speed and doesn't restrict the content itself.

Bell hails its successful defense as proof that those running online networks are "in the best position" to judge how their networks are managed.

The ruling has already been considered a setback by advocates of an open Internet, who say that such methods often do unfairly discriminate against BitTorrent and other particular content types. They also frequently point out that such network management lets carriers push customers involuntarily towards existing TV services rather than using online video services like the iTunes Store.

The CRTC's approach contrasts sharply with that the FCC in the US, which ordered Comcast to use a less punishing Internet management system and faces a countersuit from the cable provider, which hopes to regain absolute control over how it restricts certain users' connections. The upcoming administration of President-elect Barack Obama has made endorsing net neutrality one of its central technology platforms.

However, the CRTC is also expected to address net neutrality more directly in a hearing in July 2009 that will more clearly establish the Canadian government's approach to data and is hoped to prevent Internet services from using anti-competitive or otherwise unfair tactics to limit data use on their networks. [via Michael Geist]

By Electronista Staff
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  1. Athens

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    Joined: Jan 2003




    Comment buried. Show
  1. jarod

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2005


    What did you expect

    Its Canada..where socialist (cough-communists) and peasants make decisions.

  1. Chris Hutcheson

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Oct 2000



    It's Canada, where we prefer not to allow pornfans and pirates to hog bandwidth

  1. gor3don

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Nov 2005


    re: or...

    or somewhere in between the two

  1. Guest

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Nov 1999


    re: re: or...

    Or.. it has no bearing or influence on anything that goes on in the US, so it really doesn't matter for those outside of Canada.

    Canadian law can't influence US law or policy-making, so while this is a setback for net neutrality proponents in Canada, it means exactly diddly-squat concerning net neutrality for those in the US.

  1. chas_m



    Simple Response

    Don't give Bell your business, write the CRTC to be on the record for the July 2009 hearing on Net Neutrality, cc your MP.

    Ultimately, Canada will probably go the way of the US under Obama, which will be to embrace net neutrality overall.

    To be fair, however, it should be noted that any one service that clogs up the present capacity -- whether it's email spam or BitTorrent hogging -- should be managed in some fashion. Canada's ISPs have already taken steps in this direction with a "bandwidth cap" of between 60 and 200GB downloads per month (depending on your provider and level of service).

    Considering that 80-90% of internet users fall well below 10GB downloads per month, the upper end of that cap seems reasonable to me. Need more? Pay extra. Capitalism at its finest.

    PS. Jarod -- had the CRTC chosen the way you wanted, THAT would be socialist, not the other way around. Maybe you should look into what the term actually means sometime ...

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