ISPs continue to push for end to Internet throttling

April 28, 2008 - Ottawa, ON - Canada's largest Internet association has submitted its reply to Bell Canada's response to a regulatory complaint filed with the CRTC by the Canadian Association of Internet Providers (CAIP). CAIP's reply states that Bell's response confirms that the association's arguments of wrong-doing by the country's largest phone company in what has become known as "traffic shaping" or "throttling" were well-founded.

CAIP's original Part VII Application was filed earlier this month in response to certain "traffic shaping" measures that Bell Canada is applying to local access and transport services it supplies to competitors on a regulated basis. Independent competitors interconnect with Bell in order to gain access to their end-user through the "final mile" of access on Bell's local network. Competitors deliver their own services, including Internet access, VoIP, VPN, etc., over this regulated facility.

Bell has admitted that it is "throttling" traffic between the ISP and end user for ten hours each day. Canada's other major phone companies have publicly stated they do not shape the traffic of their competitive wholesale clients.

Tom Copeland, Chair of CAIP, said "In our reply we have further demonstrated to the CRTC that Bell's activity is counter to regulations Bell is obliged to follow under the Telecommunication Act and that the anti-competitive action is having a negative impact on our members and our customers".

Bell executives have maintained that they are throttling, or impeding, only peer-to-peer (P2P) traffic but tests by CAIP's members and Internet users at large have upheld CAIP's argument that other forms of traffic, including VoIP and VPNs, have become collateral damage. This presents significant reliability issues for many Canadian businesses.

CAIP has noted that coincident with when the traffic shaping began, Bell had announced its retail "unlimited" Internet accounts would be discontinued in favour of usage-based billing. Bell has also undertaken a marketing program advertising its residential high-speed service as a "direct, uncongested gateway to the Internet" using a "new, next-generation fibre optic network" with "consistent, super-fast access speeds".

"If Bell can advertise their service in this manner, while at the same time claiming to suffer from bandwidth congestion, then clearly there is a conflict between their traffic shaping action and reality. We hope the CRTC agrees with the evidence we have presented and returns the market to the state it was at prior to Bell's implementation of traffic shaping," says Mr. Copeland.

"This matter is now squarely in front of the CRTC. The industry is appalled by Bell's actions. Canadian Internet users are outraged and Canadian businesses are being negatively impacted," concludes Mr. Copeland.

Formed in 1996, CAIP's Mission is to foster the growth of a healthy and competitive Internet industry in Canada.

Background: Independent Internet Providers Take Bell to Task April 4, 2008