Internet service provider Bell Canada has admitted to throttling traffic and slowing data transfers for its third-party ISPs, DigitalJournal.com has learned. Some customers are facing Net speed slowed down from 500 to 30 kilobytes per second.
Digital Journal — Canadians are accustomed to dealing with data transfer caps and traffic-shaping from the major Net providers (Bell, Rogers, etc.) but now third-party ISPs are enduring Bell Canada’s new policies: according to these companies, Bell Canada is filtering certain speeds of data transfers, upsetting customers of these resellers. Supposedly, Bell didn’t inform these wholesalers until last week that these new network management practices were taking place.
In an interview with DigitalJournal.com, TekSavvy CEO Rocky Gaudrault explained how his DSL service provider is facing a serious slowdown due to Bell Canada’s traffic throttling. Because TekSavvy’s infrastructure relies on Bell’s telecom backbone for “the last mile,” as Gaudrault said, any new network adjustment will affect TekSavvy customers.
“All torrents and file-sharing are being slowed down considerably,” Gaudrault said. “And we’re going to fight as hard as possible to reverse this traffic-throttling completely.”
In a forum post on a popular chat board, Gaudrault indicated why Bell Canada executives believe they can shape traffic flowing through their system:
They claim they are allowed to do so according to their Terms and Services under the Fair Usage Policy in the tariffed contracts. We'll be looking into this shortly.
Gaudrault is concerned this new network tweak for third-party ISPs will negatively affect the wrong kind of file-sharing. Not every user is downloading the latest Hollywood blockbuster, he said. “Look at Mount Sinai, one of our clients. It’s a hospital that may engage in file-sharing for the purpose of a CAT scan, for instance, and under Bell’s traffic-throttling doctors would receive this important medical data in six hours instead of one-tenth that time.”
Bell has confirmed with TekSavvy that the throttling will be spread “across the board, affecting all third-party ISPs” on April 7. So far, the process is being rolled out slowly.
Bell Canada spoke to DigitalJournal.com about its process of "managing the network to create an optimal situation for the majority of users," as spokesperson Jason Laszlo described it. Why is Bell targeting torrents and P2P? "It's well-known P2P consumes a lot more bandwith than other applications, which slows down those applications greatly."
Regarding customers like Mount Sinai, Laszlo said it's their own fault for using a notorious application like file-sharing. "We're blind to the content flowing through our pipes," he said. "Our goal is to ensure maximum efficiency for everyone."
Gaudrault is furious at how Bell is controlling what data is transferred at what speed. “This could be seen as an anti-competitive measure, whether Bell knows it or not… And if this continues, TekSavvy will have to offer a price concession for the lesser quality Internet service.”
There is some speculation among ISPs that streaming videos will also be affected by Bell Canada’s traffic-throttling, disrupting the YouTube experience, for example.
“The [traffic-throttling] is just the tip of the iceberg,” Gaudrault told DigitalJournal.com ominously, hinting to the idea of third-party ISPs banding together to create their own infrastructure. Those talks are still very preliminary, he stressed.
Bell Canada's Laszlo said the next step involves Bell sitting down with the ISPs to clarify their position. When asked if Bell would entertain the idea of reversing its traffic-shaping decision, Laszlo responded, "I can't comment on that at this time."