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Canadian ISP Ordered to Prove Traffic-Shaping is Needed

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the offer-good-only-in-canada dept.

The Internet 177

Sepiraph writes "In a letter sent to the Canadian Association of Internet Providers and Bell Canada on May 15, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) have ordered Bell Canada to provide tangible evidence that its broadband networks are congested to justify the company's Internet traffic-shaping policies. This is a response after Bell planned to tackle the issue of traffic shaping, also called throttling, on the company's broadband networks. It would be interesting to see Bell's response, as well as to see some real-world actual numbers and compare them to a previous study."

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177 comments

Hurray! (5, Funny)

coren2000 (788204) | more than 5 years ago | (#23449394)

Hurray! Finally my government makes itself useful. Finally they protect my rights.

Re:Hurray! (5, Insightful)

ark1 (873448) | more than 5 years ago | (#23449420)

Even if Bell can not prove at the moment the network usage is saturated all they have to do is wait and do not invest a penny in new infrastructure. Eventually the network will be saturated and Bell will win. They can even help themselves by selling a server or two to speed up the process.

Re:Hurray! (2, Insightful)

benad (308052) | more than 5 years ago | (#23449502)

So you're saying (if you read the article) that Bell can find a way to saturate their bandwidth by the end of the month? I'd be really impressed if Bell can manage to stall the CRTC for much longer.

Re:Hurray! (1)

omeomi (675045) | more than 5 years ago | (#23450446)

So you're saying (if you read the article) that Bell can find a way to saturate their bandwidth by the end of the month?

New Program: Free internet for all! Get it while it's hot!

Re:Hurray! (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23449506)

Except if Bell can be shown to be falling down with respect to deploying the _necessary_ infrastructure to support telecommunications, they might be penalized in subsidies or something.

They've been granted a (partial) monopoly in order to ensure the infrastructure gets built. If they say it's not big enough, then they're likely to look silly and be told to build more.

Re:Hurray! (1)

Secret Rabbit (914973) | more than 5 years ago | (#23449542)

"""
They can even help themselves by selling a server or two to speed up the process.
"""

That's called fraud.

Re:Hurray! (4, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#23449658)

That's called fraud.


Many things big businesses do are illegal, just look at MS, both the EU and US found them engaging in anti-competitive practices, MS just said what are you going to do about it and still continues to. Most ISPs can do the same thing, if you want high-speed internet, who else are you going to turn to other then those who offer it regardless if they throttle, overcharge and inject ads into your internet.

Re:Hurray! (3, Informative)

Secret Rabbit (914973) | more than 5 years ago | (#23450222)

This isn't the US nor is it the EU, it's Canada. And the CRTC is here to protect consumers, etc. And guess what. They actually do there job some of the time. Welcome to a country where corruption isn't total in government orgs (at least yet).

Possible Solution (4, Insightful)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | more than 5 years ago | (#23450850)

Crime amongst the wealthy is a considerable problem. Corporations (and other obscenely wealthy folk) commit these crimes because they can, and they know that even if they are caught, it becomes more of an inconvenience than a problem. Compare that to a middle-class home, who would be devastated by fines that the rich can simply take in their stride. It's a one size fits all approach, and it doesn't work.

I propose that we scale fines to the income of the guilty party. Give out fines as percentages of yearly income. You could take the income records from last years tax time and fine a certain portion of that amount. If you commit a particularly serious crime, you may be charged as much as 50% of your yearly income, which would be equally devastating for anyone, no matter how much money they have. Fines would become a deterrent for all. Suddenly, breaking the law routinely doesn't seem to be such a financially viable business strategy.

Of course, the deterrent factor becomes less reliable on the very bottom of the scale. If a person has no money, then there would be no punishment, and consequently, they could do what they want. It also wouldn't cover damages to specific parties. We wouldn't want a situation where the fine is less expensive than the damage of the act itself. Whatever the problems, though, I think this idea has potential.

Re:Possible Solution (4, Insightful)

YttriumOxide (837412) | more than 5 years ago | (#23451010)

I've given the idea a bit of thought before, but I don't see how it could work.

The problem is that there really is an "actual cap" on cost of living. I'm quite sure that losing "50% of one's income" is a lot more painful to an individual that earns $30000 a year compared to one that earns $5000000 a year.

Were I to earn $5000000 a year, I'd certainly live nicer than I do now on a little over 1/50th of that, but I really do NOT think I'd spend 50 times as much on normal life. A great deal would go in to "large" investments and the rest would probably just get invested by whoever I hired to look after my finances. Losing half of it would make me annoyed, but wouldn't greatly affect my lifestyle.

Missed corruption (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23451620)

What you're missing is the fact that our societies are highly corrupt, even though we tell ourselves that corruption only exists in Africa or China.

There is absolutely no way that a government will fine a company like microsoft half of it's annual income. Not only will they argue that they're too important to society (jobs, economy) to be endangered by government action; they'll go out of their way to call in favors, bribe officials (usually in ways that stupid/immoral officials don't see as bribery), lobby continuously, even after previous lobbying efforts are pulled down by the people, or even replace staff in government with staff more willing to see things their way.

Corporations are the new kings. Literally. Get used to it, until revolution comes.

Re:Missed corruption (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23452054)

All hail King Gates, spooker of kooks.

The only equitable answer (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23451966)

No matter how rich you are, you only get about 80 years on this planet. So jail time is the only equitable solution: it is equally bad for rich and poor alike.

So you need in a corporation, the CEO and the Board put on selection for jail time for malfeasance of the corporation. Then the people in the chain of command down to the one that did the deed needs to be up for jail time. And if someone is fingered for having told the noob to do this, they get put toward it too. If the CEO/Board can show that they were being deliberately misled despite their best efforts, then their jail time is commuted down to the person they have as the one doing the flim-flam (if the court and/or jury buys it).

And employment of people jailed should be followed at each level. So if your grunt can't get employed after a jail term, neither can the CEO.

Fines should come from these people and no bonuses should be allowed for those the court deem responsible for those fines.

Re:Hurray! (1)

qeveren (318805) | more than 5 years ago | (#23450232)

Getting caught doing something illegal simply earns them monetary fines, which -- unless crippling -- are simply cost of doing business, which their customers end up paying for anyway.

Really, really bad idea for Bell. (5, Interesting)

gnutoo (1154137) | more than 5 years ago | (#23449556)

They won't win by sitting on their hands and had better get moving. They tried that back in US back in the 80s and lost big time. It has taken ATT the last 20 years to lie cheat and steal their way back to government protected monopoly status and they are about to lose it all again. Your government is not the only one feeling redfaced about the pathetic network capacity they got in return for $200 billion and a lot of promisses [newnetworks.com]. The next monopoly break up is not going to leave pieces large enough to grasp - it's going to be spectrum liberation [reed.com], and that will be the end of all traditional broadcast and telcos. The more they piss their customers off, the sooner customers will realize what a fraud traditional telco is.

Re:Really, really bad idea for Bell. (3, Insightful)

spazdor (902907) | more than 5 years ago | (#23449606)

You must have a source on the 200B story that doesn't cost $20 to read.

This is the Internet, for Pete's sake!

Re:Really, really bad idea for Bell. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23449680)

hi twitter!

Re:Hurray! (4, Insightful)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 5 years ago | (#23449654)

[1] a) Bell Canada states that 5% of users were generating 60% of total traffic and 60% of that traffic was P2P traffic...

[2] d) ... During peak periods before deployment of its traffic management solution, 60% of total traffic corresponded to 33% of available bandwidth. Commission staff notes that 100% of the total traffic would correspond to 55% (100/60 x 33%) of the available bandwidth. Provide a detailed explanation of why utilization of 55% of available bandwidth would require the use of traffic management to ease congestion.
I can't wait to hear their explanation for 55% utilization requiring throttling. At worst, they would have to throttle certain links

If their clever plan involves sitting around and waiting for the network to get saturated, they might be waiting for a while.

Re:Hurray! (1)

cjb658 (1235986) | more than 5 years ago | (#23449720)

Exactly. They just want to charge the 5% of users extra because they are probably willing to pay more for it.

Not that there's normally a problem with that, but if Canadian ISPs are like those in the US, you probably have only two choices and can't switch to a competitor who charges less.

Re:Hurray! (3, Interesting)

compro01 (777531) | more than 5 years ago | (#23449736)

No, the DSL market is wide pretty much wide open, as CRTC regs require the incumbent carriers (Bell, Telus, Sasktel, and likely another one or two that I can't remember.) to lease out lines for a fixed fee, though Bell has been attempting to circumvent that by throttling the competition.

Re:Hurray! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23449714)

Im glad that Bell is getting called on their anti-consumer policies, but I have to take exception to your statement that by doing this the governement is "protecting your rights".

What "right" do you have to use Bell Canada's internet access on your own terms? It's Bell's service, and I think they have every right to impose whatever ridiculous conditions they want. You in turn have every right to take your business elsewhere. Bell doesn't have a monopoly on internet access in Canada.

I find it annoying how often people associate what they want with being their right. You have very real rights, and should definitely be aware of them, but watering down the topic with confused ideas does harm.

Re:Hurray! (4, Informative)

compro01 (777531) | more than 5 years ago | (#23449760)

Bell doesn't have a monopoly on internet access in Canada.
Correct, but they own the infrastructure and have been throttling the competition, which is effectively circumventing CRTC regulations requiring them to lease lines to competitors.

Re:Hurray! (1)

grub (11606) | more than 5 years ago | (#23450172)


Correct, but they own the infrastructure

Bell doesn't own all the infrastructure...

Re:Hurray! (1)

compro01 (777531) | more than 5 years ago | (#23450890)

Which infrastructure are you referring to that they don't own? They own the telcom infrastructure (lines, field equipment (DSLAMS and such), and physical plant) in several provinces (Ontario, Quebec, and the maritime provinces). Other companies hold infrastructure in other provinces (Sasktel in Saskatchewan, Telus in Alberta and BC, MTS in Manitoba).

Re:Hurray! (4, Insightful)

urcreepyneighbor (1171755) | more than 5 years ago | (#23449954)

Don't celebrate, yet.

Here's the deal: The ISP is going to produce a bullshit report that will be taken as The Gospel Truth from the Mountain that was Hand-Delivered by Moses Himself - by those that matter, anyway - and it will be used to justify each and every new attack on the proles.

Do you honestly believe that politicians, who need contributions to get re-elected, will bite the hands that feed them? American, Canadian, African - it doesn't matter.

The system is rigged to fuck us. Accept it and act accordingly.

Re:Hurray! (1)

Jardine (398197) | more than 5 years ago | (#23450554)

Do you honestly believe that politicians, who need contributions to get re-elected, will bite the hands that feed them? American, Canadian, African - it doesn't matter.

Individuals in Canada are restricted in the amount they're allowed to contribute to political campaigns. Corporations, unions, and other organizations are not allowed to contribute at all. The politicians still love to suck up to large corporations, but that's more of a Good Old Boys thing rather than a bribery thing.

Re:Hurray! (1)

urcreepyneighbor (1171755) | more than 5 years ago | (#23450736)

Individuals in Canada are restricted in the amount they're allowed to contribute to political campaigns.
Same in the US of A. Doesn't matter.

Corporations, unions, and other organizations are not allowed to contribute at all.
Really? Wasn't aware of that. Interesting. :)

However, doesn't matter.

Good little boys and girls will be rewarded - somehow, someway.

Re:Hurray! (1)

jo42 (227475) | more than 5 years ago | (#23450574)

The system is rigged to fuck us. Accept it and act accordingly.
Yeah; and the lack of vaseline, or any other lube, just makes it that much more painful.

Re:Hurray! (-1, Troll)

jlarocco (851450) | more than 5 years ago | (#23450216)

What? I hate ISP traffic shaping as much as anybody, but if you agreed to the contract, you agreed that you didn't care if they shaped your bandwidth. If you didn't like the product they were selling, why did you buy it? Nobody likes traffic shaping, and if people would stop being idiots and start refusing to agree to these contracts, one of the big ISPs would start offering non-shaped bandwidth.

This "I don't like this, but I'll just buy it now and sue later" bullshit is out of control Don't people take any responsibility for their actions any more?

Re:Hurray! (3, Insightful)

Concerned Onlooker (473481) | more than 5 years ago | (#23450432)

I'm sure people will start taking responsibility for their actions. Just as soon as corporations do.

Re:Hurray! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23450620)

Typical. Blame your problems on somebody else. You're just acting like a moron because those people are doing it, so that must makes it okay.

Way to change the subject, by the way.

Re:Hurray! (5, Informative)

Phisbut (761268) | more than 5 years ago | (#23450542)

What? I hate ISP traffic shaping as much as anybody, but if you agreed to the contract, you agreed that you didn't care if they shaped your bandwidth. If you didn't like the product they were selling, why did you buy it? Nobody likes traffic shaping, and if people would stop being idiots and start refusing to agree to these contracts, one of the big ISPs would start offering non-shaped bandwidth.

Ok, I'm gonna take a wild guess here and say that you have no idea what you are talking about, and no idea what this whole matter is about. Here's what happened:

People who didn't want Bell's throttling read Bell's contract and decided they didn't want it. Instead, they went and got their internet service from a competitor. Unfortunately, since Bell owns the wires, every competitor in the DSL business has to rent bandwidth wholesale from Bell. At first, Bell didn't throttle the wholesale bandwidth, and the competitors could then offer contracts that had no throttling to their customers. Then, without notice, Bell throttles the wholesalers. So even though people read the contracts and refused to agree with throttling, they still get fucked by Bell even though they get their service from a competitor. Reference here [slashdot.org].

This "I don't like this, but I'll just buy it now and sue later" bullshit is out of control Don't people take any responsibility for their actions any more?

Repeat after me: People read their contracts, refused the throttling, went with a provider that didn't throttle, and got fucked anyway. Please... stop talking out of your ass now.

Re:Hurray! (3, Insightful)

Gorshkov (932507) | more than 5 years ago | (#23450644)

Repeat after me: People read their contracts, refused the throttling, went with a provider that didn't throttle, and got fucked anyway
And some of us who ARE with Bell, signed on with Bell years ago, when throttling wasn't even mentioned in the contract.

Re:Hurray! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23450798)

Maybe next time you won't agree to a contract that can be changed arbitrarily by the other party...

Yeah, I know, every company does that. The problem is we keep telling them that we don't mind by continually buying stuff from them.

Independent ISP's have *their own* bandwith links (1)

Markos (71140) | more than 5 years ago | (#23451402)

There is a big point you are missing. The independent dsl internet providers do not rent bandwidth from Bell.

Bell supplies the link between the customer and the internet providers own links to the outside internet, which makes the whole situation even more comical.

Independent providers pay Bell for this link, at a certain set speed, and now bell is pulling the rug out beneath them and asserting what applications can get full speed through this internal link.

Re:traffic shaping (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23450696)

When we signed up with Telus 7 years ago after they killed off all of the dialup services by not allowing them to actually use all of the phone lines they were leasing. Sound familiar? At that time they advertised unlimited service and there was nothing in their service agreement about a cap. That is why we went with them instead of Shaw, the only other ISP at that time, who had faster service (6mb vs 1.5mb), but had a Comcast style floating cap. Things were fine until TelusTV came out. All of a sudden, they didn't have enough bandwidth. So they cut the top 5% or so users. We got a phone call saying 'we are cutting you off....now.' There were complaints to the CRTC. Shaw and Telus suddenly had to actually tell people what the caps were. Cap was suddenly 5G/mo for Telus and 30G/mo for Shaw. The only other provider is Xplorenet. $60/mo for 500k satellite w/ $300 install fee after rebate. They also offer wireless service outside of the cities. They aren't allowed to point their towers into urban areas. Telus even sued to limit the height of their towers to drive their costs up. Yeah, they traffic shape too. You said 'if people would stop being idiots and start refusing to agree to these contracts' Oh, really? What are our options? Telus changed our contract without notice. Our continuing to pay the bill was legal acceptance, even though there was no notification. So much for the contract. Both of the other providers have similar terms. Out east they have ISPs that offer unlimited service with their 'unlimited service' but it is only the smaller ones offering that. The same ones required to use Bell for last mile. You know, the ones screaming because Bell is throttling their customers too?

Re:Hurray! (3, Insightful)

compro01 (777531) | more than 5 years ago | (#23450902)

Explain to me how you believe that someone agrees to allow Bell to shape their traffic without having signed a contract with Bell.

Re:Hurray! (3, Interesting)

YttriumOxide (837412) | more than 5 years ago | (#23451112)

Explain to me how you believe that someone agrees to allow Bell to shape their traffic without having signed a contract with Bell.

I agree that Bell are the scumbags in this story, but there may unfortunately be a problem... They may be able to pass at least some of the blame on to people that don't really deserve it - the downstream smaller ISPs.

1) Person looks at Bell's contract and decides he doesn't want his traffic shaped.
2) He then goes to a smaller ISP ('Small ISP Co') and sees that according to their contract, his traffic won't be shaped.
3) He signs up with them.
4) His traffic gets shaped by the upstream provider (i.e. Bell) of that small ISP.
5) Person complains about his traffic being shaped, when his contract said it wouldn't be.
6) Bell says "well, your contract is with 'Small ISP Co', take it up with them".
7) Person sues 'Small ISP Co' for breach of contract.

In the above scenario it doesn't matter that 'Small ISP Co' didn't shape traffic. They offered an unshaped service, and didn't provide it. The burden was on them to provide an unshaped service, and when Bell began shaping their customers, should have moved to another upstream provider that doesn't.

Of course, the entire scenario outlined above is ridiculous - 'Small ISP Co' has no choice in their upstream provider, and so were completely unable to fulfil the promise of their contract no matter how much they wanted to. What this means, is that there is a monopoly, and that that monopoly may be abusing its power. The action taken (ordering them to prove they need to shape traffic) seems entirely sensible to me given that if they are unable to prove it, they must immediately stop doing it (and preferably make reparation to companies or individuals that have been hurt by it, but I unfortunately can't see that happening)

Now, here's an interesting question... sure, Bell are scumbags, but exactly how MUCH is 'Small ISP Co' to blame as well? I think a lot of that depends on their contract with Bell as an upstream provider. If Bell MAY shape traffic according to that contract, then the promise made from 'Small ISP Co' to the customer for unshaped traffic is not a promise that they have any way to keep. This is quite illegal in most countries I know of (I don't KNOW if it is in Canada, but I guess it is)

And lastly, the usual disclaimer at the end here: IANAL, so I might just be talking out my arse.

Re:Hurray! (1)

speedingant (1121329) | more than 5 years ago | (#23451350)

Hold on.. Isn't your government also trying to implement a "three strikes and you're out" P2P regime? I don't quite understand why they are now trying to stop ISPs throttling BT traffic. Or am I mistaken?

A fortuitious happenstance (5, Interesting)

Cathoderoytube (1088737) | more than 5 years ago | (#23449398)

Wow this is actually good news. The people at Bell Canada are scumbags. At my previous job we had the unfortunate misfortune to have Bell Canada as our ISP. They started slowing down our connection speed which in turn slowed everything in the entire studio down (since we were saving files to a server across town). It used to only take a few seconds to save the files, then it turned into 10 minutes. Bell insisted there was absolutely nothing wrong with the connection. Just doing my job was turned into an ordeal because bell feels the need to tamper with their connections. I hope Bell gets crucified. That would be absolutely wonderful

Re:A fortuitious happenstance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23449650)

There's only one solution to the problem of Bell Canada and Rogers: split 'em up. Just like the US did to AT&T and The Bell System. But unlike in the US, the constituent companies can't be allowed to merge back into the original beasts.

Re:A fortuitious happenstance (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23449798)

It won't make any difference, all the ISPs in Canada are scumbags, Rogers and Shaw were caught a few years back both trying to steal the same baby from a screaming mother, they pulled so hard they tore it in half, then they ate it.

That's the kind of service all Canadian ISPs offer in the past decade+

I'd love to see Bell get crucified, especcially if it affects the other isps by precedent, but ISPs in Canada are an internet cartel, no matter what we mandate they do, they'll find another way to give us just as much as we need.

Re:A fortuitious happenstance (5, Insightful)

n dot l (1099033) | more than 5 years ago | (#23450316)

Bell insisted there was absolutely nothing wrong with the connection.
Heh. I know people that have bribed Rogers managers to get their connection fixed. No joke. A friend of mine, who grew up in the USSR, has a saying for this sort of thing; it's something to the effect of, "Each day a little of the old country follows me across the sea."

I hope Bell gets crucified.
Me too. In fact, I've got a big, old, rusty, railroad spike I'm going to save for just such an occasion.

Gasp! (0, Offtopic)

Nautical Insanity (1190003) | more than 5 years ago | (#23449400)

And not only that, but the federal government is making me prove my tax statement when I say, "I don't owe you any money." What is this world coming to?

Hey what about common decency (5, Insightful)

slysithesuperspy (919764) | more than 5 years ago | (#23449412)

One thing that confuses the US net neutrality debate is that the ISPs have got massive subsidies in return for apparently better services, which have not occurred. If everyone bit the bullet and accepted they are not going to get them then everything could move on. They have wronged by handing out monopolies and they have wronged by subsidising them. Another wrong isn't going to fix the system. Just allow proper competition. (Yea sorry I didn't get to read this article but i want to go to bed now :) ) Anyway, there was blatantly no net neutrality in the first place.

Re:Hey what about common decency (4, Insightful)

Smidge204 (605297) | more than 5 years ago | (#23449690)

How do you allow "proper competition" in the ISP market? How many sets of wires will you run to every house? How many antennas will you have to erect and satellites to put into orbit? How many data centers and backbone hubs can you build?

Net Neutrality is based on the fact that, at some point, your data will have to flow through a competitor's infrastructure.

In the past, when the internet was still in its infancy, there was little need for net neutrality; bandwidth was simply another commodity. Today, there are data services - streaming media, VoIP, internet applications, etc. - and there is financial incentive to make bandwidth a resource. Companies are looking at converting their infrastructure from a simple toll road (pay for the privilege of using X bandwidth) into toll roads that discriminate on what type of vehicle and cargo you're carrying AND limiting your speed based on how much you've paid. Oh, and the same cargo from their own company gets a free ride, high priority.

So much for competition in that environment.
=Smidge=

Re:Hey what about common decency (3, Interesting)

Smidge204 (605297) | more than 5 years ago | (#23449750)

Oh, it nearly slipped my mind when coming up with that terrible toll road analogy - there WAS a form of Net Neutrality law in place before broadband service became popular: Common Carrier.

Common Carrier rules said that you, as the owner of the copper wire telephone infrastructure, are not allowed to deny a third party company from offering services over your lines and must offer consistent pricing for use of your infrastructure. This is why you could change your phone company and dialup ISP without a tech coming by and running a new pair of copper wires to your house each time.

With broadband, cable and fiber-optic, those rules don't apply. If I decide I don't want Verizon's FiOS internet any more, whatever I get can't use the fiber run to my house. That means my options are strictly limited to the infrastructure available in my area, each of which is monopolized by a particular company. In my case, it's Verizon vs. Cablevision.

If another company comes along and wants to offer fiber or cable data services, they will have to run their own lines or pay extortion fees to the existing companies (and there is no law requiring them to lease bandwidth to third party providers like there was with POTS)

That's also what Net Neutrality is about.
=Smidge=

Re:Running own lines (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23450296)

bzzt. wrong. Telcos and cable companies have agreements with cities prohibiting competitors from running lines. That is part of the monopoly they are granted. Fixed price leasing was supposed to offset that.

Re:Hey what about common decency (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23449934)

How do you allow "proper competition" in the ISP market?

Easy. You separate the entity that owns the wires (the distributor) from the provider of services (the retailer).

Distributor: I don't care who is buying my lines or for what purpose, as long as they give me my money.

Retailer: I'm in competition with 50 other retailers in this locale; I better provide competitive service or I lose my customers.

Re:Hey what about common decency (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23450658)

You sir, are a genius.

Re:Hey what about common decency (1)

stinerman (812158) | more than 5 years ago | (#23451262)

That's exactly right, but to do so the distributor pretty much has to be the government unless you want distributor monopolies. In the above scenario:

Distributor: I don't have to increase capacity because the retailers can't go anywhere else for lines.

Methinks it's time for the biggest eminent domain purchase in the history of the country.

Re:Hey what about common decency (4, Interesting)

homer_s (799572) | more than 5 years ago | (#23450070)

How do you allow "proper competition" in the ISP market? How many sets of wires will you run to every house? How many antennas will you have to erect and satellites to put into orbit? How many data centers and backbone hubs can you build?

There was an interview on the radio with a young girl from Bhutan who was visiting the US for the first time. While she was surprised by many things here (obese people, clean toilets, etc), she was positively amazed to learn that banks, phone companies and hospitals weren't run by the government.

She couldn't understand how private companies can be allowed to provide these services.

Your post reminds me of her. Just because you cannot think of a solution doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

Re:Hey what about common decency (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23451498)

Um, one. Here's what you do:

The government sets up a publically funded independent body, who has the right to dig the roads, and runs individual high-quality fibre-optic cables to every apartment, home and business in the US from the telephone exchanges.

Said body must lease the fibre-optic cables to any ISP the property owner wants to go with. For a low, fixed fee per day. Said body is also responsible for timely repairs in case cables are breached.

Said body also now owns the telephone exchanges, and must provide rackspace for an agreed fee to the ISPs.

It's up to the ISPs to provide equipment to link them, so there can be fair competition linking the telephone exchanges with anything else the ISPs want to link them with, but multiple bundles and peering there shouldn't be an issue.

There you go. The last mile is a natural monopoly - so make it publically funded critical infrastructure leased on a non-discriminatory basis to anyone who wants it. The ISPs get to compete with each other on whatever bandwidth, latency, speed and quality of service they want to feed those pipes with, ranging from acceptably-contended symmetric 100Mbit consumer connections with reasonable traffic management with, say, 1000GB a month of traffic for $50 a month, to uncontended 40 gigabit DWDM, and everything in between that they think the market wants (including shit-pit throttled, 200:1 contended 1Mbit connections costing $5 a month - which no-one will now buy, or will at least have a choice in moving away from).

Problem solved.

Basically, all you have to do is rebuild the infrastructure and make sure the provider is not allowed to compete with their customers (the ISPs). I don't see why the internet shouldn't be critical infrastructure like gas, electricity and water. If we can do competition there...

Ironically, the captcha on this post is "revenue". :)

Re:Hey what about common decency (4, Interesting)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 5 years ago | (#23449692)

One thing that confuses the US net neutrality debate is that the ISPs have got massive subsidies in return for apparently better services, which have not occurred. If everyone bit the bullet and accepted they are not going to get them then everything could move on.
Alternatively, the Government could say "We gave you lots of money, now we want results, or you can pay us back".

Every now and then, Governments crack down on waste/fraud/etc, usually by making an example of someone. The only reason they don't do it more often is due to the sheer scope of the spending that goes on.

Personally, I'd rather spend all that wasted money on oversight than leave it to a for-profit company receiving handouts they shouldn't be getting.

Re:Hey what about common decency (1)

Tenebrousedge (1226584) | more than 5 years ago | (#23449698)

What is "proper" competition? There's a huge barrier to entry in the telecoms world and it changes the economics. What, specifically, do you see as being a remedy to this issue?

Re:Hey what about common decency (1)

compro01 (777531) | more than 5 years ago | (#23450912)

Force them to lease the lines, which has been done and is generally working (there's tons of competition), and stop them from playing games around that requirement, as Bell is doing now by throttling their competitors.

Re:Hey what about common decency (4, Interesting)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 5 years ago | (#23449788)

Anyway, there was blatantly no net neutrality in the first place.
I am not sure what you mean by "first place" - as in pre ATT-breakup?

Because there certainly WAS net neutrality in the USA up until just recently, 2005 in fact, when the SCOTUS ruled that ISPs provide "information services" rather than "telecommunications services." [techlawjournal.com] The net effect was that the "tariffs" (fancy word for rules) that insure network neutrality on the phone network (aka a telecommunication service) no longer applied to ISPs. You'll note that it was in late 2005 - right after the ruling in fact - when all the ISPs started making noise about "google using our networks for free" etc, etc.

How convenient (5, Interesting)

Chonnawonga (1025364) | more than 5 years ago | (#23449416)

I think this is a pretty clear effort by the federal government to try to put the matter to bed by giving the big, monopolistic corporation the chance to "prove" that this is "necessary", which they will then accept without question. I've said it before: net neutrality is going nowhere in Canada without a change of government. But that's just my $0.02 CAD.

Re:How convenient (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23449732)

It'll need to be a pretty radical change of government. The Green Party is perhaps the only party with the balls to truly stand up to Bell. The NDP might, but they tend to wiffle when it comes to getting down to business. As you correctly indicate, the Tories (and probably the Liberals, too) have far too much of a vested interest in the existing big businesses of Canada to truly do the right thing and regulate Bell.

Re:Tories and Liberals (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23450892)

The Liberals are worse than the Tories. Of course, if we give the Tories some time in office that will correct itself.

Re:How convenient (1)

flaming error (1041742) | more than 5 years ago | (#23450042)

You may be right there - this seems like blowing smoke to confuse the issue.

The real question is whether they're giving their customers the QOS they promised.

Wrong evidence to ask (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23449418)

I would rather have the CRTC ask Bell Canada to provide tangible evidence that the laws of arthmetic failed when they computed the bandwidth available to each customer.

Re:Wrong evidence to ask (4, Informative)

sedmonds (94908) | more than 5 years ago | (#23450480)

I recall seeing Bell advertisements that DSL from Bell was better than cable, because there are "no slowdowns". I also recall advertisements, but I can't remember if they were specifically Bell advertisements, that your bandwidth was dedicated. I didn't really believe it then, and now it seems that neither does Bell.

Ridiculous Euphimism (5, Funny)

Izabael_DaJinn (1231856) | more than 5 years ago | (#23449470)

Traffic shaping? That implies it does something artistic or useful to the traffic.

Throttling conjures up a more accurate image. (I think of Homer throttling Bart.)

And if they insist on shaping my traffic, I hope they can shape it into things I'm comfortable with like hearts, moons, and stars.

Re:Ridiculous Euphimism (4, Funny)

eagl (86459) | more than 5 years ago | (#23449602)

That's funny. I was thinking shaping internet traffic into, say, origami swans. But maybe they're thinking shaping as in cutting off sharp corners so more internets can fit through the tubes faster.

Re:Ridiculous Euphimism (0, Offtopic)

spazdor (902907) | more than 5 years ago | (#23449652)

moons, and stars

Did you hear that!? She's a terrist!

Re:Ridiculous Euphimism (1)

n dot l (1099033) | more than 5 years ago | (#23450344)

moons, and stars
Did you hear that!? She's a terrist!
Or a Communist!

Terrist is the new Comnist (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23451158)

The more things change, the more they stay the same, it seems.

Re:Ridiculous Euphimism (1)

S.O.B. (136083) | more than 5 years ago | (#23451042)

Did you hear that!? She's a terrist!


If she wanted clovers as well she would be a leprechaun. Would that make her a cereal terrorist?

Re:Ridiculous Euphimism (1)

Smidge204 (605297) | more than 5 years ago | (#23449802)

Traffic shaping? That implies it does something artistic or useful to the traffic.
Perhaps it's a work in abstract expressionism?

=Smidge=

Re:Ridiculous Euphimism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23449942)

My traffic comes to me in the shape of naked women.

There actions are would still not be justified (5, Insightful)

Cyko_01 (1092499) | more than 5 years ago | (#23449508)

they made promises they can't live up to and now they are handling it by censoring the internet. I don't care if it is "necessary", they screwed up and it should be handled in a responsible way - by upgrading the network

It's a trap!!!111one (5, Insightful)

eagl (86459) | more than 5 years ago | (#23449538)

This is funny. If they can "prove" that traffic shaping is necessary, they have essentially proven that they are unable to provide the services they are charging people for. No matter what their proof looks like, they're hosed. Either they will be forced to quit traffic shaping and admit they don't need to do it, or they'll be open to class action lawsuits for failing to provide contracted services.

I don't feel too sorry for them... The telcos tear up the street every couple of years and I still don't have fiber to my house. To hell with them. The concept of fiduciary responsibility to shareholders has gone way too far, and it's time that service companies get a little legal protection when they choose to provide their customers with their contracted service instead of making an extra penny for their shareholders. Just look at the yahoo debacle... The company leadership might actually end up IN JAIL for trying to do the "right thing" for the company and their customers, because a couple shareholders are pissed they couldn't make a fast buck by selling out to Microsoft. That is a complete perversion of the concept of fiduciary responsibility, and our legal system ought to provide for companies that actually attempt to stay in business and fulfill their contracts with their customers.

Re:It's a trap!!!111one (2, Interesting)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 5 years ago | (#23449742)

This is funny. If they can "prove" that traffic shaping is necessary, they have essentially proven that they are unable to provide the services they are charging people for.
You make it sound like contention ratios are not the industry standard practice.

The ISP is complaining that a minority of users are blowing the ratios out of whack and that they need to do something about it. We'll see what their numbers show.

Or maybe we won't... (1)

marxmarv (30295) | more than 5 years ago | (#23450076)

How would a Canadian regulatory body react to a communications provider only providing confidential capacity information under some sort of confidentiality agreement? I've seen FCC ID files with the device's theory of operation fully redacted under a rather flimsy pretext, and the devices are nothing an hour or two in a well-equipped lab with someone who reads Chinese fluently won't completely decode.

Re:Standard practice... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23450376)

...it may be. Just like airlines selling more tickets than they have seats. If too many people show up, whose fault is it? It is exactly the same situation.

Re:It's a trap!!!111one (1)

Scudsucker (17617) | more than 5 years ago | (#23451318)

The ISP is complaining that a minority of users are blowing the ratios out of whack and that they need to do something about it.

Then they'd still be lying, as there is no such thing as a bandwidth hog- only customers that use what they pay for and companies that oversell their connections.

Re:It's a trap!!!111one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23451950)

If the majority of the users are using torrent isn't that the proof the infrastructure is not up to the norm?

On the other hand, if only a small number of users are causing trouble by maxing their bandwith (not that that's not your fscking right if they sell you 30gig/month and cut you of you if you exceed that by one byte), it's not fair to punish everyone indiscriminately?

So, there is no excuse for traffic-shaping the way it is implemented right now.

And really, there this huge political problem with traffic shaping that ISP's effectively get the say, unregulated by government, which protocols can be used and at which rate so they could commercialize services themselves or kill off any services that threaten their own. That's where they cross the line from being data transporters to essentially content providers, which they know can be a lot more lucrative.

Anyway, just the 2 cents of an AC.

Bell is certainly not alone to fail here (0)

keneng (1211114) | more than 5 years ago | (#23450090)

BELL is not the only one failing in providing the average user's demands for more upload and download bandwidth.

To further add to this, most of the ISP's upload bandwidth do not satisfy what most customers WANT considering that we live in an era of sharing hi-def videos and hi-def photos. All of the ISP's can do much much better.

With regards to the throttling at BELL, the CRTC should focus on the following:
-Enforce all ISP's to provide a much higher minimum upload bandwidth for everyone. If they don't, they lose their ISP status. The Minimum upload bandwidth should follow Moore's Law considering the hardware being manufactured certainly does.
-Enforce net-neutrality and disallow DPI(Deep Packet Inspection) simply on the fact it is destroying user internet performance and driving up average user cost.
-create name-branding/association guaranteeing the ISP & Network Hardware you buy is "Net-Neutral INSIDE".

DPI is analogous to Anti-Virus Software on computers. When a computer is running without a virus detector all the computer's performance speed is dedicated to the normal functioning of the computer. When an anti-virus software is running on a computer, it goes without saying the computer's normal functioning performance is chopped in half and possibly even more because the computer CPU time usually dedicated to user programs is now sucked up into ANTI-VIRUS activities inspecting all upcoming computer instructions for threatening actions like (unexpected file deletions, unexpected file-reading, unexpected network activity). The entire user experience is reduced and the typical user grows with impatience because of all of the time wasted with these ANTI-VIRUS activities.

In order to understand the negative impact on the average user's internet performance experience,
I will give a scenario that the average user can do and relate to showing fast and slow internet speed.

Have the average user buy a cheap combination router/firewall box. Connect his computer to it and connect the router to the DSL socket in the wall. Once connected to the internet, the user goes to a website, a delay occurs and then the web page displays. It could be 3 seconds, 5 seconds or more. My experience has been around 5 seconds. I will name this delay DPI-DELAY.

Now ask the same user to remove the router/firewall box.
Instead as the user to connect a DSL modem directly connects to the computer. The user will observe a faster internet performance experience because there is NO DPI-DELAY. The user will have a web page in 1 second instead of 3 to 5 seconds or more.

After trying these two different scenarios, the average user will have a better understanding about the time saved by not using any hardware/software that has inherent DPI-DELAY. HARDWARE doing DPI wastes everyone's time.
You will have a greater appreciation in this difference if the user visits many different web sites and the measures the DPI-DELAY for each of these. There is a significant different in time saved when not using DPI HARDWARE.

BELL and the other ISP's have the same hardware other countries have concerning the mirroring of packets in order for governments to listen to everything. I don't have a problem with that.
The truth of the matter is that the DPI/Traffic Shaping/Throttle hardware BELL is starting to use is not just for traffic shaping. That's why there is such a large DPI-DELAY now. BELL like every ISP in every country, have some obligations to the government who want the average user to pay for the government's real-time DPI sniffing hardware for "National Security's sake". I do have a problem with the fact they deliberately restrain our service until the government has that hardware that can sniff our packets to the point the government is blue in the face.

My point here is there are requirements for the average user and then there are requirements for the current governments in power. As it stands, these requirements are clashing because the DPI-DELAY is and will continue to be unacceptable.

What are we going to do about this?
Simple. Change government policy to give power back to the average user:
-Enforce all ISP's to provide a much higher minimum upload bandwidth for everyone. If they don't, they lose their ISP status. The Minimum upload bandwidth should follow Moore's Law considering the hardware being manufactured certainly does.
-Enforce net-neutrality and disallow DPI(Deep Packet Inspection) simply on the fact it is destroying user internet performance and driving up average user cost.
-create a government-backed name-brand/association guaranteeing the ISP & Network Hardware you buy is "Net-Neutral INSIDE".

That's all.

Re:It's a trap!!!111one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23450116)

Please, for the good of Canada, speak at that hearing.

Still... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23449572)

even if it is necessary, what are ISPs doing to improve the network and the infrastructure? If they're just siting back and collecting cash for people to use their relatively small, fragile network, then they don't really have an excuse for throttling that way either.

I'm not sure what the point is.... (3, Interesting)

mark-t (151149) | more than 5 years ago | (#23449640)

I expect they'll continue to shape traffic even when they can't prove that it's required because the internet infrastructure they do provide is virtually indispensable and there'll be squat the CRTC can do to enforce it.

Re:I'm not sure what the point is.... (1)

Rexbron! (1267508) | more than 5 years ago | (#23451702)

Except revoking effective monopoly given to Bell for the Right-of-Way on public property.

I want to see how Bell tries to answer this.... (1)

talyx1 (1291362) | more than 5 years ago | (#23449858)

The questions posed by the CRTC are refreshingly blunt and informed, IMO. As a victim of such practices (I am a Rogers victim, BTW) I want to see how they address these specific questions, and how this plays out for their wholesalers.

Re:I want to see how Bell tries to answer this.... (2, Insightful)

Tuoqui (1091447) | more than 5 years ago | (#23450438)

Yeah anytime I try to do anything encrypted over the net (including bittorrent) my connection grinds to a halt.

The good thing about this is if they're forced to remove the throttling from wholesalers connections... They they will either be forced to remove the throttling from their own services or be relegated to merely a supplier of internet capacity. This is why they have went out of their way to throttle their wholesaler's connections because they were having to throttle their own connections.

Hopefully the CRTC wont eat the garbage they spit up infront of them and actually put their foot down and decree the Net Neutrality principles (or common carrier) as having precedence over their bottom line.

ISP's need to put up the S and P. (5, Interesting)

joocemann (1273720) | more than 5 years ago | (#23449870)

Selling a specific accessible 'bandwidth' of internet access and then throttling it is not a fair business practice. Even if the terms of service include an allowance for such throttling, the provider should clearly and explicitly make sure the buyer understands such controls. Otherwise, you have buyers like myself who pay for 6mbit wondering why we are not getting 6mbit 24/7, 365. Thats what I bought, just as it was advertised. 6mbit internet access. It didn't read an ad saying 'sometimes 6mbit, mostly 3, and if you use it a lot, then almost none'. For an ISP to advertise a product one way, then provide the product differently is disingenuous and debateably illegal.

Re:ISP's need to put up the S and P. (3, Interesting)

CrossChris (806549) | more than 5 years ago | (#23450744)

There's no "debatable" about it. It's illegal - it's simply "bait and switch". We've got the British ISP Virgin Media in court over this, and we're applying for an injunction against them operating at all, which should focus their tiny minds somewhat.

They sold me "20 MB/s" cable service. That suggests to me (and the rest of the plaintiffs) that it should be 20 MegaBytes per second. VM claim (of course) that it's 20 MegaBits per second.

They then apply "STM" - Subscriber Traffic Management. The effect of this is that if you download anything for just 20 minutes in any day, your data rate is reduced to 25% of your rated speed...

Virgin Media have a monopoly on cable 'net connections in the UK, and ADSL simply isn't an option in most areas - we have the oldest telephone lines in the world!

Re:ISP's need to put up the S and P. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23451304)

You're absolutely right. But the Bell situation is worse than it looks. My DSL is with Teksavvy. I have no contract with Bell and yet they're throttling me. They were throttling their customers since last year (if I remember correctly) so people started leaving. Someone posted a document [dslreports.com] from a late last year Bell shareholder meeting on DSLReports. They were saying throttling might cause "customer churn". I guess since everyone is throttled now, the "churn" is prevented. Problem solved. The ongoing CRTC process is just a dog and pony show for gullible.

Re:ISP's need to put up the S and P. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23451600)

There's been a lot of fuss in the UK about broadband speeds, since packages are sold as 'UP TO 8Mb', which in practice, depending on line quality and distance from the exchange, can mean as little as 512k. Not surprisingly, customers were annoyed by this, but the inclusion of those words 'up to' mean such claims aren't illegal.

Re:ISP's need to put up the S and P. (1)

DamageLabs (980310) | more than 5 years ago | (#23451710)

Define Internet?

Nobody can sell you 6Mb Internet access. They can sell you 6Mb to the ISP local loop, or the ISP backbone, or the AT&T backbone or Cogent or...

And the backbone costs a lot more than standard DSL/cable pricing. And it still is NOT the Internet.

The fact is that you got a 6Mb link to the nearest concentrator (DSLAM or ethernet switch) and that's it.
Unfortunately, no more, no less.

This is just another reason why canada rocks... (1)

PC and Sony Fanboy (1248258) | more than 5 years ago | (#23449956)

Well, now that our government is going to try and force ISPs (bell, anyways) to leave packet shaping alone ... all we need to do is get some real politicians back into power (none of this minority/conservative crap) and our country will officially rock (again).

Re:This is just another reason why canada rocks... (1)

causality (777677) | more than 5 years ago | (#23450634)

all we need to do is get some real politicians back into power

Be careful what you wish for ...

Go Conrad! (1)

Powercube (1179611) | more than 5 years ago | (#23450206)

It seems to me that since Conrad Von Finckenstein was appointed as chair of the CRTC there has been a lot of stone-walling/reduction of crap the major telcos have been trying to pull up here. I've heard from some that this is because he actually wants to understand technology. Personally, I think he just hasn't been offered a large enough bribe.

What I don't get about this issue. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23450918)

It's not clear to me why people are bent out of shape about P2P traffic getting a lower QOS. As long as it's not blocked altogether, who cares if you can swipe* a movie in 24 hours instead of 2-3 It's not like the movie will suck any less if you get it 15-20 hours faster.

Likewise, I'm surprised people complain about the heaviest users getting throttled to even usage for lighter-weight users. It's a concept OS schedulers have done for years--run to quanta and your priority drops (yeah, it's an imperfect analogy) and it's reasonable for the network to do the same thing. Maybe I've different expectations, but I expect to be given good service for bursty traffic and I'd expect to be throttled if I kept stuffing my link day in and day out.

I'm amused when people complain about "well, they should just spend some money to build out enough infrastructure." It's amusing because they do spend a boatload of money on their infrastructure with the primary beneficiaries being the heaviest user. Bandwidth is like Vegas--you build it and they come. In Vegas' case, "they" make them money where in an ISP's case, their addicts cost them money.

Maybe I'm just sitting here with 15Mb/2Mb and lacking empathy. Someone explain: why am I supposed to care about P2P traffic getting throttled? Is it the slippery slope of "well, they'll get your [low-traffic] VPN next?" Or is it just the social stigma of being a leech?

*anyone know how much P2P traffic is actually for copyright violation? I and most other networking people I work with presume it dwarfs legitimate use.

Re:What I don't get about this issue. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23451502)

>It's not clear to me why people are bent out of shape about P2P traffic getting a lower QOS.

If it were just lower priority, it probably won't be such a worry.

The current throttle is set at 30kB/s. It has nothing to do with QOS. If you're unfortunate enough to be on 256kbit DSL (it is an available profile) you can still make your internet connection unusable if you load it up with P2P traffic.

If it had something to do with QOS, that wouldn't happen.

Would Be Nice (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 5 years ago | (#23451062)

Would be nice, after BC shows how it's traffic is exceeding its system capabilities and preventing broadband users from being able to achieve the speeds they purchased if the ruling authorities dropped the hammer on Bell by telling them: You shouldn't have oversold your network in the first place, and then made them rebate all their profits for the last 10 years to their ratepayers.

Nexxia is an ISP now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23451254)

Uhhhh... Bell Canada doesn't have to do anything. BCE does (sort of separate). BCE offers the GAS [bcenexxia.ca] service this complaint is about (which is what this tariff is discussing). It is sold under the "Nexxia" trademark.

With that out of the way, AFAIK, Nexxia is not (and never has been) an ISP*. They provide access to the last mile copper via their transit network to several hundred actual ISPs (as referenced in this [slashdot.org] slashdot article).

The numbers Nexxia will need to come up with are to be derived from the data they have surreptitiously gathered from their network links to the ISPs they actually serve.

I know the media is too stupid to understand the difference, but slashdot? Argh! And in this case its a very important distinction: ISPs using Nexxia's service had no say in this, it just happened without Nexxia announcing it, and it now means ISPs no can longer provide the service they advertised and paid for (unthrottled internet) no matter what they do. This is because the majority of Nexxia's territory is now served by Nexxia's remotes. While the CRTC has mandated ISPs can install their own equipment in DSLAMs and COs, that only covers about 40% of Ontario/Quebec, the rest of the customers are served from remotes, which are next to impossible to get access to.

* - Actually, I'm somewhat incorrect on that. Nexxia does wholesale to ISPs IDM access, that is dial-up ISP service wholesaled to ISPs so they can offer service across Canada without having to put dial-up modems in each city. As you can imagine, this service is rapidly losing its value.
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