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Class Action Suit Against Bell For Throttling

Soulskill posted more than 6 years ago | from the time-to-pay-the-piper dept.

The Courts 87

doppiodave writes "Hard on the heels of the Net Neutrality bill introduced in Canada's Parliament, a class action suit was filed yesterday against Bell by Quebec's Consumers Union, asking that extensive compensation be paid to all Bell's DSL subscribers for fraudulent advertising and privacy violations. The press release is available in French. The timing of this suit coincides with several other developments that suggest Net Neutrality is finally coming to the attention of the general public and Canada's regulator, the CRTC, which recently required Bell to file responses (by May 29) to an exhaustive list of interrogatories about its traffic-shaping practices."

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Press release translation (5, Informative)

Looce (1062620) | more than 6 years ago | (#23607715)

MONTREAL, May 29 /CNW Telbec/ - The Consumers' Union and a Montreal consumer, Myrna Raphael, ask the Supreme Court to authorise a class action lawsuit against Bell Canada on behalf of all Quebec consumers subscribed, before or after October 28, 2007, to one of its DSL Internet access services.
Bell Canada, which announces in the promotion of its Internet access services "a constant speed, an access that is always fast, without frustrating slowdowns, even at peak hours" has installed on its network since last fall, surreptitiously, a mechanism that deliberately slows down, at peak hours, the transfer speed of its subscribers' data.
To inspect the users' data and manage the Internet traffic, Bell uses a technology called Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) which breaches the right to privacy of the consumers using their Internet access services.
Myrna Raphael has signed in 2006 a 3-year contract, wanting to take advantage of the constant speed offered by Bell Canada. For this consumer, as well as thousands of others, the constant speed was a key factor in her choice. Since Bell has systematically applied its slowdown measures, Mrs. Raphael and her spouse could not, in the evening, perform on the Internet any of the activities for which she had subscribed.
The Consumers' Union therefore asks of the Court to declare illicit Bell Canada's policy regarding the unilateral and systematic slowdown of data transfer towards its hundreds of thousands of subscribers and to force Bell Canada to reimburse these consumers, to whom Bell does not offer what they paid for, 80% of the sum of their monthly subscription. The Consumers' Union also asks of the Court to force Bell Canada to pay 600 [Canadian] dollars in damages for any and all false representations made to their subscribers regarding the constant speed of the Internet access that it committed to provide them, to order Bell to cease all breaches to the right to privacy of its subscribers and to force the company to pay them 1500 [Canadian] dollars for breaching their right to privacy.

The Consumers' Union and Myrna Raphael, the designated person, are represented by the law firm Unterberg Labelle Lebeau.

Information: Anthony Hémond, analyst, politics and legislation for telecommunications, broadcasting, information technology and privacy, The Consumers' Union, (514) 521-6820 extension 253

Do not call this number if you don't speak French! The official language in Quebec is French, and this designated person may not speak English.

DISCLAIMER: This is not an official translation. I do understand French, however, as my mother tongue.

Also, first post.

Re:Press release translation (-1, Flamebait)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 6 years ago | (#23607857)

I had, no idea, that, the, comma, was so important, in French.

Re:Press release translation (1)

Dr. Donuts (232269) | more than 6 years ago | (#23607893)

Oui, Oui.

Re:Press release translation (2, Interesting)

unity100 (970058) | more than 6 years ago | (#23607915)

its not 'french'. youll see that level of comma usage to form long sentences in all languages for legal text.

Re:Press release translation (0, Offtopic)

dwater (72834) | more than 6 years ago | (#23608019)

At least, AFAICT, he uses it correctly, unlike you in your response.

Personally, I find the way the comma is used in the translate makes it easier to read. I don't know if the use of comma was altered from the original or not, but it works ok, IMO.

Actually, IMO, it's fair enough criticising incorrect grammar, but it's a bit much to criticise correct usage too; *and* have to use obviously incorrect grammar in order to do so.

...and I say this as an Englishman defending a French speaker (not sure if he/she's French or Canadian) - what is the world coming to???

Origin and first language (1)

Looce (1062620) | more than 6 years ago | (#23608093)

I come from Quebec, in Canada.

I have read and translated the press release while waiting for this story to come out of the Mysterious Future, and I have tried to convert the grammar appropriately; some commas were actually missing in the source text. I go by the rule that requires adding a comma to each side, before and after, of a comment in a sentence (like in this one!).

However, I don't really care about grammar. It's there, and using it correctly makes sentences more understandable by requiring less time to parse them, making it useful; therefore, I use it.

(Finally, he or she, hmm. I am debating that at the moment; I will get back to you when I have decided on one. Or, actually, not really.)

Re:Origin and first language (1)

dwater (72834) | more than 6 years ago | (#23608131)

I applaud your usage of the comma. It does indeed make it easier to read, and, IMO, it is easier to use commas than to reconstruct or split the sentences of tortuous legalese, though the latter may well ultimately produce better results.

Re:Press release translation (1)

Alpha Whisky (1264174) | more than 6 years ago | (#23608083)

It isn't, he ran it through the "Shatner" filter for that, authentic, Quebec, feel.

Re:Press release translation (1)

Valtor (34080) | more than 6 years ago | (#23616563)

I live in Quebec, so I speak french. Let me tell you that, when I read English texts, I always think more commas would make it more readable. ;-)

Re:Press release translation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23619183)

I live in America, so I mainly speak English. Let me tell you that, when I read English texts, I also think more commas would make them more readable.

Re:Press release translation (1)

s4ltyd0g (452701) | more than 6 years ago | (#23608499)

Last I checked, it's not illegal to speak and ask for English service in Quebec. It's ridiculous to tell people not to call If they don't speak French.

regards

Re:Press release translation (2, Interesting)

NeilTheStupidHead (963719) | more than 6 years ago | (#23608631)

But since the official language in Quebec is french, there is no guarantee that you will find an english-speaker. When I was in Quebec earlier this year, I noticed that outside of Montreal, it was fairly difficult to find english speaking people working in any commercial or professional space. When I had to go to the hospital, the only one who spoke any english (or at least tried) was the nurse running the triage in Emergency. Fortunately, my stilted french was enough that I was able to understand what was being asked or told to me despite not being able to respond in kind.

Re:Press release translation (2, Informative)

cab15625 (710956) | more than 6 years ago | (#23609861)

I've lived in Quebec for over ten years now (Montreal and Sherbrooke) and have never had any trouble getting service in English when it comes to government or big business. Bell, in particular, always seems to be happy to find someone to speak to me in English, especially when money is in question.

Yes, the official language is French, but they are part of an officially bilingual country (Canada) and big businesses realize that they operate in a world where English is the most common language. Once you get away from the sociopathic hard line politicians, common sense does exert some influence.

Finally, the number is a Montreal number for a firm that deals with politics and legislation and consumer rights for big business issues. I'd put the odds at 95%> that if you dialled that number and started speaking in English the person at the other end would respond to you in English ... Those sorts of people, especially in Montreal, are about as perfectly bilingual as you are likely to find anywhere on the planet.

Re:Press release translation (5, Insightful)

billcopc (196330) | more than 6 years ago | (#23610711)

Big warning: I'm Quebec-born French, but the only time I speak French anymore is when I go drinking with the boys. I live right across the river in hypocritically-correct Ottawa.

Montreal is about as un-French as it gets. Sure, it's the official language but French people may well be a minority in there, it is a very multicultural city. Quebec city, well I wouldn't expect *good* English but I'm sure they speak some, simply because of the tourist industry.

Anywhere else if you ask someone "speak english", you're likely to get laughed at and/or attacked (seriously!). The further you are from the metropolises, the stronger the anti-English (and/or anti-immigrant) resentment. Common sense ain't so common in Quebec.

Back in 1995, we had the big referendum on Quebec's sovereignty. The separatists lost by a hair, with 49.5% of the vote, and a frustrated (and drunk) Jacques Parizeau on live TV, blamed it on "money and the ethnic vote". He was absolutely right. The only people who care about Quebec's independence and French uniformity are the poor, uneducated, unmotivated, ignorant swine.

Let's face it: Canadians with money typically aren't in Quebec - its provincial tax system punishes wealth and encourages low-expectation breeding imbeciles. I left Quebec because I don't have/want kids, and I'm not fond of my tax money subsidizing that idiotic baby bonus. They do get a few things right, like (good) cheap food and booze, but as a government they are the icon of failure.

Everyone joked about how a separated Quebec would become a 3rd world nation overnight, because they'd be cut off from any significant source of income. Their money would become worthless overnight and 97% of the world is unable to communicate in French. They're already living that scenario to some extend, cushioned by the federal government in many ways, yet they still resist progress and change.

If I call a Quebec company, and they can't find me someone who speaks English, then I can't find it in my heart to give them money. So what if I'm fluent in French, they're fluent in ignorance, and I don't support that.

Re:Press release translation (1)

rikkards (98006) | more than 6 years ago | (#23612687)

I can attest to the uneducated, unmotivated ignorant swine. I was in Chicoutimi and Jonquiere in 2002 for work and that is what I came away as an impression of the people there.

Re:Press release translation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23614149)

The separatists lost by a hair, with 49.5% of the vote, and a frustrated (and drunk) Jacques Parizeau on live TV, blamed it on "money and the ethnic vote". He was absolutely right. The only people who care about Quebec's independence and French uniformity are the poor, uneducated, unmotivated, ignorant swine.

Your last sentence is correct, but Parizeau meant something completely opposite to what you've suggested.

He wasn't cursing out his own voters for not showing up, or for donating enough. He was cursing out the fact that cosmopolitan Montreal's votes were counted last due to a snowstorm, and those were the votes that ultimately tipped the balance against him.

Specifically, "money and the ethnic vote" is code among ignorant French xenophobes for "Jewish Bankers in Montreal". (Quebec City is the capital city of the Province of Quebec, but Montreal is the financial center of the province. Sorta like how NYC is the financial capital of New York State, but Albany's the political capital of New York State.)

Anyhoo, Quebecois anti-Semitism goes all the way back to the fact that it got started by a bunch of French Catholics shortly after the Inquisition, and the rest of the country got settled by a bunch of British Protestants. Its most recent politically-significant incarnation was during WW2, during which Canada held a referendum on conscription to fight the Nazis. Guess which province was the holdout? (After all, France surrendered and Paris was intact, so why send good French blood ("pur laine", literally "pure wool") across the Atlantic fight a war to save the British?) Parizeau's drunken slur, intimating that a cabal of Jewish bankers took "his" country away from "his people", was merely the last vestige of Quebecois WW2-era Nazi support. Money (bankers) and the ethnic vote (Jewish ones).

The only people who care about Quebec's independence and French uniformity are the poor, uneducated, unmotivated, ignorant swine.

Quoted again for motherfucking truth.

Re:Press release translation (1)

Some1too (1242900) | more than 6 years ago | (#23608733)

Indeed it`s not illegal to ask for a service in any language, but you probably won`t get in. I don't think it's ridiculous at all. Quebec is a French province. You wouldn't call someone in China and simply expect to be served in English would you? I'm not trying to flame, just trying to bring some insight to your post. (on an unrelated note: In Quebec you might just have a French person who speaks fluent English look you straight in the eyes and says "I'm sorry I don't speak english" in perfect english.)

Re:Press release translation (2, Interesting)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 6 years ago | (#23608797)

Just say to them "Je ne parle pas francais, mais je comprende un peu. Eske tu comprende Anglais?"

I used to hitchhike through Quebec quite a bit when I was younger, and if you can understand the gist of what they say in French, they'll generally be able to do the same for your English. I've successfully had conversations lasting hours with the two of us speaking different languages at each other because even though we could decipher the foreign language, our native tongue was the only language we could find the words to express ourselves in.

Re:Press release translation (1)

s4ltyd0g (452701) | more than 6 years ago | (#23611539)

If the class for this suit was all French speaking Bell customers, then it wouldn't be so ridiculous telling non French speaking folks to call.

Bell will still sell you service even if you don't speak French, so it doesn't really matter which language you speak does it? If I'm eligible for the suit, please explain again why I shouldn't call that number?

regards

Re:Press release translation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23684761)

I am a Quebec francophone.

You wouldn't call someone in China and simply expect to be served in English would you?


I sure would. I would also expect someone in China calling me to talk to me in English.

I don't think this is insidious treachery -- the English language has long escaped from anglophone control. Amusingly, it is probable that the the majority of non-native speakers of English use the language more intelligibly and correctly than those cursed with having been raised as English-speaking Canadians. :-D

Just kidding, some of my best friends are anglophone Canadians, and almost all of them speak English much better than almost every English speaker from England I have ever met. Wow!

"I'm sorry I don't speak english" in perfect english


What's so bad about that? It could be true! At least it's not an obvious lie like, "I can't speak English". English is not that subtle with respect to conditionality or expressions of wilfulness, is it?

Re:Press release translation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23609215)

It's Quebec.

Re:Press release translation (1)

xZgf6xHx2uhoAj9D (1160707) | more than 6 years ago | (#23609321)

It's not illegal to speak and ask for Swahili service in Quebec either. One or two people doing that wouldn't even be a big deal. However, hundreds of people doing that (e.g., Slashdotters) would make them all pretty big jackasses.

Re:Press release translation (0, Troll)

Stellian (673475) | more than 6 years ago | (#23608549)

has installed on its network since last fall, surreptitiously, a mechanism that deliberately slows down, at peak hours, the transfer speed of its subscribers' data.
Yeah, as opposed to all other ISPs in the world, where the speed actually goes up during peak hours. Or, at the very least, you connection speed is guaranteed, no matter what protocol you are using or if the other endpoint is on the other side of the world.

To inspect the users' data and manage the Internet traffic, Bell uses a technology called Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) which breaches the right to privacy of the consumers using their Internet access services.
Trafic shaping and prioritization is as old as the Internet, and it's here to stay. Heck, it's even built into TCP: when the numeber of connections goes up, the average speed decreases. It's perfectly legitimate for the ISP to throttle protocols that are considered less important, or to cap the band of traffic hogs.

The "depth" of the packet inspection is rather irrelevant. For example when prioritizing DNS packets, a standard network practice, the router will do a trivial packet inspection; who is to say where the inspection becomes "deep enough" to become privacy violating ? If you are sending clear-text, or trivially obfuscated streams of data trough your ISP, I see no privacy implications if the ISP will do some automated classification of data.

What, you don't agree with the classification made by your ISP, that 90% of bittorent packets goes to /dev/null ? To bad, I guess you should have read the contract before signing it. And you can be sure the contract allows them aggressive traffic shaping, and stipulates just a maximum speed you are allowed to use, no minimal guarantees. Unless you are a business customer, and pay a premium for that guaranteed minimal bandwidth.

I can understand an accusation of false advertising, but certainly no one can ask for the money back after signing a contract allowing for traffic shaping. Aggressive traffic shaping is not welcomed by the customer, and the customer will leave, it's a simple free market exercise - just vote with your wallet, and word of mouth will do the rest.

I don't know why some think Net neutrality means everyone should be able to download at full speed 24/7 from bittorrent. What I understand by net neutrality, is that my ISP should not be allowed to make politically driven shaping, I.E. favor Metacafe over Youtube, or block access to Ron Paul's site because they negotiated a contract with it's political adversaries. Otherwise, if you don't like the service your ISP gives you, with a protocol you chose, you are free to renegotiate your contract, or switch to another provider.

Re:Press release translation (3, Informative)

id0ntlikeyou (1151081) | more than 6 years ago | (#23608717)

Aggressive traffic shaping is not welcomed by the customer, and the customer will leave, it's a simple free market exercise - just vote with your wallet, and word of mouth will do the rest.

Otherwise, if you don't like the service your ISP gives you, with a protocol you chose, you are free to renegotiate your contract, or switch to another provider.
Actually, Bell has a monopoly on DSL in many parts of Canada... If you go to another ISP that sells you DSL service you're still being throttled by Bell because that ISP ultimately leases Bell's network.

Re:Press release translation (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23608737)

Aggressive traffic shaping is not welcomed by the customer, and the customer will leave, it's a simple free market exercise - just vote with your wallet, and word of mouth will do the rest.
I am one of the customers that voted with the wallet and signed up with a DSL reseller. Guess what? My connection is shaped by Bell, too, despite that I am NOT a Bell customer. So voting with a wallet does not work when it comes to internet access.

Monopoly (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 6 years ago | (#23608809)

Aggressive traffic shaping is not welcomed by the customer, and the customer will leave
No he won't. Even heavily shaped residential high-speed Internet access is faster than the alternative, which is dial-up.

What I understand by net neutrality, is that my ISP should not be allowed to make politically driven shaping, I.E. favor Metacafe over Youtube
What makes favoring Metacafe and YouTube over your BitTorrent peers not "politically driven shaping"?

Re:Monopoly (1)

Stellian (673475) | more than 6 years ago | (#23609223)

What makes favoring Metacafe and YouTube over your BitTorrent peers not "politically driven shaping"?
There's a reasonable expectation from the ISP's customers that when they click a Youtube link, the movie should play. The customer can't and won't load Youtube movies 24 hours a day, so I think it's reasonable to favor streaming, bursting traffic over bulk, sustained traffic. The ISP customers will not tolerate lagging Youtube clips, nor would they tolerate prices inflated by the requirement to give all customers constant bandwidth equal to their burst rate.

By politically driven shaping I mean any shaping that is not resulting from requirements of having different profiles of traffic share the pipe. Some traffic is bursty, must be fast, and customers expect and pay for that speed, even if they are only using it 0.5% of time. The volume traffic can be deprioritized without loosing much volume, except during peak hours. I think it's extremely favorable for me that I get to use the spare capacity not used by typical 40+ y/o subscribers, and I would hate to have to pay the "real" price, with no overselling, of providing a 40 MB pipe to every house.

On the other hand, there's no reasonable expectation from customers that two HTTP sites in the same ping range should be throtled differently. The ISP will do that only when it has commercial interests in what customers should access, and that is politically driven shaping.

Re:Press release translation (1)

Nuitari The Wiz (1123889) | more than 6 years ago | (#23609137)

Trafic shaping and prioritization is as old as the Internet, and it's here to stay. Heck, it's even built into TCP: when the numeber of connections goes up, the average speed decreases. It's perfectly legitimate for the ISP to throttle protocols that are considered less important, or to cap the band of traffic hogs.
Yes shaping and prioritization has been built in the IP protocol. However massive throttling where you only get 5% of what you pay for isn't.

What, you don't agree with the classification made by your ISP, that 90% of bittorent packets goes to /dev/null ? To bad, I guess you should have read the contract before signing it. And you can be sure the contract allows them aggressive traffic shaping, and stipulates just a maximum speed you are allowed to use, no minimal guarantees. Unless you are a business customer, and pay a premium for that guaranteed minimal bandwidth.
Actually this is where you are totally wrong. It is important when any contract is signed, especially in Quebec, to have a meeting of the mind.

Clearly put, if ads tell you that you will be getting constant speeds and a "dedicated" (this is how Bell framed their DSL service vs the "shared" line of cable modems), then Bell has the obligation of providing it to their customers, no matter what the contract actually says.

Another reason why Bell is going to lose such a class action suite is that a contract has to be able to be understood by both parties for it to be a meeting of the minds. If a customer just signs on the line after finding the contract too hard to read more likely then not the contract will fail in court and the judge will rule based on the intentions of the customer. Also in cases where there are differences of interpretations, a judge is always required to rule in favor of the customer.

Anyways, even the fine print on Bell's websites at the time alluded to the maximum speed being dependent on the distance from the DSLAM. The traffic throttling is not the distance from the DSLAM.

I don't know why some think Net neutrality means everyone should be able to download at full speed 24/7 from bittorrent. What I understand by net neutrality, is that my ISP should not be allowed to make politically driven shaping, I.E. favor Metacafe over Youtube, or block access to Ron Paul's site because they negotiated a contract with it's political adversaries. Otherwise, if you don't like the service your ISP gives you, with a protocol you chose, you are free to renegotiate your contract, or switch to another provider.
They are slowing down all bittorrent traffic in favour of their new pay per view DRM laden video scheme. For me that is a violation of net neutrality.

Re:Press release translation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23611097)

Yeah, as opposed to all other ISPs in the world, where the speed actually goes up during peak hours.
My contract from bell made no mention of a 'rush-hour' when performance would be degraded.
No such 'rush-hour' capacity problem exists on my other ISPs networks. They have enough capacity for their peak load.

Rush-hour bandwidth throttling amounts to Internet brown-outs.

Net neutrality means...ISP should not be allowed to make politically driven shaping.
It is also generally thought of as including shaping driven by corporate competition. For example, bell offering a voip service and dropping packets for competing voip services.

In this real-world case Bell started shaping bittorrent traffic at almost the same moment our national broadcaster (CBC.ca) released their latest feature TV program on bittorrent.
Several months later Bell launched a video (TV and movies) download service. (this service is NOT subject to traffic shaping)

As for the 'you should have read the contract' argument... well, frankly bell's contract (like so many other big corporate contracts) is legal mumbo-jumbo and the parts that are understandable are over-the-top. Basically they give themselves the right to do absolutely anything they want with your traffic and make absolutely no service guarantees whatsoever.
Some of the clauses are blatently unenforcable. Basic consumer protection laws make half the contract null and void.
For example, Bell's contract gives them the right to route all your traffic through US eavsedropping systems.

Re:Press release translation (1)

lpq (583377) | more than 6 years ago | (#23614981)

Some ignorant idealist, Stellan, wrote "Otherwise, if you don't like the service your ISP gives you, with a protocol you chose, you are free to renegotiate your contract, or switch to another provider."

--- What world do you live in? Certainly not the US, and, from what it sounds like,
not in Canada? The US communications market for cell and internet is very non-competitive. There is very little choice in many areas. Only a few markets have any real competition, but the rest of the US is stuck with whatever they got. Ask ComCast -- they will tell you: in most markets, they are the top speed provider. They are also the only provider with service that has the "ability" to go faster than 3Mb. DSL is limited due to poor phone company infrastructure. Fiber isn't likely to be showing up here in my lifetime.

        In cities that have tried to provide network access -- what happens? The corporations sue against the government for providing common infrastructure services at levels and in areas where they either "won't" or will with all the bad service people are complaining about. It's exactly like when detroit automakers were powerful enough to buy up public transportation projects across the country and dispose of them. Now, cable and communication companies use pre-emptive strikes against 'mass-communications' projects for cities. Projects like have been done in other countries would be strictly banned here -- so that corporations could "compete" (=ream the masses")...I was reading recently that Paris -- about 5 years ago, had 10Mb to nearly every home & business and cheap rates. Now in many areas they are getting to 100Mb, at a fraction of the cost people in the US pay for 6Mb or 8Mb. I think the US was ranked about 30th (and falling) in broadband access.

So don't pretend people can "just choose another provider" -- when most can't even choose one "broadband" provider at speeds in other modern, competitive companies. The US Corporate mind set, is to extract every penny out of every customer at every level -- to charge the most possible for any given level of service, and the lowest amount of service/dollar. They don't strive to be the best -- or benefit society (while enriching themselves) -- no -- it's tear down society to extract extra pennies whenever possible. Our government is corrupt and the "free market" was sold to the highest bidder. It doesn't exist -- because the market system itself was for-sale... When the free-market has been bought by corporations, it's no longer a free-market.

Good for them (1)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 6 years ago | (#23607721)

While down here we have to suffocate under that oppressive "*".

Re:Good for them (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23607743)

My intent was not to oppress, rather to inform. And I disabled the * for this post - as well as my name, really - just for you. :)

Woo hoo! I'm rich! I'm rich! (4, Funny)

Cathoderoytube (1088737) | more than 6 years ago | (#23607763)

Hahaha! This is great! I use Bell for my internet! And I'm pretty sure they've been messing with my connection! I'm rich! I'm rich! Woo hoo!

You /were/ rich. (5, Interesting)

Gazzonyx (982402) | more than 6 years ago | (#23607803)

Don't think they won't be kindly requesting that cash back, with interest, in your next months service bill. The bill will also, most likely, be accompanied by a change of service terms notice, and a rate increase letter.

I'd like to be pleasantly surprised (my father just retired from Bell/Verizon and without him working there, I wouldn't be in college - I must admit that), but I have a feeling I won't be. It seems that management will cut off their noses to show good numbers for the quarter, while actually losing money in the process of padding the numbers. They're not going to take a loss without passing it on to the customer, and they're probably going to take that opportunity to sweeten the deal for themselves just a little bit more. But, like I said, I really hope I'm wrong.

Re:You /were/ rich. (1)

Cathoderoytube (1088737) | more than 6 years ago | (#23607871)

I am somewhat dubious that I'll actually see one red cent out of this whole ordeal. But I'm really hoping those bastards get crucified. Just reading the headline 'Bell Loses Class Action Suit' would almost be enough for me (I also want money). I didn't even know those bastards were doing deep packet inspection. That's something I find extremely infuriating. And if they wind up losing the suit, and make some attempt to pass the cost onto their customers/victims it won't particularly matter to me, since I'll be using another ISP at that point. And I imagine they'll probably lose a lot of customers when they discover they've been shafting them on their internet service.

Re:You /were/ rich. (1)

jonaskoelker (922170) | more than 6 years ago | (#23608295)

And if they wind up losing the suit, and make some attempt to pass the cost onto their customers/victims it won't particularly matter to me, since I'll be using another ISP at that point.
Well, ISTR that Bell Canada controls the backbone in canada, which means that if you use another ISP, you still go through Bell Canada's network. Also, in passing on the cost of the class-action lawsuit outcome, they might get the idea of upping the charges on their peering agreements, which means your ISP has to shell out some more money. Your money.

Re:You /were/ rich. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23609569)

The CRTC regulates the prices that Bell Canada may charge retail ISP's for services. Period.

Re:You /were/ rich. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23610837)

Well, ISTR that Bell Canada controls the backbone in canada
It is somewhat more complicated than that.
There isn't really a single 'backbone' but you are correct that Bell does run a lot of our traffic.

Bell has a monopoly on the DSL lines in many parts of the country (but not all! there are some other regional monopolies). They also run lots of backbone fiber.
Many ISPs lease fiber from Bell for their long-haul (backbone) links but in most cases these are layer 1 or layer 2 services and thus not affected by any 'Internet' policies or activities of Bell.
In areas where bell has a DSL monopoly there is a DSL-backhaul problem. ISPs buying wholesale DSL from them are stuck traversing some of bell's network.

Bell is f-ing evil. They don't make reasonable peering agreements like most Internet companies do.
They try to 'be the Internet' and make everyone pay them for access.
Other 'backbone' providers are much better. Companies like Peer1, global crossing and regional fiber network operators like Ontario Hydro and the cable operators (rogers, cogeco, videotron) are better.

If you get Internet access from Rogers or Videotron or one of the small ISPs you may not have to send any traffic over bell's network at all. Bell is actually quite expensive for Internet transit. Most small ISPs use much more Cogent/peer1/xo than Bell bandwidth.

Re:You /were/ rich. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23611547)

Bell controls the last mile in eastern Canada. They in no way control the Backbone. It does not STR anything.

Re:You /were/ rich. (1)

digidave (259925) | more than 6 years ago | (#23609705)

Bell Canada has lost 30% of their phone subscribers to cable phone companies in many areas. They are hurting big-time and they don't know how to stop the bleeding.

If they're smart -- and I'm not convinced they are -- they will do whatever it takes to keep their remaining customers. I wouldn't be surprised if they start giving away their cheaper internet package to anybody who signs up for their phone service and a long distance plan.

At First I thought it said... (0, Offtopic)

StCredZero (169093) | more than 6 years ago | (#23612847)

...that it was a class action suit for Trolling. So I thought some subset of Slashdot was going to pay a few ten thousandths of a penny to some other subset of Slashdot. (And the intersection of those two subsets would be paying themselves!)

Haha (-1, Offtopic)

Xaemyl (88001) | more than 6 years ago | (#23607765)

Hahah you said "hard on"

(ok back on topic ...)

The cynical reality (5, Insightful)

Excelcia (906188) | more than 6 years ago | (#23607773)

This is the way things tend to work up here. In the beginning, our leaders and lawmakers generally will just quietly make rational decisions based on ethical public policy and good technical input. Things are fine for some time here while we enjoy the sensible solution that seems to elude our neighbours to the source. Things continue happily for us while the same fight drags on in the US until big money wins out there. Then the same big money just pays for getting the American government to put pressure on ours until we capitulate.

So yes, it will be nice for a while, until your diplomats come calling to outline our terribly unfair (to ISPs) policies which are out of line with the rest of the world (America) and are damaging international relations. At which point, just to illustrate the issue, a softwood lumber tariff will get slapped on us which, of course, is completely unrelated to the net neutrality issue. " - you're accusing us of a punitive tariff? You wound us." But, surprise, surprise, it gets lifted when we cave in.

Re:The cynical reality (2, Informative)

name*censored* (884880) | more than 6 years ago | (#23607811)

In the beginning, our leaders and lawmakers generally will just quietly make rational decisions based on ethical public policy and good technical input.
What? Lies! Politicians NEVER do anything quietly, rationally, or based on ethical public policy! Unless Canada's hogging them all - in which case, you may want to consider taking some of your so-called "honest" policians on a round-the-world tour - you'll make millions selling tickets to see these creatures!

Re:The cynical reality (1, Interesting)

multipartmixed (163409) | more than 6 years ago | (#23608869)

The thing is, it's not politicians making the decisions at those stages, it's the civil servants. These are long-time government employees, which basically operate like any other large, bloated corporation... not MUCH gets done, but when it affects the executives or their friends, rational decisions are often made.

Then the politicians come in and mess it all up.

Like, last year, this civil servant was in charge of all the nuclear plants, and she's all like "Hey, you bozos in Chalk River, you haven't upgraded your nuclear safety crap in a hundred years despite our constant nagging! We're shutting you down!" ... So, the prime minister fired her, because it was really important to the US that we provide them with medical isotopes.

Now, what's better? A nuclear plant that's behind on safety regs, or worldwide availability of nuclear isotopes?

From the POV of the consumer, that one's a little tough. But from the nuclear regulatory commissions POV? The shutdown was the right thing to do.

Bell Canada being sued? Try AT&T in San Jose. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23607779)

I recently moved to Mountain View CA from Waterloo ON. I had Bell DSL at home. I was quite happy with the service and I'm a big bit torrent user. Definitely better than Rogers Cable. I never thought there was a big difference between what they were advertising and what they were selling.

I'm using AT&T DSL now. WOW. Worst. Service. Ever! I actually figured this out today... there's something like an order of magnitude (or more, depending how you count it) between what they advertise and what they give you. AT&T only guarantees an upper bound. For me, they promise they won't give me more than 3 megabit down. Why not give me a lower bound? Without the lower bound, they can slow me right down to nothing and still be within their contractual responsibilities (I think... not a lawyer).

Start selling an interval. Give me the upper bound and the lower bound for service. Sell me some recourse.

Finally! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23607821)

I know I'm not really adding anything to the thread, but I just have to scream it out.

YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!

Re:Finally! (2, Insightful)

Dan541 (1032000) | more than 6 years ago | (#23608193)

It's about time people started standing up to fraudulent ISPs.

Re:Finally! (1)

jonaskoelker (922170) | more than 6 years ago | (#23608319)

It's about time people started standing up to fraudulent ISPs.
In most countries which have English as an official language, there is one dominant player on the internet market (or, if you're lucky, two or three equally fraudulent players).

It semes reasonable to assume that they benefit from traffic being sent on their network; otherwise, they wouldn't be selling traffic on them. Also, if you send any internet traffic, you will with high probability send traffic on the big players' networks.

Conclusion: if you use the internet, you will benefit evil evil ISPs. I don't know what the solution is, but winning a class-action lawsuit will just up your rates, so I don't see how this qualifies as standing up to them.

Maybe you can enlighten me? I don't mean to troll or bait flames.

Re:Finally! (1)

Dan541 (1032000) | more than 6 years ago | (#23608601)

You do have a good point.

I call it standing up because it is a way of showing them that we are sick of their shit.

But the real solution is in legislation. (Never thought I'd say that.)

Been spending most our lives living in an... (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 6 years ago | (#23608823)

Conclusion: if you use the internet, you will benefit evil evil ISPs. I don't know what the solution is
Join the plain people [wikipedia.org] ?

Re:Finally! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23611241)

Conclusion: if you use the internet, you will benefit evil evil ISPs.
I think that the situation is not as bad as that.

There actually is some competition at the backbone level.
It is really just the DSL monopoly that is the problem.

For example, if you have cable Internet access in ontario or quebec you will not be using Bell's network for most of your traffic.
The cable operators peer with each other, they use other backbone providers like peer1, cogent and allstream(aka at&t).

In fact, I just did a whole bunch of traceroutes from my Rogers cable connection and I can't find any that traverse Bell's network except where the destination is a bell customer.
Rogers peers directly with other cable operators as well as very open peering at public exchanges like TORIX.

We don't need bell! f*ck 'em!
We just need to build out our last-mile fiber network as municipal infrastructure!

Sorry but isn't dual language a mandate in Canada? (1)

Tjp($)pjT (266360) | more than 6 years ago | (#23607843)

The press release is available in French.

Shouldn't it me available in English as well. Or is it just that English only is disallowed but French only is. (1/2 tongue in cheek)

Obligitory: Free Qubec

Re:Sorry but isn't dual language a mandate in Cana (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23607847)

Basically the only reason anyone in Canada speaks French is because of Quebec and the fact that each state there wields too much power. It's kind of funny that Quebec always plays this persecution card to force the rest of the country to speak French, and then they ignore English entirely.

Re:Sorry but isn't dual language a mandate in Cana (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23608775)

You my friend are as wrong as wrong can be. New Brunswick is the only officially bilingual province in Canada. It has the only French university this on the continent outside of Quebec. French is spoken throughout our country (in man small towns and cities throughout the western provinces). It's a shame you know so little about your own country....

Re:Sorry but isn't dual language a mandate in Cana (2, Informative)

Paul server guy (1128251) | more than 6 years ago | (#23610223)

New Brunswick is the only officially bilingual province in Canada.
Hey, Don't forget Nunavut! (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nunavut)
(From http://en.wikipedia.orgwiki/Nunavut#Language [en.wikipedia.orgwiki] ) "Along with Inuktitut, Inuinnaqtun, English, and French are also official languages."

And if you step outside the larger communities, It's almost exclusively Inuktitut, A very pretty language. All of the signs are in Inuktitut, English and French.

You should go there some time. (So you can really know your own country.) I have, in the spring. It was beautiful, and -35C.

Re:Sorry but isn't dual language a mandate in Cana (1)

Some1too (1242900) | more than 6 years ago | (#23611453)

I've been lucky enough to see our country from coast to coast to coast: I spent a summer hitch hiking across it and back but never had a chance to make it to our beautiful north (Nunavut included). Hopefully one day I will get a chance to visit that part of our country. -35c in spring appeals to the crazy canuck in me. I never knew it officially has four languages either. Cheers, Some1too

Re:Sorry but isn't dual language a mandate in Cana (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23607863)

No, it is not. There are so many organizations in Canada whose websites are only available in English.
Do you really believe that English-only is disallowed? How many websites of organizations in British Columbia have all their pages available in French?

Re:Sorry but isn't dual language a mandate in Cana (2, Informative)

gmthor (1150907) | more than 6 years ago | (#23607917)

Actually, BC is the only province of Canada that is not forced to be dual toungue. There it is only luck, if an official can speek french. But in all other provinces, people in government possitions must speek both. Even more, all products sold must have an englich and a french side of the product.

Re:Sorry but isn't dual language a mandate in Cana (4, Interesting)

francisstp (1137345) | more than 6 years ago | (#23607973)

What the hell are you talking about? Only New Brunswick is legally bilingual, all other provinces are English only except Québec which is French only.

See for example the Alberta provincial government website [alberta.ca] . See any French option?

Re:Sorry but isn't dual language a mandate in Cana (1)

Oxydius (1018066) | more than 6 years ago | (#23608099)

What the hell are you talking about? Only New Brunswick is legally bilingual, all other provinces are English only except Quebec which is French only.

See for example the Alberta provincial government website [alberta.ca] . See any French option?
Yes, and they say it's very important : Maintaining the diverse linguistic and multicultural fabric of our communities is very important. http://www.education.alberta.ca/parents/educationsys/frenchlanguage.aspx [alberta.ca]

Re:Sorry but isn't dual language a mandate in Cana (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23608835)

Ontario too requires all government offices and websites to offer services in french.

Re:Sorry but isn't dual language a mandate in Cana (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23610059)

No, it does not. Only in certain designated areas of Ontario is that true, and it excluded municipal government offices.

Re:Sorry but isn't dual language a mandate in Cana (1)

francisstp (1137345) | more than 6 years ago | (#23611447)

Yeah, as a matter of policy. They could change this tomorrow if they wanted to though. Their official language remains English solely.

Re:Sorry but isn't dual language a mandate in Cana (1)

Jorophose (1062218) | more than 6 years ago | (#23608911)

It is likely however that Ontario soon becomes officially bilingual.

Considering the uproar they received after RÃglement 17, and the fact that there still is a large francophone population in Ontario, I wouldn't doubt it happening.

And already the roots are forming. Want a job in say Ottawa? Can't speak french? The door is that way bub.

Re:Sorry but isn't dual language a mandate in Cana (1)

francisstp (1137345) | more than 6 years ago | (#23611433)

That's only true if you want a job in the federal government, which granted are the overwhelming majority of real jobs in Ottawa.

Even in malls, restaurants, and other service jobs, which are usually representative of the customer preferences, you really don't need any French to be hired.

Also I'm pretty sure they'd have to reopen the constitution to change the legal status of languages in a province. Needless to say nobody wants that.

Re:Sorry but isn't dual language a mandate in Cana (1)

AikonMGB (1013995) | more than 6 years ago | (#23607867)

I wasn't aware that press releases fell under the categories of "federal law" or "government services"...

Aikon-

Re:Sorry but isn't dual language a mandate in CA (1)

Tjp($)pjT (266360) | more than 6 years ago | (#23608255)

It is sort of a joke. I love the dual language signage in British Columbia even though I have hear more German, Russian and Ukrainian than French (I have not heard any french other than US tourists reading signs, often badly) in Vancouver or Victoria. Sort of like the like in "Canadian Bacon" where the hastily written scrawls on the truck in English had them stopped by a policeman who had them add French annotation.

Re:Sorry but isn't dual language a mandate in CA (1)

Tjp($)pjT (266360) | more than 6 years ago | (#23608263)

Further quick note:
Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] notes there are private sector obligations as well, such as ingredient lists for food. So it is not _all_ government as the actor services that require bilingual texts.

Dual languages and communications (2, Informative)

Looce (1062620) | more than 6 years ago | (#23607887)

Legal correspondence from persons or groups in Quebec to companies which have offices in Quebec can be done only in French, or in both languages, at the person or group's discretion. I agree that Bell is a Canadian company, but they have offices in all provinces.

Legal correspondence from Quebec to another province, or within another province, would have to be done only in English, I think, unless it were New Brunswick.

Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer.

Re:Sorry but isn't dual language a mandate in Cana (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23607913)

Canada is bilingual, meaning documents from the Canadian federal government must be available in both languages. Provincial legal documents must be in the province's official language. Quebec's official language is French, other provinces have English as their official language, with the exception of New Brunswick, which is the only bilingual province (although I believe some of the territories are multilingual).

But that's only for legal documents, anyway. Which press releases from a consumer's union are not. Whether to issue a bilingual press release would be entirely at the organization's discretion (neither forbidden nor required) in this case.

stupid bell....... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23607951)

Okay, so this deals with fraudulent advertising with their internet services, but what about cell phone service. Whenever I go skiing at Cypress Mountain, I get no reception at all. Normally, I wouldn't care because Bell has shitty service, but Bell sponsored the power park or w/e, and it says that they have service mountain wide. But I can't make a phone call at the lodge. What kind of BS is that?

simple really (3, Insightful)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 6 years ago | (#23607975)

Pretty simple lawsuit I guess. Fraudulent advertising, huh? I bet they're suing over the phrase "internet access" cuz that's what they're not giving!

Re:simple really (1)

Mishotaki (957104) | more than 6 years ago | (#23608811)

It's more about the fact that they've been advertising that the speed of their internet services will never slow down, no matter what, due to a peak in the neighbours using more bandwith : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ArpmbnxIQIQ [youtube.com] -- that ad represents pretty well how they have been advertising that their services won't make your speed slower during peak hours...

Action Suit - IRON MAN (0, Redundant)

extirpater (132500) | more than 6 years ago | (#23608213)

Against BELL?

I for one do not like the At&T DSL overlords.. (1)

3seas (184403) | more than 6 years ago | (#23608353)

I have twice been fooled by AT&T/Bell South telephone sales lying to me about increased bandwidth and lower prices with reasons for lower prices being bundeling and such. But when the bill came its was proven to be a lies. They tried a third time but this time I caught them and raised hell about it and had them take me off the call list.

I have had bandwidth problems too, one happened after I installed ubuntu feisty fawn but after trying everything to resolve it in feisty and also thru bell south, I swapped out network cards and that solved it. Other times I've had drop-outs and of course at the most inconvenient times. Of course AT&T wanted to find the problem at my end and charge me for it, for sending a technician out. I never had them send a technician out as I could determine it wasn't on my end, even the phone I could determine was ok.

The problem seemed to be related to weather, cold and wet. This of course suggesting problems in their realm of maintaining (outside of my home). I told them this over and over again but their remote testing supposedly showed no problems. Then there was a larger outage, where upon them fixing it seemed to have solved the weather problem.

I don't know about throttling as I'm not a bit torrent user (torrents have always seemed to take much longer to transfer files and participating as a source seemed to be flaky - so perhaps I have never known not being throttled?????) At any rate I gave up on torrents. And all my efforts of using a torrent have been legit, FOSS based.

Well I sure hope... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23608379)

That they don't get forced from throttling torrents here, hard enough to play my games anyway without those bloody freeloaders chewing up all my bandwidth :)

Re:Well I sure hope... (1)

Dan541 (1032000) | more than 6 years ago | (#23608751)

Your bandwidth?

How about the bandwidth they paid for?

Ah, that kind of throttling... (1)

Arimus (198136) | more than 6 years ago | (#23608421)

I must drink more coffee before reading /. headlines.

My first thought was 'wonder who Bell killed?' (Possibly Eddison?)

What's in a name? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23608555)

For any /.ers that aren't sure who to side with on this issue... Bell's service is called Sympatico MSN. Yes that's MS as in M$. nuff said.

Important thing missing... (4, Insightful)

mario_grgic (515333) | more than 6 years ago | (#23608843)

they should also be demanding the choice for consumers to terminate their contracts with Bell with no termination penalties.

I know a lot of ISPs have the clause in their contract that makes it costly for you to terminate the contract and switch to someone else.

Since Bell has effectively breached the contract, the customers should have the right to walk away from it as well with no repercussions.

About time (1)

mmxsaro (187943) | more than 6 years ago | (#23609443)

I'm glad to hear that Bell is about to get their asses kicked. Every night, after 12 PM exactly, I notice my connection slows down to a crawl up until 6-7 AM in the morning. Yes, I'm a heavy Bittorrent user, with encryption enabled. I'm on the verge to switch over to Videotron (the other major provider of Internet access in Quebec) but they have lame bandwidth caps. Internet access here in Quebec is absolutely terrible. It's not even true ADSL, just shitty G.lite/PPPOE.

Comcast Caught Throttling 2 days ago with You Tube (3, Interesting)

FromTheAir (938543) | more than 6 years ago | (#23609743)

Had problems with You Tube video for several days which would stop playing for 15 - 30 seconds and then start again.

Wondered is it You Tube servers or ISP (Comcast)?

Did speed tests there were fluctuations but plenty of bandwidth for the video. Everything else but You Tube had a crisp response. Switched cable to backup DSL (AT&T) which is much slower than the cable connection. Many people would not be able to do this type of test usually only having one provider at a house.

The You Tube problem went away. Which means it was not the PC, or You Tube servers, but having to do with packet transport.

So this shows that Comcast was ruining the You Tube experience for sure.

whether they are intentionally throttling or not is not is still a question.

Doing a trace route we can see issue for sure poor network engineering. Comcast 8 hops to Washington DC & Va, AT&T 4 hops to Chicago. It could also be that Comcast is routing it packets some intelligence agency packet sniffing hub which is causing the delay.

Any other thoughts?

Re:Comcast Caught Throttling 2 days ago with You T (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 6 years ago | (#23611079)

There are several tools that attempt to directly measure things like forged reset packets, but I am not sure if there is a tools that tries to measure network throttling in general.

Here are some of the ones I found:

http://www.nnsquad.org/agent [nnsquad.org]

http://www.eff.org/testyourisp/pcapdiff/ [eff.org]

http://azureus.sourceforge.net/plugin_details.php?plugin=aznetmon [sourceforge.net]



Re:Comcast Caught Throttling 2 days ago with You T (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23616635)

Comcast has been going at it for years. I stopped playing online games when Comcast bought Roadrunner (or whoever it was serving around L.A. in early 2000).

My gaming experience went from constant stable flow of data stream, to 'packet bursts' with 5, 10 or even 15 seconds of delay between contacts. I often found my character jumping from in battle (with no one moving but me) to being dead on the ground.

So my Internet usage completely changed. From online gaming I moved to downloading music and videos (mostly TV shows and some movies) that I would download and listen at my leisure.

In a sense Comcast is the catalyst of my downloading habits. I rarely watch any series now, just wait for the end of the season and fetch everything I watch on my schedule, several shows in a row, no weeklong cliff-hangers.
Impossible to do anything real-time with Comcast, you really need to fetch everything and work with it locally.

...darn!, I was late! (1)

LaoziSailor (866696) | more than 6 years ago | (#23613679)

...darn!, I was late!

----- Original Message -----
From: LaoziSailor
To: lettertoed@thestar.ca
Sent: Saturday, May 31, 2008 7:51 PM
Subject: Re.: Bell defends 'shaping' Internet traffic
Dear Editor:

This is tantamount to an invasion of privacy:

"Bell began implementing traffic shaping measures for its own retail customers last October between the hours of 4:30 p.m. and 2 a.m., which is when traffic on its network is highest. Its rival Rogers Communications Inc. also employs similar techniques.

Both rely on deep packet inspection technology to determine the protocol of individual packages of data as they speed across their networks, routing those with a peer-to-peer signature into the equivalent of an Internet slow lane."

In my opinion this makes Bell and Rogers law breakers.

If they want to protect the bandwidth used they should expand it, otherwise; they are thieves by not providing what customers have paid for.

If on the other hand the CRTC or whatever regulatory body decides a specific protocol is illegal then let them find that way and declare that to the public.

Yours Truly,

LaoziSailor

So when will rogers be held accountable (1)

davvr6 (823826) | more than 6 years ago | (#23614203)

They are throttling too! Or will ted somehow get away with this like he did with the sky dome?
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