Rogers “Accidentally” Throttled WoW

by Jordan Richardson on July 14, 2011

Back in March of this year, Rogers Communications admitted (PDF) to “unintentionally” throttling access to World of Warcraft. A customer filed a complaint (PDF) with the CRTC in February and Rogers said it had resolved the issue in May.

The same customer told the CRTC in June that the “solution” Rogers had implemented actually made the problem worse. Rogers disputed the claim, but the regulator wasn’t buying it.

“Commission staff is not persuaded that this issue has been completely resolved,” Lynne Fancy, the CRTC’s director of competition, costing and tariffs, said on Wednesday in a letter addressed to Ken Thompson, legal counsel for Rogers on copyright and broadband law. “There appear to be matters still in dispute.”

So now Rogers has until July 25 to prove that the throttling issue has been sufficiently resolved. If Rogers fails to meet the requirements, the CRTC may “examine the matter in more detail” through a public process.

Canada’s Internet service providers have sometimes turned to various “traffic management” techniques to deal with so-called network congestion. Most traffic that is throttled is of the peer-to-peer network variety, with services like BitTorrent victims of management techniques from big ISPs.

Proponents of net neutrality say that bandwidth shouldn’t be throttled or regulated in any way because that constitutes a violation of equitable access to information over the Internet.

The CRTC has hardly been consistent with respect to Internet throttling, however. They allowed Bell to throttle traffic back in 2008, for example, and delayed subsequent rulings on the issue. Perhaps this jumble sends the wrong message to providers and customers alike.

There are some tools customers can use to determine if their network capacity is being augmented in any way. Google, together with Skype and BitTorrent, have created Measurement Lab. This service features a tool, Glasnost, that lets customers test whether application traffic is being limited by a service provider.

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Written by: Jordan Richardson. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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