Can the CRTC Protect Us against Network Throttling?

by Matt Klassen on August 25, 2011

An open and equal Internet for all. It’s the rallying cry for open Internet enthusiasts engaged in a Net Neutrality fight that has been waging on both sides of the border for several years now; a fight to see government regulations imposed on Internet providers that would establish a foundation of rights, as it were, for Internet users.

While Canada is ahead of its American neighbours when it comes to Net Neutrality standards, it doesn’t mean Canadian companies are any less prone to testing the bounds of those rules and regulations.

To that end, a newly formed public interest group representing Canadian video gamers has submitted a formal complaint to the CRTC regarding Rogers and its Internet traffic management practices, particularly as it pertains to online PC and console games like World of Warcraft.

While this story seemingly affects only a select group in our country, I assure you, even if you’re not a gamer, you’ll likely want to know how this dispute plays out.

While Canada has little to no federal regulations concerning Internet management, or throttling as it’s infamously known as, each province does have at least a baseline standard for determining fair practices among wireless carriers.

To that end, the Canadian Gamers Association is claiming that Rogers is specifically violating Ontario’s particular consumer protection laws by slowing the network resources dedicated to online games and subsequently failing to  “fully disclosing its “use, limitations and affects” of Internet traffic-shaping practices.”

For its part, Rogers has even admitted to throttling its network in this way, slowing the Internet speeds for both PC and console online game, but claims that it is doing so lawfully.

Bringing this dispute to the CRTC is not without its problems for the Games Association, as part of the complaint targets the Commission itself, arguing that the regulatory bodies Internet traffic management rules neither conform to Ontario provincial law nor are actively enforced.

It is here that the story begins to pertain to a wider demographic, as the details regarding the CRTC’s full disclosure rules regarding how carries management their networks and how those rules are enforced by the CRTC have far reaching affects.

The question behind Net Neutrality standards has, and always will be, the freedom to use the Internet that we each pay for in whatever way we want. If both you and I pay x amount of dollars each month to access the Internet, does it matter if I choose to play video games and you choose to surf Facebook?

In fact, as the Facebook user experience becomes increasingly data intensive, who’s to say that companies like Rogers won’t start arbitrarily throttling social networking sites as part of their ongoing “network management” practices?

In the end, Canadian’s need the CRTC to step up to the plate, to monitor how companies like Rogers are managing their network resources, and to hold them accountable when particular consumer demographics are being unfairly targeted. Heck, what else is the CRTC here for?

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

{ 2 trackbacks }

CRTC Demands Solution to Rogers Network Throttling Controversy — TheTelecomBlog.com
August 16, 2012 at 8:02 am
Rogers Gets CRTC Clean Chit On Network Throttling Controversy — TheTelecomBlog.com
August 21, 2012 at 5:46 am

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

RogersMary August 25, 2011 at 10:47 am

Hi there, this is Mary from Rogers.

I wanted to clarify that as stated in our Network Management Policy, Rogers only manages P2P file sharing above 80 kbps and there are no limits on download speed for any application or protocol.

If this was not in place, it would result in a significantly decreased experience for everyone. This management ensures a high level of service for time-sensitive tasks such as sending email, requesting web pages, video conferencing and voice services.

You can read more about our policy here: http://www.rogers.com/web/content/network_management. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to me.

Thanks!
Mary
http://www.twitter.com/rogersmary

Jason K September 11, 2011 at 4:21 pm

Hi there, this is Jason from the Canadian Gamers Organization.

I wanted to clarify that as stated in Rogers disclosure to the CRTC on it’s Netwrok Management Policy, that games running above 80/kbps are effected by Rogers network management policy.

Since this is in place, anything above 80/kbps while running P2P is affected by Rogers Internet Traffic Management which include Games (that are time -sensitive media).

You can read more about our efforts here to ensure Rogers dicontinues to spew out utter crap to it’s consumers here: http://cdngameorg.yuku.com/topic/31/Canadian-Gamers-Launch-Government-Investigation–ISP-Throttl#.Tm0YO-xZBAo

Thanks,
Jason
http://www.twitter.com/jkoblovsky

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