Rogers In Trouble From All Quarters Over WOW Throttling Practice

by Gaurav Kheterpal on November 1, 2011

First things first, the founding principle of net neutrality states that every user deserves equal access to the Internet, meaning that companies shouldn’t be allowed to give priority to certain clients or arbitrarily throttle the Internet speeds of others. It’s a free and open Internet for all and it’s caused nothing but problems.

Though Rogers has always defended itself stating that it accidentally throttled access to World of Warcraft, the CRTC seems to be in no mood to buy those arguments. The regulatory body has now reported the issue to the Compliance and Enforcement Sector for action.

To make matters worse, Rogers is reported to be the worst throttling offender globally. As expected, the gamer community isn’t amused and an association of gamers says Rogers is intentionally slowing down the Internet connections of many games, including the popular role-playing game World of Warcraft.

In the past, the CRTC has hardly been consistent with respect to Internet throttling. However, its toughened stand may spell further trouble for Rogers at a time when the company is already facing public criticism over its traffic throttling malpractices.

The problem dates back to March when Rogers admitted to ‘unintentional’ throttling access to World of Warcraft. A customer filed a compliant 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. The company was given a July 25 deadline to prove that the throttling issue has been sufficiently resolved. Since that hasn’t happened, Rogers has now unwanted earned the dubious distinction of being the first Canadian Internet service provider (ISP) to be elevated to the CRTC’s network neutrality compliance and enforcement division.

Though Rogers has strongly denied accusations to deliberate throttling, online data compiled by Google Inc.’s Measurement Lab (MLab) project suggests Rogers is managing Internet subscribers using BitTorrent and other protocols at a much high rate than its Canadian competitors. The M-Lab data indicates that ever since 2008, Rogers’ subscribers were slowed down at a higher rate than users on nearly all competing networks. It claims that Rogers slowed down upstream traffic up to 80 per cent of the time.

Statistics indicate that Rogers is a ‘world class throttler’ and ‘in a league of its own’ as the next worst thottler – Cogeco throttles connections nearly than 31 per cent of the time.

Though the idea of throttling originated to address traffic issues, it’s increasingly being used as a means to upsell faster premium Internet services. Several gamers claim that their Internet connections appear slower due to throttling when a peer-to-peer network is running in the background. Rogers on its part maintains that it doesn’t manage downstream traffic, gaming or any other network use.

It would be interesting to see the next steps from CRTC’s enforcement division, especially given the fact that it has no authority to fine the communications company. On the other hand, it’s an opportunity for the regulatory authority to lay down a strict no non-sense law with respect to throttling. What do you think is an amicable solution to this problem for all parties – the CRTC, the Internet Service Providers and the Internet users? Please share your opinion by leaving a comment.

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Written by: Gaurav Kheterpal. Follow TheTelecomBlog.comby: RSS,TwitterFacebook, or YouTube.

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