CRTC: ‘Bell Canada Can Throttle BitTorrent – For Now’

Rules that it can continue to throttle P2P and file-sharing programs, but in the future it must notify wholesale customers 30 days in advance before doing so.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) today announced that it has denied the Canadian Association of Internet Providers’ (CAIP) request that Bell Canada cease the traffic shaping practices it has adopted for its wholesale Gateway Access Service. However, in the future, Bell Canada will be required to notify its wholesale customers at least 30 days in advance of making any changes that impact its service.

“Based on the evidence before us, we found that the measures employed by Bell Canada to manage its network were not discriminatory. Bell Canada applied the same traffic-shaping practices to wholesale customers as it did to its own retail customers,” said Konrad von Finckenstein, Q.C., Chairman of the CRTC.

“CAIP’s application asked us to only consider the specific issue of wholesale traffic shaping within a specific context. The broader issue of Internet traffic management raises a number of questions that affect both end-users and service providers,” added Mr. von Finckenstein. “We have decided to hold a separate proceeding to consider both wholesale and retail issues. Its main purpose will be to address the extent to which Internet service providers can manage the traffic on their networks in accordance with the Telecommunications Act.” 

In the case of the CAIP application, the Commission’s assessment of traffic shaping was limited to Bell Canada’s practice of slowing down BitTorrent transfer rates at certain times of the day.

Meanwhile, the CRTC has launched a proceeding to begin July 6th, 2009 that will examine the current and potential traffic management practices of Canadian ISPs as a whole, and to what extant they should be allowed to manage network congestion.

The CRTC has invited comments on a number of specific questions. Some of these questions are related to:

  • changes in bandwidth consumption that may lead to network congestion
  • Internet traffic management practices based on technical solutions or business models that are currently available or may be developed in the future, and
  • the impact of such practices on end-users.

In addition, the Commission will try to establish the criteria to be used in the event that specific traffic management practices need to be authorized.

Interested parties may submit their comments by February 16, 2009. They may do so by filling out the online form, by writing to the Secretary General, CRTC, Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0N2, or by fax, at 819-994-0218. The Commission also plans to hold an online consultation to allow the public the opportunity to discuss the issues and questions related to the Internet traffic management practices of ISPs.

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Jared Moya

I've been interested in P2P since the early, high-flying days of Napster and KaZaA. I believe that analog copyright laws are ill-suited to the digital age, and that art and culture shouldn't be subject to the whims of international entertainment industry conglomerates.


this is sick we had P2P since the days of Napster in the 90's and ISPs never complained about bandwidth issues. Sounds like a scam to get money out of heavy users of their own paid for bandwidth. just like a co2 tax. Why don't they upgrade their network to handle the new users


Personally I would of like the internet to have become a public utility rather than a private one. If this was the case I think we would have a much more robust connection today. The downside to a public system would of been government control and something tells me they would of blocked allot of traffic. The reality is that file sharing takes up allot of bandwidth and unlike traditional web content its both upstream and downstream. Uploading is the main issue with most companies I'd imagine. Sadly things are not going to change so companies better be looking at long term solutions other than just pay per gig model. Otherwise they will be a bottleneck to the information innovation.


CRTC Call it unfair to what Bell Canada Sympatico is doing using DPI (deep-pocket inspection) it's downright unprofessional, unethical, ideological blindness and undermining direct retaliations to their customers, companies and major Inc's across Canada. Canada ranks 28 out of 30 countries across the globe because of mismanagement of funds, stockholders, shareholders, and “Fat Cat Politicians” including the CRTC caving into Bell Canada. The use of peer2peer network and/or applications such as the use of Bit Torrents used by different people on their own the network, the facilities and the individual business applications, so anytime you come in with an over-reaching strategy and try to force into the environment, or internet you are creating not just a technical challenge, but a political conflict. What should be done is everybody needs to boycott Bell Canada and disconnect their entire services right across the board. And then they Bell Canada just might pull their head out of their “butts” until then the Tech sector’s well continue to fall and before you know it Canada will be ranked 30th. It’s nothing but a slap across the face of our founding forefathers!