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Bell Canada's Misinformation About Throttling 120

rsax writes "Bell Canada's chief of regulatory affairs Mirko Bibic has been attempting to justify the throttling of the last-mile connection to independent ISPs. As is typical, Bell Canada is abusing people's confusion between issues around Network Neutrality and the last mile natural monopoly. If people continue to confuse these two related but separate issues, Bell Canada and other incumbent phone and cable companies will win this critical debate."
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Bell Canada's Misinformation About Throttling

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  • by masamax ( 543884 ) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @03:02AM (#23086916)
    Bell does make one valid point that the smaller ISPs are not speaking about, namely that they are purchasing bandwidth from bell wholesale. There is nothing stopping those ISPs from installing their own routing centres, even within Bell's infrastructure whereby the only must lease the lines, not the other stuff. Instead, they want to avoid such infrastructure investment. That being said, most of the small ISP's probably lack the capital to undertake such an endeavor.
    • Also this issue is extremely critical for other (developing) countries who are looking towards what's happening with this issue. Places where there is a widely segregated ISP base, could trigger consolidation leading to such a market scenario.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @03:49AM (#23087126)
      You're mistaken. Teksavvy for example does NOT purchase wholesale internet access, they have their own routes and peering agreements.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @05:07AM (#23087358)
        Being a Teksavvy customer, I cannot express how awesome their service is since they use their own bandwidth. Being routed straight through the Toronto Internet Exchange, a mere 6 hops from Google's GTA data centre, is nothing short of exquisite. I simply adore pinging 30ms to eastern seaboard game servers and 10ms to GTA area game servers. Not to mention their incredibly awesome tech support staff who don't even work from flow charts but just know their stuff. (all my calls have ended in under 2 minutes with them fixing the issue or getting back to me the next day with progress)

        I was hoping somebody would reply "TEKSAVVY" to the parent and am glad you did. They are easily the best ISP I've used, even if they don't reach the top speeds provided by Bell or Rogers. (no, I do not work for them or have a relative that works for them or anything, I am just a fiercely loyal customer)
        • That's interesting, because i'm with TekSavvy and i'm getting throttled. I'm in the K/W area.
        • Just for the record, us teksavvy customers (I personally have dual connections from them, we like it so much), are getting throttled. As many know teksavvy is now suing bell as this is not part of the contract. Anyways, yes we are getting throttled, and no its not teksavvys fault. If you need an isp, or hate your current isp (I dont know like comwave, cia, rogers,bell,...generic isp here...) switch to teksavvy you will be happy you did! (dont work for them, another happy customer!)
        • by Tyr_7BE ( 461429 )
          I see this a lot. People go with Teksavvy and they're rabid with loyalty. They must be doing _something_ right. I'm moving in a few months and they're definitely the first option I'm looking into, based on this fact alone.
        • by wildem ( 1267822 )
          Exactly!!
          Teksavvy ROCKS!!

          Their customer service and a personable approach is bar none the best I have ever seen. Their services are cheaper, more reliable and faster than Bells. What does Bell do about it ? They f**k up your traffic.

          Here's what I know:

          I have been on Teksavvy for many years ( an ex-Bell subscriber ) . As of few days ago, their traffic during ~4pm - ~1am has been shaped by Bell. What used to be a ~600 KBp/s now turned into a 30 KBp/s. At the same time 2 of my friends living right beside me ca
      • by yani ( 50270 ) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @05:18AM (#23087392)
        Mod parent up, this is a correct counter-example to the original post which seems to buy into Bell's rhetoric.

        In fact Teksavvy even gives its customers a choice of which routing they would prefer, unlimited over Cogent or 100gb/month over Peer 1 (lower latency)!

        http://www.teksavvy.com/en/resdsl.asp?ID=7&mID=1 [teksavvy.com]

        • Ditto! I switched to Teksavvy in December (from Rogers), and even though I took a 3 Mb/s cut (and a $30/month cut in price), everything - especially torrents - downloads at a face-melting speed, comparatively.

          I have worked in Cable for the last fifteen years, and was worried about the switch to DSL, but man... I needn't have worried. If you're in the GTA (I'm actually up in Barrie, an hour away), I can't recommend them highly enough.
        • by Feyr ( 449684 ) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @09:17AM (#23089024) Journal
          you're confusing two types of bandwidth. the way bell's infrastructure work is this:

          every lines terminate into a DSLAM.

          then if the DSLAM is bell's they will either:
          forward the entire L2TP(or ppp, same thing) tunnel over a dedicated line that they forced teksavvy to install and terminate it on teksavvy's equipment, at which point teksavvy can do whatever the hell they want with the traffic
          or
          bell terminates it on their own equipment and then sells "bandwidth" to the outside internet

          both of these solutions can be thottled, and you'd still get the "choose your routing" part

          there is another option for resellers, which is installing their own DSLAMs in bell's colo centers. it is expensive, and ill defined. any maintenance you might have to do is expensive as hell, bell charges you the full cost for whatever changes are to be made (including plugging in a customer's line into it).

          some resellers use this type of colo, but usually they are geographically limited (you need dslams all over the place to physically serve every customer's lines)
          • Aside from the fact that widescale DSLAM deployment is prohibitively expensive, Bell will only let you colocate in the CO. Customers in remote areas who are too far from the CO can't be serviced by them. Even some relatively dense suburban neighbourhoods (such as mine) are too far from the CO to get a decent sync speed.

            Bell works around these issues by using remotes, but they won't allow third party ISPs to put their own DSLAMs in them. And even if building your own remotes wasn't such a ridiculous idea,
        • by Sark666 ( 756464 )
          Just curious, How much of a latency difference does it make? I'm concerned with my voip account and some online gaming.

          Also, I was glad to see them offer dry dsl (does anyone else offer that in Canada?). But what is bandrates? This is only listed for dry loop dsl. What's the difference from band a to g?

          * Band Rates
          Band A $7.25/mo.
          Band B $9.10/mo.
          Band C $10.22/mo.
          Band D $10.98/mo.
          Band E $15.91/mo.
          Band F $16.20/
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            The band depends on where you live.

            And yes, bell offers dry dsl. And they don't even charge an additional fee. That's the only thing keeping me with bell right now. That extra $10 that I'd have to pay anywhere else is just enough to keep me.
            • by Sark666 ( 756464 )
              Ok cool, I never knew bell offers dry dsl with no additional charges.

              I guess someone paying rate g is far away from the dsl main line? 25 extra a month is pretty damn pricey.
            • I'm on dryloop as well, and I've noticed that the modem will spontaneously cut out every so often. Cut out dead, that is.

              Bell technicians have checked out the line numerous times and never been able to find anything wrong with it. Finally yesterday I asked them to ship a replacement as it seems to be the only thing left.

              Prior to this I had excellent service (strange, I know).

              If this behaviour, and the throttling, continue past my move date in a month's time, I'm off to TekSavvy, absolutely. I am using one o
      • by masamax ( 543884 )

        You're mistaken. Teksavvy for example does NOT purchase wholesale internet access, they have their own routes and peering agreements.
        If that's the case, they shouldn't be affected by throttling AFAIK.
        • by flyonthewall ( 584734 ) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @08:19AM (#23088424)

          by masamax (543884) on Wednesday April 16, @08:00AM (#23088240)

          You're mistaken. Teksavvy for example does NOT purchase wholesale internet access, they have their own routes and peering agreements.
          If that's the case, they shouldn't be affected by throttling AFAIK
          That is why this is so maddening. The throttling, as far as can be determined, happens on the GAS access, before it hits the first ISP(s) router. The data being shaped is not even considered internet traffic yet.
          • What is GAS access? or a GAS ISP? I've heard these terms thrown around but I can't find any info on them by googling or otherwise.
            • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

              by Cliffy03 ( 663924 )
              This GAS (Gateway Access service) access is the part that is regulated by the CRTC (tariff 5410). It is the term for "last mile aceess". Any DSL provider uses this service from the incumbent telco. From there they need backhaul bandwidth to their own Internet peering.
      • Well, here's an email i got from them, and they are being throttled:

        Dear Customers, As many of you may have heard of late, there have been quite a few activities through Bell that have caused some negative performance on P2P and BT traffic for us and all other DSL providers in Ontario and Québec.

        TekSavvy is committed to fighting this injustice. For more details on this matter, go to: http://www.dslreports.com/forum/teksavvy [dslreports.com] for various discussions.

        In trying to bring a little bit of both hum
      • Re: (Score:1, Flamebait)

        by CastrTroy ( 595695 )
        And therefore they are not being affected by the throttling.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by gmack ( 197796 )
      Not even close to true. In fact Smaller ISPs pay for the bandwidth used at two points:

      They pay for the link based on size between their PPPOE authentication servers and Bell's ADSL equipment. If this link fills up it's not Bell that suffers it's the ISP. (I've seen it happen)

      They again for outgoing bandwidth with whatever carrier they go with.

      There is no performance reason for Bell to throttle the PPPOE connections going to other ISPs. If the other ISP mismanages it's network then either they pay extra o
    • by Qzukk ( 229616 )
      There is nothing stopping those ISPs from installing their own routing centres, even within Bell's infrastructure whereby the only must lease the lines, not the other stuff

      There's nothing stopping me from forging my own parts from scratch and assembling a pickup truck myself, but that would not excuse Ford from delivering a Pinto when I ordered a F-150.
  • by ArIck ( 203 ) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @03:32AM (#23087040)
    The Canadian government should just nationalize the last mile cables and have a government agency responsible for maintaining and upgrading the lines. Bell has enjoyed its monopoly position with free right of way, government subsidies and floor pricing set by CRTC so Bell can not complain they made a loss by setting up the line in the first place.... their investment has been multiplied tenfold.

    And for those skeptics who think they government would not be able to maintain it I would say this: If they could make our roads run in a decent way, the garbage collection in a decent way then the last mile cabling could be done in a decent way also. Ofcourse if required they could just contract the maintenance out to Bell Canada but then at least the government would be incharge.
    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      Great. So the next time CUPE goes on strike, all of Canada loses internet access for weeks on end?
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        This has already been done with electricity in Ontario. No one is going without electricity for weeks on end.
      • When is CUPE not on strike?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I hate to agree with you here, I really really do. I think the government should be given as little power as possible and the idea of the government, worse a bureaucracy being in direct control of my net frightens me.

      But teleco monopolies have jerked my chain one too many times, and the internet is widespread enough its practically an essential service just like electricity, and at the very least a government agency wouldn't be looking to pay a 7 figure salary to a board of directors so they might actually
      • But then again, look what the fucktards did to our hydro, so no, they'd probably fuck this up too.

        You obviously live in Ontario (where the electric power was privatized during the Nonsense Revolution(TM), and rates tripled since then).

        You should move to Québec then where the still-nationalized power is the cheapest in the world, and where the network doesn't crumble (it's the only northeast power grid that didn't go down during the 2003 blackout)...

    • What?!? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Comboman ( 895500 )
      And for those skeptics who think they government would not be able to maintain it I would say this: If they could make our roads run in a decent way ... then the last mile cabling could be done in a decent way also.

      Where do you live? The roads I drive on are full of potholes and crumbling bridges. The excessive gasoline tax I pay (that is supposed to maintain transportation infrastructure) is siphoned off for other things. You really want the people running our roads to run our internet connections?

    • You can't nationalize the internet because then you put freedom of speech at threat (in case you want to rebutt "not in Canada!" I respond: Harper.) It's easier to keep an eye on private interest and for the state to regulate minimally.

      Anyway, those services you describe are farmed out to contractors. The state doesn't own very many garbage trucks or asphalt plants.

      (In Canada) if the gov't was your ISP, it would be "free", except your taxes would go up equivalent to the amount you are already paying
      • by ArIck ( 203 )
        Dont nationlize the internet... that is just a bad idea. I am saying to nationalize the cables and in fact the 'last mile'. All ISP's could 'rent' the line and pay the government which would then be used to upgrade the system and increase development in rural areas.

        And did you just suggest that everyone who does not like Bell start to lay its own cable? Even the economics aside, I can not do it because to government regulation and the fact that I would need right of way from everyone's house under which the
        • I am saying to nationalize the cables

          Last mile isn't just cables though. You've got to get up to Layer 4.

          And did you just suggest that everyone who does not like Bell start to lay its own cable?

          People do it all the time. Bell isn't the only action in town.

          What I was proposing isn't a new idea. You get together with some people and buy a commercial feed and share it. This is how it's done in lots of places. Big business doesn't have to be the only action going.

          As for running wires... On a small scale, wireless works.

    • by nologin ( 256407 )
      This isn't required...

      The CRTC already has rules that would require Bell Canada to provide other ISPs with last mile access, since there is no viable competitive infrastructure options available. Bell Canada must also provide that last mile at cost to the ISPs as per the CRTC regulations.

      Unfortunately, these rules don't appear to cover anything with regards to bandwidth throttling. However, I'm pretty sure that a case can be made with regards to the anti-competitive factors associated with this practice. Th
      • This isn't required... The CRTC already has rules that would require Bell Canada to provide other ISPs with last mile access, since there is no viable competitive infrastructure options available. Bell Canada must also provide that last mile at cost to the ISPs as per the CRTC regulations.

        While Bell is keeping everyone busy with the throttling issue, they are going to court to get tariff 5410/20 overruled as they claim there is enough competition and they should be allowed to charge fair market price.


    • The Canadian government should just nationalize the last mile cables and have a government agency responsible for maintaining and upgrading the lines.


      Hmmm, in essence it would be nationalizing the internet. I hear Italy and Germany did great things by nationalizing newspapers some time back in the 40's. What's the worst that could happen by nationalizing the modern day equivalent?
    • You mean things like how well they maintain roads and overpasses in Canada? Kinda like the overpass that collapsed and killed people in Montreal? Yeah. Ok. How about we get them maintaining the fundamental things that can literally mean the difference between life and death well before we ask them to maintain the "extras" like cabling to our homes.
    • not nationalized, but Sasktel does a fine job of managing the lines here, and provide good service IMO, though if you don't like them, there are lots of other options available.

      at the sibling post, i don't believe sasktel has had a strike since 1996.
      • Not nationalised?

        SaskTel is wholly owned by the Crown Investments Corporation, which is wholly owned by the Provincial Crown. It's completely nationalised.

        That said, I agree that SaskTel does a reasonable job of maintaining and upgrading infrastructure, and there are cable operators that compete with their DSL service. There are even DSL wholesalers in Saskatchewan that lease the last mile from SaskTel too. Bell and Radiant immediately come to mind.

        In 2006 SaskTel went out and replaced every DSLAM in the
        • not exactly nationalized as it's not national. provincialized. ;)

          yeah, we've got shaw competing on cable (providing TV, internet, and VOIP phone), access using leased lines (providing IPTV, internet and VOIP phone), a dozen or so mom&pop ISPs leasing lines for just internet, along with wireless ISPs (xplorenet, and some other guys in the cities, along with sasktel's wireless (which i use myself, as i'm far out of reasonable DSL or cable range.)) and satellite for TV.

          there's just a fantastic amount of c
  • Eventually (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Auckerman ( 223266 ) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @03:37AM (#23087064)
    One day "the people" are going to learn the only thing a company is interested in is making money. They work for the consumer when it's more profitable to work for the consumer than it is to do something that isn't in the interested of the consumer. Network congestion is not solved by throttling, the only thing throttling does is make the internet slower. Which is supposedly the very thing it is supposed to solve.

    Of course, that's what they say. Here's the thing, if those guys could figure out a way to charge people for calling me on my phone, they would. Oh, but you say they are already paying for phone coverage, well our phone network is getting over used, we need set priorities, so we are going to direct your call in 5 minutes while more important people (who paid extra) can make calls to out customers right now. Sounds stupid doesn't it. IT'S THE SAME THING THEY ARE PROPOSING.

    One thing I don't get, why does something magically get confusing when the words "computer" or "internet" are used in the business discussion? Like somehow it's all of a sudden a debatable thing to talk about?

    Oh, that article writer is an idiot. Net Neutrality needs to me set in stone by law, end of story. Networks are made faster by putting in more pipes, not by turning off/down some of them.
    • Oh, but you say they are already paying for phone coverage, well our phone network is getting over used, we need set priorities, so we are going to direct your call in 5 minutes while more important people (who paid extra) can make calls to out customers right now. Sounds stupid doesn't it.

      Calling during the day time is typically more expensive than calling at night. If you want to make an important call during normal business hours, you will need to pay extra.

      This also works with electricity. You pay more
      • Re:Eventually (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Auckerman ( 223266 ) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @03:46AM (#23087112)
        No, it is the same thing. I pay for my network access, you pay for your network access. I don't pay to access YOUR network to YOUR network company. The agreements between the companies take care of that. The internet functions identically to the phone network. Making ME pay your phone company to call you faster is the same thing as making me pay your internet provider to send you a page faster. They are both same exact thing and both not in the interest of the consumer.
    • Its really irrelevant whether "the people" "learn the only thing a company is interested in is making money." The company can only make money by the will of the people. Its the basis of capitalism and its why things are like they are. As long as there is demand and people pay they will make money. If people do not pay and there is no demand they will not make money. Its really that simple.

      Monopolies are only monopolies because people will not sacrifice to do without. You can say Microsoft is a monopol
    • well our phone network is getting over used, we need set priorities, so we are going to direct your call in 5 minutes while more important people (who paid extra) can make calls to out customers right now. Sounds stupid doesn't it. IT'S THE SAME THING THEY ARE PROPOSING.

      No, that's precisely what happened. Those who could afford a home telephone, had one installed, paid through the nose per minute and were able to connect instantly to whomever they chose. Everyone else used a payphone. What're you, fifteen or something, we've only had ubuiquitous phone coverage for about 30 years.

      Areas where flat rate is the norm will inevitably see infrastructure investment stagnation, bandwidth caps, throttling etc etc. With flat rate, there's really no incentive for ISPs to invest in mo

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Auckerman ( 223266 )
        So you're telling me that you used to have to pay your phone company AND the phone company of the person you were calling in order to make a phone call or the receiving company just might not even put the call through? I couldn't even imagine all the phone bills you got back then.

        Metered prices is different than what these guys are doing.
  • People's confusion? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Geak ( 790376 ) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @04:25AM (#23087256)
    I think the issue lies with the fact that Bell itself is confused. Just remember that upper management doesn't know squat about techie stuff like internets and tubes and stuff. The CEO used to work for CN rail - a company he nearly ran into the ground by causing numerous safety issues, firing inspectors for mentioning things that needed repair. He probably just told the techies to "Make it cheaper for us using any and all means possible. Fuck the customers."
  • Natural Monopoly? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Chris Acheson ( 263308 ) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @09:57AM (#23089630) Homepage
    It seems kind of odd to claim that last-mile internet access is a natural monopoly, considering that it's subject to "public right-of-way" regulations and fees imposed by local governments.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by dadragon ( 177695 )
      SaskTel just upgraded their Saskatchewan infrastructure. They upgraded 10 cities in the province, with a total population of around 600K people. It cost them ~$300 million.

      You want to invest $500 per person? With no guarantees about ROI? That's 600K people who also could use a competitor's service.

      It's safe to say that the barrier for entry is pretty high.
  • The government should be in charge of laying out the infrastructure and lease it to all ISPs at the same price. What they do with it beyond that point is 100% their choice.

    The problem with Bell is that they own both the infrastructure and the service, so when they sell the service they give themselves lower infrastructure leasing rates than 3rd-party ISPs and make it impossible for them to compete. By all other accounts Bell is *worse* than all other ISPs. Their own competitive advantage, price, is gained t
  • Bell tactics (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Nesa2 ( 1142511 ) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @10:54AM (#23090568)
    I switched from Bell in November as soon as they started throttling my traffic.

    In March my traffic with TekSavvy was throttled as well due to Bell.

    There is no other Internet provider that I can use and get Unlimited Internet usage package at speeds for ADSL or Cable.

    Bell as singlehandedly brought their competition to same level of crappy service that they offer. I as consumer have no alternates. There is nothing I can do other than to write to all politicians in my areas, as well as inquire with all Internet providers as to what they are doing to keep me as a customer satisfied and fight Bell.

    So far, politicians seem ignorant of the issues and web services all throughout GTA are promising to fight Bell.

    While in Europe and Asia people are getting fiber coming up their doorstep, North America is tightening it's belt on innovation, and technology .

    We used to be innovators and leaders. What happened here?
    • I sent a letter to my MP detailing my concerns (in non-geekspeak). I requested a reply including both my MP and the Conservative party's position on the issue.

      I got a 'thank you for your letter', but after a week have heard nothing further.

      However, I still encourage you to write your MP as well. Enough letters will result in action... and even though most people are irritated that their illegal torrents are slower, the truth is that there are LEGAL torrents, and that's irrelevant anyway. Bell has a last-
    • by ZDRuX ( 1010435 )
      I would give Rogers another try. It seems that eversince the Comcast ordeal went live, they stopped throttling their traffic, at least for me? I`m not getting a full 800Kb/sec download 24/7 on torrents.

      Because of this, I ended up going over monthly limit and they sent me a "friendly" reminded that I should consider buying their faster/higher allowance package and guess what, I will!! I`m glad to pay more if I can get more! This is how it should work. Comcast should take notice and so should the other ISP'
  • I don't understand this networking tech, last mile, independents, but I have personally seen throttling on myself in the last 2 months. I pay $50 a month for the unlimited high speed sympatico since June 2002. About once a week for the last 2 months my download speed drops in the middle of downloads. Last night it went from 400,000 bytes/sec to 40,000 bytes/sec. The only way I have been fixing this is power off the modem then router, waiting, disable/enable the connection and usually 30 minutes later I ca
  • So are you saying that small ISPs are the victims here? If we wanted to maintain Net Neutrality, would it be best to petition them or the providers they get their bandwidth from?

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