Bell Canada throttling sparking uproar

If Comcast thinks it had a tough time dealing with its P2P brouhaha, all it needs to do to feel a little less bothered is to take a peak north of the border to where Bell Canada is having a knock-down, drag-out, no-holds-barred cage match over bandwidth throttling and Internet traffic shaping.

It all began earlier this month with a report that independent ISPs using Bell Canada's phone lines were complaining about new traffic-shaping policies the northern telecom giant recently implemented. The Canadian Association of Internet Providers filed a formal complaint with the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission over the throttling and, well, it's been downhill from there.

CIAP says Bell's Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) techniques have slowed traffic to a crawl between 4 p.m. and 2 a.m. Bell says it's a measure targeted at a small group of users (sounding familiar yet?) who hog bandwidth, and contends it has a right to police its network. "Bandwidth doesn't just fall from the sky," said a Bell spokesman.

And, the battle's moved up a rung--into the sphere of politicos. Members of Parliament Charlie Angus and Irene Mathyssen ripped the Conservative government for failing to protect consumers and--wait for it--freedom of speech on the Internet.

"They don't understand net neutrality," said Angus. "They're about as far as you can get from the issue. What's really at issue here is we need clear and transparent rules for how the giant telecoms are going to allow traffic flow on the Internet," said Angus, digital spokesperson for the federal NDP party.

FCC Chairman Kevin Martin faced similar arguments last week at a Stanford hearing on Comcast throttling.
For more:
- Read the full article
- and, the full London article on the escalating political fallout

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