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Internet Throttling Rogers

February 9, 2012 by staff 

Internet Throttling Rogers, Rogers Communications Inc. RCI.A-T will stop “throttling” Internet traffic on its network later this year – a long-awaited move that follows a similar decision by rival BCE Inc. BCE-T

Toronto-based Rogers made that revelation in a letter to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission on Friday, as it sought to refute allegations that it engages in unauthorized throttling of online games.

In January, the CRTC’s enforcement arm disclosed the preliminary results of an investigation into Rogers’ Internet management practices. That case is based on a complaint from the Canadian Gamers Organization that Rogers allegedly throttles, or slows, popular online games such as World of Warcraft, in violation of the telecom regulator’s guidelines.

In publicizing those findings last month, the CRTC ordered the company to either rebut the evidence gathered by its probe or present a workable compliance plan by Feb. 3 – or risk a hearing on the matter. As part of its rebuttal, Rogers disclosed that its has decided to cease traffic shaping on its network through a phased-in approach that will begin next month.

“New technologies and ongoing investments in network capacity will allow Rogers to begin phasing out that policy starting in March 2012,” wrote Kenneth Engelhart, senior vice-president of regulatory affairs.

“These changes will be introduced to half of Rogers existing Internet customers by June 2012 and to its remaining customers by December 2012.”

Speculation has been rife that Rogers would follow the lead of BCE, which informed the CRTC late last year that both Bell Canada and Bell Aliant would stop implementing the controversial traffic shaping practice in March.

Throttling, known in industry speak as technical Internet Traffic Management Practice (ITMP), generally targets peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing through such sites as BitTorrent by slowing down speeds of the heaviest users during peak traffic periods. Online games, despite sometimes being classified as P2P traffic, need real-time responsiveness and should not be subject to throttling, according to the rules.

In its letter, Rogers also raises doubts about the evidence the CRTC has collected to date for its throttling investigation.

“The testing which the Commission has done was artificial in that it was designed to send a file which would be subject to traffic shaping,” Mr. Engelhart wrote. “Your traffic was not representative of the way our online gaming customers or other customers use the Internet. The result of your testing is not surprising: it showed that the system operates as it was configured to do.”

The CRTC has said its initial findings suggest that Rogers applies a “technical ITMP” to unidentified traffic using default peer-to-peer ports.

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