Much has been written about net neutrality, or rather the lack of, and it is clear that many backbone providers have been practicing Traffic Shaping, that’s the fancy word they use for the practice of throttling high bandwidth applications, most notably BitTorrent traffic.

Bell Canada, is not the first large Canadian backbone provider to indulge themselves in the habit. Arch rivals Rodgers and Shaw cable have been shaping (throttling) their customers traffic for several years. Bell though has taken a unique step, it is now throttling entire ISP’s that use the Bell backbone.

These wholesale customers essentially lease network access, they do not have their own infrastructure, and in turn resell access to their customers. The third party ISP’s have largely been a huge success story. They have remained small and most importantly have maintained a good relationship with their customer base. I use one here in Alberta (Nucleus), and I have never had to wait more than two minutes to get hold of a tech support person when I have had a question or problem. The other advantage is that within reason, they do not impose stringent bandwidth limits, and certainly do not throttle traffic.

Bell Canada appears to have decided to ‘help’ the smaller ISP’s and is now throttling their customers traffic. One such ISP is Ontario based Teksavvy, whose customers started complaining last weekend that BitTorrent and other P2P applications were running much slower than usual.

Teksavvy are understandably annoyed about this situation, and one that could bring about a loss of customers. One has to wonder if this move by Bell Canada has little to do with ‘load balancing’ on their network and more to do with a perverse and reverse marketing ploy to make the little guy as bad as the big guy! Even the playing field, so as to speak.

I am not one to often advocate government regulation, but the net neutrality issue is one that requires some intervention, particularly when it potentials interferes with a companies livelihood.

Simon Barrett

Be Sociable, Share!