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As more sophisticated tools for traffic shaping are unveiled, the question soon becomes which service providers aren't throttling customer traffic

Adding itself to the small-but-growing list of ISPs that admit to traffic shaping, Canada-based Bell Sympatico has confessed to using “traffic management” on heavy users “during peak hours.”

“We are now using a Internet Traffic Management to restrict accounts,” wrote an unnamed forum administrator on Bell Sympatico’s support forums. According to the administrator, Bell Sympatico’s traffic shaping affects an unmentioned number of applications and protocols, including BitTorrent, Gnutella, Limewire, Kazaa, eDonkey, eMule and WinMX.

A Bell Sympatico Manager chimed in immediately afterwards, explaining that “there continues to be phenomenal growth of consumer Internet traffic throughout the world” and that “Bell is using Internet Traffic Management to ensure we deliver bandwidth fairly to our customers during peak Internet usage.”

According to the Manager, the bandwidth cap was introduced sometime last year and “doesn't affect the vast majority of [Bell’s] customers.” One concerned user asked if the traffic management will be removed as network capacity increases, to which the administrator replied that he “can’t answer this question,” and noted that it would be decided as the issue arises.

Internet service providers have found themselves under an increasing burden as bandwidth-intensive internet services like online video and file-sharing have proliferated. While the true volume is unknown, many think that 30%-50% of all internet traffic is P2P-related, with a recent survey from traffic-management company Ipoque pushing that number towards an astonishing 90%.

In response to this, many providers have employed a variety of techniques to limit customers who are deemed to be using more than their “fair share,” a tactic that has been the subject of much debate as part of the controversy surrounding “network neutrality.”

While traffic shaping is by far the most common, a few companies have employed more exotic methods: Comcast is thought to impose an invisible 600 GB bandwidth limit on its “unlimited” internet service, and a recent study conducted by the AP found that the ISP impersonates BitTorrent clients for the purposes of interfering with their connections.

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RE: What's fair?
By heffeque on 11/10/2007 1:30:40 PM , Rating: 5
It's not the customer's problem that Bell's infrastructures aren't capable of handling the traffic they promise they do and actually don't.

They should invest in better infrastructures not in traffic shaping machines.

RE: What's fair?
By heffeque on 11/10/2007 1:32:26 PM , Rating: 2
when I said the customer's problem I meant that it's not the customer's fault that Bell is underdeveloped.

RE: What's fair?
By MrDiSante on 11/10/2007 1:50:45 PM , Rating: 2
1) God damnit. Now both of the freaking major ISP's in my area (Rogers and Bell) throttle traffic. You think this applies to the DSL lines they lease to other companies who then sell the DSL? And we seriously need government intervention over here. This is just plain old ridiculous.

2) You guys repeatedly spell "Sympatico" as "Simpatico". That's not right.

RE: What's fair?
By mmntech on 11/10/2007 4:01:49 PM , Rating: 2
Cogeco (my ISP) does it as well according to the site, as well as all other major Canadian ISPs. I don't remember them disclosing such things to their customers. Canada is well known for having some of the worst internet service in the world in terms of pricing and customer treatment. It's one of the reasons the iPhone hasn't come here yet, because it would cost $200+ a month for it's online services!

RE: What's fair?
By StevoLincolnite on 11/11/2007 2:10:28 AM , Rating: 2
Move to Australia then complain.
If you live in the country, expect slow speeds, expensive connection, and a small download limit, and only 1 ISP. (Telstra). - And then you are stuck with Wireless 3G (Even thats not available here), Satalite or IDSN.

A friend who lives 100km's away has access to ADSL, choice between several ISP's but he only has a choice between Wireless, and ADSL. (Cable is rather scarce in Australia).
And still Telstra (Our largest Telco) is charging
$99.95 for a 1.5mb connection and a 25gb download limit. (Uploads is counted).

Or... a 256k Connection for $29.95 with a 200mb download limit, charged at $0.15/MB (And thats the cheapest and slowest ADSL plan available).

Or.. for the filthy rich and those lucky enough to be in an area with an ADSL 2+ Exchange you could get a 24Mb ADSL 2+ connection for $149.95 with a 60gb download limit.

Now what I want to know is at what point do you're ISP's throttle traffic? Is there a download limit? Is it much larger than 25/60gb and doesnt include uploads?
Is it cheaper than what the Aussies have?

Is it a 24/12 month contract?

RE: What's fair?
By Silver2k7 on 11/11/2007 4:59:41 AM , Rating: 2
Ouch sounds really bad in OZ :(

Ive got ADSL2+ 24/1 and was thinking that 1 Mbit upload is a little silly.. when i know people in Stockholm who got 100 Mbit and 1000 Mbit fiber connections.

The 24/1Mbit is 349 SEK a month or about 55 USD.

Im not sure if they do throttle P2P here in Sweden but maybe they do cause its rarley that fast. but atleast there are no limits on accounts as far as I know.

RE: What's fair?
By Hoser McMoose on 11/11/2007 6:26:53 PM , Rating: 2
Yup. The real sad part about this is that only 10 or 15 years ago Canada was one of the world leaders in wireless connections and broadband internet. Now we've gone from near first to near worst.

The reason is quite simple, our major telecommunications companies have near-monopolies, largely enforced by the government. Because of our protectionist policy that prevents foreign competitors we end up with crap and crap (Rogers and Bell Sympatico in my case, and Rogers is FAR WORSE for throttling than Bell is!). Our desire to protect a few thousand "Canadian" telecommunications jobs by not allowing foreign competitors ends up costing all of us money and, as such, it costs us tens of thousands of jobs because companies need to spend extra on telecommunications and have less to spend on hiring people.

If we want better service here the first step is to get the government to eliminate their counter-productive rules governing this industry.


RE: What's fair?
By Tsuwamono on 11/12/2007 7:59:40 AM , Rating: 2
Actually if you do some research there are quite a few really good ISPs in Canada. The trick is to stay away from Bell and Rogers junk. Aswell as Videotron if your in the Iron Curtain(Quebec).

I use and i get 5mb/s for 29.95 + i pay 5$ a month for unlimited bandwidth. Pretty kick ass deal if its throttled or not. I laugh at my friends who pay 90$ a month for the same thing from Cable companies in canada

RE: What's fair?
By siberus on 11/12/2007 9:35:28 AM , Rating: 2 is pretty decent too. 29.95+ tax for unlimited 5mb Service. (pretty sure there using Bell lines though)

Although a few years back I did get a cease and desist notice when I managed to download 100 gigs and upload a pretty astronomical amount too. Said I was abusing the network... A feat I was kinda proud of considering at the time my connection was only 1mb and my router was set wrong so it was blocking my BT . I'm no where near any of that now, average almost 30 gig a month down and 7-8 up.

RE: What's fair?
By wordsworm on 11/10/2007 7:17:21 PM , Rating: 2
It's not the customer's problem that Bell's infrastructures aren't capable of handling the traffic they promise they do and actually don't.

Umm... maybe you missed the article. Yes, it is users' problem, because they're not getting full access to the bandwidth. I could add that Bell is slow as molasses in an Arctic winter. I hated Bell. boo! Perhaps what you meant is 'It shouldn't be the customer's problem.'

RE: What's fair?
By clovell on 11/12/2007 11:41:59 AM , Rating: 1
> They should invest in better infrastructures not in traffic shaping machines.

Infrastructure costs a helluva lot more.

"I want people to see my movies in the best formats possible. For [Paramount] to deny people who have Blu-ray sucks!" -- Movie Director Michael Bay
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