In case you needed yet another reason why Bell Canada is the absolute worst company in the Canadian telecom space, they've quietly begun throttling traffic on independent, small ISPs who lease their lines.
This means that if you're anything like me - and by Gosh, you oughta be! ;) - your ISP is small, progressive, and independent... and soon to get much, much slower. I use Radioactif / Aei, though there are many other good ones to choose from. However, since the lines are all owned by Big Brother Bell, they all end up leasing their lines from them. So far, this agreement had maintained a precarious balance, allowing small, innovative ISPs to crop up here and there and offer innovative service coupled with low prices, and Bell had managed to maintain control of its own lines.
Now, though, that balance is slipping:
Readers at Broadband Reports noted the issue earlier this week as owners of small ISPs suddenly found that their customers were having traffic throttled, even though the ISPs were vehemently anti-throttling. The problem was compounded by the fact Bell Canada did not apparently tell the ISPs that it was about to make the change. The company has subsequently confirmed the throttling and says it should be fully in place by April 7.
Terrible news, but not all that surprising when you're dealing with a country-wide monopoly, is it, CRTC?
Michael Geist has some pretty good coverage on the situation:
There are several interesting aspects to this development. First, the early online chat included responses from resellers such as Teksavvy indicating that they do not believe in throttling traffic, presumably unaware that Bell was limiting their service. Second, some posters have reported that the throttling has undermined their ability to download the CBC episode of Canada's Next Great Prime Minister, precisely the concern that many predicted when CBC announced its willingness to use BitTorrent for content distribution. Third, customers have been using Google Maps to chart locations that have experienced throttling, a nice use collaborative mapping technologies.
Update: Bell has now reportedly confirmed that full throttling will be in place by early April. It claims that it is entitled to do so based on its contractual terms. Note that several people have written to emphasize the anti-competitive effects of this policy, given its impact on resellers servicing the business market.
Infrastructure? There is no infrastructure. Until we have a global network owned and run by the global community, things like net neutrality, free speech, and equal access to information are only pipe dreams. Is this China or North Korea? Between a corporation or a country censoring the internet, I can't decide what's worse. Color me depressed. And yes, Traffic Shaping is censorship.
Please Digg the original article and spread the word. Maybe, just maybe, our benevolent government overlords will see fit to drop some crumbs to us lowly citizens over here? I think we can also file a complaint with Commissioner for Complaints for Telecommunications Services Inc.
I didn't want this to become an "zOMG I hate Bell Canada they is teh suck!!!!!1111eleven1111\\\" rant, so... ummmm... aw, screw it.
- Bell Canada, you are terrible.
- Your customer service is laughably bad.
- You have absolutely no idea what the internet is or how to use it. However, in some crazy mix-up, you are in charge of most of it in Canada, like some Child-King who inherits an Empire.
- My Dad served you loyally for 30+ years, and during that time, you were great. You acted more like a family than a company. It's like he was the stern Sergeant keeping you in check, and when he left, everything went to Hell.
- You should be ashamed of yourselves for stifling the Internet instead of helping build it.
- You ruined Têtes à Claques the moment you got your grubby hands on them.
- Instead of working on open standards and making technology more accessible and usable to people on the fringe, you focus on encouraging proprietary, closed, gated communities and trying to shepherd internet users towards wherever the money is.
- The Beaver is a beautiful, noble, proud animal. I love beavers. You are ruining them for everybody by making them stupid, annoying, and unlikable. Many people are starting to hate them
- Please promptly collapse into a singularity under the weight of your own arrogance.
As for my own internet connectivity, well, the free and open internet is my lifeblood. Given the choice between Videotron's superfast downstream connection / slow-as-molasses upstream connection with a retardedly unusable bandwidth cap and astronomical prices, or Bell's fascist policies that serve nobody but its investors and its bottom line, the choice is easy - move to another country.