Bell Canada: We have to screw up other ISPs' connections or our retail customers will suffer by comparison

Bell Canada has formally announced that its commercial customers -- other ISPs -- will henceforth have all their traffic throttled and filtered by Bell, who will be degrading some connections based on the protocol they use.

Bell's bizarre argument for this? We're screwing our retail customers with throttling. If we let our wholesale customers offer a better connection to their retail customers, our customers will be upset that they're not getting as good a deal.

"Granting CHIP's request would actually have the perverse effect of providing an unreasonable preference to wholesale ISP customers and their end users who will be able to continue to use a disproportionate amount of available bandwidth during peak periods, creating an unreasonable disadvantage for Sympatico retail and business customers," Bell writes in its response.
Link (Thanks, Nibor!)

See also: Bell Canada caught throttling ISPs' net connections


  1. It’s not at all bizarre — it’s exactly right. If they don’t throttle the wholesale customers’ bandwidth, their customers will leave. It’s obviously in Bell’s interest.

    What’s not obvious is why it’s in our interest. It’s exactly because of this sort of thing that there’s not a free market in telecomms in Canada, and we regulate the hell out of it.

    Regulate away, boys!

  2. Bell has been doing this since forever. If you want DSL in Québec, you gotta use Bell, otherwise the service sucks since all other DSL services are using Bell anyway (and Bell makes sure the service will suck).

    Bell offers very good service, but you gotta wonder how fair their prices are since they have a monopoly on DSL.

    By the way, Bell Canada used to be a state-monopoly of the Québec province before they became private. Old habits die hard i guess.

  3. Even having been an engineer and manager in the old Bell System (USA) for a quarter century, that sort of attitude rankles.

    I, too, hope the CRTC hangs them out to dry – after a sound beating. :o)

  4. I’m currently looking for a new ISP (I’m a Shaw customer in Western Canada), and I’m at the point where I really can’t find an ISP that doesn’t throttle its traffic, or have its traffic throttled by the telco that it leases from.

    Does anyone have a list of ISPs that don’t throttle?

  5. Makes me wonder when us in Western Canada will undergo the same treatments, here we have Telus as the main DSL provider, and Shaw & Rogers as the main cable providers. Its not the most ideal situation, but we do have options if one starts to shape, but knowing how things go when one starts to they all start to and thus no alternative arise.

  6. I try to keep from having a knee-jerk reaction to this sort of stuff, but, regarding whomever decides these sorts of things, does having tons of money and power actually make people all of the sudden this greedy and evil? Or are most executives at ISPs actually people who really hate the internet? Like, I’m seriously asking – I just don’t understand this.

  7. Please, Please let this be the catalyst for the adoption of net neutrality in Canada, as well as either the removal of heuristical rate shaping, or at least clear, well defined and transparent heuristics so that we can know with specificity what will happen to our packets as they transit these ISPs.

  8. Bell Canada is by far the most dysfunctional company I have ever had to deal with, on so many levels that it makes it hard to understand how they can still be in business. The cable companies are taking a bite out of their customer base, but my experiences with them haven’t been much better….

  9. At least I’m with Videotron (cable internet) and as far as I know, they’re not throttling now. But it’s probably just a matter of months before they do, too.

  10. Of course they don’t want to provide better service for someone else’s customer, why is this odd? They been hamstringing US Bells since the breakup of AT&T, why doesn’t COMCAST have to provide the same sort of access to their competitors? Regulation…deregulation…neither seems to work…

  11. I assume that this news was printed in one of Canada’s larger papers. Cory Doctorow should mail them a bit to put on the editorial page. Canada is too liberal to put up with sort of thing, isn’t it?

  12. I was thinking about this a bit over night, and something that I realized makes Bell’s move even more troublesome.

    In Canada, Bell is involved in more than just internet providing. They’re also a TV distribution company through their satellite dish service.

    So in essence, by not upgrading their internet pipes *and* throttling BitTorrent, they’re cutting off a competitor to their TV service. As they’re the biggest player satellite TV in Canada, and there’s much higher barriers to becoming a provider in that field, it puts pressure on people to go with them and their tech for TV instead of others.

    That’s beginning to smell like underhanded competition to me.

    (This also opens up the possibility that Bell could move on to disenfranchise other internet services, such as VOIP, in order to buttress their landline business.)

  13. My roommates and I were, at one point, thinking of switching to one of the “Bell re-sellers”, since our current ISP (Rogers) is throttling the hell out of BitTorrent, and have since put data-transfer limits on a formerly-unlimited account. Of course, now those re-sellers are completely screwed, since you can’t get a better deal with them than you could with Bell.
    I am at a complete loss to see how this does not constitute an anti-competitive practice on their part.. seeing as how Bell unilaterally destroyed the one good thing about the re-sellers.

  14. It gets even smellier than that! You see, Bell Canada owns the CTV network, which is the arch rival to the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) network.

    Recently the CBC (a massive, federally-subsidized media source) has started making its programming available for download via BitTorrent.

    BitTorrent is exactly the kind of traffic that Bell Canada (also a massive, federally-subsidized media source) is throttling.

    In essence, Bell is spending its public subsidies to prevent the CBC from spending its public subsidies to offer greater access than Bell’s private TV network.

  15. Bell doesn’t have control over CTVglobemedia anymore. They sold off huge chunks of it a few years back, and retain only 15%.

    Woodbridge owns the largest share now, 40%.

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