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Canadian ISPs forced to filter P2P

Canadian ISPs forced to filter P2P

Telsavvy, a well-regarded Canadian ISP, was among the first to notice the degradation of its wholesale connections.

It would appear that it's not just consumers that are getting ticked off with throttling of peer-to-peer traffic: the ISPs themselves can end up on the sticky end.

Resellers of Bell Canada's ADSL service have found that their customer's traffic is being 'shaped' – ISP-talk for 'made almost unusable for anything other than HTTP at peak times' – without their consent, and they're steaming mad. The ISPs in question are all relatively small companies who buy ADSL capacity wholesale from Bell Canada and re-sell it on to end users, taking care of billing and technical support.

But there's only so much technical support you can do when it's the equipment on the other end of the wholesale line – lines sold as being free from the constraints of a consumer-grade service – that's causing the problem. It would appear that Bell Canada have taken the decision to implement traffic shaping on all their connections – wholesale and otherwise – without informing their customers of the change.

Rocky Gaudrault, CEO of Bell Canada reseller Teksavvy, was one of the first to notice Bell's underhand tactics. Posting to the Broadband Reports forums Rocky made clear his displeasure, stating his concern that Bell appeared to be doing the filtering without informing them of the changes – and leaving Teksavvy unable to give any information to their customers when asked about sudden drops in network performance. Since Rocky's post, other ISPs have come forward to state that they too are being affected by the issue – and Bell Canada has confirmed that they will be filtering all peer-to-peer traffic as of the 7th of April.

Many are seeing this move by Bell Canada as a blatantly anti-competitive exploitation of the near-monopoly it has over the Canadian broadband market, but Bell is claiming the changes are perfectly valid according to the contract under which the wholesale connections are made available. Nevertheless, it's got ISPs and end users up in arms – and it never pays to anger the people who pay your bills.

Do you think Bell Canada is in the wrong to be blocking P2P traffic on its wholesale lines without offering customers the choice of an unfiltered connection, or was its only crime that of poor communication regarding the changes? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

23 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
Cthippo 27th March 2008, 08:10 Quote
Ouch, that's nasty. The good news is that in Canada if enough people get mad, something usually gets done. I'm told it's called "democracy" and I hope we can try it here some day.
lewchenko 27th March 2008, 09:34 Quote
too much competition for it to be implemented here (UK). Unless of course its performed on the sly anyway or in collaboration with a major wholesale retailer (BT + Virgin) would capture a huge percentage of the market.

I personally see some form of traffic shaping of P2P as a good thing. I personally never use P2P programs or services (as far as I am aware), so everyone else using them slows down the net for those of us that dont.

Why should one retarded teenager who is sat in his goofy bedroom torrenting DVD's, pirated games, p0rn, stolen music whilst surfing YouTube, be able to saturate the available bandwidth of the other (same ISP) customers on the street he lives ? He shouldnt.

The ISP's can already implement capping on content (say 20 or 50GB per month), but this doesnt go far enough. I think Virgin already drop your connection speed if you download too much in one day...

the trend will be (the british way) for those that want such facilities (P2P), you will end up paying more.
VipersGratitude 27th March 2008, 10:06 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by lewchenko
for those that want such facilities (P2P), you will end up paying more.

For starters...they do! They pay extra for an unlimited monthly traffic allowance.
This isnt about You VS. Some teenager...
This is about You & Some Teenager & everyone else VS. Communications wholesalers.
Think about it - You're justifying an excuse for a company to create maximum return on investment at the expense of their customers freedom.
Don't forget that the core physical infrastructure is probably close to 15 yrs old, most of the investment made during the dot-com boom in the early nineties.
What you should be doing is compelling the wholesalers to upgade their capacity appropriate to the modern era.
On Sesame Street they called this "progress" and it's a fine thing.
Jar of Almonds 27th March 2008, 10:17 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cthippo
Ouch, that's nasty. The good news is that in Canada if enough people get mad, something usually gets done. I'm told it's called "democracy" and I hope we can try it here some day.

Unfortunately that usually doesn't happen unless it is Quebec that whines about it. The rest of Canada pretty much gets told to STFU and GBTW... pardon my french. :p Anyway... it's too early to get into Canadian politics!

While I can understand the reasons for what they are doing it also horribly cripples people who use P2P applications for downloading legitimate software (as rare as that may be). I use torrents myself to download new Linux distros, or really large patches for other apps which is usually faster than straight downloading from the source. I also do it in the middle of the night to avoid peak times (My ISP doesn't care at that time of night). Ideally the ISPs should be upgrading their hardware to accomodate this extra demand.... I have a dream.... that one day internet will be free to all people of the world... with no bandwidth limitations.... yadda yadda yadda. :D

Note: It's too early.... oooooo orange sunrise!
Laitainion 27th March 2008, 10:21 Quote
I view on traffic shaping is that it is simply so the ISPs can get more users on high-speed (and therefore high-cost) lines without actually needing the capacity to serve them all at the same time. While it is true that not everyone will be wanting to use all the bandwidth they pay for all the time, or indeed most of the time. I just feel that, even at peak times, it is the responsibility of each and every ISP to be able to provide each of it's users a *good* proportion of the bandwidth they pay for at all times. I would say an absolute minimum of 50%. Instead they use traffic shaping as a means to get out of this, and blame the pirates.

It's all very well saying the p2p bungs up the tubes for everyone else, but I think it is merely being made into a scapegoat because a debatable propertion of said p2p traffic is less than legal. However it is increasingly video streaming is taking up bandwidth with sites such as youtube, indeed this has led to US ISPs wanting to have a two-tier internet where they charge you through the nose to get essentially what we get now, or get stuck with the equivelent of dial-up.

At the end of the day the issue is more complicated than simply "sock it to the retarded teenager". I remember reading an article on the BBC website a few months ago about how bandwidth is starting to become an issue, as the vast majority of the infrastructure was built during the time of the .net boom. After it crashed there was all this capacity and no use for it, so we've found a use for it. So now, >10 years later, all that spare capacity has been more or less used up and no one really wants to build more because they're used to not having to since the last decade has been essentially free expansion of the internet.

For my money, this means that either we can let the ISPs shaft us with traffic shaping and get lumped with the same capacity in 10 years time, or force them to actually invest in more tubes for the interweb. It needs to happen eventually, if only to upgrade it all to IPv6 as IPv4 will in way have enough addresses for the increased number of computers being put into the net every day.
impar 27th March 2008, 10:29 Quote
Greetings!
Quote:
Originally Posted by VipersGratitude
This isnt about You VS. Some teenager...
It is if the teenager is freeloading something I have purchased.
I shouldnt have to pay the cost of someone else's children entertainment.

As for the P2P traffic shaping, if it affects every ISP service, it cant be claimed anti-competitive.
Paradigm Shifter 27th March 2008, 10:44 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by lewchenko
I think Virgin already drop your connection speed if you download too much in one day...
Correct.

However, in my opinion, their "you've downloaded too much so we're gonna cut your speed" marker is way, way too soon in the day and age of digital distribution. And if I'm paying for a 20Mb connection, I do not expect it to be cut to 100KB/s after the first 500MB, thankyouverymuch.
Quote:
Originally Posted by lewchenko
Why should one retarded teenager who is sat in his goofy bedroom torrenting DVD's, pirated games, p0rn, stolen music whilst surfing YouTube, be able to saturate the available bandwidth of the other (same ISP) customers on the street he lives ? He shouldnt.
I love how you assume that anyone who uses torrents in any shape or form is a pirate. I'm sure there are no legitimate uses for it - like linux distros or World of Warcraft or the BBC iPlayer, or large game patches or demos...
impar 27th March 2008, 10:52 Quote
Greetings!

It seems to affect encrypted traffic as well:
Bell Canada throttling P2P traffic, and all encrypted traffic.
steveo_mcg 27th March 2008, 11:18 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by lewchenko
snip.

You do realise that using the service that is being paid for isn't a bad thing, the isp's would love all people to come round to that (their) way of thinking so we can all pay top dollar a month and procede to under use it. The isp's have under-invested for the last few years now they are feeling it so its easier to say p2p bad than we've messed up
specofdust 27th March 2008, 11:23 Quote
Hope Bell get sued into oblivion. Or just out of a few hundered million deniro.
Delphium 27th March 2008, 12:22 Quote
Or instead of a fine, how about the money is used to actually invest in the net

I have to agree with others tbh, the infrastructure has had very little investment over the last decade, time to invest (long time over due) I feel, instead of shaping the customers into overpaying for a service they are unable to fully utilize.
TGImages 27th March 2008, 13:10 Quote
The actions of a few should not penalize the many.... however the internet was deisgned just to deal with stuff like this. As I have seen quoted in many places ""The Internet interprets censorship as damage and routes around it." -- John Gilmore". As much as the ISPs (at what ever level) might be honestly trying to improve the service for the vast majority of users not doing something wrong, they should not penalize the legit users in the process.

While it may end up in a re-write of the P2P software to make it not look like P2P, or if the net itself moves to all HTTPS traffic so ISPs can't tell what you are sending/receiving... Regardless, as we have seen with DRM, there will be a way around any censorship, filtering or blocking.

Then, about the only possible way is to watch volume however even then it might not be accurate. If I choose to watch a NetFlix online, then I'm streaming down a movie and my traffic that day will be much higher compared to most other days. Did I do something illegal? no. Does it look like I did? Maybe. Depends on how you examine or interpret the data.
chrisb2e9 27th March 2008, 13:21 Quote
simple solutuion to this, dont use bell or anyone else who uses their lines.
may not be an option everywhere but if the other isp's see a market to grab bell's customer base, they will step up to the plate.
Redbeaver 27th March 2008, 13:41 Quote
agree. best solution is stay away from Bell. horrible customer service. poor quality. and now controlled net content.

just stay away from Bell Canada.
Mcmonopoly 27th March 2008, 14:31 Quote
But just to let people now, In Quebec we have another excellent ISP called Videotron which offers cable internet connection from 1 Mb up to 75Mb transfer speeds, and also they don't shape the traffic as Bell seem to do.

IMO Bell Canada and all its subsidiaries will come crumbling down sooner or later exactly for the reasons people mentioned above (ie.: old infrastructure, wrong methods to maximize efficiency of the network, etc.) Hell they provided telephone service from waaaaaaaaaay back in the days, and now they are so bloated and inefficient as a company that they can't even retain the lead in their initial respective market!!! They are losing tons of customers each day because the products they offer don't even compete with what every one else is offering price wise and quality wise. And Also ADSL Vs CAble internet is no match period.

They got into the dish television market, knowing full well that we get bad weather for most part of winter (which in turn gives you periodically bad reception) and also, when they realized that they were outdone by the other providers, they started complaining about pirates stealing the premium content instead of admitting they s**k a** at what they do!! Now that's bad business ethics for ya!!

And as far as P2P and torrents being used for legitimate reason, I'm sorry but more and more companies/websites/digital distributors are using these kind of distributions method for the simple fact that the network load is shared with all the users, as it should, which can help reduce prices and download times.
Amon 27th March 2008, 14:35 Quote
I am about to change my ISP to a smalltime cable provider: ridiculously fast private cable connections, ten times the bandwidth quota, no traffic shaping, and no contract. For $30 per month compared to my previous bigfish provider, which was $75 per month.
talladega 27th March 2008, 15:26 Quote
im glad my ISP aint like that. they dont do any of that garbage. unlimited bandwidth. good speeds, but sucky upload is the only bad thing. my ISP is owned by the Provincial Government. or atleast it used to. its very different in my province than in other provinces or states. our electricity all comes from provincial government, same with car insurance(we only have one choice), and water (and all our prices are some of the lowest in Canada). internet and phone we can get from other companies but they arent as good. its strange hear, but im glad my ISP isnt the type to give in to this BS.
DXR_13KE 27th March 2008, 15:31 Quote
well that is dumb.....what about that show that was going up as p2p?
slugbug 27th March 2008, 16:49 Quote
I gave up on Bell Sympatico years ago.
scrumble 27th March 2008, 19:50 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by lewchenko
too much competition for it to be implemented here (UK). Unless of course its performed on the sly anyway or in collaboration with a major wholesale retailer (BT + Virgin) would capture a huge percentage of the market.

They already do. I have a mate on Tiscali who was having trouble with his connection, only it turns out that Tiscali was blocking access to certain IP's at peak times. For some reason they class the MMO Eve-online as P2P and blocked it at peak times
leexgx 27th March 2008, 22:27 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by lewchenko
too much competition for it to be implemented here (UK). Unless of course its performed on the sly anyway or in collaboration with a major wholesale retailer (BT + Virgin) would capture a huge percentage of the market.

I personally see some form of traffic shaping of P2P as a good thing. I personally never use P2P programs or services (as far as I am aware), so everyone else using them slows down the net for those of us that dont.

Why should one retarded teenager who is sat in his goofy bedroom torrenting DVD's, pirated games, p0rn, stolen music whilst surfing YouTube, be able to saturate the available bandwidth of the other (same ISP) customers on the street he lives ? He shouldnt.

The ISP's can already implement capping on content (say 20 or 50GB per month), but this doesnt go far enough. I think Virgin already drop your connection speed if you download too much in one day...

the trend will be (the british way) for those that want such facilities (P2P), you will end up paying more.

torll ?

if cable did an monthy cap thay lose Alot of customers as thay do not resell there lines so its not an smart move to put an very low 40/60gb limit on the line per month, as its very hard for virgin to get customers back ones thay go back to BT UK (ADSL)
the day limit is only between 4pm and 10pm
350mb 2mb/1mb speed limit,
700mb 4mb/2mb speed limit,
3gb 20mb/5mb speed limit
all limiters have an 4 hr timer fom when it is hit (so if you did it 1 min before 10pm it last for 4 hrs the limter before full speed is back)
thing is you can still download 200gb+ an day on Virgin cable (UK) (asumeing 20mb bb) not that i do mosty just tv downloads as i cant get the basic sky package on virgin due to sky wanting to cahrge vigrin 3x more then norm for shity basic HD chans
Kode 28th March 2008, 13:09 Quote
I get really frustrated with virgin, im on the 4mbit package and if i download over 800mb between 4pm and midnight i get throttled down to 1mbit... i also get very annoyed with ppl saying things like "Why should one retarded teenager who is sat in his goofy bedroom torrenting DVD's, pirated games, p0rn, stolen music whilst surfing YouTube, be able to saturate the available bandwidth of the other (same ISP) customers on the street he lives ? He shouldnt." thats completely besides the point, you are paying for a 4mbit connection, you should be able to download at 4mbit 24/7 if you want to without affecting anyone else, its the ISPs that are at fault here not the customers, its the same as the downloading is stealing argument... no it isnt, its copyright infringement, but industry feeds us lies and the vast majority of ppl just accept it, thats why our rights in general seem to just be fading away daily, because people just accept the lies industry and our government tell us </rant> anyways, i dont use p2p, its the shaping encrypted traffic that would affect me if something like that came into force in the UK

Its like being really hungry and buying 4 sandwiches from sainsburys, you eat 1, then someone from sainsburys say you can only eat another one every 5 hours because there are starving children in africa, and your like but if i dont eat it they still wont get it either, and they are like we know but it makes us feel better, ok so its not a direct comparison, because its not a case of because ur eating all the food the starving kids cant have any, however it is like your eating all the food, the company doesnt want to make any more, so the kids go hungry, its the companies that should be upgrading their service, not punishing their customers

I also dont believe the reason virgin throttle is for users benefit, not with the cable side anyway, they provide fibre to the curb, theres plenty of bandwidth available there, the only reason they throttle is to save money, end of story
Kode 28th March 2008, 13:12 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by leexgx


torll ?

if cable did an monthy cap thay lose Alot of customers as thay do not resell there lines so its not an smart move to put an very low 40/60gb limit on the line per month, as its very hard for virgin to get customers back ones thay go back to BT UK (ADSL)
the day limit is only between 4pm and 10pm
350mb 2mb/1mb speed limit,
700mb 4mb/2mb speed limit,
3gb 20mb/5mb speed limit
all limiters have an 4 hr timer fom when it is hit (so if you did it 1 min before 10pm it last for 4 hrs the limter before full speed is back)
thing is you can still download 200gb+ an day on Virgin cable (UK) (asumeing 20mb bb) not that i do mosty just tv downloads as i cant get the basic sky package on virgin due to sky wanting to cahrge vigrin 3x more then norm for shity basic HD chans

ok im not sure where u get ur information from, but its wrong :) on 4mbit its 800mb between 4-9 (although im not sure the 9 is accurate, it still seems to happen until 12) and then the line is throttled from 4mbit to 1mbit for 5 hours not 4,

Broadband Size: M
300MB from 2Mb to 1Mb

Broadband Size: L
800MB from 4Mb to 1Mb,

Broadband Size: XL
3GB from 10mb/20Mb to 5Mb

http://allyours.virginmedia.com/html/internet/traffic.html
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