Bell To Stop Throttling Their Customers

If you’ve got Bell as your Internet provider, here’s an early Christmas present for you. Throttling of your Internet connection is about to come to an end:

Bell Canada and Bell Aliant will stop using equipment to selectively slow down file sharing applications on their networks starting March 1, the companies said in a letter to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission on Monday.

That will affect both the companies’ own retail internet customers and the customers of independent internet service providers who rent wholesale access to Bell’s network in order to connect directly with customers’ homes.

So why the sudden change of heart? Bell claims that they’ve invested heavily in their network. But there might be another reason:

Michael Geist, a University of Ottawa law professor with a special interest in the regulation of the internet, believes “Bell had little choice” but to end its traffic shaping, given CRTC rules that make it clear the regulator favours network investment and economic means to manage internet traffic.

The regulator had issued new guidelines in September for resolving customer complaints about throttling, including timelines for action by internet service providers. It said ISPs could face a third-party audit or even a public hearing if they did not comply.

So with Bell making this move, one wonders how long Rogers and Telus can justify throttling their customers. They’re going to have to do something quickly or face losing customers.

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