Bell Canada and Bell Aliant will cease the practice of slowing download and upload speeds of customers using peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing applications (so-called ‘bandwidth throttling’) with effect from 1 March 2012. The sister telcos confirmed the move in a letter to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC). The change applies to Bell retail internet package users and end-users of Bell’s wholesale ISP clients. Throttling has been used on both networks since 2008 at peak times (4.30pm-2.00am). The decision was prompted by the relative proportion of traffic accounted for by P2P declining due to the increasing popularity of streamed video and other traffic. Bell Canada has already begun phasing in the change, and from November is no longer using equipment to slow down P2P traffic on ‘newer’ sections of its network.
As reported by CommsUpdate, in November this year the CRTC published its new wholesale internet access billing framework – the ‘approved capacity model’ – applicable where a network provider proposes to charge ISPs separately for data usage in the residential segment. In its latest statement Bell Canada said the framework reduces requirements for technology-based traffic-shaping measures, as the model acts instead as an economic incentive for managing internet traffic. Bell Canada and MTS Allstream are now expected to alter their wholesale billing models to the new framework, whereas other major fixed network operators including Bell Aliant, Telus Communications, Shaw Communications and SaskTel will be permitted by the CRTC to continue to charge their wholesale residential ISP customers using their existing flat rate models, which provide for unlimited internet bandwidth usage.