Rogers says it will stop Internet traffic throttling

Rogers Communications Inc., said it will no longer throttle the Internet traffic of any of its users.

The incumbent telecom company was responding to complaints that it intentionally slowed down the Internet connections of certain online gamers.

In a letter to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) it will phase out a company policy of throttling certain peer-to-peer file sharing networks beginning this March.

“New technologies and ongoing investments in network capacity will allow Rogers to begin phasing out that policy starting in March 2012,” wrote Kenneth Engelhart, senior vice-president, regulatory, Rogers.

“These changes will be introduced to half of Rogers’ existing Internet customers by June 2012 and to its remaining customers by December 2012,” he said.

Internet traffic throttling has been a big concern. This recent episode can be traced to complaints filed before the CRTC by the Canadian Gamers Organization (CGO) last fall.

Jason Kblovsky, head of the CGO, said gamers found that their connections were slowed down by Rogers when they operate peer-to-peer networks to play games such as World of Warcraft, according to the Montreal Gazette.

CRTC rules regarding net neutrality do not allow Internet service providers (ISPs) to slow down peer-to-peer file sharing. All other traffic should not be affected.

The CRTC investigated the matter and conducted a test to determine if Rogers was throttling traffic. The CRTC sent a written letter to Rogers on Jan. 20, and gave the company until Friday to respond to the charges.

Responding to the CRTC’s letter, Engelhart said:

“The testing which the Commission has done was artificial in that it was designed to send a file which would be subject to traffic shaping.”

“Your traffic was not representative of the way our online gaming customers or other customers use the Internet… In the real world, an insignificantly small amount of traffic would be subject to traffic management based on using a peer-to-peer file sharing port and virtually all of that traffic is peer-to-peer file sharing traffic.”

Read the rest of Rogers’ letter here.

“However, out of an abundance of caution, we have reprogrammed the software so that this unclassified traffic is no longer subject to traffic management. In addition, as noted above we will cease traffic shaping in our network in the near future,” said Engelhart.

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