Bell Pulls Back Online Restrictions On Eve of Open Internet Anniversary

October 19, 2011—According to a recent email obtained by OpenMedia.ca, Bell has decided to start pulling back the discriminatory restrictions it has been imposing on online services for the last several years:

“Effective November 2011, new links implemented by Bell to augment our DSL network may not be subject to Technical Internet Traffic Management Practices (ITMP). [...]While congestion still exists, the impact of Peer-to-Peer file sharing applications on congestion has reduced.”

The restrictions imposed on the open Internet were never justified in the first place, and OpenMedia.ca is glad to see Bell moving away from the practice of throttling access to online services, despite this applying to only the wholesale market. The move draws further into question why Rogers and other big Internet service providers continue to employ the anti-competitive tactic.

Rogers has been in the center of a drawn-out controversy after it was caught slowing access to online games like the World of Warcraft. In a letter earlier this year, Rogers “recommend[ed] turning off the peer-to-peer setting in the World of Warcraft game and ensuring that no peer-to-peer applications are running on any connected computer."

Over the last few years, many Canadian ISPs have attempted to justify Internet openness violations by claiming that certain types of traffic, predominantly peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing traffic, are overwhelming their networks. Bell’s move today demonstrates clearly that this is not the case.

The move also reinforces findings from a report OpenMedia.ca released earlier this year. Entitled Casting An Open Net, the report demonstrates that restricting access online services—especially P2P services—is unjust and unnecessary.

OpenMedia.ca Executive Director Steve Anderson said today, “This announcement is further evidence that Rogers and other ISPs are breaking Internet openness rules when they restrict access to online services like peer-to-peer file-sharing. I’m not sure what more the CRTC needs to see in order to finally decide it’s necessary to audit ISPs to make sure they comply with Internet openness rules. Canadians have had enough of this.”

This week also marks the two-year anniversary of the CRTC’s decision to put forward traffic management rules (Internet openness rules) involving Internet openness. Backed by non-profit organizations, businesses, and Canadians across the country, OpenMedia.ca made the case for Internet openness at the 2009 hearings and declared victory when the CRTC made its decision.

Canadians can learn more about Internet openness, and sign a petition calling for an open Internet at http://openmedia.ca/saveournet.

About OpenMedia.ca

OpenMedia.ca is a national, non-partisan, non-profit public engagement organization working to advance and support an open and innovative communications system in Canada. Our primary goal is to increase public awareness and informed participation in Canadian media, cultural, information, and telecommunications policy formation.

OpenMedia.ca is best known for coordinating the Stop The Meter campaign earlier this year. The Stop The Meter campaign is widely considered the biggest online citizens’ campaign in Canadian history, involving nearly half-a-million Canadians.

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Contact

Lindsey Pinto
Communications Manager, OpenMedia.ca
778-238-7710
lindsey@openmedia.ca

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