While Bell and Rogers have attracted much of the Canadian net neutrality attention in recent weeks, a study conducted Vuze, an online video site that uses the BitTorrent protocol, has placed another Canadian provider – Cogeco – in the spotlight. To better track ISP network management techniques, Vuze created a plug-in that allowed users to measure network interruptions. Interruptions – referred to reset messages – might occur in the ordinary course of network activity or might be the result of false messages used to hamper peer-to-peer file sharing. Vuze managed to collect an enormous amount of data – 8,000 users worldwide generating over a million hours of data.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the ISP with the highest percentage of resets is the same one that has been in the regulatory spotlight for doing so – Comcast. Yet the number two is a surprise. Canada's Cogeco, which offers service in Quebec and Ontario, has a reset rate far higher than any other Canadian provider (indeed higher than anyone other than Comcast). None of the major Canadian providers fare particularly well (Rogers, Telus, Shaw, Videotron all rank among the top 68 of 108 providers), however, the Cogeco certainly captured Vuze's attention. Although acknowledging the methodological limitations of its data, the company has written to Cogeco to ask it to "outline the specific network management practices your company uses, including, particularly, whether your network management practices include the use of false reset messages." It will be interesting to see if Cogeco responds, particularly given the regulatory response to false reset messages in the U.S. and the growing demand for greater transparency of network management practices. If it turns out that the company is actively interfering with network traffic, the CRTC may find itself dealing with another complaint before too long.
Update: A representative from Telus writes to provide assurances that they do not throttle P2P traffic.
Update II: Ars Technica notes that research from the University of Calgary calls into question the relevance of reset data.