Rogers – “We’re A Dumb Pipe”

Net neutrality is frequently re-characterized as "network management," with ISPs arguing that they should be able to manage their networks in a manner that distinguishes between certain applications (and potentially content).  Funny, though, what happens when groups ask that the same network management tools be used for alternate purposes such as Canadian content rules.  When that happens, Rogers, the same ISP that acknowledges traffic shaping,  now says "We're a dumb pipe. We don't know what you're downloading . . . so how can we be responsible for the content?"  In other words, when Rogers appears before the CRTC during the new media proceeding it runs a "dumb pipe."  When it returns several months later for the network management proceeding, it runs a smart pipe engaged in deep packet inspection to identify the traffic on its network.  


  1. Oh this delicious irony won’t be lost on anyone except…..
    the CRTC….

  2. Yes, the irony!
    Great job Mike, we’re all counting on you to keep the telecoms on their toes. Nice catch.

  3. Crusty Curmudgeon says:

    “Dumb” is the right word – when it comes to Roger’s innovation, service and products. But they are damn smart when it comes to conning the CRTC and the Competition Bureau and running their cozy duopoly with Bell.

  4. @crusty to damn smart or to much damn money from too dumb canadians to realise their being gouged at every corner.

    Rogers advertises on bit torrent sites. I have proof of it. The advertisements claim the “fastest and most reliable network” however Rogers throttle bit torrent. They claim network management is necessary, well how do they explain false advertising to the audience who uses the services they enjoy “managing”. How can they get away with both?

  5. Bobby Boshamp says:

    Rogers Sucks
    Dumb pipes, huh, Rogers? Then how come whenever I mistype URLS, they redirect me to their personal advertising page? Hmm!

  6. Vincent Clemenbt says:

    Dumb and Dumber
    While ISPs in North America ‘complain’ about congestion on their networks, Google has been purchasing dark fiber – unused fibers – for years. How can there be unused fibers if the networks are supposedly ‘congested’?

  7. Explain Please
    The implication that Rogers’ positions are inconsistent seems to be the parenthesized words “(and potentially content)”. Could you please explain how you believe Rogers could achieve the content detection that is the subject of the article to which your “now says” link points?

  8. Legal Consequences?
    Are there any legal consequences for lying to the CRTC? All arguments aside about whether or not they are lying in these cases, if they were to outright lie to the CRTC and get caught doing it, would there be any consequences at all?

  9. Discerning Reader
    Shapping a P2P protocal is one thing, knowing that it is the Beechcombers is another…not sure I get your point Mike?

  10. @Reader
    Rogers and Bell have confessed/proclaimed to Deep Packet Inspection to appropriately shape/manage those connections that are conducting suspect Copyright Infringement. Heck, many people using Telus have received notices from Telus to this effect. All the major players are using the same types of network inspection tools. They DO know the titles/names of your downloads, they just can’t prove the content without reviewing it themselves.

    The point it Rogers is playing the CRTC on both sides to get what they want, which is your money, without having to deliver what they advertise.

  11. they aren’t lying…
    I think they are saying they indescrimately throttle… which means they don’t care what the goods are. They just want to block the traffic that matches a predefined pattern. They don’t look at the actual goods being transmitted.

  12. I don’t know what you are doing but I know you are doing it
    As always the media giants have no scruples or morals. They will make what ever statement gives them advantage without consideration for logic, reason, right or wrong.

  13. Bunch of incompetents
    CRTC and the Competition Bureau will show again at Net Neutrality hearings that they are a bunch of incompetents wasting money of Canadian taxpayers. I am not holding my breath.

  14. Stephen Downes says:

    Dumb DNS Redirection
    If it were just a dumb pipe, it wouldn’t be redirecting me to Rogers advertising (disguised as a search site) when the (Rogers-supplied) DNS lookup fails (as it often does, even on well-established sites).

  15. The thing is…..
    Saying they are a “dumb pipe” is actually both true and false, depending on what, exactly, you are talking about. It is entirely technologically possible for them to control and limit people consumption of their bandwidth, so in this sense they are smart. However, they _cannot_ control or even tell what sort of content is being transmitted, so in this sense they are dumb.

  16. Steven Chabot says:

    From my limited understanding…
    … Rogers only traffic shapes encrypted content. So, while they do know that something they don’t like is being transferred, I wouldn’t say that they were something other then a “dumb pipe.” They can’t tell if you are downloading episode 2×03 of Heroes or 1×13 of Being Erica, just that you are downloading on bittorrent.

  17. @steven Yes I think you are correct though I would add that in my experience its only with encrypted/non encrypted upstream traffic that they throttle. It doesn’t matter if your using FTP, DC++, VoIP, Apache, BitTorrent etc.

    I am in the middle of collaborating on an open source gaming project with people around the globe. I cannot upload more than 65 kb/s I have yet to receive an explanation for it only that it was “policy to manage upstream traffic”.I pay for 512kb/s and its an impossible speed to get. /end rant

    Suggestion to all rogers customers: try the glasnost measurement test at (Google sponsored some of the hosting) to see how your ISP is screwing with your traffic 24/7 not just “at peak times” or whatever they want to claim.

    Here is a screenshot of a Rogers Ad on (bitTorrent) to add Irony to the misery: note the words “OWN LANE” directly underneath “Upload a Torrent”.

  18. Armchair Observer
    Rogers now strips out your http: stream and directly injects code into your web page to warn you of your impending download limit. To my mind this is interception of communication by a third party and if you attemp to block it out all your left with is a blank page that failed to connect to their warning web server. It has a tendency to cut into any http: connection no matter what. Fortunately they cannot brake https: yet.
    So please don’t let them tell you they are non-interfering pipe.
    Technically they could snatch passwords from you unencrypted http: links and who knows if they have not already started doing that.

  19. You gotta be kidding.
    They can see what you’re downloading. I’ve had a couple friends receive emails recently mentioning a particular show they had downloaded over bit torrent, without encryption turned on. Rogers are not dumb. If only that were the case. Instead they’re really greedy liars, which is why they’re so powerful and so hated by the public. I tried to find another ISP and get comparable speeds and there’s nothing. So I have to pay the over-limit charge in addition to my monthly cable internet bill.

  20. Ummmm
    And then your going to tell me that the CRTC will again and again not understand any of this and just believe anything Rogers or Bell says if it sounds right.

    Where are the technical experts in these procedings. One who is not affiliated with either.

    How does a Country run like this. No wonder government is and always will be shit. wtf.