Did the CRTC Misunderstand the CAIP Throttling Case Against Bell?

Today's CRTC network management hearing featured some stunning discussion on the throttling of wholesale services that undoubtedly left many observers wondering whether the Commission actually understood what it was doing in the CAIP throttling complaint against Bell (CAIP has asked the Commission to reconsider the decision).  The discussion started when MTS Allstream adopted the position that dominant carriers should not be permitted to throttle or traffic shape at the wholesale level.  In other words, any traffic management practices should be limited to the ISP that interacts directly with a customer at the retail level.  MTS argued that the wholesale service (known as GAS or Gateway Access Service) is more like a private virtual network, where the ISP is purchasing capacity.  The GAS is not strictly an Internet service and MTS assured the Commission that the use of the wholesale services should not have a congestion impact on the carrier's retail Internet services.

This is relevant since the CAIP complaint involved GAS.  CAIP was concerned that Bell's throttling was being done not to relieve congestion, but rather for competitive reasons.  It believed that Bell was concerned that independent ISPs would offer retail customers non-throttled services (which ISPs like TekSavvy did), which might lead some to consumers to leave Bell (which they began to do).  Of course, this is an illustration of why competition would address many net neutrality concerns (assuming consumers can choose an alternate provider).  Yet Bell's approach was to throttle everyone's service at the retail and wholesale level, so that this form of competition would be eliminated.  And the CRTC, perhaps not even understanding the specifics of the services at issue, let them get away with it.


  1. George Smiley says:

    I’m shocked, shocked that the CRTC could have misunderestimated the situation.

  2. Maynard G. Krebs says:

    Techno-Luddites at the CRTC take pride in their ignorance
    Round up the usual suspects!
    Why the competitors, of course!

    As I said during the course of the questioning of MTS, “If Konrad spent 14 seconds in March 2008 to learn what MTS just taught him, there would be no hearing today.”

  3. Sarah Palin says:

    Did the CRTC Misunderstand the CAIP Throttling Case Against Bell? You betcha!!

  4. Joel Goguen says:

    It was obvious earlier
    That they completely didn’t understand was obvious earlier, when they failed to understand the difference between peering and P2P, or when they failed to realize that PPPoE provisioning is not the same as IP switching.

  5. Maynard G. Krebs says:

    yes, that’s correct….but that was ‘technical stuff’ that the government doesn’t expect CRTC commissioners to understand when they appoint them.

    What MTS said in relatively plain words was what should have made the Deutschmark drop in Konrad’s head – it would have created a resounding echo in all that empty space between his ears.

    How do I claim damages from the CRTC for the delays I suffered as a result of their fatally flawed decision last year?

  6. jason roks says:

    crtc opened that door
    it was the questions from the CRTC that opened this door to discuss CAIP decision again. Konrad made it clear on day 1 and 2 not to discuss CAIP decision yet in reality it is impossible to avoid in the context of these hearings. In fact, it is integral part. This changes things, no doubt.

    It will be interesting to hear what CAIP has to say in tomorrow hearings.

  7. Jean-François Mezei says:

    Interesting that Finckenstein focused on issues related to GAS service today, but at the opening of the proceeding, he specifically said that there would be no discussions on the subject because of on-going R&V process.

    And when I spoke, he even signaled me to stop at one point because I had come dangerously close to discussing GAS.

    BUT, it is good that there would be a discussion. Because this will allow them to ask, hopefully pointed, questions to Bell next monday.

    They certaintly *appear* to be clueless. But my gut tells me that they are doing on purpose to try to get people to put on the record their views.

  8. says:

    Bell & Rogers…
    It’s a sad day when Canada continues to fall behind in the internet services market etc.. I hope it doesn’t come down to a body ordering bell & rogers (since internet services should be considered an essential utility) to cease their throttling and open up the market..

    Why not just lump bell & rogers together in one complaint arguing that they are stifling all competition for their own gain etc..

  9. Newsflash! CRTC is clueless… Details at 11.
    ~yawn, snooze, snore~

  10. Arthur Goldsmith says:

    It’s one thing to learn that they take a position on a certain issue, it’s another thing to learn that they don’t even begin to understand the fundamentals or the system in which the issue manifests. I used to disagree with the CRTC, now I just outright hate them.

    Can you believe we have a regulatory commission in Canada that doesn’t even understand the basics of the system they regulate.. for christ sake.

  11. Bradley Gillap says:

    I agree with disgusted
    Any other job in the market requires knowledge and experience of the products or services you are working with. This does not seem to apply with the CRTC.

    I have a few friends out of work that don’t know anything about networks. They should apply at the CRTC

  12. “Did the CRTC Misunderstand the CAIP Throttling Case Against Bell?”
    Only if you give them the benefit of the doubt that they are really working for public interests. You can only push the negligence defense so far.

  13. DJ MASACRE says:

    For these issues
    For all of this, you must understand atleast some of the technical things regarding this. Only then can you realize what is being said and make a proper decision.

    since its so overwhelmingly obvious for technical people, anyone else just sees this as a ¨they need to do this because my neighbors download too many movies ¨sort of thinking.

    its one end of the spectrum to the other end.

    my own opinion is that since the world will be using computer systems as part of their lifestyle more and more and the future, we need to EDUCATE ourselves on how they WORK !. not simply boot a 3,000$ machine to check your facebook page and/or email. really.

  14. CRTC (Corporate RTC)
    I highly doubt they misunderstood the issue. When the CRTC has members working for dominant providers, the misunderstanding is meant to mislead the public.

    If the CRTC favours the idea of dominant providers are congested, then the only good solution is the CRTC makes dominant providers upgrade their networks to accomomdate users of today, not users of 2000. Don’t expect the CRTC to do something of the sort though.