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Gov't Docs Reveal Canada's Net Neutrality Enforcement Failure 109

An anonymous reader writes "An investigation into the enforcement of Canada's net neutrality rules reveals that virtually all major Canadian ISPs have been the target of complaints, but there have been few, if any, consequences arising from the complaints process. Michael Geist obtained internal CRTC documents on all net neutrality complaints and found that Rogers was the top target, primarily for throttling access to World of Warcraft. Other notable cases include Bell throttling access to and Barrett Xplore, a satellite Internet provider, rendering VoIP unusable. Despite the revelations, there have no fines, no audits, and the CRTC has even refused to investigate some cases that appear to raise obvious net neutrality concerns."
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Gov't Docs Reveal Canada's Net Neutrality Enforcement Failure

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  • I cant really think of any conditions under which that would be "useable". Speed of light limitations and all of that.
    • How do you think most VOIP connections cross over the oceans? Not all traffic crosses the trans-ocean underwater cables. A lot of it is still through satellite feeds, which is why VOIP to any other country usually has a two sometimes three second delay.
    • I cant really think of any conditions under which that would be "useable". Speed of light limitations and all of that.

      It is certainly going to suck; but the cynic would note that satellite service providers seem to have satellite phones working adequately enough. If there is a substantial delta between the quality of properly set up VOIP installation over a satellite link and the satellite phone connection that the company would likely prefer that you buy as a separate item from them, I'd raise my skepticism eyebrow more than a touch...

      • A non-cynic, OTOH, might observe that Iridium launched a shit load of low-earth orbit satellites, instead of a single geostationary units like ISPs use..

    • by ceoyoyo ( 59147 )

      I guess you've never called a remote area on a plain old telephone hey?

    • by Wrexs0ul ( 515885 ) <mmeier&racknine,com> on Friday July 08, 2011 @01:46PM (#36697462) Homepage

      I work with a couple oil companies here in Alberta, and at their drilling sites you'll usually only have internet via a shared connection from data logging companies.

      You barely get high-speed, but if you use a lower quality codec and are careful about setup the call quality is as good as a cell phone call. Which compared to nothing makes satellite internet awesome! :)


    • by wolrahnaes ( 632574 ) <> on Friday July 08, 2011 @01:49PM (#36697496) Homepage Journal

      My thoughts exactly. VoIP is my day job and I can tell you that once pings exceed 200ms things get questionable. If there's low jitter, it can work and just have a delay like old intercontinental satellite PSTN links, but usually this is not the case. Any satellite connection using fixed dishes and thus geostationary satellites (a.k.a. everything marketed to home users) has an absolute minimum latency caused by the "last mile" of 472ms. This could only be achieved at the equator, anywhere else would be farther away and have greater latency but I don't feel like doing the math for Canadian latitudes.

      tl;dr: VoIP on consumer satellite internet connections is stupid, end of story.

      • by h4rr4r ( 612664 )

        Consumer satellite internet connections are stupid, end of story.

        Fixed that for you.

        • I mostly agree, they have their purpose if they're the only option but they can't compete with any of the other broadband options. 3G cellular or a long-run DSL are certainly better choices where available even as bad as they can be. If you don't have that though, satellite is an appealing last resort.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by BuckaBooBob ( 635108 )

        Sorry to rain on your parade... But ping latency has little to do with voice quality(unless you are using a horrid codec that has super crappy buffers...).. most of the quality comes from jitter.. (Packet to packet delay) as long as you have a fairly steady stream of packets moving (IE your buffers don't run empty then get a wack load of packets then go empty for a while again) You quality should be fine... if there is a large amount of latency you will start to get an echo if poor/cheap handsets are used..

        • On consumer/small business internet connections, increased latency almost always brings jitter so it's just easier to look for latency. As I specifically noted, with low jitter a high latency connection can be used.

      • Satellite communications only has that minimum latency if you're too cheap to put steppers on your antenna mast....

    • by Dunbal ( 464142 ) *
      Eh, I guess you're too young to remember transatlantic phone calls in the pre-internet era.
      • That was a commercial system with predictable timing and QoS measurement. Not exactly comparable to a consumer satellite internet system.

    • by Sloppy ( 14984 )

      Breaker one nine. Breaker one nine. Over.

    • These guys agree []: communication should be immediate and realtime interactive.
    • The thing is, they aren't the only ISP blocking VOIP. Telus in British Columbia has been disallowing VOIP on their 3G internet plans for a couple years because it interferes with their other business of selling standard cell phone plans.
    • People get confused by this all the time. JITTER is what destroys VoIP quality, not latency. Latency can negatively affect the human element on both ends but it can still be completely intelligible. That's a human factors issue with high latency, not a technology issue.

    • Well, it depends on the way the VOIP is transmitted actually. If you don't mind encoding sections of speech and doing an eventual delivery, then latency doesn't matter. For example, most gaming services utilize the method of sending snippets of voice that are fenced by silence using this mechanism.

      Now, if you are talking RTP vis a vis SIP where it's truly realtime, 20ms timeslices with stateless compression like G.729 then yes - you will be chopped to pieces with a non-constant time latency (i.e. jitter) m

      • Basically what I mean is if you have information/time and the time is non-constant, you have to make the information non-constant as well.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Everyone in the ISP industry in Canada is fully aware that the entire CRTC is a joke full of corporate bribery and incompetent schlubs who don't want to do anything that would involve work. (If they were competent and lazy, they'd be joining the corporate bribery gang.)

    • by bonch ( 38532 ) *

      I sure hope we can institute net neutrality here in the States to protect our right to unthrottled World of Warcraft.

      "Net neutrality" remains a joke. Sysadmins at ISPs are running private networks that you merely pay for an IP address on, and they can manage their traffic however they please.

      • and if the market was no a bunch of local monopolies or duopolies then I would have no problem with your sentiments, but how about you free market fools pull your heads out of you asses and stop pounding the screw (monopoly markets) with your hammer (free market theory).

    • by jo42 ( 227475 )

      The CRTC is staffed by ex-Bell and ex-Rogers people. Sort of like the many of the current US gooberment positions are staffed by ex-Wall street arseholes.

  • Bell sucks (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Tsingi ( 870990 ) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {kcir.maharg}> on Friday July 08, 2011 @01:34PM (#36697262)
    Bell Canada was fined recently for lying in advertising about how much their services cost. They were levied a fairly huge fine, several millions of dollars. They refer to this as an "Administrative" cost.

    Internet in Canada is expensive and slow, and it will stay that way until the CRTC stops pandering to Bell and Rogers.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Internet in Canada is expensive and slow, and it will stay that way until the CRTC stops pandering to Bell and Rogers.

      Not gonna happen. Steve Rogers was the best pitcher the Montreal Expos ever had. Bur Albert Belle never played for the Blue Jays, so I don't know why the CRTC panders to him.

    • Internet in Canada is expensive and slow

      Are you sure? I just bumped up to 50/3 about a month ago, for a price that seems a little high. Check it out []. My bill says, "Personal TV + Broadband 50 .... $84.90" (personal TV includes sufficient HD programming for our purposes). Add on two phone lines, and the children's tv stations, plus GST, and it's $128.85 per month. That's actually ~$60 less than before: by removing a bunch of TV stations that I didn't need and increasing my speed from 25 to 50Mbps.

      I guess it depends on your definition of "expe

  • Follow the money.
    • by Toze ( 1668155 ) on Friday July 08, 2011 @01:54PM (#36697554)
      Money, hell; follow the employers. The CRTC's Vicechairman of Telecom worked for Rogers for 17 years. The Ontario regional commissoner worked for Alliance Atlantis, Atlantic/Nunavut was VP of Access, Quebec spent two decades at CBC, and Manitoba/Sask spent two decades at SaskTel. [] Not to say the whole batch of 'em are crooked, but it seems like half the commissioners they've got don't just have industry experience, they worked for the companies they're now in charge of regulating. I don't know about you, but the Rogers group not even being /investigated/ for egregious harm to network access, while the CRTC telecom VP used to work for them, seems mighty suspicious.
  • Regulators (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Friday July 08, 2011 @01:36PM (#36697300) Journal

    Regulators should be like engineers, personally responsible for a failure to do their jobs. They should be paid well enough to accept those risks. This will draw more competent people away from lucrative public sector jobs, and ensure that they actually do the job they are required to by law.

    As of now, if a regulator refuses to enforce regulations, what recourse do people have? They are not elected, so we can't vote them out.

    • by d3ac0n ( 715594 )

      All the more reason to "go light" with government.

      Since regulators and bureaucrats are unelected and therefore inherently insulated to the "will of the people" via elections, they are uniquely and ideally positioned to profit the most from corruption and corporate bribery.

      Therefore, it is in the people's best interests to have as few of them as possible, thus lowering the overall ability of corporate interests to bribe the government into doing what is against the interests of the populace at large.

      To put i

      • by Chirs ( 87576 ) on Friday July 08, 2011 @03:11PM (#36698412)

        An unregulated telecom business would have no coverage in rural areas because the density isn't worth the effort. It wouldn't have universal 911, it wouldn't have interoperable services, and you'd have totally unfettered monopolies.

        No thanks, telecommunications and utilities should be owned by the people (i.e., the government).

        • No thanks, telecommunications and utilities should be owned by the people (i.e., the government).

          Agreed. TELUS was started when the government gave away what was previously government infrastructure to a few pals. Now they are a bunch of intolerable fucks. Maybe my Internet wouldn't be as fast, but at least I wouldn't have to suffer TELUS.

      • by sustik ( 90111 )

        I like your reasoning and suggest that we also elect:

        - the FDA
        - bank and insurance regulators
        - police officers
        - members of the military
        - the fire department
        - customs officers
        - airport security personnel
        - doctors in government run hospitals (like the VA)
        - teachers in public schools
        - supreme court justices (done in some states already)
        - DPS employees
        - etc.

        Or alternatively (if I follow you correctly) we should just do away with all the above in the name of
        eliminating bribery, inefficiency, waste and abuse of p

      • by Hatta ( 162192 )

        Regulators and bureaucrats are unelected and unaccountable, but so are CEOs. CEOs don't even have a mandate for doing what's in the interest of the populace at large.

        No thanks, I'll take the regulators and work to make them accountable rather than suffer under the absolute rule of plutarchs.

      • by Hatta ( 162192 )

        Also, you're right "that government which governs best governs least". You just have to take into account the equivalency between economic and political power. A sufficiently large disparity in wealth becomes a de facto government. We even see this today where wealthy corporations hold more power than the government. (why do you think no one has been arrested for causing the financial crisis?)

        So at some point, as you reduce the power of government, private power fills that void. In order to have the be

      • So, you are in favor of getting rid of police officers too then? They are regulators as well you know.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      The CRTC isn't elected, but the CRTC reports to parliament via the Minister of Canadian Heritage (straight off the CRTC FAQ [] page), who is elected. So, write a letter to the Minister of Canadian Heritage, who at the moment is the Honourable James Moore, whose page in the capacity of minister is at: [], complete with contact information. Also available in French, of course. On top of that, write your own MP and the CRTC itself with your concerns.

      The amount

    • by Renraku ( 518261 )
      "Are you throttling anyone or violating net neutrality?" "Nope." "Alright then! Well we got a report saying you were, but we trust you over some random civilians that get uppity about everything."
  • Net Neutrality is backed by industries like the music and movie industry specifically so they can put in place a structure to impose controls on consumers later.

    It was never about helping you, the consumer, with any problem.

    Any thoughts otherwise are purest fantasy as Canada shows us.

    Enjoy your chains Canada.

    • Enjoy your chains Canada.

      you really think this is about canada?

      leaders are leaders. leaders are cheaters. those in charge get power, get drunk, abuse it.

      film at 11.

    • Umm, we're the ones free to copy our music as well as to rebroadcast any over the air signal. We're not the ones with laws like the DMCA, and we are the ones who told the big music companies to go away when they tried to get user data from major ISPs.

      You enjoy your own chains, I'm proud to be part of a country that is attempting to have net neutrality at all. Maybe if you understood the issues (rather than the hype), you't want it too.

      Unrelatedly, We're also the country who successfully sued big tobacco a

      • Umm, we're the ones free to copy our music as well as to rebroadcast any over the air signal.

        Yes, you are "free" to do that because a tax is added on to media everywhere, basically assuming you are all thieves.

        We are "free" to do what we like in the U.S. and we don't have to funnel money to the music industry for data CD's in order to enjoy that "freedom".

        Maybe if you understood the issues

        I understand the long-term issues; it is plain you and many do not. When the regulations tighten then you will comprehe

        • We are "free" to do what we like in the U.S. and we don't have to funnel money to the music industry for data CD's in order to enjoy that "freedom".

          No, you just get sued for infringement, whether you infringed or not. You also get laws that assume you're a criminal and lock down what you can and can't do with your devices and your content. He's right, that Canadian model really is better and could stand to be expanded. A pittance of a tax that lets you do what you want when you want without fear of corpo

        • You have no freedom to do what you want with music in the USA. Your Copyright system makes you a criminal when you even just transcode a music file or exercise your rights by cracking CSS on a DVD. Our system doesn't assume everyone's a criminal, it assumes what we want to do is perfectly legal and to compensate the artists for possible lost sales, blank media levies are divided up and paid out to the most popular artists.

          Silly groupthink.

        • you are a naive anarchist pal. Corporate governance is going to eat you up and when you look around to redress your grievances, a wonderful thing called forced arbitration will be thrown in your face where the judge is paid by the company to rule in the companies favor.

    • How the fuck does that even make sense?

      So... a system of regulations that tells ISPs they are not allowed to filter traffic that favors their services over any other service and can not charge external service providers money for access to the customers of ISPs is some how bad because somewhere in there the boogie men of the RIAA/MPAA are setting up an infrastructure that will get you?

  • Before you assume anything about net neutrality being deprioritized, remember that this is business as usual for government agencies.

  • by rlglende ( 70123 ) on Friday July 08, 2011 @02:00PM (#36697608)

    We have more than 100 years of evidence wrt the effectiveness of regulations.

    Are there ANY successes? How do these successes compare to the failures, e.g. the 100s of 1000s of people that the FDA's regulations kill every year via inhibiting the development of new drugs and protecting drug manufacturers from competition and the resulting high prices.

    Money buys power in all times and places. So far as I can see, the only way to prevent that is to limit the power of the gov to the absolute minimum that is consistent with civilization. We should be experimenting with that lower edge of gov power, as the "sky's the limit" edge we are on has proven a failure in all cases it has been tried in.

    • I'm lead to believe that Canadian banking regulations worked out pretty well while the US was deep in credit crisis. Could be propaganda though.

      • Facts are facts though; for some reason the Canadian banks didn't crash and burn with the rest of the G8's major banking systems.

        Proving what that reason is, and whether those regulations created those circumstances would be very hard, but it seems reasonable that they're involved.

      • It actually wasn't propaganda. Some of the Canadian banks were hit hard as they did have stakes in the sub-prime scandal.

        There were a lot of factors, including tighter regulation, but the main thing credited to protecting them is their reserve requirements. The reserve requirement is how much banks can leverage their money.

        In Europe it's about 40:1
        In USA it's 30-35:1
        In Canada it's 20:1

        So the main, but not only, reason they didn't fail is because they had enough of money on hand to weather the storm.

        • by pcb ( 125862 )

          That's the whole point! Canadian regs required a higher ratio than both Europe and the US. So in fact, it was a better regulatory framework that saved the Canadian banks.

    • The hundreds of thousands of people that don't die every year from untested or fraudulent drugs that FDA regulations don't allow?

      There seems to be a concerning amount of Americans that think that the only way to stop corporations from skirting regulations is to allow them to just do anything they desire from the start. The solution is, as it always has been, awareness and education. At least this way we have legal recourse to work with once enough of the population realizes what is going on.
    • e.g. the 100s of 1000s of people that the FDA's regulations kill every year via inhibiting the development of new drugs and protecting drug manufacturers from competition and the resulting high prices.

      That's an extremely poor example. The FDA has actually made things far, far easier in recent times. As a result, thousands are now being killed by drugs which should never have been proved - and wouldn't have been under the old regulations.

    • by Elbereth ( 58257 )

      Are you kidding? I'm tempted to believe that you are joking, but you seem serious. The problem is not with the concept; the problem is in the enforcement. I'll give you a success story for regulation: I walked into a pharmacy and bought a bottle of medicine that more-or-less truthfully lists its ingredients, claimed benefits, and usage on the side of the container. Maybe you're not familiar with a period of history in the USA where so-called snake oil [] was sold, but this is quite a revolution in terms of

  • by dkleinsc ( 563838 ) on Friday July 08, 2011 @02:00PM (#36697612) Homepage

    It's very simple: Have the laws on the books, but don't enforce them. That way, congressmen / MPs can go back to their district / riding and announce that they've gotten some law passed to deal with a problem, but your pals in industry don't have to actually deal with the law.

    There were lots of laws that the SEC and Federal Reserve could have used to squash down much of the real estate bubble. They didn't use them. After the fact, there were people and organizations who had committed criminal fraud, and the "Justice" Department has refused to investigate them. There were laws on the book that the MSHA could have used to prevent the Upper Big Branch Mine disaster in West Virginia. They didn't use them, despite lots of evidence that the owner of the mine routinely violated the law and then bribed the judges in the state to ensure that they were effectively immune from lawsuits. There are laws on the books saying that torturing people is illegal. A few grunts have been prosecuted for it, but those giving the orders have gotten off without even a cursory investigation.

    Sad to see Harper go that route though. I thought the Canadians had more resistance to the blending of corporate and government power that's so prevalent in the US.

    • I would actually say it is the opposite of that.

      Laws have not kept up with changing technology. There was no such thing as bit torrent or throttling 5-10 years ago. Heck 10 years ago bandwidth caps didn't exist in Canada. What is happening is technology evolves and industry makes up rules to make money. It is the fault of the government for not creating laws keeping up with the pace, or even trying to. Of course until recently the population has been ambivalent which doesn't help motivate the politicians to

      • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

        Laws have not kept up with changing technology. There was no such thing as bit torrent or throttling 5-10 years ago. Heck 10 years ago bandwidth caps didn't exist in Canada.

        Actually, bandwidth caps have been around since broadband was made available in the late 90s. Pre-DOCSIS, most broadband providers gave you 1GB of transfer. Somewhere around the turn of the millenium they started upping them to 5 and 10GB. Somewhere along the line they upped them again but never enforced them.

        This also applied to the US

        • Well I guess it could have been that you just couldn't possibly (or it was much harder) to pull down those kinds of data bandwidth at the time. Still one could say then their infrastructure or other technology, or policy, or whatever hasn't kept pace with technology. It is kind of silly to have a MONTHLY cap of 25-60GB when you are operating at speeds of 15MB/s where you could theoretically bust your cap in just over an hour. (And at least with my provider, a system of bandwidth monitoring that updates ever

  • At the same time as this is going on, the CRTC is holding a "fact finding mission" to discuss whether or not online video like Netlfix and YouTube should be required to meet CANCON regulations. This means a minimum amount of Canadian content, and paying taxes into a fund to drive the creation of more Canadian content.

    Of course this idea is retarded to anyone reading this. How exactly do they propose to enforce content rules on YouTube? Block it at a national level until it's able to show it complies with th

    • by DM9290 ( 797337 )

      At the same time as this is going on, the CRTC is holding a "fact finding mission" to discuss whether or not online video like Netlfix and YouTube should be required to meet CANCON regulations. This means a minimum amount of Canadian content, and paying taxes into a fund to drive the creation of more Canadian content.

      Of course this idea is retarded to anyone reading this.

      If you think it's retarded to get facts before making decisions then maybe you're the one who is retarded.

      • I've posted this before but it seems appropriate here.

        /. commenters, lacking knowledge substitute cynicism, lacking experience substitute pessimism, lacking wit substitute sarcasm, and lacking passion substitute indignation.

  • Um... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mashiki ( 184564 ) <> on Friday July 08, 2011 @02:19PM (#36697818) Homepage

    So we have misleading headlines, and misleading stuff by Geist again. Big shock. Here's the thing, we don't have net neutrality rules in Canada. There are voluntary guidelines. And people got 'upset' and threw a hissyfit the last time the conservatives were going to rip the mandate away from the CRTC on internet related stuff.

    And yet the CRTC is continuing the status-quo. So what's the problem fellow Canucks? You want one, but don't want anyone to do anything about it. And you don't want those 'evil conservatives' to remove the mandate but you want the CRTC scrapped.

    You blow my fucking mind.

    I suppose the upside is old Von Cough(Konrad von Finckenstein), will be gone in a little bit with a new chairman.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Couldn't agree more....

      less than 50 complaints in about 2 years, and most of which show they have been investigated, and investigation is either continuing or closed. Why the spin?

      • 50 kids complained they couldn't connect to World of Warcraft? It MUST be their ISP, no way it could be their routers, software, torrent downloading, etc.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Chryana ( 708485 )

      Your complaint does not make much sense to me. Check the websites and I don't see much criticism of conservatives on either websites, and Michael Geist's article does not even contain the word "conservatives". As for wanting the CRTC scrapped, again, neither website I have mentioned nor Michael Geist appears to have spoken in favor of that. In fact, Michael Geist speaks of having stronger enforcement of the guidelines crafted by the CRTC, hardly a call to disband it. As for your

      • by Anonymous Coward

        right off the front page of quoting one of their supporting articles:

        "There has been no shortage of protests over the civil rights and privacy implications of the set of proposed laws now collectively known as Lawful Access bills put forward by Stephen Harper's Conservative government."

    • by Simon80 ( 874052 )

      As weak as our net neutrality rules are, your statements are blatantly incorrect. Not even two paragraphs in, he links to the CRTC guidelines, which say stuff like:

      ISP must also reference its online disclosures in relevant marketing materials, customer contracts, and terms of service.


      Clear and prominent disclosure of technical ITMPs on the websites of primary ISPs must be made a minimum of 30 days in advance of a new technical ITMP being implemented or an existing one being modified.

      I don't see how thing

  • a rule without sanctions is no rule at all, it's merely advice.
  • ...the regulations were passed under one party, and now another party is in power and has decided not to enforce those laws. Am I right?

    I have to wonder why any part of law enforcement is in the executive branch of government. Inevitably, the law becomes politicized as executive(s) selectively enforce(s) only the laws that will lead to re-election of his/her BFFs, especially when there's money involved (e.g. large corporations).

    Instead, maybe all law enforcement should be part of the judicial branch. And

  • Anyone else feel like we are on the verge of a revolution across the western world? Where the people finally say, enough of of this shit, we are not going to take the corporate overload crap anymore.
    Then again, maybe everyone will sit there and take it like always.

  • by SilverJets ( 131916 ) on Friday July 08, 2011 @04:27PM (#36699320) Homepage

    Everyone (well every Canadian at least) knows that the CRTC exists to serve the interests of Bell and Rogers. And it goes farther than just net neutrality complaints. Canadians are getting SCREWED by Bell and Rogers for pricing on internet access, data caps, cell phones plan pricing and options, and data plans.

    • by Phrogman ( 80473 )

      "The best government money can buy..."

      Expecting Harper's conservative government to do anything about this is just stupid. Harper and his cronies support the big businesses that got him elected and they can do no wrong. The man has the morals of a used-car salesman at best. I am ashamed my fellow Canadians elected him.

"Let every man teach his son, teach his daughter, that labor is honorable." -- Robert G. Ingersoll