dslreports logo

story category
Bell Canada Offers 'Proof' Throttling Was Necessary
Responds to Canadian regulator demand for hard data...
by Karl Bode 06:19PM Tuesday Jun 24 2008
Bell Canada recently decided it would be a good idea to throttle P2P traffic before it hit independent wholesale ISP networks, without telling anyone about it. While it's fairly clear the move was aimed at ensuring that nobody could offer higher quality service than Bell Canada's Sympatico unit, Bell Canada proclaimed that the move was made necessary by out-of-control P2P traffic hijacking capacity.

Smaller Canadian ISPs turned to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) for help. While the CRTC did not grant the requested immediate relief to ISPs from Bell's throttling, the commission did request that Bell Canada provide proof that congestion made the move necessary. In filings, Bell Canada simply repeated talking points, claiming that actual network data constituted confidential trade secrets.

Click for full size
Last week the CRTC demanded the release of that data, and Bell complied this week via these filings (zipped .doc). In these latest filings, Bell offers a chart that proclaims to show the percentage of congested links (central office DSLAMs, aggregation network, BAS and backbone network). Though the data doesn't appear to show serious congestion, Bell insists it's all how you read it:
As can be observed in the table above, the total percentage of all four types of congested network links during a given month in the period in question has varied between 2.6% and 5.2%. While these numbers may seem low to the average lay person, they are significant to network traffic engineers such that it is important to consider the number of congested links in the proper context.
I'm still reading through the filings, but initial reaction to the filing among users and competitors in our forums range somewhere between a chortle and a guffaw. "I'm Just surprised they considered this "Confidential Trade Secrets"," says one user. "I guess the only secret they wanted hidden is that they have an under-used network capacity re-branded as congested beyond repair."

I'd be interested in seeing some opinions in our comment section from real network engineers in the industry.

68 comments .. click to read

Recommended comments

drop the crantini and move it, sister
Morristown, NJ

2 recommendations

Step 1:

Define congestion.

Without that, all these percentages are totally meaningless.

Not to mention that any "traffic engineer" can create congestion through inaction. Internet traffic is increasing. If you don't build your network at the same pace as everyone else, you will end up with overstuffed tubes. You might call that self-imposed congestion when you are a telco that owns the tubes.

This whole report looks like a total crock. Maybe they hired Arthur Andersen to do the numbers.
with every mistake we must surely be learning



2 recommendations

I figured it out

I know what happened, they mixed their percentages of congested lines up with their percentages of satisfied customers.