CRTC tells Rogers to stop slowing down the speed of online games

Canada’s telecommunications regulator on Friday told Rogers Communications Inc. to come up with plan before the end of the month to stop slowing down the speed of online games.

OTTAWA — Canada’s telecommunications regulator on Friday told Rogers Communications Inc. to come up with plan before the end of the month to stop slowing down the speed of online games.

In a letter to the telecom giant, the Canadian Radio-television Telecommunications Commission said the company’s own traffic management policy states online games, such as World of Warcraft, should not be throttled or slowed down, and would only be impacted if Rogers misclassifies the games or if other peer-to-peer applications were running at the same time.

The issue of traffic shaping has heated up in recent years as more consumers flock to the web to play games and watch shows and movies, which require more bandwidth. Internet Service Providers say they need to manage online traffic to deal with network congestion, so the CRTC has instituted a policy stipulating that the noticeable degradation of time-sensitive Internet traffic would require prior commission approval of the under Canada’s Telecommunications Act.

Citing this policy in its correspondence to Rogers, the commission requested that the company file a plan for resolving the possibility of misclassification of other interactive game traffic by 27 September 2011.

“Commission staff considers that Rogers should address and resolves this misclassification problem,” the correspondence, dated Sept. 16, states.

The plan, due in 11 days, should include specific steps and timelines for each step, the CRTC says.

“Commission staff also requests that Rogers provide a detailed report to the commission once the problem is resolved, demonstrating that the problem has been fixed.”

The Canadian Gamers Organization filed a complaint against Rogers last month, alleging the speed of Internet connections was being unfairly affected by the company’s traffic-throttling measures.

On Friday, the head of the group said he’s pleased with the commission’s response to the complaint.

However, Jason Koblovsky suspects the problem goes beyond Rogers, so he will ask the CRTC to broaden its probe.

“The Canadian Gamers Organization is pleased that the CRTC is now taking steps to actively address this issue with Rogers, however we suspect that other ISPs who use ITMP have the same issues. We are currently getting reports from our members that Shaw customers are also affected by misclassification. The CRTC has also been aware for quite some time that Bell Sympatico members have also experienced similar problems,” Koblovsky said Friday.

“We will be asking for the CRTC to broaden its investigation to ensure that solutions presented by Rogers in this case are implemented on those ISPs as well.”

The commissioner’s traffic-management framework requires companies to be transparent with their customers about their practices.

The CRTC’s framework also says traffic shaping should only be used as a last resort to deal with network congestion and encourages companies to use “economic measures,” such as data caps, to manage demand.

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