The vast majority of Internet users are “hostages” to the five per cent who use bandwidth-hogging peer-to-peer applications, according to Bell Canada’s chief of regulatory affairs, and Bell’s controversial traffic shaping policies affect only those who use those applications to download movies and music.
Mirko Bibic said Monday that only five per cent of broadband subscribers use peer-to-peer applications, but their traffic amounts to more than half of traffic overall.
Bibic was responding to complaints from ISPs that Bell is manipulating traffic on lines they’ve wholesaled from Bell. Last week, the Canadian Association of Internet Providers filed an application with the CRTC for a cease-and-desist order, saying it’s a violation of Bell’s tariffs and an anti-competitive practice.
Bell has been slowing down “bandwidth-hogging” peer-to-peer traffic for its own Sympatico High-Speed retail customers for more than a month, and extended the policies to its wholesale customers at the end of March.
“Our network management initiative does not affect the vast majority of users,” Bibic said. “People need to keep in mind that 95 per cent of Internet users do not use peer-to-peer services. If you think about it, the hostages are the 95 per cent of users whose service gets deteriorated, whose speed gets constrained by those who consume tons of bandwidth. We feel we have an obligation to ensure the 95 per cent of users aren’t held hostage like this.”
Net Neutrality Resource Centre
The complaints, Bibic said, are coming from a small number of wholesalers. “It’s a very short list of people who are complaining about this. And it happens to be those people whose business model is based entirely on serving large bandwidth users, and the very same folks who refuse to build their own networks.”
Asked if serving high bandwidth users isn’t the basic business proposition behind offering broadband service, Bibic replied, “No, it isn’t.” Again, he pointed out the 95 per cent of broadband users who don’t use peer-to-peer services.
Bibic’s numbers came from a June 2006 presentation by network management company Sandvine Inc., which studied a sample pool of 2.4 million broadband subscribers through April of that year. It showed that peer-to-peer traffic ate up 55 per cent of the bandwidth used. The study also showed that peek usage times coincided with those for other applications.