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Canadian ISP Rogers Accused of Throttling Video Game Connections.

NOTE: This story has been updated. Please see the bottom of the story for additional developments.

We've all experienced periods of unexpected lag while playing online games. Often times we blame our hardware, or a congested server. But a recent complaint in Ontario against the Canadian Internet Service Provider (ISP) Rogers Communications suggests otherwise.

The Canadian Gamers Organization (CGO) has accused the large ISP of failing to provide accurate transparency with its Internet Traffic Management Programs (ITMP), otherwise known as Internet throttling. 

Jason Koblovsky, the groups founder & system analyst by profession, has been working with other members to test numerous games including Call of Duty Black Ops for the PS3 and World of Warcraft on the PC. The group feels they have found clear evidence of bandwidth restrictions, or "management" as the ISP's would like to spin it. 

A full history of the CGO's tests and letters can be found on the CGO forum

The letter submitted by the CGO this Tuesday relates to testing data Rogers was ordered to present in regards to limitations effecting connections to World of War Craft. It also deals with how the current "traffic-shaping" methods are potentially illegal under the CGO's interpretation of the Ontario Consumer Law which demands proper transparency and disclosure of throttling be made. The CGO also claims that the Rogers Communications website only lists peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing as a candidate for traffic shaping, when in there is evidence that it's actually throttling other kinds of traffic as well, including video game connections.

Being that Shogun Gamer is located in Vancouver I curious to find out what the impact of this complaint would have with Canadian provinces in the west coast.

[quote=Jason Koblovsky]Hey Corey, actually what we are doing here with Rogers and the CRTC should set a precedence for other ISPs as well. Even though Rogers is the focus of the attack here due to information they have released publicly admitting problems with ITMP software, the argument here is also very much about the CRTC enforcement of net neutrality policy, and how they are treating Canadian consumers on a whole. What we are doing here in Ontario will hopefully be felt out west as well.[/quote]

The Canadian Radio-television Communications Commission (CRTC) is a regulatory body designed to protect consumers in Canada from unfair media, broadcast and ISP policy; however, it has openly acknowledged it doesn't have the necessary tools to actually enforce or monitor these types of ISP claims. So, if the CRTC doesn't have the ability to monitor independent ISP bandwidth control policies, how would the average consumer who isn't a professional data analyst ever be expected to know they're being throttled? 

Back in March, Rogers even admitted that "traffic management systems" could effect online gameplay, but went on to say the issue would only happen when customers simultaneously used peer-to-peer programs while connected to a game.

Rogers claims their Internet Access Service Agreement is fully compliant with the Ontario Consumer Protection Act, the Telecommunications Act and operates within the CRTC' regulations. The same regulations which can not be backed up by any formal type of monitoring or enforcement.

[quote=Rogers Communications]This is why the CRTC investigations have not resulted in any findings that we are out of compliance. For additional background, we only manage upstream P2P traffic. This management ensures a high level of service for time-sensitive tasks such as sending email, requesting web pages, video conferencing and voice services. We manage the network to limit spam, viruses and other security threats. There are many things that can cause problems with games that are unrelated to our traffic management.[/quote]

Koblovsky and the OGC state this is not sufficient transparency, nor is it a fair or efficient management of bandwidth. 

You can read more about the OGC and read their newly formed Facebook group here.

[UPDATE 12:26 pm]

OGC member Teresa Murphy, who has been actively involved in testing and filing these complaints has updated us with some additional information regarding how Rogers may be trying to avoid fixing the problem.

[Quote=Teresa Murphy]All ITMP complaints made since CRTC Policy 2009-657 was created, are listed on Michael Geist's website here:

http://www.michaelgeist.ca/content/view/5918/135/

He did an Access to Information request for info regarding all ITMP complaints made. 2 of those complaints are from me. That page only shows my March submission to the CRTC showing how badly Rogers lied and tried to wiggle out of fixing the problem - it doesn't show my original complaint made in February.

Also doesn't show my May 31st complaint stating the issue wasn't fixed (it wasn't, because Rogers had only created the whitelist rules, they hadn't applied them yet to all DPI systems). As you can see from all the WoW-related complaints, I was urging wow users to make complaints to the CRTC on this issue - this was done on the Rogers forums, and on the WoW forums.[/quote]