The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) received 75 internet throttling complaints last year against (large and small) Internet service providers, some with multiple complaints.
The practice of traffic throttling leads to slow download speeds or trembling video streaming.
"There are providers who have had multiple complaints, but it does go the whole gamut of types of service providers," said Lynne Fancy, Director General of competition, Costing and Regulatory Implementation with the CRTC.
In a year-end status report, CRTC states that it received 75 complaints in 2012 and also measured how Internet service providers sometimes limit or slowdown traffic to manage their networks. More than half of the complaints came in the first three months of the year 2012, and then about 10 to 13 percent per quarter for the rest of 2012. Eleven active complaints as of Dec. 31 are still being investigated.
It is consumer's responsibility to report any traffic throttling complains to the CRTC, however, the process can be lengthy and complicated, noted Lindsey Pinto, communications manager with OpenMedia.ca, a non-profit advocacy organization.
"The CRTC doesn't really have strong compliance or enforcement on this so it's kind of up to the consumer to report to the CRTC when they see discriminatory practices taking place. We're going to continue to see problems until some kind of enforcement regime is put into place," she added.
The CRTC doesn't have any power to levy fine for traffic throttling on an Internet service provider, but CRTC's Fancy says "nothing stops us from continuing to investigate from our perspective if we would suspect that there was a trend or something's happening."
The CRTC doesn't have relative statistics for 2011, but from Oct. 1, 2009 to Sept. 30, 2011 it received 67 complaints about traffic throttling. The agency then issued an information bulletin to create awareness about its practice and policies with consumers.
Ever since, several internet service providers have changed their practices to the benefit of consumers.
In a well-known instance, the Canadian Gamers Organization complained that Rorgers Communication had been slowing down the traffic for online games, which the company admitted to. However, in the last June the CRTC stated that it was sure that Rogers has stopped slowing internet gaming activities on its network.
The CRTC is equipped to call for a detailed discussion on a complaint with an internet service provider, if the company fails to respond to a complaint about traffic management or doesn't meet the terms of the CRTC guidelines.
CRTC can also request for an on-site inspection, or a third party audit, or call an internet provider to a public hearing.
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