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Bell Canada to End Internet Traffic Throttling

The Canadian phone giant tells the CRTC that the "increasing popularity of streamed video" sites like Netflix Canada has reduced network congestion from P2P file sharing.

TORONTO - Canadian phone giant Bell Canada has backed away from using Internet traffic-shaping technology to thwart bandwith hogs.

Bell Canada in a December 19 letter to the CRTC, the country’s telecom and TV regulator, pointed to a surprising reason for no longer slowing peer-to-peer file sharing in peak hours on digital platforms like BitTorrent from March 1, 2012.

It turns out Netflix Canada and other legitimate online streaming video sites are helping ease serial P2P file sharing north of the border.

“With the increasing popularity of streamed video and other traffic, P2P file-sharing, as a proportion of total traffic, has been diminishing,” Denis Henry, vp of regulatory and government affairs at Bell Aliant, and Phillipe Gauvin, Bell Canada counsel, said in their letter to the regulator made public by the OpenMedia.ca website Tuesday.

Bell Canada added that serial P2P file-sharing still fuels network congestion in peak hours.

“Nevertheless, and in light of the extensive investments the companies have made in additional network capacity... the companies will withdraw the shaping of P2P traffic on the companies' networks, with regards to both retail and wholesale traffic, effective March 1, 2012,” the letter stated.

The entry of Netflix Canada and other U.S. video streaming platforms into the Canadian market prompted public hearings by the CRTC on Internet pricing after larger Internet service providers like Bell Canada introduced usage-based caps to thwart heavy bandwith use by subscribers.

Bell Canada has since secured permission from the CRTC to introduce a dual billing system to charge independent Internet service providers for the use of their bandwidth networks.