interweb freedom

(formerly Stop Usage Based Billing)

Throttling PROVES that the Internet is NOT congested

Posted by Laurel L. Russwurm on September 3, 2009

No Usage Based Billing

No Usage Based Billing

A big part of the Bell Canada argument in favor of Usage Based Billing (and “Throttling”) is the idea that the internet is “congested”. This is pure fabrication.

It is simply not true.

If the internet was actually congested, if the internet was anywhere near full, throttling would be the last thing Bell Canada would do BECAUSE the act of throttling actually increases the consumption of bandwidth.

Every time Bell Canada engages in the process of “throttling”
Bell Canada is adding to the alleged internet congestion.

Bell Canada throttles by deliberately cluttering up the internet. Throttling does indeed slow your service down.

Throttling is done by slowing down your internet packets by disabling some of them, so you are forced to use more bandwidth. They stop your packet’s message from getting through. Bell Canada doesn’t remove the packet, it is still floating around on the internet. But this forces you to send a replacement packet that maybe this time Bell Canada will allow to get to its destination. So those disabled packets are now adding to the supposed congestion.

Of course the computer users can not see this. We don’t KNOW when Bell Canada is stopping out packets, or for that matter how many packets they are stopping. We just know its taking a long time.

In trying to understand this, I came up with the following analogy (a version was originally posted in the comments section of one of the CBC online stories, CRTC wants internet pricing answers from Bell).

Understanding Throttling: The Ice Cream Parlour Analogy

Say you went to an ice cream parlour and ordered a 2 scoop ice cream cone. The server scoops one scoop into your cone, throws a second scoop in the garbage and then places a third scoop on top of the first,. Then she hands you your 2 scoop cone along with a bill for 3 scoops.

THAT is what throttling is. If you’re transferring a 5 gigabyte file you might find yourself paying for 7 gigabytes of bandwidth. Up until now it has “only” had the impact of making Canadian internet users reach their bandwidth limits sooner. But with “Usage Based Billing” you will ALSO be paying for Bell’s deliberate bandwidth inflation, in other words the bandwidth they throw in the garbage (the 2nd scoop).

Lets try a long distance phone call analogy.

Say I want to make a 3 minute long distance phone call to my granny.

So I call her up on the telephone and say, “Hey Gran, what’s happening?”

But at this point, the phone company deliberately cuts off my connection.

So I have to call her back. Of course I do.  This time I say.

“Hey gran, it’s me. Sorry, I don’t know what happened. Anyway. I was wondering what you’re up to this weekend. Since Marv is in town I thought we could have a…”

WHOOPS. The phone company disconnects my call again. So I have to call back again. This time I say,

“Hey gran I’ll make it quick… we’re having a barbeque for Marv on Sunday… Can make it? Sure you can bring your beau. Ok, Jack’ll pick you up at 2. Bye.”

When the phone bill comes in, instead of paying for the three minute call I’ve budgeted for, thanks to the phone company’s deliberate interference, I end up paying for 5 minutes on the line with my gran rather than three.

This is how throttling works. Which is a compelling reason why Usage Based Billing should never have been approved. As long as Bell is “throttling” they are deliberately inflating customer usage numbers. Which means that when they implement Usage Based Billing, they will be fraudulently billing customers— with the permission of the CRTC.

The fact that we don’t understand the jargon is a big part of why Bell Canada (and the CRTC) think they can get away this. In self defense I’ve done some research and created a Glossary of UBB terms on my dedicated Stop Usage Based Billing blog:

Usage Based Billing: A Glossary

If CRTC does not understand these issues, why are they giving Bell Canada permission for implementation of them?

Don’t forget:
6325 signatures!

5 Responses to “Throttling PROVES that the Internet is NOT congested”

  1. […] Psst… Pass It On: Stop Usage Based Billing #12. Usage Based Billing: CRTC Complaints Department #13. Throttling PROVES that the Internet is NOT congested #14. Why Usage Based Billing Won't Bring Bell Canada The Profits They Expect #15. Dear Mr Harper […]

  2. […] Psst… Pass It On: Stop Usage Based Billing #12. Usage Based Billing: CRTC Complaints Department #13. Throttling PROVES that the Internet is NOT congested #14. Why Usage Based Billing Won't Bring Bell Canada The Profits They Expect #15. Dear Mr Harper […]

  3. […] Psst… Pass It On: Stop Usage Based Billing #12. Usage Based Billing: CRTC Complaints Department #13. Throttling PROVES that the Internet is NOT congested #14. Why Usage Based Billing Won't Bring Bell Canada The Profits They Expect #15. Dear Mr Harper […]

  4. Laurel L. Russwurm said

    Thanks Myles. I’ve tried to cover what appear to be the best ways to fight it. I still think the most important is to tell everyone you know who uses the internet.

    You can complain to the CRTC… The procedure to complain specifically about the Usage Based Billing decision is explained here:

    You can sign the petition at (8350 signatures and counting)

    You can contact your MP, as well as Minister James Moore, to whom the CRTC answers, or Minister Tony Clement, who is the current steward of the law under which the CRTC is supposed to operate, or of course you can contact Prime Minisrt Harper.

    Letters to the Editor of the newspaper of your choice can’t hurt, although depending on the paper, they may not see the light of day.

    CBC online has been covering the CRTC actions as well. It is entirely possible that thay are being very careful about reportage because the CRTC does hold so very much power over the electronic media. Hard to say; that’s speculation.

    But mostly, speak up. The more Canadians know, the better the prognosis.

  5. Myles Leach said

    I’m certainly glad that I followed the link you provided on your G&M post this morning. As a Bell subscriber I feel that I am already suffering from a reduced level of service on my home phone, cell phone and internet services. A few months ago a windstorm knocked out my phone service. Bell’s call centre in India told me that I would not have a service call for four days. After a lot of threatening and cajoling I received service three days later. This is unacceptable. My blackberry and my internet service are overpriced and inconsistent. Who do I turn to? Should I complain to the CRTC? There is a reason why we Canadians have the most expensive cell and internet services in the world: The CRTC is in the pocket of the “telcos”.
    After reading your blog I certainly have a better understanding of what “throttling” is, and how it is being used to rip off consumers. Thanks for the heads-up.

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