CRTC says your slow online game play wasn’t your fault

these kids today. what happened to Galaga?In all the hubbub over the SOPA/PIPA protest last week, we missed a story that dropped Friday that is pretty important. Turns out that Rogers is throttling. Big surprise! And the CRTC does not like it one bit. Deets after the jump.

So the kids out there tell me that Call of Duty: Black Ops is a video game that can be played online. What will they think of next? Anyway, gamers who were Rogers customers noticed that their game play was pretty slow. The Canadian Gamers Organization was having none of that, so they filed a complaint with the CRTC. Sure, like that will do anything.

Well colour me impressed, because this new, generally consumer-friendly CRTC actually does things! It did an internal investigation with the assistance of Cisco, the megacorporation that makes the internet doohickeys Rogers uses. In a letter to Rogers sent Friday, the CRTC wrote:

Based on the preliminary results of our ongoing investigation, Commission staff is of the belief that Rogers Communications Inc. (“Rogers”) applies a technical ITMP to unidentified traffic using default peer-to-peer (“P2P”) ports

Yay, acronyms! “ITMP” in internet law / CRTC parlance is Internet Traffic Management Practice, which if you’ve been reading this blog you probably know by now. If you haven’t been reading the blog, it’s just a fancy term for throttling. If you don’t know what throttling is, well, here’s Wikipedia. Throttling is allowed by the CRTC, but only under certain circumstances and the CRTC has to approve it in advance. Here’s the policy outlining that if you want to read it to put yourself to sleep at night.

I had written back in November that the CRTC had turned over the Rogers file to its “compliance and enforcement” division, which at the time I wrote wasn’t as tough as it sounds. This letter is the result of that. But I will eat my words, for it looks like the those compliance and enforcement guys mean business:

Within two weeks, I look forward to you either presenting us with a rebuttal of our evidence or providing us with a plan to come into compliance with the Act. Failure to provide a meaningful rebuttal or an effective plan will result in my recommendation to Commissioners to hold a show-cause hearing.

Whoa whoa, two weeks? For a lawyer that’s barely enough time to order lunch, let alone plan a rebuttal or set out a plan. Nice job CRTC!

January 26th update – looks like Rogers will, in fact, be able to make the two week deadline. But what about lunch? A Rogers spokesperson said:

Our only goal in network management is to deliver a good experience for customers and we believe we are in compliance with CRTC regulations

If that ain’t spokesperson-speak, I don’t know what is.

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