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Bell Canada ends internet throttling in favor of usage-based billing

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ISP Bell Canada has announced that it will stop throttling peer-to-peer file-sharing next year. Instead, it will rely on usage-based billing to manage high-traffic users.

Internet Ethernet
Internet Ethernet

Here in the United States the net neutrality debate rages on, but Canadian internet users officially lost the battle three years ago. Now, however, one internet service provider, Bell Canada, has agreed to stop peer-to-peer throttling. In a letter to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), the ISP said that peer-to-peer file-sharing now takes up less bandwidth than streaming video and other services, making throttling it a lower priority. A new CRTC ruling also allows Bell to pass along more of its usage costs to independent ISPs that purchase its services, giving them less incentive to limit internet speeds.

Instead of throttling, Bell is adopting a solution that many US ISPs already use: managing bandwidth by imposing usage caps and charging for overages. The CRTC chairman has endorsed this method, saying that traffic management "should be done through transparent, economic means." This may be a victory for net neutrality, but it must feel a little hollow to those Bell subscribers paying $33.95 for 2GB of monthly usage.