ARCHIVED - Telecom Commission Letter - 8622-C51-200805153

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Ottawa, 15 May 2008   

File No.: 8622-C51-200805153


Mr. Tom Copeland
Canadian Association of Internet Providers 

- and - 

Mr. Mirko Bibic
Chief, Regulatory Affairs
Bell Canada

Dear Mr. Copeland and Mr. Bibic:

Re:   Application requesting certain orders directing Bell Canada to cease and desist from "throttling" its wholesale ADSL Access Services

The Commission is in receipt of an application, dated 3 April 2008, made by the Canadian Association of Internet Providers (CAIP) pursuant to Part VII of the CRTC Telecommunications Rules of Procedure requesting that the Commission issue certain orders directing Bell Canada to cease and desist from "throttling" wholesale ADSL services and in particular, the wholesale service known as Gateway Access Service (GAS).

As part of its application, CAIP made a request for interim relief on an expedited basis. The Commission rendered its decision on this request for relief in Telecom Decision 2008-39.

In this letter, Commission staff sets out process associated with the disposition of CAIP's application on a final basis.

Commission staff notes that other parties have filed interventions with respect to CAIP's Part VII application.   These interventions will be considered in this proceeding only to the extent that they relate to the specific issues raised by CAIP in its application.

Commission staff has addressed interrogatories to CAIP and to Bell Canada to develop the record further.

Bell Canada is to file responses to interrogatories provided in Appendix 1 to this letter by 29 May 2008.

CAIP is to file responses to interrogatories provided in Appendix 2 to this letter by 29 May 2008.

Interested parties (other than Bell Canada and CAIP) may file with the Commission, serving a copy on Bell Canada and CAIP, comments with regard to the issues raised by CAIP in its application by 12 June 2008.

Bell Canada may file with the Commission, serving a copy on all other parties, its answer by 19 June 2008.

CAIP may file with the Commission, serving a copy on all other parties, a reply by 26 June 2008.

The Commission expects to issue a decision on the issues raised in CAIP's application within 90 days after the record closes.

Documents to be filed and served in accordance with the above process must be received, not merely sent, by the dates indicated.

Yours sincerely,

Paul Godin,
Director General, Competition, Costing and Tariffs


Appendix 1: Interrogatories to Bell Canada

1)   In paragraph 20 of Bell Canada 's Answer, the Company provided information about end users and peak-period traffic before it introduced its Internet traffic management solution.

a)  Bell Canada states that 5% of users were generating 60% of total traffic and 60% of that traffic was P2P traffic and Bell concludes that 95% of Bell subscribers were being negatively impacted.   Provide full rationale and evidence in support of Bell Canada 's view that 95% of its customers were being negatively affected.   In addition, clarify whether Bell Canada is concluding that 95% of its customers, or 95% of all retail IS end-users (that is, including customers of independent ISPs that use GAS to provide their high-speed retail Internet services) are negatively affected.

b)  Explain in detail how the values for total traffic and P2P traffic during the peak period were determined.   The explanation should describe how measurements were carried out, indicating the period of time over which measurements were taken, what peak period was used, whether a single sample or an average over multiple days (indicate number of days) was used.   The explanation should describe at what points (network elements, links) in the network supporting GAS and retail Internet access the measurements were taken. Provide rationale for why those points in the network were used.

c)   Explain in detail how Bell Canada determined the peak-period available bandwidth referred to in paragraph 20 of its Answer.   With reference to the network diagram that follows paragraph 19 of its Answer (which illustrates the path followed by end-user traffic using GAS or retail Internet access), describe at which network elements and links Bell Canada determines the available bandwidth.   Explain why particular network elements or links were used for determination of available bandwidth.

2)   In paragraphs 20 and 21 of Bell Canada 's Answer, the Company submitted that it had implemented its Internet traffic management solution to ease network congestion.

a)   Provide the criteria that Bell Canada uses to conclude that there is congestion in any network elements and links of its network used to provision high-speed access ( GAS and retail Internet access).

b)   Describe where congestion is occurring in Bell Canada 's network used to provision high-speed access.   The response should discuss which parts of the network (e.g central office DSLAM, aggregation network, BAS , backbone network) and which network elements or links within the different parts of the network are the sources of congestion.   The response should address any differences of the sources of congestion over different geographic regions of the network.

c)   Describe all other approaches, if any, considered by Bell Canada as an alternative to shaping P2P traffic to address the network congestion it described, and explain why each approach was rejected.   Include a discussion of the conditions under which Bell Canada would augment its network capacity to address congestion.   

d)   Refer to paragraph 20 of Bell Canada 's Answer. During peak periods before deployment of its traffic management solution, 60% of total traffic corresponded to 33% of available bandwidth.   Commission staff notes that 100% of the total traffic would correspond to 55% (100/60 x 33%) of the available bandwidth.   Provide a detailed explanation of why utilization of 55% of available bandwidth would require the use of traffic management to ease congestion.

e)   Provide data on the growth of traffic on Bell Canada 's network for supporting Internet access from 2004 to 2008, indicating the mix of P2P and Non-P2P traffic over time.   Further, describe to what extent Bell Canada has increased its network capacity to support the traffic growth.

3)   In Paragraphs 20 and 21 of its Answer, Bell Canada provided traffic statistics for peak periods and described the impacts of traffic management on peak period traffic.   Provide the following information to further clarify the impacts of traffic management:

a)   For each Period described below, provide the traffic volume information requested in the Table.   For each Period: treat all GAS cus tom ers as one ISP by aggregating the information associated with all ISPs that are GAS cus tom ers; and describe how the company has defined the Peak and associated Non-peak time periods, including the time periods associated with the information provided.   For Periods 2 and 3: provide the information requested for Peak and associated Non-peak time periods for all traffic handled by BAS equipped with activated DPI equipment; and use the most recent measurement period in each Period for which data is available.

Description of Periods is as follows: Period 1 - the most recent period prior to the deployment of P2P traffic shaping on 28 October 2007; Period 2 - a period during which Bell Canada shaped the P2P traffic of its Sympatico cus tom ers only; Period 3 - the period since 14 March 2007, when Bell Canada has also shaped the P2P traffic of end-users who are cus tom ers of ISPs that use its GAS .


Period 1
Period 2
Period 3
Period Date            
  Bell GAS Bell GAS Bell GAS
  Traffic Volume Traffic Volume Traffic Volume Traffic Volume Traffic Volume Traffic Volume
Peak Period:            
   Peak P2P            
   Peak Non-P2P            
Total Peak            
Non-Peak Period:            
   Non-Peak P2P            
   Non-Peak Non-P2P            
Total Non-Peak            
Total Traffic*            

*   Note:     "Total traffic" is the "Peak and Non-Peak Total" plus traffic handled by BAS not equipped with activated DPI equipment in the Period in question.

b)   For each measurement period used for Periods 2 and 3 above, provide the (i) number and percentage of BAS with activated DPI equipment and (ii) the total number of BAS .

c)   Provide the information requested in the Table in (a) above on a per-end user basis, using the approach described in (a) (i.e. treating all GAS cus tom ers as one ISP )

4)   Provide the company's response to CAIP's submission in paragraph 25 of its Reply.

5)   In paragraph 41 of its Answer, Bell Canada submitted it uses DPI "as part of its Internet traffic management solution".   Identify and describe the other parts of Bell Canada 's Internet traffic management solution.

6)   In paragraph 22 of its Answer, Bell Canada submitted that daily traffic reports and internal testing continue to confirm that VPN, VoIP and online streaming traffic are not being shaped or affected by its solution.   Describe fully how Bell Canada 's DPI equipment, and other parts of its Internet traffic management solution, work such that VoIP, VPN traffic and online streaming traffic should not be affected by its management of P2P traffic.

7)   In paragraph 14 of its Answer, Bell Canada submitted that "the actual content of the packet is not examined, just the protocol headers encapsulating the content".   Discuss whether the DPI technology deployed by Bell Canada has the capability to examine the content of the P2P traffic being shaped and to identify the sender and intended recipient.

8)   Provide Bell Canada 's response to CAIP's submission in paragraph 16 of its application that Bell Canada had violated a Commission order in failing to provide notice of network changes that could affect the performance of networks operated by CAIP's members.

9)   Provide, with reasons, Bell Canada 's views on the types of service provisioning changes, if any, related to GAS in respect of which it would be appropriate for Bell Canada to provide future advance notification to GAS cus tom ers.

Appendix 2: Interrogatories to CAIP

1)   In paragraph 92 of its Application, CAIP submitted that " Bell Canada is reducing the throughput available to the end-user cus tom ers of these [i.e. independent] ISPs by as much as 90 per cent".   Discuss whether the reduction in throughput submitted by CAIP is occurring on a consistent basis over time across its members' end-customers. In addition, describe the extent of the reduction. Include evidence and data in support of CAIP's response.

2)   In paragraph 103 of its Application, CAIP submitted that "To CAIP's knowledge, the applications that have been affected include practically all forms of file-sharing service and audio or video streaming services, such as Internet radio and YouTube." Provide all evidence in support of CAIP's claim that such applications have been affected.

3)   Provide evidence in support of CAIP's further submissions in paragraph 103 of its Application of (a) the "Loss of critical, time-sensitive functionality associated with the delivery of such services" and (b) that such losses "have degraded these services beyond their practical utility or desirability to end-user cus tom ers."

4)   Discuss whether any CAIP's member ISPs that use Bell Canada 's GAS to provide high-speed retail Internet services in Ontario and/or Quebec shape their end-cus tom ers' traffic and if so, how and why.   If any CAIP member ISPs do traffic shaping, specify how many of them do it.

5)   Describe how CAIP members determine the amount of bandwidth they require for AHSSPI interconnection.   Provide assumptions on bandwidth required per end user, maximum utilization of the AHHSPI, peak-period traffic to average traffic ratios, and any other relevant guidelines used in determinating bandwidth requirements.

Date Modified: 2008-05-15
Date modified: