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TRANSCRIPT OF PROCEEDINGS BEFORE
THE CANADIAN RADIO-TELEVISION AND
Review of the Internet traffic management practices of Internet service providers
140 Promenade du Portage
July 13, 2009
In order to meet the requirements of the Official Languages
Act, transcripts of proceedings before the Commission will be
bilingual as to their covers, the listing of the CRTC members
and staff attending the public hearings, and the Table of
However, the aforementioned publication is the recorded
verbatim transcript and, as such, is taped and transcribed in
either of the official languages, depending on the language
spoken by the participant at the public hearing.
Canadian Radio-television and
Review of the Internet traffic management practices of Internet service providers
Konrad von Finckenstein Chairperson
Len Katz Commissioner
Suzanne Lamarre Commissioner
Candice Molnar Commissioner
Timothy Denton Commissioner
Sylvie Bouffard Secretary
Regan Morris Legal Counsel /
Chris Seidl Hearing Managers
140 Promenade du Portage
July 13, 2009
- iv -
TABLE OF CONTENTS
PAGE / PARA
Union des consommateurs 829 / 4718
Rogers Communications Inc. 862 / 4891
Quebecor Media, on behalf of Videotron ltée 937 / 5332
Shaw Communications Inc. 990 / 5598
--- Upon commencing on Monday, July 13, 2009 at 0902
4713 LE PRÉSIDENT : Bonjour.
4714 Madame la Secrétaire, commençons.
4715 LA SECRÉTAIRE : Merci, Monsieur le Président.
4716 Nous débuterons la journée six de notre audience avec l'item 24 à l'ordre du jour.
4717 J'inviterais maintenant l'Union des consommateurs à faire sa présentation. M. Anthony Hémond comparaît pour l'Union des consommateurs, et il nous présentera son collègue. Vous aurez 10 minutes pour votre présentation.
4718 M. HÉMOND : Bonjour. Je vous présente le professeur Mark Coates de l'Université McGill, expert en réseaux de communication, et je suis Anthony Hémond, avocat, analyste en télécommunication à Union des consommateurs.
4719 D'après les observations fournies par nombre de grands fournisseurs de services Internet lors de ces audiences, il n'existerait aucune définition de la congestion. Seulement, existe-t-il véritablement de la congestion sur les réseaux? L'on peut sérieusement douter, comme le professeur Coates vous l'expliquera.
4720 Admettons hypothétiquement qu'il y ait de la congestion, quelles en sont les causes?
4721 Les grands fournisseurs de services Internet, comme un seul homme, ont tous montré du doigt les applications peer-to-peer comme la cause de ces congestions. Cependant, la compagnie Arbor, qui fournit la solution Deep Packet Inspection à Bell, a mentionné dans ses observations au Conseil d'autres causes de la congestion des réseaux.
4722 LE PRÉSIDENT : Est-ce que vous pouvez ralentir parce qu'on a des traductions? Les traducteurs ne peuvent pas parler si vite.
4723 M. HÉMOND : Très bien. Merci.
"Congestion should be defined in an ISP's network to mean when arbitrary packets are discarded due to contention or over-subscription on the network." (Tel que lu)
4724 C'est écrit noir sur blanc, les causes de la congestion sont la contention et le surabonnement pratiqués par les Compagnies. On remarquera que les Compagnies n'ont jamais été appelées à se justifier sur ces deux éléments, qui seraient, en fait, les éléments réellement susceptibles de causer la congestion, contrairement à certaines applications.
4725 Aujourd'hui, les abonnés qui souhaitent utiliser leur connexion qu'ils paient tous les mois se voient limiter leur utilisation Internet. En effet, les Compagnies répondent que ce n'est pas possible d'utiliser toute la connexion disponible parce que le réseau est congestionné. Ou les Compagnies auraient-elles, sans investir suffisamment de capacité de réseau, vendu plus de bande passante qu'elles disposaient réellement?
4726 Est-ce dire que les Compagnies sont les artisans de leur propre malheur? Certainement, mais il serait inacceptable de leur permettre d'imposer des solutions néfastes telles que les pratiques de gestion du réseau qui limitent certaines applications pour remédier à la situation.
4727 Rappelons que : Nemo auditur propriam turpitudinem allegans.
4728 Le Conseil explique dans sa décision de politique réglementaire de radiodiffusion CRTC 2009-329, paragraphe 11 :
"Des technologies de diffusion d'un contenu de radiodiffusion d'excellente qualité sur les plateformes néomédiatiques sont aujourd'hui disponibles dans le commerce."
4729 Le problème avec la gestion du trafic Internet proposée par les Compagnies, c'est que les Canadiens risquent de ne pouvoir accéder à ces plateformes parce que certaines Compagnies de fourniture de services Internet ralentissent les connexions Internet.
4730 De plus, les Compagnies font payer au consommateur au prix fort leur utilisation de bande passante avec les nouveaux modèles proposés de facturation.
4731 Il faut accroître la présence de contenu canadien sur Internet. Encore faut-il que les Canadiens puissent y avoir accès. Les pratiques néfastes de gestion du trafic Internet sont les conséquences d'un manque de concurrence dans le secteur des télécommunications et de la convergence.
4732 Le Conseil va devoir évaluer l'impact de la convergence sur la structure des sociétés, sur la technologie et sur la clientèle. Dans ce contexte, il lui faudra tenir compte de multiples facteurs complexes, y compris, entre autres, la concentration de la propriété, la neutralité d'Internet, la qualité du service et son prix abordable, la libre concurrence, la protection du consommateur et la protection de sa vie privée.
4733 La véritable question n'est pas de savoir s'il faut réguler ou pas les pratiques de gestion du trafic Internet, le véritable problème ici en étant le contrôle sur les marchés de la radiodiffusion et des télécommunications. Les mêmes entreprises qui contrôlent les revenus de la radiodiffusion contrôlent les revenus d'accès Internet et ceux des télécommunications sans fil.
4734 Pour prendre votre décision concernant les pratiques de gestion du trafic Internet, vous devez tenir compte de l'ensemble de ces facteurs. Votre décision doit être fondée sur une vision globale du secteur des communications et non pas uniquement sur l'accès Internet.
4735 Si les applications peer-to-peer sont l'objet des pratiques de gestion du trafic Internet actuellement, c'est, comme le souligne la FCC, parce que celles-ci s'attaquent aux revenus de la radiodiffusion des Compagnies précédemment mentionnées.
4736 La Federal Communications Commission dans l'affaire Comcast a mentionné :
"Peer-to-peer applications, including those relying on BitTorrent, have become a competitive threat to cable operators such as Comcast because Internet users have the opportunity to view high-quality video with BitTorrent that they might otherwise watch (and pay for) on cable television. Such video distribution poses a particular competitive threat to Comcast's video-on-demand service."
4737 Ces attaques envers ces applications sont également motivées par des raisons économiques n'ayant strictement rien à voir avec la congestion des réseaux. Aujourd'hui, pourquoi le peer-to-peer est-il aussi la cible des Compagnies? Parce qu'elles souhaitent maintenir un système de discrimination des prix qui sont à leur avantage bien plus qu'à celui des consommateurs. Les revenus par Megabyte en fonction du service illustrent bien ce fait.
4738 Les revenus des trois premiers services mentionnés dans le tableau précédemment sont tous menacés par les applications peer-to-peer innovantes. La gestion du trafic Internet proposée par ces quelques Compagnies ne répond en aucune façon aux exigences nouvelles des abonnés.
4739 De plus, le ralentissement de certaines applications ne fait que nuire à l'établissement d'une nouvelle gamme de services innovants comme ceux proposés par la société Zip.ca qui a témoigné plus tôt la semaine précédente ou comme les projets d'utilisation de BitTorrent par la Canadian Film and Television Production Association ou la CBC.
4740 Par le passé, le Conseil a généralement appuyé les projets d'implantation de nouvelles technologies mis de l'avant par les compagnies de téléphone. Il reconnaît que l'infrastructure des télécommunications doit toujours évoluer afin de satisfaire aux exigences nouvelles des abonnés de résidence, d'affaires et institutionnelles relativement à l'expansion de la gamme des services.
4741 Les tentatives visant à limiter, pour des motifs d'ordre technologique, les services que les compagnies de téléphone peuvent distribuer ne feraient que ralentir la conception de services perfectionnés et innovateurs. C'est la décision Télécom CRTC 94-19, examen du cap de réglementation.
4742 Les Compagnies viendront, par la suite, arguer qu'elles ne peuvent investir pour augmenter la capacité des réseaux, ce qui est fallacieux, et ce, d'autant plus que des exemples dans d'autres pays ont prouvé le contraire.
4743 Free en France ou Cablevision, voire Verizon, aux États-Unis proposent des services Internet illimités pour certains à plus de 100 Megabits par seconde et s'en portent économiquement fort bien, malgré l'investissement que ces services ont requis ou grâce à lui.
4744 Ainsi, si certaines entreprises refusent d'investir et nuisent au développement des télécommunications au Canada, il appartient au Conseil d'examiner d'autres modèles et solutions utilisés à l'étranger pour satisfaire les exigences des objectifs de la Politique canadienne de télécommunication.
4745 Le Conseil, dans son rapport de surveillance, précise :
"En vertu de ce principe, les divisions Réseaux des titulaires doivent devenir des unités autonomes, et l'exploitant titulaire doit fournir sans discrimination des services de gros à lui-même et à ses fournisseurs de communications rivaux pour favoriser une saine compétition dans la prestation de services de détail aux particuliers et aux entreprises."
4746 Cette séparation fonctionnelle aurait pour effet de mettre un terme au conflit dans les services de gros d'accès Internet quant aux vitesses proposées par les entreprises ou encore même la possibilité d'accéder aux réseaux de nouvelles générations.
4747 Enfin, je terminerai par cette citation de British Telecom :
"It's up to us at the core of the network to make sure there is enough bandwidth."
4748 MR. COATES: Good morning.
4749 The Presence of Congestion.
4750 Network congestion arises when a large traffic load is concentrated on a link so that the quality of service deteriorates for the competing flows. Two metrics used to detect and define congestion are the rate of dropped packets and the average queuing delay.
4751 When a flow experiences packet drops or high delays, the Transmission Control Protocol, TCP, reduces its rate. This lessens congestion but it means that all the competing flows have a lower rate. This rate may not be sufficient for some time-sensitive applications.
4752 In order to motivate the network-management method of throttling a specific application, there should be clear measurement-based evidence that there is congestion in the network, time-sensitive applications are experiencing unsatisfactory quality of service, and the throttled application is a significant cause of the congestion.
4753 There is little publicly available empirical evidence that these conditions exist. Utilization data cannot be accurately mapped to average loss rate or delay metrics, nor does it provide any information about the impact on time-sensitive applications. It is not clear from the presented data that peer-to-peer applications are the primary cause of the congestion, if it does exist.
4754 The Absence of Exponential Traffic Growth.
4755 The emerging data on traffic volumes does not show the exponential growth that was predicted in 2006 and 2007.
4756 The attached data of Perkins Human Usage in the Bell network shows a clear linear trend over the past five years. Monthly average usage increased consistently by slightly under 2 gigabytes each year until 2008 when there was virtually no increase. The rate of growth is clearly decreasing.
4757 Similar results have been observed by researchers at the University of Minnesota and in a recent Japanese measurement study of six ISPs, the latter reporting an average growth rate in residential broadband traffic of only 27 percent over the last three years, with peer-to-peer traffic volume growing at an even smaller rate.
4758 Network Management Options.
4759 The modest growth rates in usage suggest that increasing network traffic can be accommodated by reasonable increases in network capacity. If network management is viewed as necessary, there are several options that do not involve application-specific throttling.
4760 During period of congestion, it is feasible to control the rates of individual users, reducing the rates of high-volume flows irrespective of the protocol employed. Differentiated service architectures provide a mechanism for prioritizing low-volume time-sensitive traffic.
4761 Packet Classification: Deep versus Shallow.
4762 In order to apply throttling mechanisms to a specific application it is necessary to classify each flow. The method used by most ISPs is Deep Packet Inspection. This involves processing the payload and the application layer header, searching for known signatures associated with specific applications.
4763 It should be noted that the existence of the application layer header is debatable since it is not specified in the OSI model. This raises privacy concerns, threatens robustness by violating layer design principles and promotes the practice of data encryption.
4764 Shallow Packet Inspection does not involve any examination of packet payloads. Instead, statistical features are collected for each flow. Based on these features, the flows can be classified into application classes.
4765 Experimental studies have shown that this classification approach can be very accurate but the classes must be more general.
4766 Shallow Packet Inspection is a viable alternative to Deep Packet Inspection. The classes are sufficiently specific for network management. The technique alleviates any privacy concerns and it is unaffected by payload encryption.
4767 Working with Peer-to-Peer Applications.
4768 ISPs can adopt positive approaches to improve the way peer-to-peer applications operate, benefiting both the users and the access network.
4769 The P4P Project promotes cooperation between peer-to-peer applications and the ISP. The proposed P4P architecture and other techniques for proximity-based peer selection result in much more localized exchange of data.
4770 Field testing indicate that the methods both improved the performance perceived by the user and reduced cross-ISP traffic and the load on ISP aggregation links.
4771 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much for your presentation.
4772 Premièrement, ça fait beaucoup d'années que j'ai pris le latin. Est-ce que vous pouvez me donner une traduction du paragraphe 7?
4773 M. HÉMOND : Oui. Nul ne peut invoquer sa propre turpitude.
4774 LE PRÉSIDENT : Pardon?
4775 M. HÉMOND : Nul ne peut invoquer sa propre turpitude.
4776 LE PRÉSIDENT : Vous dites dans le paragraphe 11 que :
"Les pratiques néfastes de gestion du trafic Internet sont les conséquences d'un manque de concurrence dans le secteur des télécommunications et de la convergence."
4777 Franchement, pourquoi croyez-vous que plus de concurrence évitera les problèmes de congestion? Je ne vois pas nécessairement la connexion entre l'une et l'autre.
4778 M. HÉMOND : Actuellement, les entreprises qui contrôlent les infrastructures de télécommunication contrôlent également les revenus et les abonnés qui proviennent de la radiodiffusion.
4779 A ce moment-là, si l'on permet une plus grande concurrence au niveau des télécommunications pour obtenir des services plus innovants à des compagnies qui pourraient fournir également des services qui seraient différents, comme IPTV, qui, à ce moment-là, permettrait également d'avoir des moyens de radiodiffusion, on permettrait d'avoir de nouvelles façons de concurrencer les grandes entreprises qui ont la mainmise sur à la fois la radiodiffusion et sur les télécommunications.
4780 LE PRÉSIDENT : Notamment, vous croyez que si on avait plus de concurrence, on aurait plus d'infrastructures?
4781 M. HÉMOND : On peut investir de telle façon à ce qu'on améliore les infrastructures, par exemple, avec la séparation fonctionnelle, en permettant aux entreprises d'avoir accès au réseau lui-même.
4782 LE PRÉSIDENT : O.K.
4783 Professor Coates, in paragraph 28 you mentioned all sorts of -- you say that should be clear measurement-based evidence for congestion and you then elaborate three different categories.
4784 Is that kind of data available right now?
4785 MR. COATES: I haven't seen this type of data being publicly available.
4786 THE CHAIRPERSON: But is it collectable, do the Companies collect it or is it economically unfeasible to collect it? I hear that you would like to see this data. What I am trying to see is do we actually know that somebody collects it, it makes sense to collect it or no? Because it strikes me it is going to be very granular, what you are suggesting here.
4787 MR. COATES: It is certainly collectable. It is definitely more expensive to collect than the utilization data which is made publicly available usually. But the devices do exist where you can do measurement studies to collect this type of data. Whether the Companies do it or not, I am not --
4788 THE CHAIRPERSON: We will find out. I will ask them.
4789 MR. COATES: Yes, they may well do it.
4790 THE CHAIRPERSON: And the Shallow Packet Inspection, you are the first person who mentions Shallow Packet Inspection. Is this being practised right now by anyone?
4791 I understood that for control flow management and congestion management actually everybody uses Deep Packet Inspection. You are suggesting in paragraph 31 that there are some problems with Deep Packet Inspection and suggest that they should resort to Shallow Packet Inspection.
4792 To your knowledge, is that being employed right now by people successfully?
4793 MR. COATES: To my knowledge, in practice, I am not aware that anyone is using it exclusively.
4794 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes.
4795 MR. COATES: As far as I know, it is built in, to some extent, to the Deep Packet Inspection, some of the Deep Packet Inspection devices, in that when they encounter encrypted flows they have to do something beyond signature-based methods and there, there are what you would label Shallow Packet Inspection, looking at the statistical features of the flows instead of signatures embedded in the payload.
4796 THE CHAIRPERSON: So there is no person you can point to as a model, saying they use Shallow Packet Inspection and they actually manage their network that way?
4797 MR. COATES: I cannot point to a company that has done that.
4798 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right. Okay, thank you.
4799 Tim, you have some questions?
4800 COMMISSIONER DENTON: Yes, thank you very much.
4801 Gentlemen, just to get it clear, I am going to propose to you that these are your recommendations and tell me if you want to contradict or add to them.
4802 First, the basic problem is to increase network capacity; second, there should be no application-specific measures; and three, if all else fails, there needs to be structural separation between the wholesale and retail arms. Is that complete or accurate?
4803 MR. HÉMOND: Yes, it is good. Vous avez mentionné des bons points.
4804 COMMISSIONER DENTON: Okay, thank you.
4805 Next, various ISPs have come before us to say that if there is going to be network control it should be exercised by the retailer of ISP services, not the wholesaler. Do you have any comments on the appropriateness of exercising it either at the retail or the wholesale end?
4806 M. HÉMOND : Ce n'est pas une opposition à gérer le trafic pour que ce soit au service de détail ou par les grands fournisseurs, le problème étant de s'attaquer à certaines applications et de donner des motifs qui ne se sont pas avérés.
4807 Donc, que des entreprises gèrent le trafic pour améliorer la situation ou éviter tout problème de congestion, oui, à ce moment-là, que ça soit au service de détail ou après, il faut éviter les problèmes, mais là, le problème étant que les raisons données sont loin d'être évidentes.
4808 CONSEILLER DENTON : La dernière phrase, s'il vous plaît?
4809 M. HÉMOND : Les raisons données sont loin d'être évidentes et prouvées.
4810 CONSEILLER DENTON : O.K. Merci.
4811 J'ai des questions, quelques questions détaillées, sur vos soumissions.
4812 A votre paragraphe 67, vous dites que :
"Le Conseil n'impose aux fournisseurs de services Internet aucune obligation d'information, ni aucune obligation de veiller à ce que le service vendu soit pleinement utilisable par le consommateur tel que vendu." (Tel que lu)
4813 Est-ce que des avis provenant des FSI suffiraient pour répondre aux préoccupations concernant les pratiques appropriées de gestion du trafic Internet?
4814 M. HÉMOND : C'est une première étape, avec une amélioration de la concurrence dans les services, pour permettre aux consommateurs, à ce moment-là, de choisir le service qui lui convient et d'aller vers des compagnies qui, à ce moment-là, ne font pas de ralentissement des applications.
4815 Mais cette information est essentielle pour avoir une décision éclairée pour les consommateurs, notamment, également, de savoir quelles sont les vitesses fournies. S'il y a des minimums, s'il y a des applications qui sont, malheureusement ralenties ou autre, à ce moment-là, que le consommateur quitte cette entreprise et aille vers une entreprise qui le satisfasse.
4816 CONSEILLER DENTON : O.K. Merci.
4817 Au paragraphe 79 :
"Les limites d'usage, une inspection approfondie des packets et le surabonnement ne favorisent pas l'innovation." (Tel que lu)
4818 Avez-vous des observations concernant la fourniture de services innovateurs fondés sur la qualité au moyen de pratiques de gestion du trafic Internet?
4819 M. HÉMOND : Je ne comprends pas la fin de la question. C'est-à-dire est-ce que vous voulez améliorer le trafic Internet dans le sens de la gestion du trafic?
4820 CONSEILLER DENTON : Je pense que la question -- I will just switch to English.
4821 I think the question has to do with the question of whether traffic management interferes with innovation.
4822 M. HÉMOND : Oui. Alors, dans les observations aujourd'hui, dans notre présentation, par exemple, les applications peer-to-peer peuvent servir justement à diffuser des contenus de façon beaucoup plus large. Si on les ralentit, on va nuire à cette innovation et à la possibilité d'autres entreprises de fournir des services innovants.
4823 Aux États-Unis, on a l'exemple de la plateforme Hulu, et puis il y a d'autres services comme ça. Si on s'attaque à une application, on va l'empêcher d'avoir des solutions innovantes dans le futur, des services innovants.
4824 Le peer-to-peer peut servir également à envoyer des messages textes. Il peut servir sur le réseau de télécommunications sans fil. Il y a de nombreuses applications possibles. Il sert également dans la recherche scientifique. C'est véritablement une solution comme une autre, mais si on s'attaque à elle, on va brider l'innovation et la possibilité de voir de nouveaux services émerger.
4825 CONSEILLER DENTON : Enfin, serait-il vrai de dire que votre position, c'est que le problème de gestion du trafic Internet est créé par un manque suffisant de concurrence économique au niveau des réseaux?
4826 M. HÉMOND : Notamment, oui. Effectivement, et, en plus, accentuer par le fait que les mêmes entreprises qui détiennent les services de télécommunication, la plupart des revenus de fourniture de services Internet, sont également les entreprises qui ont énormément d'intérêt dans tout ce qui est la radiodiffusion, entreprises de câble et entreprises de satellite. Donc là, il y a des intérêts qui peuvent être conflictuels.
4827 CONSEILLER DENTON : Merci. Un instant.
4828 COMMISSIONER DENTON: Professor Coates, is there anything you would like to add for your final take-away message that you would like to leave us? I find it useful to let people give us a message if you want to give it. So now is your time.
4829 MR. COATES: My message would be that I think there really needs to be some clear measurement studies that establish exactly what is going on inside the networks and maybe this data does exist. I haven't seen it being publicly available.
4830 There needs to be a better understanding of what are the root causes of the congestion and whether the congestion is causing problems in the networks and I think the investigation of the efficacy of Shallow Packet Inspection is something worth exploring because it would indeed eliminate any of these privacy concerns and stop driving peer-to-peer applications towards adopting means to counter the Deep Packet Inspection that is going on.
4831 COMMISSIONER DENTON: I haven't had the opportunity to look at Professor Odlyzko's MINTS studies. Are they of any use to you in terms of getting at the data you are looking for?
4832 MR. COATES: The studies there are very much utilization and usage based. So, they're really looking at how traffic in general is growing. It's collected at very cost volumes.
4833 It is not looking at how specific applications are interacting with each other, what delays are being experienced, whether time sensitive traffic is actually being jeopardized by large volumes of peer-to-peer traffic or whether streaming video traffic is starting to take over.
4834 This sort of data doesn't really seem to exist because in order to get it you really need to draw down to a link on an ISP and then, of course, there are all sorts of concerns with confidentiality of the data and whether it's a commercial sensitivity.
4835 COMMISSIONER DENTON: Okay. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Those are my questions.
4836 THE CHAIRMAN: Suzanne?
4837 CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE: Merci, monsieur le président. Bonjour, monsieur.
4838 J'ai quelques questions très ciblées suite aux réponses que vous avez données au président et au conseiller Denton. Alors, ne soyez pas surpris s'il ne semble pas y avoir de suite logique entre mes différentes questions, c'est parce que le reste est clair.
4839 La première a trait à une affirmation que vous avez faite dans votre présentation au paragraphe 22. Bon, vous avez mentionné, là, que les compagnies viendront par la suite arguer qu'elles ne peuvent investir pour augmenter la capacité des réseaux.
4840 Et, par la suite, et c'est effectivement... on a effectivement entendu un argument à l'effet, de la part des compagnies, que inverser dans les réseaux, bon, c'est coûteux, ça prend du temps et ce n'est pas nécessairement la seule solution.
4841 Et, en comparaison, vous nous citez des exemples en France et aux États-Unis et vous n'êtes pas les premiers, là, à citer des exemples qui viennent de l'extérieur.
4842 Mais à chaque fois qu'on voit de tels exemples, il y a toujours pas deux erreurs, mais deux fautes dans ces exemples-là qui nous sont fournis et que, moi, j'estime sont les suivantes et que j'aimerais que vous adressiez si c'était possible.
4843 C'est que, d'une part, évidemment, on nous donne toujours des exemples d'États dont les territoires sont beaucoup moins étendus que le territoire canadien et, d'autre part, ce sont aussi des territoires qui sont beaucoup plus densément peuplés que le Canada.
4844 Alors, est-ce qu'il n'y aurait pas quand même des particularités pour les compagnies canadiennes ici quand vient le temps, justement, d'investir dans le déploiement d'infrastructure?
4845 M. HEMOND: Je vais vous répondre, si l'on regarde d'autres chiffres, notamment la densité des populations urbaines, il est beaucoup plus facile d'investir dans des zones où on va avoir beaucoup de clients et aussi, on regarde par rapport à d'autres pays qui pourraient nous servir de référence, notamment les pays scandinaves.
4846 On voit que ces pays ont investi massivement dans les nouvelles technologies et arrivent à connecter leurs populations avec des faibles taux de densités également à l'échelle de leur pays parce qu'elles sont concentrées dans des milieux urbains.
4847 Donc, il est possible pour les compagnies d'investir au niveau des grandes agglomérations pour pouvoir permettre de fournir des services de nouvelles générations dans les réseaux et si vous voulez comparer à des pays, effectivement, on pourrait comparer à la Suède, notamment, qui est disposée dans les chiffres de l'OCDE, étant des pays notamment leaders.
4848 Donc, effectivement, les comparaisons pourraient être là si vous le souhaitez.
4849 CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE: Oui, mais encore là, la comparaison demeure dans un sens ou l'autre; c'est-à-dire, par exemple, dans le cas de la Suède, oui, c'est un pays... ou même la Norvège, c'est un pays qui n'est pas densément peuplé, mais dont l'espace n'est pas densément peuplé et beaucoup plus réduit par rapport à celui au Canada.
4850 Et quand on parle de zone urbaine, oui, tout le monde va s'entendre que, effectivement, c'est plus facile en zone urbaine, mais il faut qu'on se préoccupe aussi de l'accès pour tous les Canadiens.
4851 M. HEMOND: Oui. Alors, on peut également regarder le plan en Australie qui a été déposé récemment avec une densité de population également très faible et qui pourrait se comparer assez au Canada et leur plan vise à fournir d'ici trois ans des vitesses de connexion pour les nouveaux réseaux de 100 mégabites par seconde pour 90 pour cent de la population et, effectivement, en zone éloignée on serait à 10 mégabites par seconde.
4852 Donc, si on veut comparer, voilà, ce serait un bon exemple.
4853 CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE: Donc, malgré le fait qu'il n'y a aucun autre territoire qui se compare à celui du Canada avec le taux de population qui s'y trouve, ce que vous me présentez c'est qu'il y a quand même moyen de s'inspirer d'autres exemples qui sont peut-être un peu plus ciblés mais qui peuvent, dans certaines circonstances s'appliquer?
4854 M. HEMOND: Il y a toujours des solutions à tous les problèmes et il faut savoir comment s'attaquer au problème, analyser les causes du problème et y remédier. Et, là, il y a des possibilités, effectivement, de trouver des solutions et de s'inspirer de ce qui se fait à l'étranger pour que le Canada retrouve une place de leader dans les communications et les télécommunications.
4855 COMMISSIONER LAMARRE: Mr. Coates, staying with the presentation, starting from paragraph 31 and moving on, when you talk about shallow inspection, I want to make sure I understood correctly the answer you gave to our chairman here.
4856 I would like to understand that shallow inspection is actually the first step in deep packet inspection and what you are proposing is that the ISPs stay with that level of inspection?
4857 MR. COATES: And so, I think shallow packet inspection is actually the second step in deep packet inspection.
4858 You can definitely do much more detailed and it certainly must be said, more reliable classification if you see as deterministic signature in the packet payload, this is exactly a bit term packet because I see the sequence of bites.
4859 Then, if you happen to encounter encrypted payload so that you really can't tell, based on the bites inside what's going on, then you may resort to statistical features of how many packets are arriving, which directions are they travelling and how large are the packets.
4860 These are all things you don't need to look at the actual bites inside the payload.
4861 So, as a secondary measure inside the devices, shallow packet inspection is employed and I guess my suggestion is that based on the measurement studies that have been done over five years more in the academic world, it seems that shallow packet inspection is very effective. You're getting over 95 per cent accuracy classification of flows without resorting to looking inside the packets.
4862 So, it hasn't been used commercially as far as I am aware, beyond this secondary measure inside deep packet inspection devices.
4863 CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE: Au niveau de votre présentation de votre soumission initiale, monsieur Hemond, aux paragraphes 48 et suivants, en réponse, là, à une question du Conseil sur la possibilité d'utiliser comme méthode des surcharges relatives à l'utilisation excédentaire de la vente passante, là, vous en avez parlé brièvement dans votre présentation.
4864 Mais dans votre soumission, quand je la lis, ça me donne l'impression que vous faites l'apologie d'un format unique pour tous et je comprends, là, le bénéfice que ça peut avoir, mais en même temps, je reste aussi sous l'impression que ça peut créer un autre type d'iniquité pour les consommateurs, et je vous explique, là, ce à quoi je pense.
4865 C'est qu'à partir du moment où on a un format unique ou des frais uniques d'abonnements mensuels, peu importe l'utilisation qu'on en fait, mais les frais uniques sont basés sur une moyenne. Dans la moyenne, il y a des gens qui utilisent moins, il y a des gens qui utilisent plus, il y a des gens qui utilisent de façon abusive.
4866 Donc, les gens qui utilisent moins, étant donné qu'ils paient la même moyenne que tout le monde, se trouvent à subventionner de façon indirecte les gens qui utilisent plus ou les gens qui utilisent de façon abusive.
4867 Et parmi ces gens-là qui utilisent moins que la moyenne, il y en a qui ont des revenus plus élevés, mais il y en a qui ont des revenus moins élevés et qui se trouvent à subventionner, parfois, des gens qui utilisent de façon excessive ou de façon plus grande et qui, eux, ont des revenus plus élevés.
4868 Alors, comment est-ce qu'on fait pour se sortir de ce dilemme-là parce que, oui, un format pour tous, c'est bien, ça permet d'avoir des fois un service abordable, mais en même temps ce n'est pas nécessairement équitable au niveau de l'utilisation.
4869 M. HEMOND: C'est vrai pour d'autres services, notamment les services de Santé. On pourrait également faire la comparaison en disant qu'il y en a qui utilisent plus les services de santé que d'autres. On dit, c'est...
4870 CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE: On peut faire aussi la comparaison avec d'autres services de télécommunications. Par exemple, le service de téléphonie interurbain pour lequel on...
4871 M. HEMOND: Évidemment. Vous pouvez penser au local aussi.
4872 CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE: Au local aussi?
4873 M. HEMOND: Oui, mais vous payez... pour le local, vous payez un mensuel et puis, ensuite, c'est limité au local. Pourtant, il y a des gens qui pourraient passer du temps à téléphoner pendant toute la journée au local et puis ils bloqueraient d'autres personnes qui téléphoneraient.
4874 Vous savez très bien que le réseau de télécommunications du téléphone est identique, si on peut faire une analogie à celui de l'internet. Si toutes les personnes venaient à téléphoner en même temps, les lignes seraient saturées et bloquées. Donc, il y a des personnes qui peuvent payer localement leur abonnement de téléphone et passer toute la journée au téléphone et voilà...
4875 CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE: Mais, là, si on transpose cette comparaison-là à l'international, c'est partout comme ça. Au Canada, c'est... en Amérique du nord c'est relativement unique, là.
4876 Mais là où je veux en venir, c'est que vient un moment où il faut aller chercher une équité à un moment donné où, peut-être, il faut qu'il y ait une question d'utilisateur-payeur. Et je pense que le service de Santé n'est pas une bonne comparaison parce que c'est un problème qui est quand même assez différent.
4877 Mais si on peut rester dans le même registre, on a tous un droit constitutionnel à la libre circulation au Canada, ça ne veut pas dire qu'on peut tous embarquer dans un avion d'Air Canada en affaires quand on le veut.
4878 M. HEMOND: Non, évidemment, bien sûr, mais là on parle... il faudrait concevoir le service internet comme un service essentiel et voir à ce peut-être que le système de tarification par personne et usager n'est pas un système adéquat.
4879 CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE: Je vous remercie.
4880 M. HEMOND: Merci.
4881 CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE: Ce sont toutes mes questions.
4882 LE PRÉSIDENT: O.k. Merci beaucoup. Ce sont toutes nos questions.
4883 Madame la secrétaire, on va continuer directement avec Rogers, s'il vous plaît.
4884 LA SECRÉTAIRE: D'accord, monsieur le président.
4885 I would now invite Rogers Communications Inc. to advance to the presentation table.
4886 THE CHAIRMAN: Okay. We will take a five-minute break.
--- Recessed at 0935
--- Resumed at 0940
4887 THE CHAIRPERSON: Commençons.
4888 THE SECRETARY: Merci, Monsieur le Président.
4889 Appearing for Rogers is Mr. Ken Engelhart.
4890 Please introduce your colleagues and then proceed with your 15 minute presentation.
4891 MR. ENGELHART: Thank you.
4892 Good morning, Mr. Chairman and Commissioners. My name is Ken Engelhart, Senior Vice President Regulatory. To my right are Mike Lee, Chief Strategy Officer, and Pam Dinsmore, Vice President Regulatory.
4893 To my left is Dermot O'Carroll, Senior Vice President Network Engineering and Operations; and Upinder Saini, Vice President Wireless Product Development. Behind me are Alexander Adeyinka, Vice President Regulatory Law And Policy; and Ken Thompson, Director and Counsel Copyright and Broadband Law.
4894 Rogers welcomes this opportunity to discuss the Internet traffic management practices of Internet service providers in Canada.
4895 As the Commission is aware, Rogers is a diversified Canadian communications and media company engaged in a variety of businesses, including high-speed Internet access, wireless, cable television and radio and TV broadcasting.
4897 MR. LEE: Thanks, Ken.
4898 Over the past 15 years, the impact of the Internet has been phenomenal. Almost every aspect of our way of life has been transformed by the Internet. Indeed, growth in Internet traffic has been and continues to be astounding.
4899 Broadband is a huge success story in Canada. Rogers was a world leader in offering a residential broadband Internet service in 1995. Since then, we have invested billions of dollars in our networks to drive continuous innovation and leadership in this industry. Today virtually all of our cable television customers have access to broadband and our 3G rocket sticks have brought wireless access to broadband for 75 percent of the Canadian public, a percentage that grows each day.
4900 When we launched in 1995, our 1.5 Mb per second service sold for $60. Today our 10 meg service sells for $46.95. That is a seven times improvement in speed at a much lower price. Usage of our network grows dramatically each year.
4901 Canada has the highest penetration of cable modem service in the world and the highest penetration of broadband in the G8 countries. All of this has been accomplished with the minimum of government regulation. Market forces, not government fiat, are responsible for Canada's remarkable success.
4902 Many of the participants in this proceedings, perhaps with good intentions, want to change that. They want lawyers, not engineers, to design the networks. This would be a big mistake.
4903 Rogers is committed to an open Internet. We do not block packets, encrypted packets or re-PMs, nor do we manage our networks to favour our cable television business, demand fees from Internet services for access by our subscribers, or stop independent documentary filmmakers from distributing their content. We do not open up e-mail and read it, inspect the contents of packets or focus on specific packets.
4904 What we do do is provide a reliable, fast, affordable Internet network for our customers and manage our service to allow us to do that.
4905 In Schedule 2 of the Commission's letter of June 5, 2009, the Commission stated that it approaches this hearing with the following objective in mind:
"... to establish Internet traffic management practices guidelines that maximize the freedom of Canadians to create applications and use the Internet or respecting the legitimate interests of ISPs to manage their networks consistently with privacy and other legislative constraints." (As read)
4906 Rogers would urge the Commission not to set Internet traffic management guidelines at this time. The FCC has explicitly rejected this approach in the Comcast decision. It stated:
"We decline to adopt prophylactic rules at this time because confining our holdings to a particular set of facts should provide guidance to consumers and the industry without unduly tying our hands should the known facts change." (As read)
4907 The FCC's approach is sound. The Internet is too new and is changing too quickly to establish ITMP guidelines at this time. It is better to adopt the FCC's approach of looking at individual Internet traffic management practices on a case-by-case basis. In that way, the Commission will ensure that Canadian ISPs have the flexibility they need to manage their networks properly.
4908 Sections 27(2) and 36 of the Act give the Commission the power it needs to control traffic management. No guidelines are needed to interpret these sections. Nonetheless, Rogers will respond to the Commission's questions in Schedule 2.
4910 MR. O'CARROLL: Thank you.
4911 The rate of change in the Internet environment is increasing, therefore, Internet traffic management practices must be highly dynamic and responsive to these changes. Static regulatory guidelines will have unintentional consequences for the performance of the network and the experience enjoyed by our customers.
4912 To assist the Commission, we will briefly describe our traffic management processes for our wireline network. Listening to the intervenors, one would think that the only traffic management practices Rogers engage in involves traffic shaping.
4913 In fact, we do much more to protect our customers experience. We protect the network from spam, prevent denial-of-service attacks and virus attacks and block access to child pornography sites.
4914 Some intervenors have alleged that we do not invest in network augmentation. Nothing could be further from the truth. We spend tens of millions of dollars each year just to augment capacity for existing customers. We also spend tens of millions of dollars annually for new customers and to add new features and functionality to the network. We are able to keep up with the escalating growth in downstream traffic through these substantial expenditures.
4915 Rogers does rate shape or traffic shape upstream peer-to-peer traffic. Peer-to-peer filesharing applications, as the name suggests, involves the sharing of files. Accordingly, if an Internet user, likely on another network and quite possibly in another country, is trying to download a file, they can source those files from our customers computers on the Rogers network.
4916 Unlike most of our customers' use of the Internet service, the uploading of peer-to-peer files is an automated machine-to-machine transfer. Our customers may not even be at home or even in the country when their computer is used as a source of files. Furthermore, this automated machine-to-machine transfer takes place 24 hours a day seven days a week at the maximum rate of speed that the customer's service permits.
4917 The use of our network for constant 24/7 machine-to-machine traffic puts a strain on our network that, as a consumer grade Internet service, it is not intended to support. Think of our network as a highway with many lanes shared by many more cars. If one car ties up a whole lane 24 hours a day, it creates a problem for the other cars. That is exactly what peer-to-peer filesharing applications do and that is why we must manage this traffic. All other traffic on the network can use the entire upstream pipe.
4918 Let me be clear, we do not care whether the applications are peer-to-peer file sharing or any other application, it is the 24/7 maximum use of the network that creates problems. We would manage any other traffic with these characteristics the exact same way. We are not concerned with the nature of the content or whether it is legal or not. This protocol is designed to swamp the network and that is why it must be managed.
4919 A few intervenors claim that we could avoid this form of traffic management solely by interesting capacity on a network. If we did this, we would need to provision a huge amount of additional upstream capacity. This would significantly increase the cost of the service which would be reflected in the price for all customers, not just peer-to-peer users, which represent a small subset of our customers.
4920 This cost-benefit trade-off does not make sense. Our practices have nothing to do with protecting our cable television businesses. Many corporate and educational networks, as well as ISPs such as Primus and Barrett that are obviously not video distributors, do the same thing.
4921 Our practices do not favour our own services. In fact, without our traffic management practices competitive voice over IP providers would be negatively impacted by network congestion. From this description, we believe it is readily apparent that our traffic management practices are an appropriate network management solution.
4923 MS DINSMORE: We will now turn to the five issues the Commission identified as ancillary to the central traffic management question. They are: disclosure, privacy, wholesale services, mobile carriers and the scope of section 36.
4924 With regard to greater disclosure by ISPs, something some interveners have suggested, we at Rogers have found that our customers have very little curiosity about the inner workings of our traffic management practices. Our customers want a fast, reliable service; how we delivered it is something they rarely inquire about. Nonetheless, Rogers provides our customers with disclosure of our traffic management practices on our website.
4925 For wholesale customers, we believe that there should be sufficient disclosure to allow them to understand the nature of the services they are acquiring and to respond to their own customers inquiries appropriately. However, if the Commission wishes to satisfy itself that our management practices are appropriate, we have no difficulty in providing details of this information to the Commission in confidence.
4926 Rogers traffic management procedures never involve the collection, use or disclosure of personal information. We do not open e-mails or look at message content. We do not store personal information about our customers, nor do we monitor their Internet search activity or URL browser history. We do not store content accessed by our users or cache any content whatsoever.
4927 We are extremely sensitive to our customers' privacy concerns and work hard to protect them. Many of the privacy issues raised by intervenors concern things they fear ISPs could do or might be able to do such as behavioural advertising. With respect, we submit that the Commission should look at what we are doing, which is simply separating packets into two streams to create a better overall customer experience.
4928 Rogers wholesale services are not currently traffic shaped. If wholesale traffic begins to impact our other customers' traffic, we will revisit this decision.
4930 MR. SAINI: Thank you, Pam.
4931 THE SECRETARY: Your microphone, please.
4932 MR. SAINI: Sorry. Rogers wireless does not currently rate shape our mobile wireless data traffic, however, the user of wireless data services is increasing dramatically. With the use of our Rogers rocket sticks people are beginning to use the mobile wireless Internet services in the same fashion as they use our high-speed Internet wireline services. Therefore, we believe that the customers will be increasingly using peer-to-peer filesharing applications or similar applications. Accordingly, traffic management will be necessary in the future.
4933 Given that the wireless network is different than the wireline network, it may well be that the traffic management practices will be different; costs are different, architecture is different, resources are scarce and the customers are mobile. It is too early to identify traffic management practices that will be required for mobile wireless carriers.
4935 MR. ENGELHART: Finally, we want to say a few words about section 36 of the Telecommunications Act. It states:
"Except where the Commission approves otherwise, a Canadian carrier shall not control the content or influence the meaning or purpose of the telecommunications carried by it for the public." (As read)
4936 Rogers traffic management practices do not control the content of peer-to-peer filesharing traffic. A peer-to-peer user, likely on another network, may take four or five hours to download a movie using a peer-to-peer file sharing application. Rogers traffic management practice may mean that it takes longer for this download to take place. This does not control the content or change the meaning or purpose of the movie. The movie remains exactly the same with or without Rogers traffic management practices.
4937 Mr. Chairman, Commissioners, we have heard many arguments in this proceeding about law, philosophy, the Oakes test, the nature of the common carrier obligations and the hypothetical concerns of various vested interest groups. We have heard very little about customers or their experience on the network.
4938 We are proud of the service we deliver. It is fast and reliable and when we survey our customers they value it highly. We hope you allow us to evolve and to respond to the dynamic changes in the online world. We urge you to focus on the customer and conduct your deliberations to ensure that Canadians continue to receive a fast, reliable and affordable broadband service.
4939 We are pleased to answer any questions which the Commission may have.
4940 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you for your intervention.
4941 First of all, on page 3 you quote the FCC in saying it should not adopt rules. We are not proposing to adopt rules, but guidelines. So that compels -- rules and guidelines are something different, which I expected you, Mr. Engelhart, as a lawyer, to appreciate.
4942 Secondly, what we are really talking about is an analytical framework, an approach here, and assume we follow the advice, as you say, and do it case-by-case, wouldn't it be helpful to the industry and everybody if we, as a result of this, laid out an analytical framework and said we have section 27(2) here, we have section 36, when we get a complaint which is based on ITMP this is the approach you would go through first of all to determine whether it is valid or not and, if it is on the face of it invalid what are the exculpatories and use an Oakes test or something like that.
4943 Wouldn't that be helpful to you?
4944 You seem to suggest don't touch it.
4945 MR. ENGELHART: I mean a couple of points.
4946 First of all, I have had the privilege of appearing before the Commission for 23 years and I have seen a lot of proceedings where the Commission has interpreted 27(2) and 36 and other sections of the Act without guidelines. They have done just fine without guidelines in most of the areas that I have been familiar with and where there have been guidelines, for something like the essential facilities test, that came after really decades of experience with wrestling with similar sorts of problems.
4947 The second point is, I am a bit concerned that some of the guidelines that have been put forward by some of the interveners like the Oakes test seemed to have a kind of a bias against network management. They are saying you better really, really, really prove your case before you can do network management. I think that's sort of dangerous.
4948 But I anticipated your concern about our lack of faith in guidelines and I have been giving it some thought and I think if you were going to have the analytical framework that you talked about, consistent with our message in our opening remarks, it should really focus on the customer. You should focus on what it is that the customer experience is. Sometimes that is going to involve you making a trade-off between a small group of customers and a larger group of customers, but I think those are the sorts of trade-offs that telecommunications regulators make all the time.
4949 The second element I would add to an analytical framework is you shouldn't assume that what we are doing is trying to upset our customers. You know, most carriers are trying to win customers from the other guys and try and keep the customers they have happy. So you should assume -- or you should have a presumption that network management practices are for the benefit of customers.
4950 I guess the third thing I would say -- and I don't know if this adds up to guidelines -- but look at what other people are doing, look at what other ISPs are doing, look at what other educational and corporate networks do. If they are doing the same sorts of things that's useful as well.
4951 THE CHAIRPERSON: It seems to me you are saying a qualified may be useful, especially for others who haven't spent 26 years appearing before us.
4952 But the analytical framework, if you think what the others suggested is biassed and sort of assumes automatically that ITMPs are harmful or overly heavy and overly analytical, I would urge you to put forward your own analytical framework, saying, you know, it would be helpful if the CRTC would approach these issues in the following -- these other steps to go through.
4953 Secondly, I'm glad you brought Mr. Lee with you because there are some technical issues that people keep raising and I never know, none of us is -- at least most of us don't have the technical knowledge.
4954 This morning for instance we heard two things, we heard deep shallow and we heard P4P and suggested both deep shallow inspection could be used, you don't need to resort to deep packet inspection and P4P is a new technology which I will alleviate some of the concern of P2P.
4955 As the reigning expert on this, Mr. Lee, maybe you can enlighten me as to how useful these things are?
4956 MR. LEE: Sure. Happy to try to answer.
4957 So in listening to the description this morning, there was a differentiation between deep packet inspection and shallow packet inspection, to start with that question.
4958 On the shallow packet inspection I think the way the professor described it was that you first start with the first level, which is deterministic, so you specifically look at the packets and determine whether or not they are of that type; and then the second, which she called shallow, which is the second level, you actually look at the behaviour or pattern of the packets and the statistics around how they behave on the network to classify them.
4959 If you look at the way we do traffic management today, we use a combination of both techniques.
4960 So in the case where the packets themselves, or the applications generating the packets, are not trying to obscure what the source of the packet is or what type of packet it is, then the use it deterministic, because that is a simpler way and a more accurate way. And then, for those packets which are designed to obscure their source, we use what we call heuristics or what he referenced as statistical analysis and we look at the behaviour.
4961 So if a packet stream is, you know, 64 kb per second, one source, one destination, chances are that's probably a voice -- that's probably a voice session. If it has different characteristics that look and behave more like peer-to-peer protocols do, then they classify it as peer-to-peer protocols.
4962 We try to be very conservative in the way we use the heuristic sort of approach, so that we don't capture, in an unintended way, packets that may not be of that nature.
4963 So we definitely -- what we always do is, we test all of those classifiers that are analyzed in the traffic heuristically, and ensure that only those packets which are definitely peer-to-peer are actually classified as peer-to-peer, and then routed into the separate allocation.
4964 THE CHAIRPERSON: But the statement this morning says: Experimental studies have shown that this classification -- shallow packet inspection -- can be very accurate, but the classes must be more general. Shallow inspection is a viable alternative to deep packet inspection.
4965 Do you subscribe to that or not?
4966 MR. LEE: In our experience, we have not seen the rates of accuracy that the professor described, 95 percent, we have seen much lower levels of accuracy.
4967 Having said that, we try, in the approach we take, to ensure that we don't capture any false negatives in the process. So those packets which may be in question, which may look like they may belong to peer-to-peer protocol, but we are not absolutely certain of, we let them pass unimpeded.
4968 THE CHAIRPERSON: And P4P?
4969 MR. LEE: P4P is a working group. We actually have spent time looking at it and participate in P4P through our cable lab's activities.
4970 The challenge with all of these working groups which try to come up with -- I will call them more network sensitive or network aware ways of dealing with peer-to-peer traffic, is that they rely on the participants to actually adhere to the guidelines.
4971 So if you are a more legitimate user of peer-to-peer protocols, you can basically sign up to working with P4P and adhere to the guidelines, which are still in development at this point. But for those people who decide not to adhere to those guidelines, they continue to basically use peer-to-peer the same way they did before the guidelines were established.
4972 So it's a little bit voluntary. It is very similar to things like MPLS and Div serve, where it does rely on everybody being a good actor, and, in the internet, not everybody is a good actor.
4973 So they are good activities in principle, and we continue to monitor those activities, hoping that they produce some positive results, but I don't expect that, even if they do provide positive results, it will be a solution to the way peer-to-peer basically swamps the network today.
4974 THE CHAIRPERSON: And you, like Cogeco, mentioned that you only shape upstream traffic.
4975 I just don't know -- and you probably don't even know the answer to this -- the people who upstream from -- your users, are they mostly people who are your own customers who download, or is it totally unpredictable who will do what?
4976 The point of my question, obviously, is, by shaping the upstream, do you also shape the downloading of your customers, or influence the downloading of your customers?
4977 MR. ENGELHART: Obviously, it is going to happen sometimes, but it's interesting, after you asked Cogeco that question, my colleague, Mr. O'Carroll, went back to his lab on Friday afternoon and did a little experiment, so I will ask him to describe that to you.
4978 MR. O'CARROLL: Thanks, Ken.
4979 Yes, Commissioner, after I heard you ask that question on Friday, I went back to our office in Toronto and repeated an experiment I had done before, just to verify that I would get the same results.
4980 What I did was turn on a computer that is on our public internet service, connected it to the DOCSIS modem and activated a BitTorrent client on the computer.
4981 The computer has one single video file on the computer, so that is the only file that would be available for uploading by somebody else. I did not do any downloading, I just left the computer sitting there and I watched it.
4982 Within 15 seconds the first upload stream began.
4983 I then left the computer and came back 10 or 15 minutes later to see what was happening. Within that period, there were now 20 consecutive upload streams happening on the computer. There were 20 different customers, somewhere in the world, accessing that computer, and uploading that single video file.
4984 I looked at the characteristics and the source of those uploads, and interestingly -- first of all, none of them were Rogers' customers. In fact, none of them were Canadian. They were the U.S., multiples, Finland, the U.K., Ireland, India, Australia, and multiple other countries, all actively uploading that file, within 15 minutes.
4985 I have done this experiment in the past, and I have seen Canadian customers in the past, not Rogers' customers.
4986 The thing I would draw from that, first of all, is if our network management of the upstream is as oppressive as some people would suggest, I don't know why 20 people would simultaneously be accessing my computer and uploading a file, when there are millions of other computers in the world that they could access.
4987 So I don't think the experience is so bad for them that they would avoid our computer.
4988 Secondly, these are not my customers, and for me to build capacity, to give them an even better experience, would be detrimental to my customer base.
4989 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay, thank you.
4990 Candice, do you have some questions?
4991 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Yes, thank you.
4992 Good morning, everyone.
4993 I would like to start by going back -- you addressed the five issues that the Commission had put out in its procedural letter, and you addressed the objective very clearly, but I wondered about the definition.
4994 We had stated that the definition essentially excluded managed networks. Do you agree with that definition?
4995 MR. ENGELHART: Yes, we do.
4996 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: So you are content with it as it is defined today?
4997 MR. ENGELHART: Yes, we are.
4998 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Thank you.
4999 You spoke in your opening remarks and with the Chair about the notion of guidelines and whether or not there should be a framework or guidelines, and I did hear that you were going to file something from that end.
5000 One of the issues, as I would see it, as to not having guidelines, or doing everything on an ex post basis, is the fact that, if there are any discriminatory practices, and particularly as they relate to traffic management that would be categorized -- MTS used Category 4, where it is specific against content, application or protocols. But if such practices existed, by the time you went through an ex post review of this, you could essentially cause some significant economic damage to that application.
5001 Would you have any comments on that?
5002 MR. ENGELHART: Thank you.
5003 I guess there are two issues. One is the danger of setting out guidelines ahead of time, and the other is the benefit of doing so.
5004 The danger, quite simply, is, this is all so new. The internet is growing so fast, the applications are arriving so quickly, and there is so much going on that there is a danger in trying to set guidelines now, because they could quickly become obsolete, and they could restrict carriers like us from engaging in traffic management practices that benefit customers.
5005 The benefit of having these guidelines -- it all seems to me to come back to the net neutrality issue. People started worrying five years ago, when some U.S. phone company said, "We are going to charge content providers, charge websites, if they want to get through to our network, and if they don't pay us the cheque every month, we are going to block their traffic."
5006 That has spawned this gigantic concern about net neutrality, but it hasn't really happened.
5007 I think there is a huge amount of concern out there, there is a huge amount of fear out there, but there isn't very much evidence that any of this is going on.
5008 The evidence shows that ISPs like us, in order to be competitive, have to offer wide open internet services and give our customers anything and everything they want, in a fast, reliable and affordable way.
5009 I think the benefit of having guidelines is to deal with these net neutrality concerns, which I think have been overblown.
5010 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: I don't want to take up too much time on this issue, but when you say that there is no evidence, isn't the danger that that evidence means that there is already a failed application or a failed business case?
5011 Unfortunately, the evidence means failure, and that's the problem with doing everything on an ex post basis, the evidence means the failure of an application or some innovations, potentially.
5012 Could I go on to ask you another question related to this?
5013 The OIC put forward in their position that they felt that discrimination against an application or an application provider is discrimination under section 27(2).
5014 Do you have any comments on that?
5015 MR. ENGELHART: I don't think that 27(2) is there to protect applications, I think it is there to protect people or businesses or competitors or customers. I don't think it is there to protect applications, but, presumably, an application provider merits the protection of 27(2).
5016 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Okay. Thank you.
5017 I would like to talk a little bit about your internet traffic management practices, and we will start, obviously, with cable, where the peer-to-peer is today throttled.
5018 You have throttled on a 24/7 basis, and I am sure that you have listened in through the past week, and through the record of this proceeding, where there has been some discussion that any traffic management practices should be targeted and should deal with real congestion, that is, where there is true congestion through peak periods or otherwise.
5019 So maybe just help me, because I know that you went through this, as well, speaking of why it makes sense to throttle on a 24/7 basis versus throttling as need exists.
5020 Could you help me and clarify why there is a need 24/7, or why it is better regardless of the need?
5021 MR. ENGELHART: Sure. I will start, and my colleague Dermot will jump in.
5022 It is useful, I think, to think of the analogy of a network to a highway, and to think of the traffic on the network as cars. If you think about it that way, what people are saying is, if there are too many cars, you really should build a bigger highway. You should augment capacity.
5023 And if you are going to manage traffic, you should do it at rush-hour, at 9 in the morning and at 5 at night, when all of the cars come pouring onto the highway.
5024 In our view, this sort of misstates the problem, as we see it.
5025 We are okay with the fact that we have 50 percent more cars each and every year. We keep building a bigger and bigger highway each and every year. It's not easy. It is certainly not as easy as a number of the intervenors have said, and it is certainly expensive, but we are doing it.
5026 The problem is, if a car parks by the side of the road and one car clogs up a whole lane -- or a better analogy to what is going on with peer-to-peer would be, if one house in the neighbourhood reserves an entire lane of the highway for themselves, that is a problem.
5027 That is what peer-to-peer file sharing does for us in the upstream. It is a service that is designed for residential users --
5028 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Mr. Engelhart, using your analogy, you have built a super highway to address rush-hour, or help through rush-hour, and somebody has parked their house on the side.
5029 So for 23 hours of the day traffic is still going to get through uninhibited.
5030 So that really causes me to ask the question again: Why are you throttling 24/7 instead of through rush-hour?
5031 MR. ENGELHART: The problem is, it's not just one house, it's a whole bunch of houses in the neighbourhood that are clogging up that neighbourhood 24 hours a day. They are reserving their lane, and that is the problem.
5032 It is the behaviour of someone reserving an entire lane for themselves all the time in the upstream that causes our problem, and...
5033 I am going to go to Dermot very soon.
5034 MR. ENGELHART: If you think about it, the congestion problem that we experience is at the node level, those clusters of 200 or 300 homes. That is where the congestion happens.
5035 But traffic management happens at the router, and that router covers a whole bunch of nodes.
5036 We can't do it node-by-node, and the problem, the congestion, may occur at any given node, at any time of the day.
5037 That's the reason why we do it 24 hours a day.
5038 I would ask Dermot to add some of the details.
5039 MR. O'CARROLL: Thank you, Ken.
5040 As Ken mentioned, our network is architected into relatively small clusters of customers, 200 or 300 customers, and because of that, and because of the nature of peer-to-peer traffic, within a cluster like that, and because peer-to-peer traffic is -- what we manage is machine-to-machine file transfer, which happens 24/7.
5041 So while, on average, the network has a busy hour, or a busy period, within an individual cluster, a relatively small number of peer-to-peer users can exhaust or congest that cluster at any time in the day, and we find that happening.
5042 We have tried to deal with this in a variety of ways. We tried to build our way out of it by adding capacity in the past, and what we found was -- we could have a cluster of customers that was congested. We would augment that cluster, double the capacity, and what we would find is, the following day it would be congested again, because those peer-to-peer users -- their traffic would grow to absorb the available capacity in the network.
5043 The second thing we have done is, we have thought about -- could we do this by time of day or by other periods. We have done tests where we have turned off our peer-to-peer in parts of the network, at different times of the day and night, and what we found was, once we do that, that upstream traffic grows to absorb the capacity, and for that cluster, where it's turned off, at that point in time, even at 3 in the morning, it becomes the busy hour or busy period for that cluster.
5044 And because the traffic is dynamic, we do not believe that we can manage the traffic in such a dynamic way as to manage that customer experience.
5045 I would also like to pass it over to Mike to add more to this.
5046 MR. LEE: When we traditionally think of peak utilization on the network -- in the old telecom days there was always this concept that many people were using the network at a specific time, and that drove the capacity requirement of the network.
5047 That analogy works really well if everybody who is on the network is initiating transactions, but, in this particular case, we don't actually have a peak point in time, we have peak periods, and they are measured in hours.
5048 The insight that the original peer-to-peer developers brought was, they saw that there was this capacity on the network where people had subscribed to the service but were not using the network, and they would be able to take advantage of all of that network capacity.
5049 It is designed, basically, to consume all of the excess resources on the network. So every time you go to do more augmentation, it consumes more, because it is not being consumed by our subscribers, it's being consumed by people outside the network.
5050 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Can I ask you a question?
5051 You are network people, so you have traffic information that confirms that P2P runs at full capacity 24/7.
5052 Is that true?
5053 I think that's what I am hearing you say, that there isn't a peak period. Whether it is minutes, hours, or whatever, there is no peak period with P2P, it runs at full capacity. Do you have traffic statistics to support that?
5054 You don't have to share them here, but you have them?
5055 MR. ENGELHART: Yes, for the upstream.
5056 Sometimes customers will turn it off. You know, when kids are doing gaming, they know that they will be able to shoot the other guy faster if they turn their peer-to-peer off. But if they haven't turned it off, it runs 24/7, at full capacity, on the upstream.
5057 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Okay. And when I said that you don't have to share it here, I think it would be good to share it as part of the record of this proceeding, because there are other providers, as you know, who also take action against peer-to-peer through peak periods, or through what they have defined as a peak period.
5058 The fact that you say there is no peak period, while there are other providers working in the same market who have defined a peak period for peer-to-peer, is a little bit confusing.
5059 MR. ENGELHART: Certainly, we can give you that.
5060 I think that there is a difference, as the Sandvine people said, between DSL and cable modems, because they have a bigger upstream pipe than we do.
5061 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: But you were talking about the nature of the traffic. Correct?
5062 MR. ENGELHART: Right. But if they have a way bigger pipe, they may be able to not shape at certain times of the day. That's what I suspect is the difference.
5063 But, yes, we can give you that evidence.
5064 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: And it is the size --
5065 I am going to ask this as a question. Is it the size of your upstream bandwidth, the size of your upstream pipe, that has caused you to determine that it is only necessary to throttle on the upstream?
5066 What is the rationale for throttling only on the upstream and not both upstream and downstream?
5067 MR. ENGELHART: I will ask Mike if he wants to jump in, but on the downstream -- certainly some customers are downloading huge files a lot, but we think that we can control that through augmentation, and we can control that through pricing.
5068 We have introduced bandwidth caps at 60 gigabytes for our express service, and at 95 for our extreme service, and that has diminished somewhat the excess downloading of very heavy users.
5069 So we can control it that way on the downstream.
5070 On the upstream, because we are constrained as a cable modem network, and because of that 24/7 maximum automatic usage of the service, it can't be controlled.
5071 In other words, we can manage it to deal with our customers' requests, downloads, experiences, but on the upstream it is the rest of the world that is using the network, not our customers, and it's hard for us to manage that.
5073 MR. LEE: I would just emphasize Ken's last point, which is, on the downstream it's a person or a household that is driving all of the requests, so there is a limit to what one person or household can do.
5074 When you were talking about the upstream, it is everybody else who potentially could be driving traffic.
5075 So when you put the aggregate in place, that is all demanding on the upstream, that does have a significant impact, but it is related to the nature of the fact that the cable network has a more limited upstream resource.
5076 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Okay. I would like to move on.
5077 In your comments that you filed in January --
5078 COMDMISSIONER MOLNAR: I'm sorry; I am trying to find your initial comments.
5079 I have written it down here, so I am going to have to ask you to take it on faith.
5080 You commented that the Comcast agnostic approach would be more expensive and cause more problems than the approach that is in place today in targeting just the peer-to-peer.
5081 Could you explain to us what sorts of costs and what problems you are referring to?
5082 MR. ENGELHART: Sure. Again, my colleagues might want to jump in.
5083 You can think of the upstream as being used for two things: things our customers send, and things that people in the rest of the world are sourcing from their computers.
5084 When they source things from our customers' computers, that is peer-to-peer file sharing. Things that our customers send might be an e-mail, or making a VoIP call, or using Slingbox to send a TV program or send a bunch of photos to your brother, things like that.
5085 Our methodology restricts the band width for people and the rest of the world sourcing things from our customers' computers.
5086 The Comcast methodology restricts all applications.
5087 So, we would -- if we move to the Comcast methodology, we would be having to say to our customers at some point, I'm sorry, you can't send those photos to your brother. or your VOIP call won't work, or your Slingbox won't work.
5088 And we don't want to do that, we don't want to --
5089 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: So, the problems are for the customer?
5090 MR. ENGELHART: Yeah.
5091 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: And the costs are for who?
5092 MR. ENGELHART: Well, if you assume that those problems are going to be there, then we'd have to try and come up with some second best solution to try and facilitate those customers' requirements which might involve more augmentation and that would be more cost.
5093 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: So, you're able to augment to address upstream capacity limits?
5094 MR. ENGELHART: No. I think the problems are always going to be there, but we would have to try something and it would be more costly than it is today.
5095 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Okay.
5096 MR. ENGELHART: And, I mean, we couldn't augment our way out of the problem for sure, but a certain amount of expense would cure some portion of the problems, no question about that.
5097 I don't know, Mike, if you want to add.
5098 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: I think that's fine. Thank you.
5099 I wanted to understand exactly how you do throttle your peer-to-peer. I was looking at your service packages and I noticed that you have packages that differentiate upstream capacity, upstream speed between your extreme and your express.
5100 So, when you are throttling peer-to-peer, do you throttle it equally for all service packages, or do you throttle it as a percentage of upstream band width, or how is it that you're throttling this peer-to-peer traffic?
5101 MR. ENGELHART: It's the same for all packages, same band width allocation for all of the different packages.
5102 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Okay. And I just want to understand what that means, band width allocation. So, are you saying --
5103 MR. ENGELHART: Speed.
5104 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: -- the speed of peer-to-peer is reduced equally regardless of whether you've got a one meg upstream --
5105 MR. ENGELHART: Yes.
5106 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: -- or not?
5107 MR. ENGELHART: Yes.
5108 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Okay. So, that does take me into the issue of disclosure.
5109 You've said that you now disclose, which I think must be quite a recent occurrence because in your reply comments you hadn't been at the point of disclosing to your customers yet.
5110 So, you've just recently, as I understand, put information on your website for your customers related to your throttling practices; is that correct?
5111 MR. ENGELHART: Yes. We've put an FAQ that describes it in a general way, yes.
5112 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: So, while you say your customers aren't -- and let me see, what are the words that you've used in your comments to us today.
"We at Rogers have found that our customers have very little curiosity about the inner workings of our traffic management practices." (As read)
5113 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: When they're buying capacity and, I mean, the difference in the upstream band width is a significant price differential and I understand there's greater bit caps or monthly usage caps as well, but the difference in the upstream capacity appears to be quite a significant differentiator between your extreme and express packages.
5114 So, when they buy that. and when I was looking at your website it was saying that if you wanted to share files and so on this is -- you know, extreme is the service for you.
5115 You don't think those customers would be interested in knowing that there is certain amounts of what they're wishing to share that is being throttled?
5116 MR. ENGELHART: Well, some of the peer-to-peer file sharing applications are non-reciprocal. So, Nutella for example, so they can download as much as they want regardless of how much they send upstream.
5117 Some are reciprocal, and for the reciprocal ones it is going to affect their download indirectly. There's a sort of a golden rule applied to the -- some of these applications, like BitTorrent, where they'll slow down your download if you slow down the upload.
5118 So, in that sense, it does have an impact on customers. We do find that most customers are very happy with the service and --
5119 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: But perhaps, do customers know? I guess that's my question. Mr. Engelhart, you are the one who said when we're creating these guidelines and when we're looking at this we should have the customer in mind.
5120 MR. ENGELHART: M'hmm.
5121 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: You know, I have in front of me your packages and extreme, it says here:
"...is best suited activity as music, video streaming, downloading and playing games." (As read)
5122 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: There is nothing that would indicate there's any limitations to that. I mean, that would be the reason potentially for purchasing that product which is $13.00 more than, you know, the other is because of its capacity for the upstream because extreme and express have a similar downstream capacity, the available band width going down is the same, it's the upstream that's differentiated.
5123 So, if we're concerned by the customer, don't we think the customer should have full access to information? I mean, that they're not interested may be that they don't even -- they're not aware of what's going on.
5124 So, now I want to ask you one more question and I'll pass it back to you.
5125 We had some persons in front of us, including Mr. Roks and Mr. Mezei who had come as a panel and said what they think should be done is when advertising speeds that there should be advertised both the throttled and unthrottled speeds.
5126 So, if we are going to advertise speeds, upload speeds or download speeds, we should at the same time, so consumers have full awareness and full disclosure, give to them information on both throttled and unthrottled.
5127 So, tell me your views on that.
5128 MR. ENGELHART: There's another difference between the express and the extreme service and that's the cap. So, with the express service you get 60 GB, with the extreme service you get 95.
5129 So, I think the descriptive material that you're reading there is saying to people, if you download a whole bunch of stuff through video streaming or any other way you probably want the extreme service because now you don't hit that bit cap until you get to 95.
5130 So, I think that's the selling point that the marketing folks are making there.
5131 Your second question is, should we disclose the throttled speed or the reduced band width speed?
5132 We have not to date, we think that it's sort of competitively sensitive information in that it's sort of the bliss point that we found where our customers still get a good download experience, but it allows us to give them also good upload experience.
5133 I mean, if the Commission felt strongly about it, we would reveal that number. We don't think it's that useful to our customers and we do think there's some competitive sensitivity, but it's not something that we're all that upset about if we are forced to.
5134 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Thank you.
5135 The notion of it being competitively sensitive leads me to two more questions.
5136 One is, we've had some other ISPs in front of us who say that Internet traffic management should in fact -- competition should address, you know, the issues we have with or concerns about ITMPs and, in fact, ITMPs could be a form of competitive differentiator.
5137 What is your thoughts of ITMPs as a form of differentiator?
5138 MR. ENGELHART: Oh, absolutely. I mean, we have a very competitive market in Canada. There has been a battle between DSL and cable modems from the beginning and joining very quickly I believe will be 3G wireless services that provide the same kind of performance.
5139 And we advertise that we have Canada's fastest, most reliable network and we're rolling out DOCSIS 3.0 next month, Alliant is building fibre to the home in New Brunswick. All the carriers are making huge investments to try and deliver a faster, better, more affordable service and traffic management is part of that.
5140 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Okay. Traffic management, that deals with the speed and reliability. If I move to traffic management as it relates to content applications and protocols, do you think it is reasonable that that should or could be a form of differentiating your network?
5141 MR. ENGELHART: Mike?
5142 MR. LEE: If you look at how we're measured by our subscribers, we're measured based on the performance of the network and the primary reason they subscribe to Internet is they want to get access to a wide, wide range of different uses of the network, and that is everything from what a small child would do to a grandmother.
5143 And we have to, taking a look at all the data from our subscribers of what they value, what they're interested in, make our decisions around where we place emphasis and how we engineer the network to deliver the best possible experience across that wide range of applications, not just file sharing or not just gaming.
5144 So, a great example would be, we probably -- you know, there probably is some forms of gaming where it's not an optimal experience on our network because we're not as low latency as some gamers would like, but we have to make that trade-off to say, you know what, I can't afford to invest in low latency for everybody because -- and spread that cost across all of our subscribers.
5145 So, we make that decision, and so part of it is about how we augment, part of it is about how we engineer the network, part of it is the traffic management itself, but at the core we want to be able to make sure that our customers get access to all the services they're interested in.
5146 And that is really why we say we believe in an open Internet. We benefit greatly from the fact that the Internet continues to evolve.
5147 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Okay.
5148 I want to move on to the issue of wireless services.
5149 You say you do not currently rate shape, and rate shape is the same as traffic shape; is that true?
5150 MR. ENGELHART: Yes.
5151 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: The same term. Yeah, okay. That you do not rate shape on your mobile data traffic today.
5152 Are there any technical differences that would impact upon the choice or use of ITMPs between a wireless and a wire line network? Are the options available the same?
5153 MR. ENGELHART: The options are the same, the network is different and the behaviour of the customers might be different, so the solutions might be different, but the options would be the same.
5154 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Okay.
5155 I'm just trying to understand some of the comments you put in your reply, and I'm going to turn to your reply comments now.
5156 Paragraph 51 of your rely comments you say that:
"Rogers does enter into commercial arrangements with companies who seek Rogers' marketing and distribution support." (As read)
5157 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: In another section under section 7 -- section 7 actually you've titled Wireless Carriers Provide Preferential Treatment for Content in Walled Gardens.
5158 And in there again you say that:
"Rogers has entered into commercial arrangements that allow our customers to browse the website of our partners free or obtain free content." (As read)
5159 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: And I'm trying to understand if that is an approach that was put forward to us earlier last, or this week -- last week by Juniper where they talked about whitelisting.
5160 Is this whitelisting within a walled garden, or what is it when we talk about providing preferential content or content under a different pay structure?
5161 MR. ENGELHART: I'm going to let Upinder answer most of the question.
5162 But I guess the point we were making there is all ISPs, wire line or wireless, generally have a home page and there's generally some content there that people can link on, and very often you make an arrangement, as Rogers wire line has with Yahoo, where there's some Yahoo content on that home page.
5163 So, wireless ISPs are no different, they have a home page that has some content, and I don't -- I'm not familiar with that term whitelisting, but I'll pass it over to Upinder.
5164 MR. SAINI: Thank you.
5165 So, as Ken has mentioned, similar to the wire line ISPs, there is a home page that the wireless providers also offer, and if you take example of, you know, any wire line ISP, on the home page the partners that are listed generally have some sort of a commercial arrangement whether in terms of marketing or distribution to the customers.
5166 So, very similar to that, you know, we have a home page and we have certain partners that are listed on that home page and those partners have come to us seeking cooperation from Rogers wireless in terms of marketing their products and services to our subscriber base and that -- the technology has evolved quite a lot.
5167 We are looking at a point where, you know, the next generation devices or, you know, otherwise Smart phones have the capabilities that if the customer wants to go to any particular page they could, they don't need to go to the home page provided by the wireless operator.
5168 Another point I would like to make is that --
5169 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Sorry, I just was trying to understand if there was any traffic management content prioritization or otherwise that's associated with this activity?
5170 MR. ENGELHART: No.
5171 MR. SAINI: No.
5172 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: No. Okay.
5173 Thank you. Those are my questions.
5174 THE CHAIRPERSON: Len?
5175 COMMISSIONER KATZ: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
QUESTIONS BY PANEL
5176 COMMISSIONER KATZ: Good morning.
5177 I've got a couple of questions.
5178 Your opening remarks, Mr. Engelhart, talked about cautioning the CRTC about us setting a framework when it may be premature at this point in time and you told us to look around the world at other jurisdictions as well.
5179 And obviously the one closest to us is the U.S. and the FCC, and you said they've done nothing at all.
5180 Yet I've got in front of me here the FCC's statement that they made in 2005 and I think coming out of that was the finding that they made in the Comcast case where they basically said Comcast was actually discriminating and perhaps what they need to do is provide something much more agnostic from an applications perspective, which they have now done.
5181 So, I've got two questions. One is, what exactly did Comcast do to relieve the concern of the FCC?
5182 You also said earlier that you're prepared to look at some of these issues although there will be a cost associated with doing it and I need to understand what that cost is, how significant that cost would be if you were to follow the net neutrality statement that the FCC came out with in 2005 that drove Comcast to having to modify how they handle traffic.
5183 MR. ENGELHART: So, I think -- thank you, Vice-Chairman Katz. I think the 2005 statement was mostly about net neutrality, it said very little about traffic management other than saying that all of the net neutrality principles were subject to reasonable traffic management.
5184 And if your guideline says that we're entitled to do reasonable traffic management, that's a guideline we can certainly live with.
5185 In the Comcast case I think part of it is, you know, as lawyers like to say, bad facts make bad law. Comcast denied, denied, denied that they were engaging in this packet re-set methodology, that didn't help them. They hired actors to come to the hearing and clap when the Comcast witnesses gave evidence, I don't think that helped them.
5186 So, all of their behaviour thoroughly annoyed the FCC.
5187 Whether their traffic management practices should have been prohibited or not, I don't know. I don't know enough about their network or what they were doing.
5188 The FCC didn't tell them what to do and, in fact, most of the U.S. cable companies manage their traffic exactly like we do, carriers like Cox.
5189 But for whatever reason Comcast, instead of going to the Cox methodology from their methodology, which involved these phony re-set packets, they decided to use the method that they have employed, which we think would be bad for our customers.
5190 If I indicated to you that we would be prepared to work with it, I misspoke. We don't think the Comcast methodology is good at all. If we were forced to do it, of course we would do our best, but we think it's a mistake for the reasons that I indicated to Commissioner Molnar.
5191 In terms of the cost, it could be fairly huge. As Mike and Dermot have said, before we did the traffic management of peer-to-peer file sharing upstream we would augment the node and then 12 hours later it had to be augmented again. So, we might spend a huge amount of money and only to offer the same service that we're offering now.
5192 COMMISSIONER KATZ: Comcast did, and I guess what we'd like to get on the record is what it would take if you were required to do that.
5193 What did Comcast physically do, I guess, is one of the issues.
5194 What did they change, what were they doing before, and we know what they were doing before, I believe it was probably preferring one application to others obviously and they were told not to do that, and that's why they had to change the way they were traffic managing or throttling or whatever they were doing.
5195 But, first of all, it would be nice if you can put on the record for us what they were doing, what they are doing. It took them six to nine months I gather to transition. They said they would do something by the end of last month -- last year, and what did it cost them to do it.
5196 MR. ENGELHART: So, we will -- I'll briefly describe it now and we can give you more detail in our argument.
5197 So, what they were doing before is what the equipment manufacturers call session management. So, peer-to-peer files are broken up into a bunch of chunks called sessions and there's a communication between the source and the destination where they say I want that session, and I've now got that session, you don't have to send it any more.
5198 And Comcast methodology was sending out re-set packets to say, I've already got the session, I don't need it any more, when in fact the session hadn't been sent. So, that's what they were doing.
5199 Quite different than what we're doing or other ISPs are doing. It involves sending these phony re-set packets to stop a session from flowing.
5200 According to their evidence at the FCC all the sessions would eventually get through, and so it really just involved slowing down, it didn't involve stopping anything, but the FCC obviously took umbrage with it.
5201 What they're doing now is quite a different methodology again that no one is doing and it doesn't involve deep packet inspection, it involves using the CMTS which is the switch, if you will, that cable modem networks use and that switch looks at the traffic in an individual node and says when that is approaching congestion I will slow down any user that is at 70 percent or 90 percent of their total capacity and I will slow them down for another 15 minutes for all their traffic.
5202 So, it probably targets a lot of peer-to-peer traffic, it probably targets people who are peer-to-peer file sharing users, but then it slows down all of their traffic, not just their peer-to-peer file sharing.
5203 And that's why I said before, we would hate to use that methodology because it would mean that our customers for that 15 minutes maybe couldn't make a VOIP call or couldn't send photos to their friends or do any of the other things they wanted to do. So, I think it would be bad for our customers.
5204 Now, in terms of their cost, I know we chat with them occasionally but I don't know if we have much access to their costs. My colleagues are indicating that they haven't confided that in us, so we don't know what it cost them.
5205 COMMISSIONER KATZ: Could you see what you can get from them?
5206 MR. ENGELHART: We can ask.
5207 COMMISSIONER KATZ: I appreciate that very much.
5208 My last topic is with regard to customers, and you focus on the customer and you said we should focus on the customer as well.
5209 One of your customers are wholesale customers and I want to focus on those for a few minutes. And I've got a copy of the TPIA tariff which is CRTC (10:36-11:13) 2000-04 and it's actually dated the year 2000, so it may be outdated, but I'm going to refer to it anyways.
5210 There's a couple of clauses in here that I just want you to comment on. One of them is the definition of service and a customer.
5211 You define a customer as an ISP that subscribes to the TPIA service for the purpose of providing its end users with retail IS, Internet service.
5212 Does that preclude the -- what we heard in the last week about application providers and people who want to build applications and utilize the TPIA for that purpose and that your customers, these wholesale customers you're selling to cannot use this tariff and the services inherent in it to sell applications to new innovators?
5213 COMMISSIONER KATZ: You may want to come back to me after you --
5214 MR. ENGELHART: Can you give me an example of what you are referring to?
5215 COMMISSIONER KATZ: Well, we heard last week a number of parties out there basically saying that P2P throttling and traffic management inhibits innovation. We also heard that P2P is a hungry network hog from some people as well and there is a correlation then I guess to some extent.
5216 But at the end of the day the issue here is you are limiting the application of your network to resellers, value-added providers. I think I was corrected last week to say they are not just resellers, they are actually providing value-added services.
5217 My question to you is: Within the context of this tariff are they allowed to work with entrepreneurs and innovators to build enhancements and value-added services or does this tariff, the way I just read the definition of a customer -- and I will refer you to other sections in here as well -- limit the ability for your wholesale customers to sell value-added services?
5218 Like I said, if you want to think about it and get back to me...
5219 MR. ENGELHART: As far as I know, as long as the resellers are ISPs providing an Internet service, they can enhance it any way they want, as far as I know.
5220 COMMISSIONER KATZ: Okay.
5221 Then going on on that tariff, there is a fee obviously for the use of the service, but there is also an overage charge. It says:
"The basic rate includes 6 gigs of data transfer allowed each month, including up to 1 Gb of upstream. Additional usage will be billed in 100 MB increments." (As read)
5222 And when you go above it and you have other conditions here.
5223 So you have a usage-based wholesale tariff here for wholesalers, for ISPs.
5224 So the question is: When you are charging based on usage, why would you traffic management them at all, or throttle them at all, if in fact they are paying for what they are getting?
5225 MR. ENGELHART: Currently we don't charge them additional usage and we don't traffic manage them, but we have reserved the right to do both.
5226 The difference is that they are just like our customers, they occupy the access network. From a network management perspective they are no different from our customers. Our customers also pay additional usage charges when they hit that cap.
5227 So our customers pay $50 a month for the service, the resellers pay us $25 a month for the service, but their impact on the network is just the same as one of our customers so we reserve the right to manage their traffic just like one of our customers.
5228 And yes, our customers also pay when they get over 95 gigs or 60 gigs, as the case may be.
5229 COMMISSIONER KATZ: Okay.
5230 Another clause in here that says:
"Rogers reserves the right to monitor bandwidth usage, transmissions made or content posted or distributed via the TPIA service." (As read)
5231 Does that mean by monitoring the content posted you are actually going beyond the deep packet inspection that we know of, which is looking at bits, but actually monitoring the content?
5232 MR. ENGELHART: As I recall it, when we put that tariff together we lifted all those clauses from the telephone tariffs because they seemed like a good precedent, but in fact we are not doing any of those things right now.
5233 COMMISSIONER KATZ: Okay.
5234 Those are my questions, Mr. Chairman.
5235 Thank you.
5236 THE CHAIRPERSON: Suzanne...?
5237 CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE: Merci, Monsieur le Président.
5238 Good morning. I have a few questions.
5239 I must say that the way you are describing P2P application in your presentation this morning, and also in your submission, it leads me to great reservations and I'm going to tell you why.
5240 You gave the example, you know, several times about movies, downloading movies, as if this was the only peer-to-peer application that did exist. On top of that, you talked to us about an experiment that Mr. O'Carroll repeated last Friday, which I fully appreciate.
5241 But I must tell you that to me this is nothing more, but nothing less, than anecdotal information. This is not scientific data. But given the extent of the monitoring that you are obviously doing, do you have such scientific data in the form of a report that shows that indeed a major part of the uploading on your network on peer-to-peer is going to non-Rogers or even non-Canadian Internet users?
5242 (b) that most users doing peer-to-peer are doing it 24/7 and whether or not this action of peer-to-peer 24/7 by some users, goes beyond the maximum use of the bandwidth that you have actually sold to that customer?
5243 MR. ENGELHART: No. It can't go beyond the bandwidth that we have sold to the customer. That can't happen.
5244 COMMISSIONER LAMARRE: Okay.
5245 MR. ENGELHART: In terms of the 24/7 usage on the upstream, I think that's just inherent in the nature of these protocols, but we -- and in terms of the source of a typical uploader, we will see if we can give you some more rigorous scientific evidence on that.
5246 COMMISSIONER LAMARRE: Yes. That would be appreciated because, frankly, so far, you know, everything I have heard in this proceeding to me seems anecdotal and that information is being used to try to convince that there is an epitome, but, you know, if there is such data we need the scientific data.
5247 Moving along to a totally different topic. Wireless.
5248 You have mentioned in your presentation this morning that currently you are not doing any traffic management on the wireless, but surely you are not charging for data access and downloads on your mobile wireless at the same rate as you are charging on the wireline?
5249 MR. ENGELHART: Yes. I think we have right now a $30, a $50 and an $80 package for wireless and the caps are lower than they are for the wireline service.
5250 COMMISSIONER LAMARRE: So you are currently managing it, but in an economical fashion.
5251 MR. ENGELHART: You could say that we are using price to manage it, yes.
5252 COMMISSIONER LAMARRE: Okay. Thank you.
5253 On the privacy issue, would you agree that shallow packet inspection would raise less concern or have less impact on privacy then would deep packet inspection?
5254 MR. ENGELHART: No, I would not.
5255 We are doing shallow packet inspection, as Mr. Lee discussed, because most of these peer-to-peer filesharing protocols arrive at our network encrypted today. So we use what the expert calls shallow packet inspection, which we call heuristic. So our equipment does both.
5256 But I think there has been a bit of a misunderstanding about the use of deep packet inspection and privacy, at least the way we do it.
5257 There is some equipment that can look at the different types of packets and figure out what they are. This one is a VoIP packet, this one is a peer-to-peer filesharing packet, this one is a Web surfing packet, and it says the only ones I care about are the peer-to-peer filesharing. I'm going to send them over here to the left. All the other ones can go either to the left or to the right as they please. And it does that in real time.
5258 It doesn't keep any record of which customer was doing the peer-to-peer filesharing or which customer was doing anything else. It doesn't look at the contents of those packets, it just classifies them, ships them and moves on.
5259 So I really think there has been a big misunderstanding when people think that the equipment that we use has privacy implications. You can buy deep packet inspection equipment that has lots of privacy implications and, quite frankly, all carriers and all networks and credit card companies and all sorts of people can do all sorts of privacy invasive things if they want.
5260 COMMISSIONER LAMARRE: But we are talking about you this morning. We are not talking about the others.
5261 MR. ENGELHART: Right.
5262 There are lots of privacy invasive things we could do, but we are not. There is no business case for us to do it, it's against the law, and this equipment, as it is currently configured, can't be privacy invasive.
5263 COMMISSIONER LAMARRE: So, if I understand you correctly, you are saying that the fact that you merely monitor the types of applications that your clients are using, to you is not a privacy infringement?
5264 MR. ENGELHART: I think I might quarrel with the word "monitor". I would say sort or --
5265 COMMISSIONER LAMARRE: Well, to sort you have to monitor.
5266 MR. ENGELHART: Yes, but it's -- I take your point. It's done in real time, no record is kept. We cannot tell you which customers were doing peer-to-peer filesharing and which weren't, so in my view we are not collecting, using or disclosing customer information and therefore there is no reason to be concerned about privacy.
5267 COMMISSIONER LAMARRE: Are you keeping aggregated data of what has been going on in your network though?
5268 MR. ENGELHART: I believe we do keep aggregated data, yes.
5269 COMMISSIONER LAMARRE: Well, can you confirm whether or not it's a fact?
5270 MR. ENGELHART: Dermot...?
5271 MR. O'CARROLL: Yes. I mean we do keep aggregated data.
5272 I mean, first of all, we bill our customers for total usage above the cap so we have to keep aggregated data in order to accomplish that.
5273 COMMISSIONER LAMARRE: Okay.
5274 MR. O'CARROLL: We also, for a network management point of view, keep aggregated data on overall types of flows. So try to understand what percentage of our traffic is Web browsing, what percentage is e-mail, et cetera, that's all.
5275 COMMISSIONER LAMARRE: Okay.
5276 Those are my questions. Merci, Monsieur le Président.
5277 THE CHAIRPERSON: Tim...?
5278 COMMISSIONER DENTON: Lady and gentlemen, good morning.
5279 Obviously here we are in the presence of two very large and somewhat different narratives and the narrative coming out of places like CIPPIC or the Open Internet Coalition would tell us that traffic and traffic congestion can be met by growth of the network, that the increase of network traffic is not so great that it cannot be met.
5280 The second proposition is that application-specific throttling can never be legitimate, either in terms of section 27(2) or section 36.
5281 I would say the third point they make is that contractual arrangements can help solve the problem. In other words, a lot of this is a question of business arrangements and charging for usage. And I think the fourth point that would be made by various experts was that to maintain a forward-looking process and don't overreact to temporary problems.
5282 Now, in the voice of sweet reasonableness with which you are so expert, you have told us: Everyone calm down. There is going to be -- rational people will solve this problem and this involves application-specific throttling.
5283 I would like you to, if you could, tell us why you think the Open Internet Coalition and CIPPIC just don't have the story right and where you think you agree and where you think you don't agree.
5284 MR. ENGELHART: Sure.
5285 So starting with the first point, that growth can be met through augmentation, essentially we agree with that. I mean we are spending vast amounts of money on augmentation and we are successfully meeting that growth. I mean, as Professor Odlyzko said, you have growth of 40 or 50 percent a year, which is certainly considerable, and we are spending tens of millions of dollars a year to augment that growth and we are quite proud of that. In fact, we augment six months before there is a problem.
5286 So the augmentation that Dermot is doing today is to meet forecasted congestion problems in six months. So we are always staying ahead of the congestion that happens to ensure that our customers have a good experience.
5287 The second point is application-specific means.
5288 I understand why they are concerned about application-specific traffic management, it relates back to this whole network neutrality debate that started five years ago. They are worried that we are going to hunt down some packets if someone doesn't pay us some money.
5289 But I think they are confusing the two issues. This is not a network neutrality issue, this is a case where some applications, namely peer-to-peer filesharing, have a different behaviour, they have a different characteristic. If any other application, one that was designed to cure cancer, had the same characteristics, we would have to manage it, because we have a network which is designed to be a shared use network. A shared use network means you use it, someone else uses it, someone else is away on holidays and they are not using it.
5290 I mean a 1.44 Mb per second T-1 service is not like that, it's a dedicated channel that you can have whatever you want at a guaranteed rate of speed. It costs a couple hundred dollars a month or $300 a month. Our service is 10 Mb, way faster, for $50 a month. So the reason that works is because it's a shared use network, it's not a nailed up connection. And when a certain application tries to take a nailed up connection, it can't expect -- or the users using it can't expect to get that kind of performance for $50 a month.
5291 So we target the applications, not because of the content in those packets, but because of the behaviour of the application. And if you are worried about the behaviour of a certain type of traffic, I think it's fair to manage the traffic.
5292 The third point is that usage charges can be effective and I agree, but to make them fully effective, in other words to get rid of traffic shaping, you might have to have a very low cap indeed so that all of our users are paying essentially per bit.
5293 I think that is going to upset a lot of people. They don't like it. They hate it. They really want to be able to use their Internet service without worrying about being charged for every bit. We are trying to have happy customers.
5294 I guess don't overreact to temporary problems, I would sort of agree with that one. You know, you should take a broader view of this thing and have some confidence that what we are doing is to manage the network.
5295 I mean, the whole premise behind all of this stuff is that we are somehow doing this to favour our video business. If that's true, why wouldn't we be managing the downstream? If that's true, why wouldn't we be going after video streaming which is, as every expert has said, a way more popular way of distributing video then peer-to-peer file sharing. If that was true, why would the universities be managing their networks the same way?
5296 So for all of these reasons I would disagree with a lot of the narrative that they have presented.
5297 COMMISSIONER DENTON: Those are my questions. Thank you.
5298 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
5299 Let me go back to your opening, because you basically said we control downstream, we don't control upstream. We control downloading with economic measures and pricing, et cetera. Upstream is there for anybody, they will use up everything, et cetera.
5300 Now, if you were not allowed to do that, are there other ways than the throttling that you are talking about that you can control the uploading?
5301 MR. ENGELHART: I guess before we had traffic shaping, we were in a state of congestion continuously in the upstream network. If you didn't let us do traffic shaping I suppose we would try other pricing mechanisms or other mechanisms, but I think they wouldn't work as well as what we are doing now. Certainly most of the carriers that we have talked to, in most parts of the world, do what we are doing.
5302 THE CHAIRPERSON: Now, I'm just wondering why you couldn't put a pricing mechanism on the uploading? Here you get 5 Mb of downloading and you have "X" much of uploading. You can't use -- it can't be used more or something. Why is it -- you are basically telling me uploading I don't control and therefore I have to traffic shape and there are no --
5303 Is there not an economic way that you can deal with it rather than on what you are doing right now, which is in effect an application-based discrimination? You legitimize it because you want to avoid congestion, I understand that, but I'm just trying to find out whether there is a non-discriminatory way of doing it or an economic way of handling this issue not discriminatory or an economic way of handling this issue?
5304 MR. ENGELHART: I have been thinking about that as we prepared for this hearing, because both of us with our background in economics tend to think about pricing as a way of solving problems.
5305 I think you have to have a differential rate for upstream bandwidth and downstream. You would have to have a pretty low cap for upstream. You would have to educate your customers that when they are using peer-to-peer file sharing their computer is being used as a source of documents for other people in the world, because many of them aren't aware of that.
5306 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes...?
5307 MR. ENGELHART: So you would have to do quite a bit of education. You would have to put in some fairly sophisticated pricing.
5308 I'm not saying it's impossible, but I'm thinking it would be tricky and I'm thinking it would annoy a lot of customers and I'm not aware of anyone who has done it.
5309 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. But especially looking down south of us, they have basically said you can't -- if I understand what they have said in the Comcast, you can't do application-based throttling, you have to do something else.
5310 MR. ENGELHART: No. No.
5311 In fact Cox for example does exactly what we do. Most U.S. cable companies do exactly what we do.
5312 What they told Comcast to stop doing was what I referred to as session management --
5313 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes...?
5314 MR. ENGELHART: -- this practice of sending reset packets. But most carriers down there do traffic shaping the same as we do and the FCC has not told them to stop.
5315 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay.
5316 Earlier at this hearing I sort of floated the idea which you undoubtedly heard and ignored, which is could one have a two-stream rule, saying its ex post for any kind of traffic management unless it's application base, then it should be ex ante, you should first come and explain to us and say why you are forced to use this. This is really the last resort because on the face of it it seems to be violating 27(2).
5317 What do you think of an approach like that?
5318 MR. ENGELHART: Well, I would harken back to what the gentleman from Sandvine said, which is that an application -- that an unmanaged network is not a neutral network.
5319 You might just as well ask unmanaged ISPs to come before you, because they will be impacting certain types of traffic and certain types of application and certain types of behaviour. So I'm not sure that it makes sense to say because you are engaged in application-specific management you are doing something non-neutral.
5320 The other point I would make is, as Mike explained, there are all sorts of decisions we make that benefits some users and not others. We engineer the network, as Mike said, to a certain level of latency. Mr. Katz, who is the avid gamer, probably is frustrated by this and could level a complaint against us that we should have a lower level of latency. And that would cost money for all customers, but it would make Mr. Katz happy. Is that an application-specific traffic management? No, but it affects gamers.
5321 It's in the nature of having a consumer grade shared use network that you are going to make compromises and you are going to try and hit a lowest common denominator and you are going to make some people happy and not others.
5322 So we certainly have no problem with explaining to the Commission in confidence at any time what we are doing about any of our traffic management, but I don't think the forcing application-specific traffic management processes -- practices alone to come before you and explain themselves makes a whole lot of sense.
5323 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay.
5324 Well, thank you for your presentation. I must say, until you came today I had not appreciated the difficulty of uploading and applying economic measures to it and why you are doing it. So if between now and the final submission you have some spark of brilliance, please share it with us.
5325 Okay. Thanks.
5326 We will take a 10-minute break.
--- Upon recessing at 1110
--- Upon resuming at 1126
5327 THE SECRETARY: Order, please. A l'ordre, s'il vous plaît.
5328 LE PRÉSIDENT : Commençons, Madame la Secrétaire.
5329 LA SECRÉTAIRE : Merci, Monsieur le Président.
5330 J'inviterais maintenant Quebecor Media, au nom de Vidéotron ltée, à faire sa présentation.
5331 M. Dennis Béland comparaît pour Quebecor Media, au nom de Vidéotron. Il nous présentera son collègue. Vous aurez ensuite 15 minutes pour votre présentation.
5332 M. BÉLAND : Monsieur le Président, Monsieur le Vice-président, Télécommunications, honorables Membres du Conseil, mon nom est Dennis Béland, Directeur, Affaires réglementaires, Télécommunications pour Quebecor Media inc.
5333 Je suis accompagné de Monsieur Pierre Roy, Vice-président, Ingénierie, Technologies IP, pour Vidéotron ltée.
5334 Comme vous le savez tous, Vidéotron est le plus important fournisseur de services d'accès Internet au Québec, avec aujourd'hui plus d'un million de clients.
5335 L'exceptionnel taux de satisfaction de la clientèle de Vidéotron, au-delà de 98 pour cent pour le service d'accès Internet selon le dernier sondage Léger Marketing de mars 2009, n'est pas du tout étranger aux talents de Monsieur Roy et des hommes et femmes de son équipe qui gèrent notre réseau sur une base quotidienne.
5336 Nous vous remercions de cette opportunité de comparaître devant vous sur un sujet d'importance fondamentale pour notre compagnie et nos clients.
5337 Les directives que vous pourriez émettre suite à cette instance auront un impact direct sur notre capacité à offrir des services d'accès Internet abordables et de qualité, et plus important encore, sur notre capacité d'innover pour répondre aux besoins évolutifs de notre clientèle.
5338 S'il y a un seul message qui doit être retenu de notre intervention, c'est que l'Internet est un réseau dynamique -- dynamique et imprévisible. La diversité des mécanismes de gestion de trafic qui existent aujourd'hui et qui existeront demain fait intrinsèquement partie de ce dynamisme.
5339 Dans ce contexte, il est indispensable que le Conseil résiste à la tentation de vouloir imposer un cadre réglementaire visant la mise en place d'un modèle idéalisé et statique de l'Internet qui, dans les faits, n'a jamais existé et n'existera probablement jamais.
5340 Certains des intervenants participant à cette audience ont justement tenté de vous convaincre que l'adoption de pratiques de gestion de trafic par un opérateur de réseau, qu'elles soient économiques ou techniques, n'est qu'un simple stratagème visant à éviter d'investir dans son réseau.
5341 Certains y voient même un aveu d'échec de la part des opérateurs quant à leur capacité à subvenir aux besoins des Canadiens en services d'accès Internet.
5342 Face aux centaines de millions de dollars investis chaque année par les opérateurs de réseaux canadiens, dont pas moins de 280 millions de dollars par Vidéotron pour la seule année 2008, cette déclaration est pour le moins étonnante. Une telle position est non seulement contre-productive -- qui, hormis les consommateurs canadiens, financera ultimement toutes ces dépenses? -- mais va directement à l'encontre des principes qui ont permis à ce jour à l'Internet d'être si accessible à la population en général.
5343 L'Internet est un réseau partagé, dont le génie a toujours été de trouver des solutions technologiques permettant un partage toujours plus efficace de ses installations, au grand bénéfice de l'ensemble des utilisateurs finaux.
5344 Du choix initial d'effectuer le groupage de données par paquets, à la mise en place de mécanismes évolués de gestion de file d'attente, au développement des pratiques les plus récentes de gestion de trafic, les opérateurs de réseaux ont toujours cherché à rentabiliser au maximum leurs investissements. Autrement dit, c'est ce souci pour le partage efficace qui rend les services d'accès Internet si performants et si accessibles à la population en général.
5345 II est illusoire de penser qu'une interdiction des pratiques de gestion de trafic Internet inciterait les opérateurs à investir plus dans leurs réseaux. Bien au contraire, l'adoption d'une telle politique priverait les opérateurs d'un outil puissant permettant de gérer leur croissance et ultimement, de satisfaire à la demande toujours croissante de nouveaux services et de bande passante.
5346 Vidéotron applique des limites mensuelles d'utilisation de capacité de la bande passante à toutes ses offres d'accès Internet haute vitesse résidentielles. Au-delà de ces limites, l'utilisateur final de Vidéotron doit payer des surcharges pour l'utilisation excédentaire de la bande passante.
5347 Ces informations sont affichées ouvertement sur notre site web, sont présentées dans notre contrat de service, et sont disponibles auprès de notre service à la clientèle.
5348 Tous les utilisateurs finaux de Vidéotron ont également accès à un compteur permettant de suivre leur consommation sur une base quotidienne et mensuelle.
5349 Vidéotron a choisi d'appliquer des limites mensuelles d'utilisation de capacité et des surcharges pour l'utilisation excédentaire afin d'éviter une situation où une minorité d'utilisateurs finaux consommerait une quantité disproportionnée de ressources, privant ainsi les autres utilisateurs finaux d'un accès équitable à la bande passante.
5350 Les limites mensuelles d'utilisation de capacité et les surcharges pour l'utilisation excédentaire créent un incitatif financier qui pousse l'utilisateur final à surveiller sa consommation et à la maintenir à l'intérieur de limites raisonnables.
5351 Vidéotron n'utilise pas actuellement de solutions dites techniques, comme l'inspection approfondie des paquets, l'IAP, pour gérer le trafic Internet sur son réseau. Pour le moment, la compagnie est satisfaite des résultats obtenus avec les pratiques de gestion dites économiques que nous venons de décrire.
5352 Cela ne veut pas dire pour autant que Vidéotron est d'avis que les pratiques de gestion économiques seront toujours efficaces et qu'elles n'auront jamais à être accompagnées de solutions techniques.
5353 Au risque de se répéter, l'Internet est un réseau profondément imprévisible.
5354 Peut-on affirmer avec certitude que les internautes vont toujours réagir de la même manière aux incitatifs financiers?
5355 Peut-on penser que le développement de nouvelles applications ou l'apparition de nouveaux phénomènes, les flash crowds, par exemple, pourraient lester le réseau sans toutefois augmenter la consommation brute de la bande passante, ce qui viendrait annuler l'efficacité des pratiques de gestion économiques?
5356 Les internautes vont-ils exprimer une préférence pour des fournisseurs qui optent pour des solutions techniques judicieuses ou des fournisseurs appliquant des pratiques de gestion économiques adaptées?
5357 On le constate, la réponse à ces questions nécessite, tant pour le Conseil que pour Vidéotron, l'évaluation en profondeur de plusieurs impondérables que seul le temps permettra de bien saisir.
5358 Or, la pire façon de servir l'intérêt public face à autant d'incertitude mais tout autant de potentiel d'innovation, serait de forcer tout le monde à faire la même chose.
5359 Une concurrence énergique et bénéfique peut exister non seulement entre fournisseurs et entre réseaux, mais aussi entre méthodes de gestion de réseaux.
5360 Cette réalité est encore plus pertinente quand on considère l'émergence de réseaux sans fil de troisième et quatrième génération capables d'offrir une alternative sérieuse aux réseaux filaires en matière de services à large bande.
5361 Quebecor Media fait d'ailleurs remarquer qu'elle construit actuellement son propre réseau de Services sans fil évolués, un projet qui requiert des investissements de l'ordre de 800 millions à 1 milliard de dollars sur quatre ans.
5362 Un réseau sans fil ne présente pas le même profil qu'un réseau filaire en termes de partage d'installations, structure de coûts, ou pratiques de dimensionnement. Rien ne laisse présumer que les techniques de gestion de trafic Internet les plus propices pour un réseau sans fil seront nécessairement celles qui ont été les plus propices pour un réseau filaire. II va sans dire que l'imposition d'un cadre réglementaire symétrique serait trop restrictif et risquerait d'empêcher les réseaux sans fil d'atteindre leur plein potentiel.
5363 En ce qui concerne les accusations voulant que des opérateurs de réseaux utilisent la gestion de trafic pour bloquer l'accès aux contenus ou pour bafouer la vie privée de leurs utilisateurs, force est de constater l'absence totale de preuves concrètes à cet égard. Dans un environnement compétitif où chaque opérateur à la liberté de choisir ses propres seuils de téléchargement, ou aucun seuil dans le cas d'un opérateur se fiant uniquement sur des pratiques techniques, et où il existerait un véritable engouement pour un nouveau type de contenu, il est peu crédible qu'un opérateur persisterait à refuser artificiellement à ses clients la bande passante nécessaire pour y accéder.
5364 Du côté de la protection de la vie privée, il nous paraît évident qu'il existe une nette distinction conceptuelle et fonctionnelle entre l'utilisation de techniques telles l'IAP pour gérer du trafic et l'utilisation de ces mêmes techniques pour la collecte ou le partage illicite d'informations de nature personnelle.
5365 Toute intervention réglementaire dans le fonctionnement d'un marché entraîne des coûts directs liés à la conformité, mais plus important encore, des coûts indirects associés au ralentissement de l'innovation.
5366 Une agence réglementaire a le devoir de s'assurer que ses interventions répondent à des problèmes réels et non pas à des problèmes spéculatifs.
5367 Before concluding let me also take the opportunity to address the matter of the application of traffic management practices to resale service providers.
5368 The resellers that have participated in this proceeding have generally maintained that Internet traffic management practices, both economic and technical, are wholly legitimate. However, in their view, underlying networks should apply these practices only to their own end users and not to their resellers' end users.
5369 In defense of this rather self-serving position, resellers have asserted that it is in their interest to manage by themselves their own end users.
5370 The Commission should take this assertion with a high degree of skepticism. On a shared network, when one end user or group of end users causes congestion on a particular facility, the impact is felt by all end users who use that facility.
5371 While it is the case that some facilities at some network locations may be under the control of resellers, the vast majority of local access facilities, at least in the case of coaxial cable networks, are not controlled by resellers and hence escape fully from their responsibility.
5372 Concretely, this means that when a coaxial cable operator detects congestion in a local cable cell, it falls upon the operator and the operator alone to make the investments necessary to correct the situation, whether the congestion is attributable to its own end users or those of its resellers. It is the network operator, and not the reseller, who must support the high costs of physically splitting the cable cell to increase capacity.
5373 Not only is the reseller completely unaware of this activity, it has no financial nor other incentive to ensure that these investments take place in a rational or orderly fashion. In other words, the reseller has no incentive to ensure that its end users act reasonably in relation to their neighbours.
5374 To employ the vocabulary of the Telecom Act, there is nothing unjustly discriminatory about applying the same traffic management practices, economic or technical, to one's resellers' end users as to one's own end users. On the contrary, it is the absence of symmetry in the application of these practices, if imposed by regulatory fiat, that would create an injustice.
5375 A network operator which is refused the ability to apply its practices symmetrically would soon find itself the target of resellers in search of arbitrage opportunities. These resellers would have an interest in attracting those end users who seek to circumvent the network operator's traffic management practices. The excessive costs of this arrangement would be supported solely by the underlying network operator and all other end users would suffer degradation in service. Such a result cannot be in the public interest.
5376 Monsieur le Président, dans nos soumissions à cette instance, nous avons fait savoir que la gestion active du trafic, que ce soit par l'entremise de pratiques économiques ou techniques, est devenue incontournable pour tout opérateur de réseau Internet qui cherche à offrir des services de qualité à prix abordable.
5377 Nous avons également établi que les craintes de ceux qui s'opposent à de telles pratiques, que ce soit en termes de discrimination injuste où d'atteinte à la vie privée, demeurent purement spéculatives.
5378 Finalement, nous avons constaté qu'il existe une concurrence saine dans l'élaboration et la mise en place de pratiques de gestion du trafic Internet, et que cette concurrence sous-jacente contribue amplement au libre jeu du marché dans les services d'accès Internet offerts à la population.
5379 Dans un contexte si dynamique, Quebecor Media soumet respectueusement que les instructions de la gouverneure en conseil obligent le Conseil à évaluer avec un grand discernement toute proposition d'intervention ex ante dans les pratiques de gestion du trafic Internet.
5380 Une intervention du Conseil ne peut être justifiée en l'absence de preuves concrètes selon lesquelles il existe un véritable problème.
5381 Merci encore pour cette opportunité de comparaître devant vous. Il nous fera plaisir maintenant de répondre à vos questions.
5382 LE PRÉSIDENT : Merci pour votre intervention.
5383 Premièrement, j'aimerais vous avertir qu'à cause de problèmes d'horaire, on va prendre une pause à midi et on va résumer à 2 h 00. Si on est en train de vous interroger, on va continuer à 2 h 00.
5384 Deuxièmement, vous dites ici, à la page 3, que vous utilisez vraiment des moyens financiers pour réguler l'usage de vos clients. Vous dites :
"Vidéotron applique des limites mensuelles d'utilisation de capacité de la bande passante à toutes ses offres d'accès Internet haute vitesse résidentielles. Au-delà de ces limites, l'utilisateur final de Vidéotron doit payer des surcharges pour l'utilisation excédentaire de la bande passante."
5385 Vous étiez ici quand Rogers a fait son témoignage, et le point de Rogers était que toutes ces surcharges, et caetera, ça fonctionne pour limiter le téléchargement des programmes, et caetera, mais c'est le problème de téléverser ou uploading où vraiment se trouvent le problème et qu'il n'y a pas de méthode financière pour discipliner ça, et à cause de ça, ils ont utilisé des moyens pour freiner les téléversements de P2P.
5386 Quelle est votre expérience? Est-ce que vous croyez que... Premièrement, est-ce que vous utilisez des moyens comme Rogers? Deuxièmement, sinon, comment évitez-vous les problèmes qu'ils trouvent?
5387 M. BÉLAND : D'abord, on n'utilise pas des moyens dits techniques de gestion de trafic, tels l'inspection approfondie de packets, comme Rogers.
5388 Donc, en ce qui concerne... votre question touche effectivement l'efficacité de nos méthodes économiques.
5389 LE PRÉSIDENT : Oui.
5390 M. BÉLAND : C'est vrai qu'en théorie l'application d'un plafond de consommation à l'ensemble de l'utilisation de la bande passante durant un mois, en théorie, ça pourrait ne pas affecter les catégories d'utilisateurs qui ont un impact particulièrement néfaste sur le réseau, tel l'utilisateur qui est continuellement en train d'envoyer les fichiers en amont, les uploaders.
5391 LE PRÉSIDENT : M'hmm.
5392 M. BÉLAND : Donc, c'est vrai qu'en théorie, le plafond ne va pas toucher à ce phénomène inquiétant.
5393 En réalité, ce qu'on observe sur le réseau de Vidéotron, c'est qu'il y a quand même une corrélation, que les gens qui... l'imposition d'un plafond de téléchargement de la manière que Vidéotron l'a fait a quand même une influence sur l'ensemble de l'utilisation de ces utilisateurs et, donc, a quand même une influence sur la quantité d'informations qu'ils sont en train d'envoyer en amont.
5394 Donc, la corrélation n'est pas parfaite, mais la corrélation est suffisante présentement pour nous donner une certaine confiance dans les mesures qu'on a choisies.
5395 LE PRÉSIDENT : Vous n'avez pas trouvé des problèmes de congestion? Rogers a dit que s'ils n'emploient pas ces méthodes techniques, le trafic P2P va complètement bloquer leur système.
5396 M. BÉLAND : Je vais demander à Pierre de peut-être donner des précisions, mais encore une fois, en appliquant nos plafonds de consommation, on a vu des impacts bénéfiques non seulement sur le montant global de consommation des grands utilisateurs, mais aussi sur la quantité de bande passante qui est utilisée en amont par ces utilisateurs.
5397 LE PRÉSIDENT : Est-ce que vous éduquez vos utilisateurs, pour dire, écoutez, votre système peut être utilisé pour les téléversements, également comme les téléchargements, et pour cette raison, vous devez bloquer les téléversements pour limiter l'usage ou quelque chose comme ça?
5398 M. BÉLAND : Je n'ai pas compris la question.
5399 LE PRÉSIDENT : Dans les programmes comme BitTorrent, et caetera...
5400 M. BÉLAND : Oui.
5401 LE PRÉSIDENT : ...il y a l'habilité de téléverser ou uploading en anglais, mais il y a aussi la facilité de bloquer les téléversements. Vous avez... vous comme utilisateur, vous avez le choix de bloquer les téléversements.
5402 M. BÉLAND : On ne fait pas de blocage maintenant, mais je peux demander à...
5403 LE PRÉSIDENT : Non, non. Est-ce que vous éduquez vos utilisateurs, vos clients, à dire, écoutez, il y a cette facilité-là et vous pouvez limiter les téléversements de votre ordinateur, de vos programmes?
5404 M. BÉLAND : On n'a pas de plan d'éducation spécifique, mais on constate quand même une réponse de la part de la clientèle, puis je vais peut-être demander à Pierre de préciser.
5405 M. ROY : Bonjour. Alors, depuis plusieurs années, voire '99, nous avons implanté des seuils à l'utilisation. Notre clientèle a très bien répondu au besoin. Monsieur Béland parlait de 98 pour cent de taux de satisfaction dans le dernier sondage marketing.
5406 La question que vous posez, c'est est-ce que nos clients sont éduqués? Je crois que les clients chez Vidéotron sont éduqués parce qu'ils comprennent l'utilisation et le fonctionnement, et dans le cas du téléversement ou l'uploading, ils vont soit limiter... parce que Rogers affirmait plus tôt 24 heures, est-ce que c'est durant 24 heures, est-ce que c'est huit heures par jour.
5407 Mais le peer-to-peer, lorsqu'il est en permanence sur un réseau, a un effet néfaste et donc fait augmenter l'utilisation d'un client. Les clients sont sensibilisés et eux vont soit limiter leur temps durant la journée où ils vont faire ces téléversements-là ou soit ils vont carrément ne pas le mettre en fonction.
5408 Jusqu'à maintenant, ces solutions-là nous ont permis de s'assurer qu'il n'y ait pas de congestion à l'intérieur de notre réseau et qu'il n'y ait pas d'effet néfaste de ces protocoles-là.
5409 LE PRÉSIDENT: Monsieur Béland, cette corrélation que vous avez observée entre les téléchargements et les téléversements, et caetera, est-ce que vous avez des dates que vous pouvez partager... des données que vous pouvez partager avec nous parce que votre témoignage est contraire, tel qu'on a eu des autres personnes, et j'aimerais, au lieu d'avoir des remarques comme ça, mais si vous avez des données que vous avez observées sur votre réseau, ce serait très utile pour nous de les voir.
5410 M. BÉLAND: On va voir quelles données on pourrait vous fournir. Je soupçonne qu'il en existe, certaines données et certains événements qu'on a eus dans notre réseau quand on a imposé des plafonds, changé des plafonds. On pourrait peut-être voir si on peut trouver en terme d'impact de ces changements.
5411 LE PRÉSIDENT: Oui.
5412 M. BÉLAND: En même temps, je veux préciser que, à mon avis, notre témoignage n'est pas nécessairement en contradiction avec les fournisseurs qui disent... qui constatent une nécessité de se fier à des pratiques techniques de gestion.
5413 Ce que j'ai dit de... c'est qu'on constate une certaine corrélation.
5414 LE PRÉSIDENT: Hum-hum!
5415 M. BÉLAND: La corrélation n'est pas parfaite. Ça nous donne présentement les résultats qu'on a besoin, dans le sens que l'imposition des plafonds semble contrôler à un certain point des problèmes de congestion, mais de là à conclure que c'est la méthode à suivre ou c'est une méthode parfaite ou que c'est une méthode qui va continuer à être si efficace, c'est une autre... c'est une autre question.
5416 LE PRÉSIDENT: Je peux apprécier ça. Suzanne, tu as des questions?
5417 CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE: Merci, monsieur le président. Bonjour, messieurs.
5418 Monsieur Béland, je dois vous dire immédiatement que je suis certaine que le débit que vous utilisez dans votre présentation et pour répondre aux questions est un vrai bonheur pour les interprètes qui sont en devoir à l'arrière de la salle. Alors, comme ils ne peuvent pas eux-mêmes vous le dire, je me permets de vous le mentionner.
5419 Les questions que j'ai à vous poser suivent assez bien l'ordre de votre soumission et de vos répliques. Votre soumission avait le mérite d'être assez directe, alors ça va être facile d'avoir, peut-être, des questions un peu plus directes.
5420 Et pour continuer, là, sur la question de la méthode économique de gestion de trafic que vous utilisez, dans les présentations qui ont été faites, depuis la semaine dernière, lorsqu'on abordait cette question-là avec des intervenants, soit que c'était des fournisseurs de service internet, soit que c'était des représentants des consommateurs, il y a deux difficultés qui nous étaient présentées.
5421 La première, c'était d'arriver à informer les consommateurs correctement sur la dépense, l'utilisation de bande passante qu'ils font et la deuxième, c'était au niveau de l'insatisfaction présumée des consommateurs face à cette méthode-là.
5422 Et, vous, vous semblez avoir été capable de surmonter ces deux difficultés-là parce que, d'un côté, vous me dites le dernier sondage Léger Marketing dit que 98 pour cent de vos clients sont satisfaits du service qu'ils obtiennent.
5423 Et aussi, vous parlez dans votre soumission de compteurs qui permettent de suivre, là, la consommation quotidienne ou mensuelle de vos clients.
5424 Alors, dans le cas du sondage, est-ce que, ça, ce document-là, ce sondage-là, pourrait être disponible pour le Conseil?
5425 M. BÉLAND: Je pourrais demander à l'interne. C'est potentiellement le genre d'information qu'on pourrait partager avec vous en confidence.
5426 CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE: Et l'autre chose, pour parler des compteurs, pouvez-vous m'expliquer d'abord du point de vue de l'utilisateur ce que ça implique? Est-ce que l'utilisateur doit entrer une session de clients avec vous sur votre site internet ou comment ça fonctionne?
5427 Et l'autre côté de la médaille, comment ça fonctionne pour vous au niveau de l'installation et de l'exploitation de ces compteurs-là?
5428 M. BÉLAND: Je vais demander à Pierre de répondre.
5429 M. ROY: Alors, c'est disponible sur notre portail de Vidéotron, l'utilisateur a juste à s'authentifier. Il a accès à une donnée quotidienne et elle est disponible, je ne sais pas à quelle heure précisément durant la journée, mais la donnée est mise à jour quotidiennement puis la personne peut voir quel est son taux d'utilisation quotidien.
5430 En terme de collecte d'information sur nos compteurs, je vous dirais qu'on est... on est en avant. Il y a des méthodes qui ont été mises en place pour permettre de collecter ces informations-là sur nos équipements et qu'on a utilisées. On a été dans les premiers à utiliser certaines fonctionnalités lorsqu'on a commencé à augmenter nos vitesses pour être beaucoup plus rapide.
5431 Mais aujourd'hui, ce système-là est fonctionnel du début à la fin et je vous dirais que je comprends votre question, mais pour nous, lorsqu'on approvisionne un client, on a un numéro de compte qui est relié à un équipement et cette information-là est envoyée dans nos systèmes de médiation.
5432 Si un technicien change d'équipement chez le client, cette information-là est mise à jour immédiatement parce que les techniciens ont des appareils portatifs qui permettent de mettre à jour cette information-là et c'est comme ça qu'on permet et comme ça qu'on a permis dans le passé de facturer ou de connaître l'état d'utilisation d'un client.
5433 CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE: Donc, vous avez un million de clients, vous avez un million de compteurs sur votre réseau?
5434 M. ROY: Oui, oui.
5435 CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE: Et ces compteurs-là sont reliés à votre système de facturation et si jamais il y a contestation de la part d'un client, c'est une contestation que vous êtes capable d'analyser soit en envoyant un technicien ou en ayant un technicien qui analyse le réseau ou par d'autres façons qui ne sont pas nécessairement, là, invasives pour le client?
5436 M. BÉLAND: Le but principal du compteur est de permettre au client de suivre sa consommation, mais en cas de contestation, c'est sûr qu'on va utiliser les mêmes données pour défendre la facturation qu'on présente au client.
5437 J'ajouterais aussi que... un point important. Ce même compteur, Vidéotron le rend disponible à nos revendeurs. On ne le rend pas... ce n'est pas à nous à avoir une interface avec les clients de nos revendeurs, donc on rend le compteur disponible aux revendeurs, eux autres ont le droit de le rendre disponible à leurs clients à leur façon.
5438 CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE: Compte tenu, là, que vous avez fait un déploiement à grande échelle de ce type de technologie-là, est-ce que vous pourriez partager avec le Conseil les implications financières de ça pour une entreprise, c'est-à-dire combien ça coûte à mettre en place par 1 000 ou 10 000 utilisateurs? Ça, c'est de l'information que vous pourriez rendre disponible pour le Conseil?
5439 M. BÉLAND: Sûrement, des données sur les coûts de mise en place du compteur, ça devrait être possible, oui.
5440 CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE: Et la durée de vie de cet équipement-là, c'est... vous envisagez ça sur quoi? Vous l'amortissez sur cinq ans, dix ans, vingt ans?
5441 M. BÉLAND: On va faire nos meilleurs efforts.
5442 CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE: Merci. Maintenant, en ce qui concerne les préavis sur les méthodes de gestion de trafic internet qui sont utilisées, je vous rapporte au paragraphe 26 de votre soumission initiale.
5443 Il y a une partie du paragraphe dont je ne comprends pas du tout la teneur. Bien, je comprends un peu, mais je ne suis pas certaine.
5444 À la fin du paragraphe, vous dites: «Vidéotron se réserve toutefois le droit de déposer ex parte un avis de modification à son tarif AITP lorsqu'une modification à ses limites de capacité ou ses surcharges fait partie d'une nouvelle offre non divulguée au public avant sa date d'entrée en vigueur.»
5445 Pouvez-vous m'expliquer à quoi vous faites référence ici?
5446 M. BÉLAND: C'est pour tenir compte de la possibilité que Vidéotron lance une toute nouvelle offre dans le marché, disons une nouvelle option avec un nouveau seuil de téléchargement. Ça, c'est le genre d'offre qu'on n'aime pas annoncer d'avance à Bell Canada, par exemple.
5447 Donc, une obligation de divulguer 30, 60 jours d'avance que cette nouvelle offre sera lancée, aurait des... serait désavantageux pour Vidéotron dans le marché.
5448 Par contre, ce que nous faisons régulièrement, c'est pour des offres qui sont déjà dans le marché où il y a déjà des clients abonnés à ces offres, quand on change quelque chose, par exemple, la vitesse ou le seuil. Généralement, ce sont des changements qui sont favorables aux clients, on augmente la vitesse, on augmente le seuil.
5449 LE PRÉSIDENT: Oui.
5450 M. BÉLAND: Mais ces offres-là, étant donné qu'on veut donner à nos propres utilisateurs finaux un avertissement que ce changement s'en vient parce qu'on envoie des lettres à nos propres utilisateurs finaux, le changement est dans le domaine public et ça ne nous dérange pas du tout à le rendre disponible en même temps à nos revendeurs.
5451 CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE: Mais pourquoi vous faites le lien entre ça et la divulgation de vos pratiques de gestion de trafic si la nouvelle offre que vous faites n'a pas d'impact sur une pratique de gestion de trafic internet?
5452 M. BÉLAND: Si on accepte la notion que la définition de pratique de gestion comprend des pratiques économiques...
5453 CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE: Économiques.
5454 M. BÉLAND: ... autrement des seuils, le lancement d'une nouvelle offre avec un nouveau seuil serait une donnée concurrentielle importante pour nous si ce n'est pas connu du grand public.
5455 CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE: Merci pour la clarification.
5456 Maintenant, l'autre préoccupation qui a été soulevée par des représentants de consommateurs est le fait que les pratiques de gestion économique pourraient avoir un impact malheureux sur des clients qui économiquement ont plus de difficulté que d'autres.
5457 Maintenant, je remarque, par contre, que dans votre réplique, au paragraphe 12, vous mentionnez que Vidéotron offre six niveaux de service d'accès internet avec des vitesses et des seuils de téléchargement différents.
5458 Donc, malgré le fait que vous imposez des quotas, si je peux me permettre l'expression, de bande passante mensuelle, et peut-être même des vitesses maximum, vous n'avez pas un format unique pour tous vos clients?
5459 M. BÉLAND: Non. Justement, il y a du choix, six offres différentes de la part de Vidéotron et, moi, dans ma tête, c'est à l'avantage du consommateur. Là, on rend possible au consommateur de choisir ce qu'il a besoin, quelle vitesse il a besoin, quel plafond il a besoin.
5460 Donc, la multiplicité d'offres, loin d'être contre le bénéfice du consommateur, ça me paraît évident que c'est pro consommateur.
5461 CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE: Donc, vous vous permettez d'offrir vous-même des produits concurrentiels à l'intérieur de votre offre de service?
5462 M. BÉLAND: Un utilisateur qui veut télécharger énormément et qui a besoin d'un plafond élevé ou qui veut bénéficier d'une vitesse extrêmement élevée, Vidéotron, on va jusqu'à 50 mégabites par seconde maintenant, cet utilisateur a ses besoins, ma grand-mère a ses besoins aussi et il y a une offre pour les deux.
5463 CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE: Faite attention; il y a des grands-mères qui sont de grandes utilisatrices de service internet.
5464 LE PRÉSIDENT: O.k. C'est midi et comme je vous avais dit, on va arrêter maintenant et on va recommencer à 1400.
5465 Merci beaucoup.
--- Upon recessing at 1200
--- Upon resuming at 1403
5466 LE PRÉSIDENT: On va continuer avec Vidéotron. Suzanne, tu reprends.
5467 CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE: Merci. C'est là qu'on va voir si on réussit à avoir de la suite dans les idées même après un repas.
5468 Avant qu'on quitte, on a parlé brièvement, là, des notifications des avis envoyés aux clients en ce qui concerne les méthodes de gestion de trafic internet. Alors, je continue dans la même veine.
5469 Au paragraphe 29 de votre soumission, vous dites que... bon, pour les différentes raisons que vous énumérez: «Québecor soumet qu'il serait déraisonnable et même improductif» -- et là je mets l'emphase sur: «en terme de relation avec le client d'exiger une divulgation compréhensive des solutions techniques de gestion de trafic.»
5470 Alors, compte tenu que présentement ce ne sont pas le type de solution que vous avez en place, qu'est-ce que vous anticipez comme étant improductif en terme de relation avec le client?
5471 M. BÉLAND: Je crois que notre inquiétude principale, ça serait par rapport à la complexité des informations.
5472 Une divulgation ou une règle de divulgation qui nous oblige à émettre des informations extrêmement complexes, à notre avis, serait... ça va générer plus de confusion, plus d'appels au service à la clientèle qu'autre chose et ce n'est pas nécessairement dans l'intérêt des consommateurs.
5473 Une certaine divulgation, oui, mais pas dans une complexité qui est au-delà de ce qui est nécessaire.
5474 CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE: Donc, ça serait d'arriver à déterminer d'une façon équitable pour la moyenne ou des fois un peu plus de vos clients ce qu'eux considèrent comme étant suffisant pour pouvoir prendre une décision informée, sans que vous soyez obligé de leur donner un cours d'ingénierie de réseau. C'est ça?
5475 M. BÉLAND: Exactement, oui.
5476 CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE: Maintenant, je comprends votre position à l'effet que même si présentement vous n'avez pas mis en place des techniques de gestion de trafic internet technique, vous vous contentez des techniques économiques que vous dites que, bon, ça n'empêche pas que plus tard, on sera peut-être obligé de le faire et que, à ce titre, bon, votre position en tant que fournisseur de service internet, c'est la liberté totale, évidemment, c'est ce qu'il y a de préférable.
5477 Maintenant, ceci étant dit, vous vous appuyez pour soutenir cette position-là, sur le fait que le développement d'internet et des demandes, il y a un côté imprévisible à tout ça. Bon, je veux bien et, bon, ce n'est pas aujourd'hui qu'on va régler l'imprévisible.
5478 Mais ce que j'aimerais savoir c'est ce que, vous, vous faites comme prévision pour arriver à gérer votre trafic internet. Par exemple -- et c'est seulement, là, une piste, là, de question -- vous êtes arrivé jusqu'à présent à maintenir la demande, compte tenu de l'offre que vous avez et ce, avec des méthodes économiques.
5479 Est-ce que dans vos prévisions, vous envisagez les augmentations de vente de bande passante, par exemple, ou qu'est-ce que vous prévoyez d'autre?
5480 Autrement dit, je comprends qu'il y a un volet qui est imprévisible et à l'impossible nul n'est tenu, mais en même temps, si on veut essayer de faire des prévisions en tant que bon gestionnaire de service internet, de fournisseur de service internet, qu'est-ce que vous mettez de l'avant lorsque vous décidez ou non de prendre de l'expansion dans votre réseau ou de faire des offres différentes en terme de produits économiques que vous offrez à vos clients?
5481 M. BÉLAND: Mais tout détenteur de réseau, tout gestionnaire de réseau, va essayer de prévoir la charge totale, la demande sur son réseau. Nous, on le fait, comme Rogers l'a mentionné ce matin, ils font et ils essaient d'approvisionner six mois d'avance certains éléments du réseau. Nous, on a des laps de temps semblables pour nos activités, de prévisions.
5482 Donc, c'est sûr qu'on ne se fie pas uniquement sur nos méthodes de gestion économique. On prévoit puis on approvisionne le réseau aussi, mais il demeure que l'internet, l'évolution de l'internet est profondément imprévisible.
5483 Quelles seront les applications de choix dans un an ou dans deux ans? Quels comportements de clients vont paraître qui rendent nos pratiques économiques moins efficaces?
5484 Ce sont des imprévisibles et le message principal qu'on avait dans notre présentation initiale, c'est qu'on a besoin de la flexibilité potentiellement de changer de méthode si l'internet évolue dans le sens que d'autres méthodes s'avèrent plus efficaces.
5485 CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE: Mais si on regarde ça de l'autre côté de la lunette, en même temps vous dites c'est imprévisible, Rogers ce matin disait: ça évolue excessivement vite, donc le danger si le Conseil met en place des lignes directrices, c'est que ces lignes directrices là ne seront pas adaptées à ce qui va se passer plus tard.
5486 Mais si on ne fait rien, le risque, à ce moment-là ne devient pas qu'on manque le bateau et que la machine s'emballe et que, finalement, les consommateurs et les citoyens canadiens soient face à un système de fourniture de service internet qui ne répond pas à leurs besoins et que le tort qui a été causé soit irréparable ou encore plus difficile à corriger par la suite.
5487 M. BÉLAND: Mais pour avoir cette inquiétude, il faut croire que c'est dans l'intérêt des fournisseurs de service d'accès internet à offrir des services insuffisants à leurs clients. C'est dans le marché, qui est un marché très compétitif ici au Canada, on ne voit pas que les forces du marché sont telles que les fournisseurs de service d'accès internet est un incitatif à dégrader leurs services envers leurs clients.
5488 Nous, Pierre et notre équipe de marketing et le restant de notre équipe, quand ils se lèvent le matin, ils ne se lèvent pas en cherchant des opportunités de dégrader le service aux clients.
5489 CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE: Non, mais ils peuvent...
5490 M. BÉLAND: Et les forces sont très puissantes dans l'autre sens, dans les faits.
5491 CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE: Mais ils peuvent, dans la mesure où ils prennent des décisions, par contre, faire des erreurs qui ont des conséquences non intentionnelles, de la même façon que ce qui est mis de l'avant par les gens qui aimeraient que le CRTC réglemente le moins possible ou n'émette pas de ligne directrice, ils disent: vos lignes directrices peuvent avoir des conséquences non intentionnelles.
5492 M. BÉLAND: Il y a une possibilité que les compagnies fassent des erreurs. C'est sûr.
5493 Peut-être que Vidéotron a déjà fait des erreurs dans ses choix de pratique de gestion, mais ce sont des erreurs que le marché va régler parce que s'il y a des compagnies qui font des erreurs pendant que leurs concurrents ne les font pas ou si deux compagnies, simultanément, font des erreurs, c'est la première qui va corriger l'erreur qui va avoir des clients plus satisfaits.
5494 Au fond, la notion que les compagnies pourraient collectivement aller dans un sens de dégrader inutilement le service rendu au consommateur, cette notion-là ou cette préoccupation-là va à l'encontre de toute notre réelle dans le marché.
5495 CONSEILLERE LAMARRE : Pour changer de propos, vous en avez parlé rapidement ce matin dans votre présentation, en ce qui concerne les services que vous rendez à vos clients de gros, les revendeurs, et la question d'impact sur la bande passante utilisée par les revendeurs sur la bande passante qui est utilisée par la titulaire qui fournit le service de base a été longuement discutée.
5496 Maintenant, vous, vous nous dites que vous n'appliquez que des mesures économiques de gestion de trafic. Est-ce que, présentement, c'est la même chose que vous faites avec vos clients de gros?
5497 M. BÉLAND : Oui. Dans notre tarif Accès Internet aux tierces parties, l'AITP, vous allez trouver dans ce tarif des frais de dépassement, des frais d'utilisation excédentaire qui sont identiques aux frais qu'on applique à nos propres utilisateurs finaux.
5498 Évidemment, on ne charge pas ces frais-là aux utilisateurs finaux des revendeurs. On les charge au revendeur, qui, lui, a le droit de faire ce qu'il veut avec, par la suite.
5499 Mais les frais sont identiques, et chaque fois qu'on modifie un de nos frais de dépassement ou un de nos seuils de dépassement pour nos utilisateurs finaux, on dépose un tarif avec le Conseil pour faire exactement le même changement, à la même date, dans notre tarif AITP.
5500 CONSEILLERE LAMARRE : Et ce que vous expliquiez plus tôt ce matin, c'est que, présentement, vous êtes à encourager vos revendeurs à instaurer le même système de compteur d'utilisation de bande passante pour leurs clients?
5501 M. BÉLAND : On leur donne accès au même compteur. C'est leur décision...
5502 CONSEILLERE LAMARRE : C'est leur décision, mais ils y ont accès.
5503 M. BÉLAND : ...quoi faire avec.
5504 CONSEILLERE LAMARRE : Ils y ont accès.
5505 Simplement pour m'assurer que j'ai bien compris ce que vous avez expliqué ce matin en ce qui concerne l'impact de la bande passante qui est utilisée par les revendeurs et l'ensemble de la bande passante de Vidéotron, est-ce que j'ai bien compris que la bande passante qui est fournie aux revendeurs, elle n'est pas isolée de la bande passante globale de Vidéotron?
5506 M. BÉLAND : Non, pas du tout. C'est l'accès local qui est l'endroit où la congestion va paraître le plus souvent dans notre réseau, puis la plupart des réseaux, j'imagine. L'accès local est un accès à une ressource partagée entre nos utilisateurs finaux et les utilisateurs finaux de nos revendeurs.
5507 CONSEILLERE LAMARRE : Mais est-ce qu'il y a une partie dans le réseau où est-ce que les bandes passantes sont effectivement isolées, pas nécessairement au niveau local, mais sur la portion principale du réseau?
5508 M. BÉLAND : A un certain point, bien sûr, le trafic est passé au revendeur. A certain point, il a son router qui est en communication avec notre router local. La bande passante... ou le trafic est passé au revendeur. A partir de ce moment-là, oui, c'est sur son réseau, c'est à lui à dimensionner son réseau. Donc, son réseau fédérateur, par exemple, c'est à lui à prendre les décisions de dimensionnement.
5509 Mais encore une fois, le point important de notre point de vue, puis on croit que ça devrait être le point important pour le Conseil aussi, c'est là où la congestion se trouve le plus souvent, c'est dans l'accès local, et c'est justement l'accès local qui est partagé entre l'ensemble des utilisateurs finaux.
5510 CONSEILLERE LAMARRE : Maintenant, brièvement, pour revenir sur la question des différents modèles économiques, des différents produits, au fond, que vous proposez à vos clients, présentement, vous mentionnez que vous avez six niveaux de services d'accès.
5511 Est-ce que ça serait possible pour vous de nous fournir les détails de ces services d'accès là que vous proposez à vos clients de détail?
5512 M. BÉLAND : Oui. C'est sur notre site web, mais on peut le packager pour vous.
5513 CONSEILLERE LAMARRE : Oui, s'il vous plaît.
5514 Et l'autre chose, c'est, de votre expérience et compte tenu justement du sondage que vous avez fait -- vous, vous avez déjà vu les détails des questions et des réponses -- est-ce que vous estimez qu'en ayant des mesures économiques et en fournissant à vos clients le choix du type de produit qu'ils peuvent choisir que vous réussissez à créer une équité, compte tenu des besoins de vos clients, ou est-ce que vous pensez qu'il y a de l'amélioration à faire?
5515 M. BÉLAND : Manifestement, l'équilibre existe, existe bien aujourd'hui. Les statistiques de satisfaction sont à l'appui à ça. Donc, ça va bien présentement. Nous, notre préoccupation, c'est de s'assurer qu'on ait, au futur, la même flexibilité de continuer à faire le choix judicieux entre les méthodes diverses pour maintenir la même satisfaction à la clientèle.
5516 CONSEILLERE LAMARRE : Sur la question de la vie privée, il y a une méthode -- que vous avez entendue certainement la semaine dernière -- qui semble causer des préoccupations plus qu'une autre, et c'est la question de l'inspection approfondie des packets.
5517 Je crois vous avoir entendu dire ce matin, et je le vois même dans votre réplique, que la distinction doit être faite au niveau de l'utilisation de l'information, dans la mesure où il n'y a pas d'historique de conserver, que ça ne devrait pas causer de problème. Je me rappelle aussi que c'est une méthode que, présentement, vous n'utilisez pas, mais vous continuez à dire que vous voulez avoir la flexibilité de l'utiliser éventuellement si ça devient nécessaire.
5518 Est-ce que je dois comprendre de votre propos que vous estimez que le fait de surveiller le type d'application que vos clients utilisent, ce n'est pas une atteinte à la vie privée dans la mesure où vous ne conservez pas l'information?
5519 M. BÉLAND : Oui. Le fait de regarder un packet avec une technologie ou une autre, de décider est-ce que ce packet est telle application ou une autre et de diriger le packet selon l'information fournie par la technologie, en soi, on ne voit aucun impact sur la vie privée.
5520 CONSEILLERE LAMARRE : Mais vous êtes conscient qu'il y a des gens qui ont une opinion contraire à la vôtre et que la notion de vie privée, ça demeure une notion aussi, dans une certaine mesure, qui peut être subjective.
5521 Donc, qu'est-ce que vous feriez, vous, dans l'éventualité où vous décidiez d'utiliser cette technique-là pour rassurer vos clients que, effectivement, vous ne portez pas atteinte à leur vie privée?
5522 M. BÉLAND : La façon de rassurer les clients, c'est de ne jamais toucher au contenu, et d'après tout ce que j'ai entendu dans cette audience depuis une semaine, je n'ai rien entendu dans les descriptions des pratiques utilisées par les autres fournisseurs actuellement, je n'ai rien entendu qui m'indique à moi qu'il y a des fournisseurs au Canada qui regardent le contenu. Donc, il n'y a pas d'atteinte à la vie privée. Il n'y a même pas de préoccupation dans ma tête.
5523 CONSEILLERE LAMARRE : Juste un dernier point. Je veux juste m'assurer que...
5524 CONSEILLERE LAMARRE : Non, c'est tout, Monsieur le Président. Merci, messieurs.
5525 THE CHAIRPERSON: Len?
5526 COMMISSIONER KATZ: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
5527 Good afternoon. A couple of questions relating to your TPIA service. I have got a copy of your tariff in front of me here. I am sure you are familiar with it as well.
5528 Do you currently offer TPIA service to customers today?
5529 MR. BÉLAND: Yes.
5530 COMMISSIONER KATZ: You have live customers out there?
5531 MR. BÉLAND: Yes.
5532 COMMISSIONER KATZ: Can you distinguish their traffic from your retail customers' traffic on your network?
5533 MR. BÉLAND: Can we distinguish their traffic? What do you mean precisely?
5534 COMMISSIONER KATZ: Can you segregate and look at the load in the traffic that is coming onto your network from your wholesale customers' end users versus from your own retail customers?
5535 MR. BÉLAND: At a certain point, we have to hand off the traffic to the TPIA reseller. So on that level, we definitely break it out at some point in order to hand it off to the reseller.
5536 COMMISSIONER KATZ: Do you know whether your reseller sector of your business is using a disproportionate amount of traffic relative to the users on your retail side or not?
5537 MR. BÉLAND: I'll ask Pierre to comment.
5538 I suspect at some level there are certain measurement capabilities. Again, the simple fact that we charge excess use charges to our resellers for their end customers would indicate that we are measuring at some point the quantity of traffic but maybe Pierre can add to that.
5539 MR. ROY: You want to know what proportion -- if these third-party Internet users have any impact on the network? I just want to make sure I understand.
5540 COMMISSIONER KATZ: Yes. What I want to know is whether you know if -- for argument's sake, let's say you have 5 percent of your total customers coming from the resale sector, whether that 5 percent is using 5 percent of the network capacity or 25 percent of the network capacity.
5541 MR. ROY: In our traffic analysis, we look at it globally. If you asked a specific question, I would need to look at data to have this specific answer. But I have not seen any huge differences between both traffic because they are paying per usage and managing their bandwidth today.
5542 COMMISSIONER KATZ: Okay. Can I ask you though, when you come back to final reply if you can just take a look and just let us know, maybe in confidence if you are concerned about the confidentiality, as to whether there is a proportionality that is equivalent or not equivalent? So what percent of your customers are coming from the wholesale sector and how much capacity are they using up in the wholesale versus the retail?
5543 MR. BÉLAND: We will do our best to pull that together.
5544 COMMISSIONER KATZ: Okay.
5545 Now, you did say correctly -- I am sure it is correct -- that you are charging for the overage as well. So both your retail customers and your wholesale customers are paying if they go beyond the network.
5546 So theoretically -- and I am saying just theoretically now -- you do have sufficient financing to fund the growth in your network because you are charging people who use more than what your average is for your monthly charges to customers.
5547 So the issue really isn't a matter of having the money to build out the network because you are charging customers for that extra capacity, which translates into demand which you then build out.
5548 And I think I heard you say earlier that similar to Rogers, your planning horizon is about six months out. So you are building out for six months of demand, as well.
5549 So, theoretically, the only reason why you wouldn't be able to service the demand was if you underforecasted that demand, because, from a financial perspective, you shouldn't have any problem because you are charging for it.
5550 Is that correct?
5551 MR. BÉLAND: I don't have any specific data in front of me, but I would submit that the total amount of money that we collect from these access usage charges is far, far below what our annual capital expenditures are.
5552 Of course, money is money. It is a contribution to financing our capital investment, but I wouldn't make the direct link that you are making, that those charges allow us to keep building a network. Our investment in our network is very high, runs very strong, independent of any access use of revenue that we might be earning.
5553 COMMISSIONER KATZ: But your growth comes from two components, one is your existing customers' increased utilization, and the other is new customers that are coming on and paying for a new source of revenue for you, as well.
5554 So there are two components to that financing. I am just looking at that one component though; that is, the overage, so to speak, or the additional capacity utilized by those customers who are perhaps using more than what your average, or lanes of traffic, or however you measure your traffic, really is.
5555 I am just trying to understand what the reason would be that you wouldn't have enough capacity.
5556 And I understand that you are not doing any traffic management, as you said, but you reserve the right to be able to do it in the future, and I am trying to understand under what reasons would you actually engage in traffic management. The only reason I can see is if, in fact, you underforecast your demand, and suddenly there is a surge of demand because there are new applications, or whatever, that are using up capacity that you hadn't anticipated.
5557 MR. BÉLAND: I think the problem -- the difficulty I am having in responding is that the whole process of determining how much capital expenditure we are going to make -- it's not a uni-dimensional type of decision, as you are suggesting. You are balancing a lot of factors when you are making your capital investments, you are not just saying: Here are some access users, I got a little extra money from them, let's use that money to make sure that those excess bits are flowing well.
5558 Your capital budget is a whole, and you are trying to not just give some satisfaction to those access users, you are also trying to give some satisfaction to your entire customer base, which you are forecasting all along to be growing in its demand, and so on.
5559 You are also trying not to spend willy-nilly, you are trying to spend smartly.
5560 All of those factors come together in order to determine your capital budget. It's not a direct linkage between the amount of money we might get in access usage charges and --
5561 COMMISSIONER KATZ: No, and I understand that, as well. But, obviously, you are only going to build capacity if it is economically viable, and where that economics is through serving your existing customers, trying to reduce your churn, customers going somewhere else because someone may have a superior product or network, or whatever, as well.
5562 So, ultimately, you are making decisions to grow your network in order to serve your customers and provide a return to your shareholders, and all I am trying to understand is, why, in the future, would you not be able to meet the demand --
5563 One component would be economics, I would imagine. If suddenly the economy really went down, even further than it is today, and suddenly you started to say, "We can't spend capital, we will conserve capital," that may be one reason. But I don't think that is what you are saying to me. Therefore, I am trying to understand under what conditions would you start to ration or economize on the capacity that you have, and I can only think of one; that is, you underforecasted your demand -- which isn't a bad thing, necessarily, because you have customers that are out there, it's a matter of how fast can you spend the money to give them the service they want in order to serve your customers.
5564 MR. BÉLAND: But all along we also have an eye on the competitive marketplace, the prices in the marketplace. We are trying to offer the best possible service for the lowest possible price because of competitive market pressures.
5565 Maybe the problem I am having with your question is that you are portraying network management as something you do when there is a failure. Something went wrong. A forecast went wrong, or something else went wrong, you failed, go and do some management now.
5566 And that is not, in fact, how we see it. Network management and congestion management are good things in and of themselves, on an ongoing basis.
5567 For example, if we can deploy a new congestion management technique that allows us to save several tens of millions of dollars, because it's a real intelligent, innovative technique, and it allows us to save tens of millions of dollars of CAPEX that we wouldn't otherwise have saved, and therefore allows us to offer the same services at a cheaper price to our end users, that would be a good thing to do. And it's not because we failed in any way, it's in fact because our engineers were innovative enough to come up with some new ideas.
5568 COMMISSIONER KATZ: Okay. Those are my questions, Mr. Chairman.
5569 THE CHAIRPERSON: Can I take you back to page 7 of your presentation today?
5570 You say there, in the middle paragraph:
"On a shared network, when one end user or group of end users causes congestion on a particular facility, the impact is felt by all end users who use that facility. While it is the case that some facilities at some network locations may be under the control of resellers, the vast majority of local access facilities, at least in the case of coaxial networks, are not controlled by resellers, and hence escape fully from that responsibility." (As read)
5571 Explain this to me. Is there something special about coaxial cable that I don't understand?
5572 If you resell, presumably you sell a fixed quantity. You give them X, that's what they buy from you. And if they go above it, you have a system by which you overcharge.
5573 But how do the wholesalers, to whom you have sold -- your wholesale customers, how do they affect your network? That's the part --
5574 Don't you have a safety switch or something, that they can only go over the access capacity to a certain amount?
5575 Why would they necessarily affect your whole network?
5576 MR. BÉLAND: No, the TPIA resale model is not really one where you sell to resellers an amount of capacity. The resell model basically says to the reseller: Go out, find some end users, sign them up, and when you do sign them up, we will treat them just like our own end users, and then we will hook up your router to our router, and the traffic that comes from these people or is going to these people, we will pass it to you.
5577 THE CHAIRPERSON: I see, and you have no technical way of identifying the customers of the wholesalers on the network, and restrain them if they go over their amount?
5578 MR. BÉLAND: First of all, we can identify them, because we bill them, we are aware of precisely what addresses they are. That's the only way we could manage the network and manage the installation of their service, which we do conjointly with the reseller, et cetera.
5579 There is not a chunk of bandwidth set aside for them, they are just treated as our own end users are treated.
5580 Again, the key thing to remember is that the access network itself is shared. So in a moment of congestion, for example, in a particular cell, in a particular neighbourhood, their end users and our end users are all affected by that congestion. There is neither a preference given to ours or to theirs, they are all the same, they are all temporarily affected by that congestion, and they all go freely on their way once the congestion is over.
5581 THE CHAIRPERSON: Is that by necessity or by design?
5582 Could you design it so that it wouldn't --
5583 Could you avoid it so that the customers of your resellers, whom you tell me you can identify, could not contaminate or congest your network?
5584 MR. BÉLAND: It is the sort of thing that may be theoretically possible to do. We are not aware of it being done anywhere.
5585 We would be, also, quite concerned about any suggestion that it be done.
5586 If I go back to last week, to the testimony of the Coalition of Internet Service Providers, for example, who were raising the notion of what they called "wirespeed aggregation", what you need to realize is, despite the rational, engineering-sounding name, what they would basically be asking for is a free pass.
5587 The model, as I understood it presented to you, was to say that we would be obliged to give to our reseller an assurance that all of his end users could all be running at top speed, simultaneously, and that there would be no limitation placed on that; that the interconnection pipe we would have to give that reseller would be such that all of its end users could all run, simultaneously, 24 hours a day, and then the reseller would take care of managing the traffic after that.
5588 The problem is that, in a shared network context, by setting aside guaranteed bandwidth for a reseller, we would then be degrading the service to our own end users.
5589 Ironically, we would be setting up two classes of end users, first class reseller end users, and second class, our own end users, which is clearly unacceptable.
5590 THE CHAIRPERSON: Is this particular to TPIA, or does the same thing apply to the telcos?
5591 MR. BÉLAND: I am sure there are shared elements in a telco network. The degree of sharing may be more pronounced in a cableco network, but I couldn't really speak for the telco architecture.
5592 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Thank you very much, those are our questions for you.
5593 We will take a five-minute break before we go on to the next item.
--- Upon recessing at 1435
--- Upon resuming at 1442
5594 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay, let's go.
5595 THE SECRETARY: I would now invite Shaw Communications Inc. to make its presentation.
5596 Appearing for Shaw Communications is Ken Stein.
5597 Please introduce your colleagues, after which you will have 15 minutes for your presentation.
5598 MR. STEIN: Good afternoon.
5599 Thank you, Mr. Chairman and Commissioners. I am Ken Stein, Senior VP of Corporate and Regulatory Affairs for Shaw Communications Inc.
5600 With me today is Jean Brazeau, to my left, Senior VP of Regulatory Affairs. To his left is Dennis Steiger, Group Vice-President of Engineering, and Dean Shaikh, Director of Regulatory Affairs.
5601 And on my right is Jay Kerr-Wilson, our legal counsel.
5602 Behind we have Esther Snow, Manager of our Regulatory Affairs.
5603 We welcome this opportunity to inform the Commission and Canadians about our approach to managing traffic for the benefit of all of our customers.
5604 In our remarks today we will address the key issues identified by the Commission, and provide recommendations.
5605 We agree with the Commission's stated objective, to protect the interests of consumers and respect the ability of ISPs to effectively and efficiently manage our networks.
5606 These are not competing objectives. Our customers have always been our number one priority. This relentless focus on serving the needs of our customers drives us to constantly invest, innovate, launch new lines of business, and deliver exceptional customer service. In a highly competitive environment, we work hard to maximize customer loyalty and trust.
5607 Shaw has made significant investments to serve our customers. In the last ten years we have invested more than $5 billion to build our world-class broadband infrastructure. We have built a reliable and extensive network, comprised of 625,000 kilometres of fibre. In large and small communities across western Canada, we have upgraded plants, constructed new head ends, installed fibre, and completed node segmentation.
5608 All of these efforts are based on our need to become more efficient, enhance our services, and reach new customers, including customers in rural and remote areas.
5609 By the end of the year, DOCSIS 3.0 will be launched in all of our major centres, and Shaw communities will have the fastest internet speed available across Canada, at 100 megabits per second.
5610 As a result of our investments to improve the customer experience over the last ten years, we have grown our internet base to 1.6 million homes. At 70 percent, we have the highest basic cable/internet penetration rate in Canada, and in North America we are second only to Cablevision in New York City.
5611 Like other business strategies and investments, traffic management is about serving our customers and maintaining their trust and loyalty. Even with our significant investments to increase speed and capacity, we still experience network congestion challenges, especially as a result of peer-to-peer traffic, which, if left unmanaged, would consume all of the available capacity.
5612 Therefore, we must continue to combine investment with appropriate and necessary network management strategies. As a result of these efforts, we will maximize the freedom of all of our customers to use the internet for the creation and sharing of applications, as well as for information searches, communication, commercial activity, social networking, and entertainment.
5613 Traffic management is critical to providing internet service that is fast, reliable and affordable.
5614 The Telecommunications Act already prohibits ISPs from granting an undue preference or from interfering with the meaning of a communication. The existing regulatory framework is working effectively to protect consumers.
5616 MR. STEIGER: Thank you, Ken.
5617 We agree with the Commission's first assumption, that unrestricted increases in internet traffic can lead to congestion in all or part of an ISP's network, and these periods of congestion may lead to deterioration of service for end users who are clients of that particular ISP.
5618 Congestion will most noticeably impact customers who use time-sensitive applications such as VoIP, instant messaging, video streaming and internet gaming.
5619 Our network management strategy is based on protecting the quality of service for all customers. If we did not deploy traffic management strategies to address network congestion, there would be a severe degradation in quality of service.
5620 In fact, we have tried it in the past, and the results were disastrous.
5621 As recently as February 2008, an internet chassis was without proper traffic shaping for over a month. The result was a major congestion problem, with a significant increase in customer complaints.
5622 We also support the Commission's second assumption, that certain internet traffic management practices may be appropriate for ISPs to use in order to maintain the integrity of their networks. ISPs need to maintain the ability to choose from among a variety of methods to control congestion.
5623 Because there is no one-size-fits-all approach, the Commission must allow each ISP to select the network management practices that are best suited for their particular network.
5624 Shaw uses DPI technology to shape upstream traffic, because this is the most effective and efficient measure to address the bandwidth consumption of peer-to-peer applications on our network.
5625 Although our traffic management devices operate 24 hours a day, the devices shape traffic only during periods of congestion. In these periods of congestion, the devices automatically detect peer-to-peer application and slow the upstream traffic.
5626 Traffic shaping is necessary to ensure that traffic does not exceed the amount of bandwidth allocated to peer-to-peer. When there is no congestion, allocation is not an issue. In periods of congestion, sufficient bandwidth is allocated for peer-to-peer applications to continue to operate. This approach ensures that sufficient bandwidth is available for other upstream traffic and real-time applications. The devices do not shape downstream traffic.
5627 The same practices are applied equally to retail and wholesale. Services to effectively and efficiently manage traffic for the benefit of all customers on a shared network. It is not feasible for wholesale traffic to be managed independently from retail traffic. If the traffic generated by wholesale end-users was left unmanaged, it would consume a disproportionate share of available capacity and significantly degrade network performance for all end-users.
5628 Shaw has an obligation, as well as specific permission in our TPIA Tariff to maintain the quality of service for all customers, both wholesale and retail.
5630 MR. BRAZEAU: Thank you, Dennis.
5631 We submit that it is acceptable for individual ISPs to select their own network management strategy that may include a combination of approaches such as deep packet inspection, bandwidth limits, excess bandwidth usage charges, time of day pricing, caching, increased capacity and any other practices that do not breach either section 27(2) or section 36 of the Telecommunications Act.
5632 The current regulatory framework protects privacy and prohibits practices that block content, terminates communications or result in undue preference. There is no privacy concerns arising from Shaw's use of DPI technology to shape upstream peer-to-peer traffic.
5633 Our traffic shaping devices only analyze packet information to identify the type of traffic being transmitted. No customers or account-specific data is generated, stored or collected through the use of Shaw's DPI technology. The content of the packet is never examined and the packet information that is analyzed is not retained. Existing legislation protects the privacy of individuals who use the Internet.
5634 In response to the CRTC question about disclosure, Shaw submits that ISPs should only be required to disclose their practices to wholesale Internet access customers when changes would have a material and adverse effect on the operation of the competitive ISP.
5635 Shaw's traffic shaping practices are part of a comprehensive capacity management strategy that benefit both retail and wholesale customers.
5636 A final issue raised by the Commission is the analytical framework that the Commission should adopt.
5637 We suggest that the Commission's interpretation of section 36 should be based on a plain and ordinary meaning of the legislation. The section prohibits carriers from controlling the content or influencing the meaning or purpose of the telecommunications activity.
5638 Our use of DPI technology to shape upstream peer-to-peer traffic does not control the content of the communication. The content is provided by the source of the file and is selected by the recipient of the file with no interference or control by Shaw.
5639 DPI traffic shaping does not influence the meaning or the purpose of the communication. The file is transmitted as intended. The only effect of Shaw's traffic shaping solution is to allocate the amount of bandwidth available to peer-to-peer filesharing by slowing down the transmission rate. The file still arrives at its destination as intended and still carries with it whatever meaning or purpose it had when the transmission was initiated by the user.
5640 Because peer-to-peer files are not real-time services, restricting bandwidth does not alter or affect the purpose of the traffic.
5642 MR. STEIN: Thank you.
5643 In conclusion, we believe that the current approach under the Telecommunications Act is consistent with the policy directive requiring the Commission to rely on market forces to the maximum extent feasible and to interfere with market forces to the minimum extent necessary.
5644 The retail ISP market in Canada is intensely competitive and no ISP operating in that market can afford to put itself at a competitive disadvantage by blocking customer access to content or rendering applications inoperable on their networks. Given the demonstrated ability of the market to constrain anti-consumer behaviour, any regulation would be unnecessary and could interfere with the efficient operation of that market.
5645 Parties who oppose the use of traffic management practices have raised entirely speculative concerns about potential ISP behaviour. They have presented no evidence of any actual problems.
5646 Maintaining the current approach of allowing reasonable network management will support the innovation and investment that are critical to Canada's global broadband leadership and competitiveness.
5647 Thank you very much.
5648 We look forward to answering your questions.
5649 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
5650 You say on page 4 that you manage upstream P2P traffic, but you do it on a 24/7 basis, but only when there is actual congestion.
5651 How do you define "congestion" first of all? Presumably you don't wait until there is congestion -- until there is a threat of congestion and then it comes in or what?
5652 MR. STEIGER: Effectively we can define "congestion" in a number of ways.
5653 As it applies to peer-to-peer traffic, we allocate a given amount of bandwidth per user and aggregate that onto an Internet chassis. When all of that bandwidth is being used, then we start to implement traffic management flow controls.
5654 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Can you give us the details of that in writing, confidentially, if you must?
5655 MR. STEIGER: We can do that.
5656 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay.
5657 Now, if I understand you correctly, you are different from Bell. Bell, in the CAIP application, suggested they do it during peak hours. Here you do it in effect all day long, but it only comes into effect if there is congestion or the threat of congestion. Presumably it gets turned off when that threat is diminished or the usage is below the maximum that you stipulated?
5658 MR. STEIGER: Yes, that's exactly correct. When there is no requirement to manage the traffic, at that time there is no flow controls put on the peer-to-peer traffic.
5659 Does your shaping gross model correspond to the peak hours?
5660 MR. STEIGER: There is a general correlation between engagement of traffic management flow control and peak hours, however it varies from region to region. There are going to be some areas where there is some variance from that, other areas it's going to be on longer during the day, sometimes less. Some customers will experience flow controls at all.
5661 THE CHAIRPERSON: Have you ever --
5662 MR. STEIN: I would just like to -- Mr. Chairman...?
5663 THE CHAIRPERSON: Sorry...?
5664 MR. STEIN: I would just like to point out, we operate in the summer across five time zones between Sault Ste. Marie and all a way to Victoria, and with Saskatchewan staying on standard time, so it makes it a challenge to identify exactly what the peak time period is in terms of this kind of activity.
5665 So that's why we look to do it more on a congestion basis. It's not easy to identify what a prime time would be given the time zones we serve.
5666 THE CHAIRPERSON: You heard me ask Rogers whether there is a way of dealing with uploading by way of over usage charges rather than through mechanical monitoring and what you are doing in shaping.
5667 Have you ever looked at that? Have you attempted it or something? I mean presumably it's not the users -- it doesn't get any benefit from the uploading that's happening, so if he had to pay for it presumably you would turn off the upload capacity.
5668 MR. STEIGER: We have talked about that extensively for a great number of years and for a number of reasons we have not yet implemented it. Certainly it is a tool that Videotron is obviously using to great success, it is not implemented in our network currently.
5669 There are other factors of market forces. Currently the competitors to Shaw do not do any usage-based billing so we are in the same situation as they are.
5670 THE CHAIRPERSON: Were you here on the first day when we had evidence from all sorts of people who said that actually detecting P2P traffic is very difficult. Encryption technology allows you to hide P2P traffic and so therefore you are causing all sorts of collateral damage or you are slowing down all sorts of P2P which is actually not the real culprit and the real culprit, because they are encrypted, escapes your detection.
5671 MR. STEIGER: We believe the signatures associated with detecting peer-to-peer traffic that's encrypted are highly accurate and if we are unsure of a particular flow pattern not matching that signature, then it's passed without restriction.
5672 THE CHAIRPERSON: And do you have any evidence that you are actually catching most of the peer-to-peer traffic??
5673 MR. STEIGER: We believe we could provide that.
5674 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay.
5675 Len, you have some questions?
5676 COMMISSIONER KATZ: Yes. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
5677 Good afternoon. I have a number of questions.
5678 Firstly in the general sense. Your IP network, does it compete as between your IP voice service, your managed services and your cable service as well as your ISP service or is the component that's public Internet distinct and not impacted at all by traffic from the other sources?
5679 MR. STEIGER: There is a separate network for the Internet services. It is segregated from the network we call Shaw Digital Phone, which is the voice network, as well as the video network.
5680 COMMISSIONER KATZ: So there is no contention as between them?
5681 MR. STEIGER: No, there is not.
5682 COMMISSIONER KATZ: And you don't fluctuate them based on volumes in demand?
5683 MR. STEIGER: No, we don't.
5684 COMMISSIONER KATZ: Okay. So it's fixed.
5685 Coming back to your proposal that ISPs select their own network traffic management strategy -- and you list on page 6 a number of them, some economic, some technical -- is there a prioritization you go through?
5686 Is there a guideline or a document that sort of says when we are coming up against contention and congestion here are the steps we take and they are in some sort of ascending or descending order or do you just do it on a case-by-case basis as the need arises, as the engineer or the traffic management operator feels comfortable?
5687 MR. STEIGER: We very much do have a criteria or process that we go through when we do anticipate or have congestion.
5688 Essentially, the bulk of the effort is around augmenting the network, adding capacity, adding channels, adding more chassis. That's the number one approach and that's what we spend about 98 percent of our time on.
5689 The second approach is to educate customers, to make them aware of over usage. Quite often the over usage that customers have, they are not aware because they may have viruses on their computer or they may be doing things that drive a lot of traffic that they are not familiar with.
5690 Lastly, we do apply traffic management principles, but traffic management principles are consistent, they never increase, they never become more aggressive than the standard that we have set.
5691 COMMISSIONER KATZ: Okay. You folks are a strong proponent of market forces and you say so in your final conclusion here as well, and yet for some reason I don't hear you saying let the market decide based on the economics of the business case.
5692 What you are saying is: Let us do what we feel is necessary to manage our network, which is not necessarily market driven, it's carrier driven, because people who are consuming aren't paying more and those that are not consuming paying less, which is something that is what the market would, you would assume, allow you to do.
5693 Can you explain why the market forces notion, the economic notion is not something you strive to achieve?
5694 MR. BRAZEAU: I beg to differ. I think what we are saying is that, you know, the customers -- because we operate in a competitive marketplace customers do have a choice. We try to manage the network in the most efficient manner possible in order to satisfy the demands for our customers and if they, for whatever reason, are unhappy with, you know, the methodology we are using in order to manage our network, they have the option to go to a different carrier. Some carriers do manage the network, some carriers do not manage their network so they have an option.
5695 So the market is working and the fact that we have 1.6 million Internet customers I think demonstrates that in general our customers are very happy with the service we are providing and the way we are providing our service.
5696 MR. STEIN: I would just like to add to that that making sure that we serve the total market in a competitive situation is exactly our objective, that what we want to do is to maximize the opportunities that are there.
5697 The problem is that if we tried to maximize the opportunities with peer-to-peer, that the prices we may have to charge in a congested environment may not match the kind of demand that would be there. So it's not just a -- it's really a problem in economics or in the business case, more than an economic situation, where the investment that we would make, would that be met by the kind of demand that would be there for the peer-to-peer.
5698 So at the present time we have focused on solving the congestion problem. Some of the other initiatives that people take don't solve the congestion, the congestion is still there.
5699 So what we are able to do right now is satisfy peer-to-peer users by shaping the system so that we can give them maximum use of the system at the time when the system is available to them.
5700 So it's very much a traffic sharing kind of plan that we developed and what we are trying to do is make sure that we are satisfying, to the extent that we can, all the customers that we have on the system. So that's what drives us in terms of dealing with that market.
5701 I mean we want to have more Internet customers, we want to have people using more bandwidth, but also we want to make sure that they are willing to pay the price that's associated with that. Just going to a peer-to-peer user and saying, you know, you can have whatever you want but you are going to pay $6000 a month, that's not going to happen.
5702 COMMISSIONER KATZ: No, but I would put to you that those that are consuming traffic at your peak more than others should pay a more proportionate share of the cost of that network.
5703 MR. STEIN: We doubt that they would pay the price. The price would be so excessive for using that kind of capacity at peak time they wouldn't pay it.
5704 COMMISSIONER KATZ: So then basically what you are saying is some of your customers are subsidizing other customers --
5705 MR. STEIN: No.
5706 COMMISSIONER KATZ: -- at the end of the day --
5707 MR. STEIN: No, because it's --
5708 COMMISSIONER KATZ: -- because you are in business to make money.
5709 MR. STEIN: No. It's a business case. We are not subsidizing -- nobody is subsidizing anybody. They are using -- the system is being shaped to take economic advantage of the system so that the value in the system -- in an uncomplicated way, we are trying to use the most simple technology we can and we are dealing with millions of pieces of information a day -- we are trying to use the simplest system we can, without having to go through all kinds of correlations or bandwidth limits or extra metering charges or that type of thing. So we are trying to keep it simple to satisfy that market.
5710 COMMISSIONER KATZ: Okay.
5711 To come back to something you said, Mr. Brazeau, a minute ago, your customers have choice and they can leave whenever they want if they feel they are not getting value for their money.
5712 Do you offer bundles of services where customers sort of lock in for three years or whatever on a plan?
5713 MR. BRAZEAU: We do not bind customers to any long-term contracts. We certainly have bundled products where you can buy Internet and telephony services and cable services, but none of them are bound by long-term contracts.
5714 COMMISSIONER KATZ: Okay.
5715 I think the Chairman asked this question but I was thinking of something else so I'm not sure I heard the answer.
5716 We heard last week that there are certain services out there that may be non-application specific but bandwidth hogs, congestion network encryption being one of them.
5717 How do you deal with the questionable ones I guess? Do you give them the benefit of the doubt and just let it go through without throttling or do you do what you need to do to protect your network and your customers and if some of them at the end of the day and up getting throttled, then it's a cost of doing business I guess?
5718 MR. STEIGER: We always err on the side of the customer. If we haven't clearly identified the signature as a peer-to-peer upstream during a period of congestion, there won't be any throttling applied.
5719 COMMISSIONER KATZ: There won't be a problem?
5720 MR. STEIGER: There won't be any throttling applied.
5721 COMMISSIONER KATZ: Okay.
5722 On page 5 of your comments this afternoon, you say in the last paragraph:
"It's not feasible for wholesale traffic to be managed independently from retail traffic." (As read)
5723 Do you have the statistics though? Independent of whether you can do it or not do you know what the traffic volumes are for your wholesale customers distinct from your retail customers?
5724 MR. STEIGER: We can provide that.
5725 COMMISSIONER KATZ: Okay.
5726 Do you know offhand if it's disproportionate or if it's proportionate?
5727 MR. STEIGER: We have never heard that it is disproportionate in any way, so I would have to -- my guess would be that it's very similar to the retail customers.
5728 COMMISSIONER KATZ: Okay. So there is no suggestion, at this point in time anyway, that's founded that the P2P users are more on the wholesale ISP provider's network than they are on your end-user network?
5729 MR. STEIGER: I think I understand your question.
5730 There is no differentiation between the retail and wholesale customers, they are subject to the same traffic management flows at all levels.
5731 COMMISSIONER KATZ: That wasn't my question though.
5732 My question was is there a disproportionate usage, not how are they subject to your traffic management practices.
5733 MR. BRAZEAU: The customers, TPI customers we have, to my knowledge offer -- they have no bandwidth limits or usage pricing applied to their services. So that would lead me to believe, although subject to check, that they could have heavier users than the average, our average customer profile. But then again, that would be subject to check.
5734 COMMISSIONER KATZ: Could you file, in your final submission, the proportion of your customers that come from your wholesale sector and also what percent of your traffic, total traffic, comes from that sector as well so that we can see that data?
5735 MR. STEIGER: We can find that.
5736 COMMISSIONER KATZ: As compared to the retail. So it's your retail versus your wholesale, customer base and usage base as well, to see if there's a proportionate or disproportionate amount?
5737 MR. STEIGER: We can break it -- yes.
5738 COMMISSIONER KATZ: Okay.
5739 At the bottom of page 6 you talk about a material and adverse affect on the operations of the competitive ISPs in terms of disclosure and you say you submit that you feel you should only be required to disclose when there is a material and adverse effect.
5740 I understand what an adverse effect is. I'm not sure how you define "materiality" and in whose context you define "materiality".
5741 Do you see us defining what material is or do you have a definition yourself as to what is material when you decide to disclose to your customers?
5742 MR. BRAZEAU: What we are suggesting is that we would make that decision. We view this very much similar to any network management innovation or changes that we implement in our network.
5743 Again, you know, the wholesale traffic is part of our own traffic and we want to make sure that that traffic would be handled in the most efficient and effective way possible. So if we think that there is a material change, then we would inform the wholesaler that, you know, the technique is being changed or a new tool is being implemented and then we would implement that tool.
5744 COMMISSIONER KATZ: Okay.
5745 Can I ask you again in your final submission to define "materialities", just so we know what it is from your perspective as well, because I think it's something at some point in time we are going to have to deal with. So I would prefer if you can tell us how you define "materiality" and when you would see yourself informing wholesale customers?
5746 MR. BRAZEAU: We will.
5747 COMMISSIONER KATZ: If I can take you to your submission of February 23, you haven't paragraph 11 a statement that I would like you to clarify for me. It says:
"Shaw submits that the Commission should not now put the significant social and economic benefits at risk by introducing an unnecessary regulatory regime that could distort the market, stifle innovation and investment and increase prices." (As read)
5748 Can you explain how innovation and investment would be stifled by putting together a framework -- and it's a framework that we talked about as part of this Public Notice, not rules and regulations, but a framework -- how you see that framework would in fact stifle innovation and investment?
5749 MR. STEIN: What we mean by that is that we have to respond to the market on a continuing basis and that regulatory regimes that require prior approval for initiatives and/or consideration of those generally aren't amenable to that response in that way.
5750 So, we believe that the current framework is the appropriate one and that it's the framework on which we are encouraged to make the investments that we make and that we are able -- and by innovation, we are able to try different technologies, different techniques, you know, that may be more effective.
5751 So, that is the basis on which we manage the system and we'd like to continue to manage the system that way. We think it's in the benefit of the system and of our consumers.
5752 COMMISSIONER KATZ: Okay.
5753 MR. BRAZEAU: Just to add. I mean, band width is by far the most scarce and valuable resource we have and it's also the most expensive to augment and, therefore, anything that has an impact or removes the management of that band width or the capacity from our hands just jeopardizes or makes our planning process more difficult, might require us to make more investment, and it's in that sort of mind set that we've made these remarks.
5754 COMMISSIONER KATZ: My last question. On that same submission of yours, paragraph 82 you say:
"Blocking content might..." (As read)
5755 COMMISSIONER KATZ: And you underline the word might:
"...breach section 36." (As read)
5756 COMMISSIONER KATZ: Can you tell me under what conditions it might not?
5757 MR. KERR-WILSON: Sir, I think the intent of the comment was, you don't know under what circumstances a network provider might block content.
5758 The example we've heard a lot of is Comcast, so that would be the example we would say that would offend section 36. But, for instance, to maybe legitimate public safety or legal reasons why a particular -- an ISP may be required to block particular content, and those would be the situations that wouldn't be an offence under 36 because they would either be required by law or some other public policy objective.
5759 COMMISSIONER KATZ: Okay. Could I ask you as well as part of your final submission to file with us what would be involved if you were required to follow the FCC edict on Comcast, what would you have to do, how long would it take to do and what are the implications of doing it as well?
5760 MR. BRAZEAU: Mr. Vice-Chair, you're suggesting if we implemented the Comcast solution?
5761 COMMISSIONER KATZ: Well, I think what happened there was there were complaints made to the FCC and the FCC basically said what you're doing is unduly discriminatory, fix it and make sure that you're application agnostic and Comcast found the solution that they found.
5762 What I want to understand is, what are the implications of that solution if it was imposed upon yourselves.
5763 MR. BRAZEAU: And you want this in our written submissions?
5764 THE CHAIRPERSON: Can I just elaborate. We heard from Rogers before you that Comcast engaged in something, session management, Rogers said we didn't so, therefore, it's no problem what we're doing, et cetera.
5765 I don't know. Are you engaged in session management?
5766 MR. STEIGER: No, we are not. We -- the process that Shaw employs in traffic management is one of queuing up packets, no packets are dropped or lost or altered in any way and they're only queued up during periods of congestion. As band width becomes available, the packets are released. It has the effect of slowing the traffic down without impairing it in any way.
5767 THE CHAIRPERSON: That means that the Comcast order would not be applicable to you because, as I understood it it prohibited, or told them to cease sessions management.
5768 MR. STEIGER: Our understanding is that Comcast was forging packets that were interrupting the session causing the client to re-start connections.
5769 That is a very aggressive, noticeable experience for the customer and we believe that's what the FCC had an issue with, not with traffic management so much.
5770 COMMISSIONER KATZ: But what they ultimately ended up with is something that was much more user and application agnostic.
5771 MR. BRAZEAU: But that is Comcast specific.
5772 COMMISSIONER KATZ: Yes.
5773 MR. BRAZEAU: There are other cable companies in the U.S. that do the same traffic management techniques that we use, so...
5774 COMMISSIONER KATZ: I understand that. And I think that Rogers mentioned that one of them was Cox, I guess.
5775 MR. BRAZEAU: That's right.
5776 COMMISSIONER KATZ: Yes. I just want to understand what the implications are.
5777 MR. KERR-WILSON: Sorry, Vice-Chairman Katz, just to clarify. You want Shaw to comment on the implications if it had to implement the Comcast solution or the FCC order, because I think as Rogers said this morning Comcast had other choices and they chose the one they did, but they didn't necessarily have to choose.
5778 So, I just want to understand what it is we're commenting on, the Comcast solution or the FCC order.
5779 COMMISSIONER KATZ: The Comcast solution.
5780 MR. KERR-WILSON: Okay.
5781 MR. STEIN: The only problem I have with that is we don't do what Comcast is doing.
5782 THE CHAIRPERSON: Len, you're asking them something that they don't do.
5783 COMMISSIONER KATZ: No, but they can take a look -- they know what Comcast did and what changes they made to their network, presumably.
5784 MR. STEIN: We don't agree with what Comcast did.
5785 COMMISSIONER KATZ: I understand that.
5786 MR. STEIN: You know, so what we're saying, we don't have a problem with the FCC order, but we didn't do what they did, so why would we comment on what they're now doing. We never did what they did.
5787 COMMISSIONER KATZ: The question that I raised is, what are the costs and the implications if you had to do it. Is it costly or is it not costly?
5788 I understand you don't feel it's necessary --
5789 MR. STEIN: It's zero cost because we don't do it.
5790 COMMISSIONER KATZ: Yes, but if you --
5791 MR. STEIN: Their solution?
5792 THE CHAIRPERSON: Let me ask the question differently?
5793 MR. STEIN: Why would we apply their solution to a problem that doesn't exist?
5794 THE CHAIRPERSON: You're doing P2P control right now.
5795 MR. STEIN: Pardon?
5796 THE CHAIRPERSON: You're doing P2P management right now.
5797 MR. STEIN: Yeah.
5798 THE CHAIRPERSON: Uploading management. If you were not allowed to do that, what else could you do? That's really what his question is driving at.
5799 What other solutions are there available and how economic or uneconomic are they?
5800 COMMISSIONER KATZ: Those are all my questions, Mr. Chairman.
5801 THE CHAIRPERSON: I presume that's --
5802 COMMISSIONER KATZ: Yeah.
5803 THE CHAIRPERSON: -- the answer you wanted.
5804 MR. BRAZEAU: But also, in particular, what did -- the Comcast solution that they implemented in order to resolve their issue.
5805 COMMISSIONER KATZ: I'm assuming Comcast found the least intrusive to their operations in order to do it. I could be wrong, but I'm assuming what they did was most economical, most customer friendly, least costly to them because that's what a prudent business would do.
5806 And what I'm saying is, if they did that and my assumptions are correct, what would those implications be upon Shaw?
5807 THE CHAIRPERSON: Mr. Brazeau, for you, for Rogers, for Bell who's coming today, they all make the same point saying, you know, if upstream management is the most effective way of doing it and we have to do something economically or so it was very difficult in any way it would put us at a competitive disadvantage because we would be doing, others wouldn't be.
5808 Well, turn that around, well, if we ordered you to do that, you'd all have to find a different way of doing it.
5809 What are the ways that are available and how economic or uneconomic would they be? That's really what we're driving at.
5810 MR. BRAZEAU: We will address it in our final argument, sir.
5811 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
5813 COMMISSIONER LAMARRE: Merci, Monsieur le president.
QUESTIONS BY PANEL
5814 COMMISSIONER LAMARRE: Good afternoon. I have a few questions.
5815 In answering questions from Commissioner Katz I heard you say that you thought that whatever practices were put in place that if customers were not happy the marketplace would take care of it.
5816 Yet at the bottom of page 6 of your presentation you say that:
"Shaw submits that ISPs should only be required to disclose their practices to wholesale Internet access customers." (As read)
5817 COMMISSIONER LAMARRE: So, if you're denying your retail customers access to information about what type of traffic management practices you're putting in place, how are customers supposed to make an informed decision about the choice of providers they want to have?
5818 MR. BRAZEAU: Well, I think like most customers do on just about any product. I mean, they'll look at the quality of the product they're receiving for the price they're paying and then make a decision whether that's what they're -- you know, that's what they want or not and, if it's not, then they can go to Telus.
5819 COMMISSIONER LAMARRE: But on the numbers --
5820 MR. BRAZEAU: And they can buy a Telus service or they can, you know, or MTS or we heard very soon, you know, 3G from wireless service providers, so...
5821 COMMISSIONER LAMARRE: But if I'm a peer-to-peer user, the type of traffic management you're using has an effect. So, if I don't know you're actually using them or if anybody, you know, discloses the practice that they use, this is not an informed decision, this is not about marketplace; how can it be?
5822 A number of submissions that were tabled with the Commission dealt with concerns from consumers, consumer groups, different type of people about knowing what's going on with the traffic. So, that's part of the choice that people want to make.
5823 If you deny them that information, how can they do that?
5824 MR. STEIN: Well, I'll just make a couple of comments.
5825 First is that people do, in our markets, do comparisons day-by-day, right, it's part of the activity amongst Internet users comparing and it's, of course, in all the ads et cetera that, you know, my system can download faster than your system. You know, we use the snail kind of ads about criticizing our competitors and how slow they are and how fast we are.
5826 So, there's all those kind of comparisons and people make those comparisons all the time.
5827 Number two is that we don't have contracts. I mean, somebody can phone up today and say, you know, I'm switching over to another service.
5828 Third, there is a lot of speculation about things we could do and, you know, I think we do have to make it clear with people that we don't do those things.
5829 So, I think you're right on that point, that in terms of dealing with speculative issues we should do that.
5830 And yes, finally, I think we probably should do more in terms of informing our customers exactly how we do manage the system for their benefit.
5831 So, I think that you make good points on those, but -- that we should respond to our consumers, but it's a very competitive market out there and people do make choices every day.
5832 We think they're very well informed. We certainly -- I think we have over a thousand TSRs, technical service people across the country, and Dennis could give you some idea of the kind of discussions that they take place -- that take place.
5833 MR. STEIGER: I'd like to also add just one thing. The way that we've crafted the traffic management flow controls are actually designed to ensure that peer-to-peer traffic is not impacted.
5834 The only thing that we're -- we're actually taking an approach at guaranteeing minimum upstream during the periods of congestion. That minimum upstream that we're guaranteeing actually ensures that the downstream, which is the customer application, proceeds unimpeded.
5835 So, there's a subtle difference and I just wanted to clarify our position on the impact of our traffic management. It actually will improve the customer's experience.
5836 COMMISSIONER LAMARRE: Okay. Well, the point that I was trying to get across is that the type of practices that are in place is actually information that consumers want to know to make choice and I think, Mr. Stein, you have taken that point.
5837 On page 7 of your presentation, second paragraph you say:
"The content is..." (As read)
5838 COMMISSIONER LAMARRE: Again, talking about peer-to-peer, but I want to talk more about the issue of principle here.
"The content is provided by the source of the filing that is selected by the recipient of the file with no interference or control by Shaw." (As read)
5839 COMMISSIONER LAMARRE: Like, maybe my English is a little bit deficient here, but how is it that slowing down dramatically the transfer of a file does not equate to interference with the content?
5840 MR. STEIGER: Just expanding on my previous comment, this -- the only file that we're slowing the transmission down is the uploading from the customer's computer. It's not something they initiate, it's not something they control. They don't know where it's going, they don't know who's receiving it.
5841 It's a requirement for them to upload in order to participate in the download. What the customer actually chooses to do is download a file. For them to download they have to participate in the upload community, and that's part of the BitTorrent protocol, that particular file-sharing application.
5842 So, while we can restrict upstream to a certain degree, there isn't necessarily any impact on the downstream.
5843 COMMISSIONER LAMARRE: Well, I beg to differ that, you know, that they only choose to download. I think that, you know, consumers and Internet users are quite savvy with what they're doing. If they do make the choice to download and share, they do make the choice to upload also. But that's something else.
5844 Last question. You do state that for you peer-to-peer -- deep packet inspection does not raise any privacy concerns.
5845 Well, we've heard different from other people. So, for some people the type of inspection that is being done, the fact that you may monitor the applications that they are using, whether or not you use information otherwise, is a privacy infringement.
5846 So, how can you reassure your customers that you're minimizing that infringement?
5847 MR. STEIN: Thank you. We had a lot of debate about using the word concerns because we felt that under the Telecommunications Act and also under the Privacy -- Electronic Privacy Act, I forget the acronym for it all the time.
5848 COMMISSIONER LAMARRE: Yes.
5849 MR. STEIN: But under those Acts that in Canada we do have a very strong framework for what kind of privacy protection people can expect.
5851 So, I think the way we express concern may not be the right way. Are we concerned about privacy of individuals? Yes, we are. We do think, however, that the measures that are in place legislatively and the measures that we are required to take as a company through that legislation are very strong protections of Canadians' privacy.
5852 And, you know, we've gone to court to fight fishing expeditions for people from the record industry, we've gone to court to fight for those things and we do believe that any information about a customer belongs to that customer and that we should not use it for purposes other than what they have consented to or that we require to manage the business consistent with the legislation.
5853 So, we are concerned about it but we feel the framework that's in place is the right framework to deal with those issues.
5854 COMMISSIONER LAMARRE: Thank you.
5855 Those are all my questions.
5856 Merci, monsieur le president.
5857 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Suzanne.
QUESTIONS BY PANEL
5858 COMMISSIONER DENTON: Gentlemen, I'm getting bored, so let's have a fight, or an agreement.
5859 MR. STEIN: No problem.
5860 COMMISSIONER DENTON: Yes, I know, I could follow your grand example.
5861 There seems to be a thing here that a bunch of people are coming reasonably to the conclusion that application-specific measures are appropriate for the management of networks. This is probably taken on the carrier side, even if they don't actually do it themselves.
5862 The Open Internet Coalition and others, CIPPIC, a lot of the scholars give way to the notion that this is wrong, that you need to achieve the same result perhaps but by a different method.
5863 And this seems to engage the question of, if you could get away with application-specific measures deliberately in some sort of way that was bad this would hand over the future of the Internet to carriers rather than to creators.
5864 So, that's the concern I think that lies behind the Open Internet Coalition and CIPPIC and others.
5865 Now, I'm not saying these ideas are irreconcilable, they may in fact be practically managed. So, are you sensitive to the concern that application-specific -- that the control of application-specific measures that you take -- I'll try this word again -- that the exercise of application-specific measures may give rise to legitimate concerns on the part of the people about the direction and future of the Internet and what do you have to tell them?
5866 MR. STEIN: Well, the first thing we say is that the Internet is a wonderful creature and that it's really invented itself. It really -- the technologies, the applications, the YouTubes, some of them have been -- is it Napster that almost destroyed our network, both from a legal point of view but also from a congestion point of view?
5867 So, we don't know what people are going to be able to do with the network. I remember when we first started with this I think 15 years ago and we started to develop our own content situations, I think in Richmond Hill we built a little village, we had these people with kind of Internet information sites, et cetera. Well, we got rid of that because we realized that wasn't anything we knew anything about, right.
5868 So, we really did focus on building a system. We made changes when we had relationships -- which I won't go into -- that tended to want to have regional centres, you know, we took steps to make our -- build our own e-mail centre with the largest e-mail centre in the world I think in Calgary because we felt that that was what we needed to do to serve our customers better.
5869 So, there were a lot of models along the way that we discarded and a lot of responses that we made to how people were using the Internet.
5870 I remember, you know, you may remember video when it was going to be -- you know, it was all about upstream marketing. Well, that was right but it was not the right technology.
5871 So, the digital technology and the Internet have really expanded those creative opportunities. So, yeah, we want to support the creators and the producers.
5872 Our only interest is in making sure that the system works. We have no -- like, Dennis doesn't go into the system and decide what's video and what's software and what's whatever it is, he has no interest in that, his total interest is in congestion and managing the traffic and trying to come sensible recommendations for the people in the company about what kind of investments to make.
5873 And so that's our total focus, is on making sure we build that system to support people.
The more creative opportunities there are, the more content there is, the better it is for us. So, we want to make sure that we're in a position to support that.
5874 And we don't want to interfere with that. You know, what somebody thinks is not the right kind of application usually turns out to be -- that assessment usually turns out to be wrong, all right.
5875 Like the kind of applications that win out will always surprise us, every six months there's another surprise about what applications are out there and what people want to do with the system and that's terrific for all of us.
5876 So, that's the kind of sense that we want -- kind of environment we want.
5877 So, I don't think that you've got competing problems here, I think that that's something that we can, you know, see as having the same kind of objective going forward.
5878 COMMISSIONER DENTON: I hear you, thank you.
5879 So then, peer-to-peer applications seem to, in their current form, generate a lot of congestion or they can generate a lot of congestion and problems for carriers, and if this is going to be rationally managed so as to deal with it on a congestion basis, is there a way of finding -- is there a way of solving this problem without affecting the right of creators to create these kinds of applications?
5880 MR. STEIN: I enjoy a good fight too.
5881 The point that I think we would like to make is that we're in no way restricting anybody's ability to develop, build, deploy new technologies that spur on the growth of the Internet.
5882 We are actually doing quite the opposite of that. We're not focusing our traffic management on restricting peer-to-peer, that's not the purpose of what we're doing. The purpose of what we're doing in traffic management is to enable all the other protocols to flow in a reasonable manner.
5883 Currently we allow up to 30 percent of the upstream band width to be consumed by peer-to-peer and that's only generated by smaller than 10 percent of the population.
5884 So, we give it actually a disproportionate amount of network band width.
5885 So, my position would be we're giving peer-to-peer a bigger slice of the pie than it probably should have based on the number of users that use it.
5886 The implementation we have also guarantees the minimum band width at peer-to-peer application at about 80kb per second.
5887 So, every customer on the network is going to get at least 80kb per second, even under extreme congestion to operate their peer-to-peer.
5888 If we don't put these restrictions in place what we'll find is that all the real-time protocols start to break down, peer-to-peer itself starts to break down and the ability for customers to access anything on the Internet becomes progressively difficult.
5889 That would be our position.
5890 COMMISSIONER DENTON: Great. You know, fair enough.
5891 Next question. In view of the data that has been presented by Professor Odlyzko and others, it was the notion that the growth of traffic on the Internet has been significantly slower than might have been expected a decade ago and that the ability of carriers to keep up with the growth of traffic is -- that there is such an ability and that the growth of the traffic is not as dangerous or as explosive as once thought it would be.
5892 I would like to hear your views on the question of the relationship of the growth of traffic and your ability to deploy resources to handle it.
5893 MR. STEIGER: The growth of the traffic varies from year to year. Having been involved in the Shaw product for over a dozen years now, there are times when it's doubled every year, tripled every year. Right now it's growing at about 50 percent a year, but with the amount of customers that we have right now that's growing at 50 GB a second per year, which is a tremendous amount of growth for us to manage.
5894 If it continues to grow at that rate, it's possible we might be able to keep up with the network augmentation requirements, but things change.
5895 We didn't predict that video downloading and sharing would become the predominant file type five years ago.
5896 The bulk of what the Internet is doing today is carrying around video and we can't predict what the next big pressure on traffic growth will be five years from now. Traffic management systems allow us to be proactive and keep our network running during an unprecedented period of growth.
5897 COMMISSIONER DENTON: In the balance between appropriate economic incentives, that is to say prices for usage, and traffic management, can you give some sort of rough proportion as to what you think you need? What is the rough relative importance of, say, appropriate prices versus traffic management in appropriately controlling the usage?
5898 MR. STEIGER: We try to balance off the pricing of the product to keep it competitive, to keep our client base growing. Exactly the same way, we try to balance off the use of traffic management.
5899 We have tried traffic management at many different levels. We have experimented in different ways over the years. The mechanism we are using right now results in virtually no customer complaints. I am not aware of any recent customer complaints on anything related to traffic management, by a Shaw customer, restricting their application.
5900 So we have to balance product pricing with the way we use traffic management to make sure that we grow every year.
5901 COMMISSIONER DENTON: Is pricing as important as traffic management? Is one 20 percent, the other 80 percent? How do you estimate roughly the proportion of -- what controls it best, pricing or traffic management?
5902 MR. STEIGER: As customers aren't really aware of our traffic management policies or --
5903 COMMISSIONER DENTON: No, I am just talking from the network management point of view.
5904 MR. STEIGER: Yes. From the network management point of view, pricing is more important than anything we do with traffic management.
5905 COMMISSIONER DENTON: Okay, fair enough. Those are my questions. Thank you very much.
5906 THE CHAIRPERSON: Candice?
5907 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Thank you.
5908 I would like to begin by talking about your traffic management practice. You said that you monitor 24 hours a day and it takes action on a dynamic basis as congestion is detected.
5909 Is that more expensive as a traffic management or a congestion management approach than if you were to put in hard rules as to the time of day or otherwise?
5910 MR. STEIGER: We don't think that there would be a cost difference for us to implement with our technology. We can't speak to the technologies that other ISPs use to manage their traffic, however.
5911 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Okay, thank you.
5912 Rogers, who was here this morning, said that putting in place a dynamic congestion management approach results in an unpredictable customer experience.
5913 Do you have comments on that? I mean I just find it quite interesting that two of the large coaxial cable networks both throttle only on the upload. One suggests it is inappropriate to do it dynamically because it is an unpredictable customer experience. In your view, you must see something different. So let me know that, please.
5914 MR. STEIGER: We don't believe that our customers experience any difference in their normal applications as a result of the traffic management. So whether it is on part of the day or all day, we don't believe that they see the difference.
5915 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: They don't see the difference or they don't understand that the difference is caused by traffic management practices?
5916 MR. STEIGER: We don't believe they see the difference. We don't believe that when it is on versus off they are aware that it is on or off because it would have no impact on them. I mean they wouldn't -- most of the customer complaints that one gets are not about -- they wouldn't see any variation.
5917 So it is not that they don't know that we are doing the traffic management but they don't notice a difference. Hopefully, they wouldn't notice a difference from day to day or from hour to hour as to how they are getting their downloads. They wouldn't see that as being a difference. They would hopefully get the same speed.
5918 That is our primary objective, is to make sure that their experience on a continuum is equal across a whole period of time. So the only thing that varies is the upstream.
5919 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Okay. I think I understand that.
5920 And on the upstream, if I heard correctly, I want to ensure I understand this correctly, did I hear you say that when there is congestion and your tools are in place that P2P can be throttled back to 80 kilobits per second?
5921 MR. STEIGER: 80 kilobits per second is the guaranteed minimum bandwidth that we provide under the most congested circumstances. That ensures that peer-to-peer is able to flow relatively normally and at the same time allows all the other non-peer-to-peer applications to work.
5922 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: And is that 80 kilobits over all your different pricing plans? I see in your different pricing plans you have some with 2-megabit uploads, some with 5 megabits. Is it 80 kilobits across all your pricing plans?
5923 MR. STEIGER: We don't differentiate by the plan the customer has.
5924 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Okay.
5925 You already had a discussion with Commissioner Lamarre about what you disclose to your retail customers and what potentially should be disclosed to them in order that they can make competitive decisions between different service providers.
5926 I just want to ask you about a particular suggestion that came in front of us by a party who suggested that ISPs as well as advertising their available speeds, available upload and available upload, also be required when they throttle to advertise their throttled speeds.
5927 Do you have any comment on that as means of full customer disclosure?
5928 MR. BRAZEAU: I will try. I think the general feeling we have is that even if we did, I don't think it would be very useful information for the customer to have. Most of the uploads are going to customers around the world and it is not what really the customer -- it is not really the characteristic that he is looking for in this product.
5929 What they are looking for is download speeds and QFS and customer service. Those are the measures that they use in order to determine which ISP they will buy a service from, and the throttling of peer-to-peer traffic is not an issue that really concerns them. It might concern a handful of customers but it is only a handful of customers.
5930 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: And if three years from now, with different traffic experience, different traffic conditions, you needed to begin to throttle download or other elements of your network traffic, would you view that should be something that is disclosed to customers?
5931 I mean we are deciding here what we think our customers -- what is and is not of interest to the customer base.
5932 MR. BRAZEAU: Well, that will affect directly the quality of service the customer really perceives and so I think then the customer would need to decide whether he wants to remain a Shaw customer or not.
5933 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: So it should be made aware to them?
5934 MR. BRAZEAU: It will be made aware to them by their use of the service.
5935 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Okay.
5936 Before I end, there is one thing to be made aware upon your use of the service once you have made a commitment to a service provider and there's another to have the information in order to select a service provider.
5937 MR. BRAZEAU: I think we don't disagree with that. I don't think this is a big issue for us.
5938 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Yes.
5939 MR. BRAZEAU: It is just if you -- you know, human nature being human nature, if you make that information available to customers, what we are concerned is we will get a lot of calls from customers saying, well, you know, I tried to download this movie and I couldn't download it, when it has nothing to do with throttling.
5940 So you are creating issues in the minds of the consumers that were created by providing this bit of information where they don't quite understand what it means. So it is more in that context.
5941 But I don't think it is a major concern for us that we would make the technology and the speeds that we are using to throttle peer-to-peer, if we make that available on our website. I don't think that is a big issue for us.
5942 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Okay, thank you.
5943 MR. STEIN: I will just make two comments.
5944 The first one is as an automobile racing fan, in my view, throttling means increasing speed, and secondly, our interest as cable Internet suppliers is to increase the speed and the number of customers who take that. So the Nitro offering at 150 megabits per second, which is just incredible speed, you know, I think our objective is much more to increase the downstream capability, not to go the other route.
5945 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Okay, thank you. Those are my questions.
5946 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
5947 You were here when I questioned Videotron before you and I asked them about a statement that they made that the excessive use of P2P by some of their wholesale customers would in effect create congestion in their network and they could not control that or sort of limit them to the capacity being sold them. You heard the explanation they gave.
5948 Does the same apply on your network?
5949 MR. STEIGER: If I recall correctly, their response was in regard to the shared nature of the network.
5950 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes.
5951 MR. STEIGER: We have a very similar network that is also shared.
5952 THE CHAIRPERSON: I see.
5953 And when you say that you slow down P2P, presumably there are some P2Ps that are time-sensitive and you can segregate those out? Like Skype, et cetera, you don't slow that down?
5954 MR. STEIGER: No, we don't. We don't slow down any time-sensitive applications or protocols.
5955 THE CHAIRPERSON: But isn't Skype a P2P? I have heard here at this hearing it is. I am not a technician.
5956 MR. STEIGER: It falls into the general family but that would not be one of the applications that we would slow down.
5957 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Put the other way around, how do you know whether something is time-sensitive or not?
5958 MR. STEIGER: We have a group of engineers that dedicate their lives to figuring this stuff out and it changes almost daily what protocols become popular in the network. A year ago nobody heard of Twitter. Today everyone is talking about Twitter. So we try to stay up on that as best we can.
5959 THE CHAIRPERSON: But presumably you don't do that on a live basis, you program the computer to do that, so that must be the characteristics of a program or do you actually -- how does it know, for instance, not to slow down Skype, to take an example?
5960 MR. STEIGER: We can't accidentally slow down a real-time application because we explicitly add to the list the applications that we traffic manage.
5961 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay, fine. Thank you, those are our questions for you.
5962 In light of the hour of the day, we will break now because we have no translators after a certain hour and we want to give Bell the interrogation that it deserves given that they started this whole proceeding.
5963 So we will start tomorrow morning at 8:30.
5964 Thank you.
--- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1549, to resume on Tuesday, July 14, 2009 at 0830
Johanne Morin Jean Desaulniers
Sue Villeneuve Beverley Dillabough
Monique Mahoney Madeleine Matte
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