Bell Canada Forcing all Canadian DSL ISPs to Throttle Bit-torrent Traffic

Source: arstechnica

Line-sharing is what allows small ISPs like Wireless Nomad to thrive in Canada and offer innovative services. But line-sharing has its drawbacks; chief among them, of course, is that without control of the line, an ISP is not ultimately in control of the service it is selling. Canadian DSL resellers learned that lesson the hard way this week as ISPs learned that Bell Canada now runs traffic-shaping hardware even on the lines it resells.

Readers at Broadband Reports noted the issue earlier this week as owners of small ISPs suddenly found that their customers were having traffic throttled, even though the ISPs were vehemently anti-throttling. The problem was compounded by the fact Bell Canada did not apparently tell the ISPs that it was about to make the change. The company has subsequently confirmed the throttling and says it should be fully in place by April 7.

Continue reading about how Bell sucks

39 responses to “Bell Canada Forcing all Canadian DSL ISPs to Throttle Bit-torrent Traffic”

  1. Khristopher says:

    I’ve been a customer of Bell Sympatico for years and years, and also have been using torrents for almost 5 years. I have noticed no changed in speed over the past year at all as far as how fast my torrents upload and download.

  2. Boo Radley says:

    Khristopher, I have been a Bell Sympatico customer for years and I love the service… however this bit-torrent capping is only recent and Bell haven’t finished implementing it yet. As the article says, it will be complete by April 7. I really hope this isn’t true because all the other alternatives are horrible 🙁

  3. Fish says:

    I was a Sympatico customer for approx. 5years from Jan 2003-Jan 2008 and I can tell you that the torrents were definitely being throttled.

    Since mide 2007, Sympatico has been throttling torrents during primetime (approx 6pm to 2am). The download speed would not get over 34kb/s. Outside of primetime the speed would increase, but still seemed to be throttled to under 150kb/s.

    Of course, the customer ‘service’ reps at Bell were either unaware of this or they simply lied to the customers. I called in to complain that my World of Warcraft patch (Which is distributed via BitTorrent) was downloading extremely slowly and they blamed it on my computer and suggested reformatting it.

    In Dec of 2007, I called in asked them point blank if they were attempting to shape traffic on the network and I was told that ‘absolutely did not engage in that practice’. I had enough so I canceled my service and signed up with another ISP.

    I have not had any issues with my new ISP, but we’ll see what happens in the coming weeks.

  4. Young Freebie says:

    Believe me… soon they all will be. It’s unreal, and it’s stupid. I’ve called to let Bell Sympatico know that my Linux isn’t downloading and they told me the same thing. I blasted that one a new hole in the head… believe me, when my computer works, never EVER suggest that. I spoke to his supervisor and she only told me that they only thing you could do is endorse it.

    I dislike it, and while I found a work around, I’ll note you if you want. Just don’t post it.

  5. Sally888 says:

    Looks like it will be time to switch to cable.\
    Bell canada is stupid sometimes, tons of people will just go to cable.

  6. syunismile says:

    Rogers has been doing this for a few years already, but when I do use BitTorrent, I find that it has a decent speed, especially for popular torrents. I have gotten over 300kb/s on land line and maybe half that for wireless.

  7. Fish says:

    Switching to cable isn’t going to do you any good. Rogers started throttling WAY before Bell ever did. However, they don’t seem to be consistent.

    A friend of mine on Rogers will have his download speed throttled one week and then be fine the next. The other problem is that Rogers seems to be snooping as well. The same friend got a notice that Rogers had detected a download that ‘might be in violation of copyright law’ and that ‘further actions would result in termination of the account and possible legal ramifications’.

    Now I don’t know what my buddy was downloading, but the fact that Rogers was able to spy on his transfer was fairly unnerving.

    Basically it seems that Bell and Rogers have a monopoly on communications services in Canada. It’s like trying to decide whether you should befriend a rapist or a molester. Same evil, slightly different names.

  8. Eri says:

    I switched from Bell a looooong time ago when they had those upload/download limits measured in gigabytes (i think 2002) but to be honest I don’t really download a lot anymore, and the methods I do use aren’t being targetted by Bell or by Rogers

  9. mrG says:

    Telus also throttles, I found that out when my previous ISP switched providers from Bell; not only BitTorrent, but they censor gnutellanet, soulseek and probably others.
    So I switched to a new provider who was independent and who leased their lines from another small-guy rural independent, and guess what, they throttle all these services too, right down to a few bits per second, and on top of that, they limit us to 150 open sockets, so if you do try to run a torrent, the incoming swarm requests basically effect a DoS attack on your IP; its hours before you can use the internet again.
    This was not the internet as envisioned by Vint Cerf. In fact, back before the post-9/11 paranoia shut us down, Vint’s Internet Societal Task Force would specifically confront ISPs who were engaging in these selective illegal censorings; we considered them a crime against humanity, and, in those days, the chief offenders where places like Sudan and Saudi Arabia … oh we were so smug calling them out on their disregard for the human right to communicate.
    But we’re not laughing anymore.
    For a school project, my daughter once asked me, seeing as I’d been a director of the ISTF and a co-founder of Sympatico among others, she asked, “Daddy, what will the Internet be like in 10 years?” and I said, “There won’t be an internet. There will be networks, but they won’t be INTER-networked.” all that will be gone — if memory serves me correctly, I’d said that about 8 years ago.
    In China, in Poland, in Rumania you can run a spam-server from your basement and litter the world with your cheap pharma offers. But here in Canada, we are too ‘civilized’ to even dare allow the liberty to permit such possibilities.

  10. Talee says:

    Bell Canada is a JOKE, most horrible company all around… internet.. phone…
    if you hear Bell… do yourself a favour and run!

  11. mrG says:

    Talee, pray do tell us then, please, to whom should we run? The stories here already disqualify Rogers and Telus, is there really a fourth provider? Please, please do tell us who it is!

  12. Aeiou says:

    The real funny thing is just a month ago they (Sympatico) called me to inform me that my speed was being upgraded to Total Internet Performance speed 7/Mbps at $2 or so price increase .. now why would anyone want or pay for premo fast speed only for them to throttle it back .. not even the newest online games need that speed so besides torrents, file sharing, and p2p downloads why on earth would they offer it .. consumers are not that blind

  13. Sally888 says:

    Well I think cable would do fine in my area, were not owned by rogers nor even have rogers phone service here.

  14. abfab says:

    I’ve had Sympatico for a few years. They’ve been throttling for a few months, but wouldn’t admit to it. I’ve tried downloading at different times of the day but can only get a decent speed for a few minutes. I’m planning to switch to TekSavvy, just haven’t gotten around to buying a modem. Every review i’ve read about them has been excellent and they have clearly stated that they don’t plan on throttling torrents.

  15. 1764 says:

    Re Fish:
    I don’t believe your friend received a notice from Rogers regarding a possible copyright violation, because we are protected by the law and they are not allowed to “snoop” on us as American internet providers are allowed to.

    I have gotten over 600kb/s for BT on Rogers and on an 802.11g WiFi only.
    Actually it was so exciting I took a picture of it.

  16. 1764 says:

    but Aeiou, 7mb/s is only the max. speed you can get between 2 computers within the same network I believe. The speed in which the ISP gets to us is much slower.

    I don’t think we in Canada can get over 1mb/s unless we have T3+.

  17. Lumpy says:

    As a Rogers Express customer, I consistently get download speeds approaching 7mb/s. My monthly download limit is 60gb and I’ve never come close to that.

    Also Rogers says that my upload speed is capped at 512kb/s, but I consistently surpass that.

    Go to to test your netspeed.

  18. generic_idea_machine says:

    Switching over to Teksavvy today.

  19. Joel says:

    I was using Bell last summer while I was in Canada and was getting just under 1MB/second (that would have been just under 8mbits/sec) which is not that bad at all =). But that was downloading from youtube and not through P2P.

  20. NOTaSHEEPLE says:


  21. Gustoph says:

    WTF? I have been paying for ultra high speed, (almost 100 smackeroo’s) for quite some time now… almost 5 years. In the past i’ve been able to download through p2p softwear at 500 kb/s but more recently I’ve noticed my downloads going 30 k a second.

    This sucks! I know that i can download at regular speed during the middle of the night, but who wants to wake up at 2 am just to start a download?

    What the H-E-double hockey stick!?!?!? I am shaking my finger at the conglomerate superpowers that seem to have the ability to invate my privacy and limit my crativity.

    How is a young man like myself supposed to get around my internet provider’s all seeing eyes, without purchasing my own secure softwear incription line?

    I have read that using a secure connection (SSH), may be able to encrypt your data sent and recieved, hiding you from your isp, but this is pricey$$$…

    Any one got any good idea’s???

    Yours Truley
    Christopher Gustoph

    Sarnia, Ontario, Canada

  22. Brian says:

    @ 1764: I received a copyright violation email from Rogers on two occasions.

    I just switched from Rogers to Bell because of Rogers’ price hike, but am starting to think that wasn’t such a good idea. Once I start getting billed for Sympatico, I might switch back to Rogers. I never noticed throttling. Even if they did do it, it wasn’t as insanely low as Bell.

  23. Spark-Man says:


    One thing you might look into is the Azureus Vuze BT client with Level 5 Traffic Obfuscation/Encryption Measures. This will PROBABLY help you get around BT filters by your ISP (Comcast is renowened for this type of action); this also helps with packet shaping at universities and the like.


    1.) Install the Azureus Vuze program from

    2.) Go to Tools > Options > Mode
    – check the “intermediate” level of proficiency, otherwise the following settings will not be available to you to change

    3.) Go to Tools > Options > Connection > Transport Encryption
    – check the “Require encrypted transport” box
    – set “Minimum encryption level” to RC4
    – uncheck the two “Allow …” boxes
    – check the “Use the cryptoport tracker …” box

    4.) Go to Tools > Options > Plugins > Distributed DB
    – uncheck the “Enable the distributed database” box

    5.) Go to Tools > Options > Plugins > Distributed Tracker
    – check the “Only track normal …” box

    6.) Go to Tools > Options > Tracker > Clients
    – check the “Do not announce …” box
    – set the “Limit the number …” value to between 1 and 3
    – set the “Minimum time …” value to between 300 to 900
    – check the “Enable key passing …” box **
    – check the “Use different peer identities …” box **

    ** I don’t know whether or not these boxes are already checked upon a default installation, can someone reply with an answer? Thanks


  24. Somayaji says:

    RE: Sparkman

    It is better to set the Level of Proficiency to Advanced, because in step 6 of your instructions, “Enable Key Passing…” and “Use different peer identities” can’t be seen unless you set your level to Advanced.

    Also, “Enable Key passing…” is checked automatically but “use diff. peer identities” isn’t.

  25. Brian says:

    Bell is throttling, they admitted it to me on my last phone call.
    BUT what can be done?
    “The CRTC does not regulate rates, quality of service issues or business practices of Internet service providers as they relate to retail customers.”
    All we have is to send complaints to [email protected]

  26. Brian says:

    Seems that that email address is not working either.

  27. 519 flowers says:

    Bell is by far the worst provider out there. The customer service is awful, try understanding anything they are saying.I switched to Primus a few years ago. I am saving around forty dollars a month.

  28. chizknock says:

    There are better alternatives then torrents, download managers, costs a bit, but no headaches and much faster

  29. Clickme says:

    A little offtopic reply, Im using the new google chrome browser, but it looks like your website is not displaying correctly… Just to let you know. Thanks.

  30. Amin Walji says:

    Please be very careful of “HIDDEN CHARGES” with BELL CANADA and if possible,never make a mistake of using pre-authorized or credit card as a method of bill payments,you will REGRET it BIG TIME my friends.I have faced this problem,they even have GUTS to debit your bank account even after the agreement with the “not so friendly customer service representatives” to stop pre-authorized sevices.After i inquired regarding the above matter,the representative “APOLOGIZED”.WOW,what a way of solving the problem!!!!!!!!!

  31. Thee Dudee says:

    I’m being throttled at 10kbps, sometimes I can hit 60kbps… I’m on ADSL with Radioactif, a reseller, and I used to be able to hit 405kbps in best conditions. Bell did not provide No warning, No penalties, No abuse… And they are throttling me. It’s completely unacceptable. If it was in Europe, there would be Riots in the streets. Bell and all other major ISP are abusing their power and their customers that have no other alternative. It is an infringement of human rights.

    “Human rights are “basic rights and freedoms to which all humans are entitled.” “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and RIGHTS. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.” -Article 1

    Geneva convention state : “Protected persons are entitled, in all circumstances, to RESPECT for their PERSONS , their honour, their family rights, their religious convictions and practices, and their manners and customs. They shall at all times be humanely treated, and shall be protected especially against all acts of violence or threats thereof and against insults and PUBLIC CURIOSITY.”

    They abuse their power to profit themselves and only themselves. The fact that I am not even one of their customer and I am being controlled and denied full access to what I am paying every month and entitled to.

  32. PabloGuy says:

    Bell Canada is a horrible company. Their support is inept and desiged to frustrate customers. Their infrastructure is failing and they use anticompetitive actions to keep customers. I used third party dsl over their Bell lines and Bell would never fix the problems. They just close the trouble ticket without work and then their 3 day counter starts again. The DSL provider finally told me they couldn’t get my line fixed and they had lost hundreds of customers that way. They said a multiple company lawsuit was coming. I doubt Bell does this on purpose – they just have incompentant managers and lazy union workers.

  33. Fantastic post!!! Keep it up.

  34. bell canada says:

    thanks bell canada your new fib25 is usless cant download on your best day. my downloads go down to 1 kbs you cant download a letter with that.

  35. bell canada says:

    bell canada fib25 a ripoff dont pay its a lie you wont be able to download nothing. you dont believe try it.

  36. TJ says:

    Go with 3Web / Cia Cybersurf .

    I only pay $ 25 / month for high speed unlimited bandwidth ( no cap or restrictions on how much bandwidth I use or how much I upload / download )

    The same thing with BELL will cost me $ 50 + 🙂

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