Home > crtc, net neutrality, rogers > The world’s worst throttler (officially): Rogers

The world’s worst throttler (officially): Rogers

Hot on the heels of the news that Bell Canada is cutting some of its internet throttling with wholesale customers comes some really - and I mean really - interesting data on throttling worldwide. Ladies and gentlemen, presenting the world’s absolute worst throttler (since 2008): Rogers.

According to researchers who used M-Labs, a project launched by Google in 2009 that allows internet users to keep tabs on how their service providers are slowing connections, Canada’s biggest cable internet provider has been the worst at slowing down applications, primarily peer-to-peer services such as BitTorrent, using deep-packet inspection technology.

M-Labs gives users tools to test their connections and, according to its methodology:

The column on the far right shows the percentage of times Glasnost tests indicated that the ISP was manipulating BitTorrent using DPI. The number of valid tests is important because the more valid tests done, the more reliable the results in the last column. E.g., ISPs for whom we have only 11-30 tests per quarter (only 1-2 tests per week) will be highly variable and thus less reliable than ISPs for whom we have >450 tests per quarter.

The only ISP that repeatedly showed up in the 90%-plus category with more than 450 tests: Rogers. Also bad was UPC Ireland, but it fell short in total comparisons to its Canadian cousin.

How did other ISPs compare? Well, Comcast - the company that elicited sanctions from the FCC for its throttling - only ever slowed about 49% of its connections, back in the second quarter of 2008. Bell, the Canadian ISP that has taken the most flak for slowing down connections, ironically didn’t fare all that badly compared to its main rival.

Here are the most recent results for Canadian ISPs and the percentage of connections they throttled in the first quarter of 2010:

  • Shaw: 14%
  • Bell: 16%
  • Rogers: 78%
  • Telus: 6%
  • Videotron: 3%
  • Bell Aliant: 6%
  • Cogeco: 46%
  • Sasktel: 5%
  • MTS: 6%

The first three ISPs on that list had more than 450 samples, while Telus had between 151 and 450. The rest had between 31 and 150.

Here are the worst worldwide in the most recent quarter, with the sample size following:

  • UPC Poland: 87%, 91-150
  • KT Corp (South Korea): 84%, 31-60
  • GTS Novera (Czech): 80%, 11-30
  • Rogers: 78%, 450+

As the methodology states, the larger the sample size, the more accurate the result, so Rogers looks particularly poor on that list.

Given this information, is it any wonder gamers are fuming at Rogers for its throttling, which isn’t just affecting peer-to-peer traffic but also perfectly legal applications such as World of Warcraft? Isn’t it about time the CRTC - which laughably touts the world’s best net neutrality rules - got off its keester and did something?

UPDATE: Milton Mueller, the principal investigator behind the findings, wrote a paper looking at some of the results in more detail. Check out “Deep Packet Inspection and Bandwidth Management,” which compares throttling in the United States and Canada. Some interesting takeaways include the facts that Rogers and Cogeco both started throttling on the same day, July 1, 2008 (how’s that for coincidence?) and throttling by U.S. ISPs is about 11% overall, compared to 33% in Canada.

UPDATE: Some people were wondering how ISPs who say they don’t throttle, such as Telus and Videotron, showed up in the tests. According to the explanatory notes of the study, the tests seemed to generate false positives of around 10% prior to August 2009 and 4-5% after that, which pretty much matches or erases the results for the ISPs in question. If anything, the results prove those companies aren’t throttling. With that said, the error margin still doesn’t do much to improve the positions of the top throttlers.

Categories: crtc, net neutrality, rogers
  1. October 21, 2011 at 2:50 am | #1

    And for those who wonder why Videotron throttle so little, check their overage tarriffs. They are worst than Rogers (and that was reflected in Bell UBB tarriffs that where the overrage was higher in QC). Why throttling when you can make big bucks?

    (this is of course pure speculation but it seems to be the logical reason)

  2. October 21, 2011 at 8:51 am | #2

    Unfortunately, I’m on Rogers and I can attest to how badly they suck when it comes to throttling. As soon as I turn on my BitTorrent client, I cannot do anything. The latency is so bad that I cannot load the most basic websites, including the Google.com. It’s infuriating. We finally options in our neighbourhood. I guess it’s a matter of finding the least evil provider.

    • ScaryFast
      October 21, 2011 at 7:50 pm | #3

      You do realize that bit torrent alone can cause those problems even when the ISP is NOT throttling. If your upload speed is unlimited in the torrent app, it will very easily use all of it, and then everything else will slow to a crawl, latency will spike, etc. Many many people think it’s the ISP’s fault when it’s not. IF your download speed goes fast enough, it will cause issues too, but upload speed is usually the main culprit.

    • gDoGG
      October 21, 2011 at 8:50 pm | #4

      if i will be surfing the web and using a bitTorrent for downloading i set it at 200 kb/s and 50 kb/s for uploading and have minimal slowdown.

    • October 24, 2011 at 8:59 am | #5

      as a rogers customer on the Extreme Plus package…. i hear ya!

    • October 24, 2011 at 9:01 am | #6

      Been on Rogers, and surprisingly happy with the service. As far as to what they have declared, they only throttle your outgoing peer-to-peer (Bittorrent, some console games, etc) traffic to 8kbps MAX at any time of the day. All inbound peer-to-peer is not affected.

      Based on my observations, this declaration is 100% accurate.

      What I think your problem is that your bittorrent connection is sucking up all of your bandwidth which causes slowdown to your entire connection. It’s not Rogers… It’s just you. Try controlling the up and down speed of your bittorrent and you’ll probably see the difference.

  3. October 21, 2011 at 9:01 am | #7

    With the CRTC several years into being captured and the current anti-Canadian government in power, the odds of anything effective being done are slim.

    In 2015, we should all think about voting in our own best interests, and not some far removed ideology about how the majority of businesses can be relied on to do the right thing.

  4. October 21, 2011 at 9:56 am | #8

    “which isn’t just affecting peer-to-peer traffic but also perfectly legal applications such as World of Warcraft”

    All peer-to-peer traffic isn’t illegal either. We’re having a two year net-neutrality anniversary today in Canada, and Rogers simply snubs its nose at the law.

    Public pressure has to keep this alive. If we had more competition in this country, this would not be an issue at all.

  5. Lynn
    October 21, 2011 at 10:19 am | #9

    It’s not just gamers who are affected by Rogers’ nonsense. VPN connections get dropped with no warning, which is a major pain!

  6. asdasd
    October 21, 2011 at 10:44 am | #10

    Simple solution to 90% of complaints. Stop using Rogers.

  7. October 21, 2011 at 10:56 am | #11

    Peer to peer applications aren’t illegal. SOME of the content shared on them might be, definitely not all and the applications themselves are completely fine.

    • October 21, 2011 at 11:00 am | #12

      Yeah, yeah, don’t get me wrong. Peer-to-peer is grey at worst - my point was to illustrate that Rogers’ throttling extends well beyond that to perfectly legitimate applications.

  8. Scott Ganson
    October 21, 2011 at 12:48 pm | #13

    Rogers sucks a$$.. Not only do they suck but their too big to care about the people anymore.. Drop your contracts and support our smaller, local ISPs!

    • October 24, 2011 at 9:04 am | #14

      I Am dropping my line in about 1 1/2 months to go with Indie ISP in my area that offer unlimited usage and a good up and download rate why 1 1/2 months well finances will be back to stable and i am ready to refuse the throttle! and support the little guy F.U. Rogers :D

  9. Marc Venot
    October 21, 2011 at 4:43 pm | #15

    I run the NDT Google test and among infos:
    Round trip time: 53 msec (minimum), 25385 msec (maximum), 265.79 msec (average)
    Bottleneck link: Cable/DSL modem

    As I said before since May 2011 the lag playing Clan Lord is so bad that in principle I should have stop it.

  10. Mike
    October 21, 2011 at 6:09 pm | #16

    Peter, could you please edit to remove the insinuation that peer-to-peer internet traffic is illegal? It isn’t.

    Many thanks.

    “Given this information, is it any wonder gamers are fuming at Rogers for its throttling, which isn’t just affecting peer-to-peer traffic but also perfectly legal applications such as World of Warcraft?”

    • October 21, 2011 at 6:24 pm | #17

      Already covered that in a comment above.

      • Howard
        October 24, 2011 at 11:58 am | #18

        Except your clarification dropped yet another insiuation that peer-to-peer traffic is somehow illegitimate….

        “…Rogers’ throttling extends well beyond that to perfectly legitimate applications.”

  11. Sam
    October 21, 2011 at 6:55 pm | #19

    I dropped my Rogers contracts in the summer of 2010 when they switched over half of the Jays games to Sportsnet 1 before my cable company picked up the network. Fuck you rogers.

  12. Nathan
    October 21, 2011 at 7:27 pm | #20

    Glad I’m on Sasktel. 25mbps unlimited (absolutely no cap/throttling at any level) is hard to beat. I’d be very curious what they throttled, as I am a *very* heavy UseNet user (1-3TB a month down) and I get a consistent 3-3.3mbytes/s. I used BitTorrent heavily in the past and never noticed any throttling, either.

  13. Wisq
    October 21, 2011 at 8:01 pm | #21

    Rogers’ BitTorrent throttling is a very odd thing. Sometimes they come in agonisingly slow — I’ve often run the same torrents off a local datacentre and they’re nice and zippy. Other times, it seems to be completely ineffectual, with torrents coming down or being sent back out pretty much at link speed.

    However, it should be noted that the only times I ever see anyone complain that *nothing else works* while torrenting are when they haven’t properly limited their upload speed (leaving lots of margin). If you saturate your link, you *will* make it pretty much unusable, and that has nothing to do with Rogers’ thottling. Remember, your upload speed is tiny compared to your download speed, and maxing your upload is far worse than maxing your download.

    Unfortunately, throttling aside, Bell/Sympatico is worse than Rogers in almost every way. In fact, DSL technology sucks in general compared to cable, in terms of speed, reliability, link quality, ease-of-use, etc. Thankfully, some of the independent ISPs are starting to get into doing cable as well.

    • October 22, 2011 at 2:02 pm | #22

      And said ISP are mostly being throttled on top of Rogers cable as if you were in Rogers cable.

      What suck with DSL is that the CRTC failed: they should have required speed matching since day one. Bell offer 21Mbits/s with DSL2+? Then the wholesale service should have it (they don’t). This is about to change, albeit a proper tariff has to be determined as it is currently a reail-minus. Of course Bell do all they can to slow this down.

      And also had the CRTC done its job, there would be complete unbunbling of the loop from ILEC like it is done in some countries including UK and France.

  14. Michael
    October 23, 2011 at 12:24 pm | #23

    Rogers throttles Black Ops to the point where people start getting kicked out of the game. I’ll be hosting a game, can’t kill anyone, people start dropping out of room, then I get kicked. It’s not as bad if I’m not hosting, but I end up hosting 90% of games.

    I pay for a certain speed, but they take it away. It should be illegal!!

  15. evilshin
    October 23, 2011 at 1:02 pm | #24

    There is one word for why Rogers feel they should be able to throttle: Netflix.

  16. Ad
    October 24, 2011 at 9:57 am | #25

    Cogeco, Rogers and Shaw are related companies! Shaw has mostly business like Security companies that stream security cameras over the net for 24-7 monitoring so if Shaw was to match the throttling, they would loose the majority of it’s customers being the security companies.

  17. Pal
    October 24, 2011 at 11:03 am | #26

    Rampant CorpRat greed. The way to deal with that is through competition. We don’t have any of that. With the CRTC and the Gov. firmly in the hands of big business customers are relegated to unlimited complaining in useless, hollow forums and nothing gets done…..

  18. Al
    October 24, 2011 at 11:31 am | #27

    Very simple, leave Rogers. I did 2 years ago, and only problem is that I’m angry why didn’t do it earlier. :) (advise: don’t switch to Bell)

  1. October 21, 2011 at 5:44 pm | #1
  2. October 21, 2011 at 6:07 pm | #2
  3. October 21, 2011 at 6:40 pm | #3
  4. October 21, 2011 at 7:02 pm | #4
  5. October 21, 2011 at 10:51 pm | #5
  6. October 21, 2011 at 11:55 pm | #6
  7. October 22, 2011 at 5:49 am | #7
  8. October 22, 2011 at 10:50 am | #8

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