They say that a pat on the back is only 12 inches from a kick in the pants. After last week’s brazenly self-congratulatory press release, it’s an idiom the CRTC really should take to heart.
If you missed it, the regulator declared victory over Rogers and its throttling ways with an announcement that it was closing its investigation into the cable provider’s internet traffic management practices (ITMPs). “The CRTC is satisfied that Rogers has addressed its concerns regarding the company’s practice of slowing down certain types of internet traffic,” the release proclaimed.
The investigation stemmed from complaints brought forward by several individuals that Rogers was slowing down connection speeds to the point where online games such as World of Warcraft were unplayable. The situation was never terribly surprising, given that both the cable company and rival Bell Canada continue to be among the worst throttlers in the world, as Google M-Labs data for the first quarter of 2012 show. (Bell said last year it would cease throttling by March 1, 2012 – next quarter’s data should show whether the company was true to its word.)
The regulator ignored these complaints until the cause was taken up by the newly formed Canadian Gamers Organization. Or so everyone thought. Shortly after the CRTC published its release, CGO spokesman Jason Koblovsky issued his own statement – and he was less than satisfied with the supposed victory, to say the least.
Among the CGO’s continued grievances:
- The complaint process took 11 months, even with new fast-track rules. “The burden of proof to prove non-compliance with ITMP policy is still very much on the consumers back.”
- “We are also disheartened to see the CRTC seemingly disregarding its own policies when finding Rogers non-compliant with ITMP policy on 2 separate occasions due to their own independent investigations, yet did not put Rogers on a quarterly ITMP non-compliance list as per their own procedures.”
- The CRTC didn’t investigate how long Rogers was non-compliant, nor did it assess whether customers should have been reimbursed any fees.
- “There were closed door meetings with Rogers and the CRTC to discuss non-compliance and the phase out of throttling, with no public communication to Rogers customers as to the company’s plans on how they were going to phase out throttling, or when issues of non-compliance would be fixed.”
- The CGO wasn’t notified of the investigation’s closure, which the group found to be “extremely odd.”
That’s a long laundry list of complaints, but here’s the kicker: according to the gamer group, Rogers is still throttling. The company has said it will phase out the practice by the end of this year, so it’s understandable that some customers are still being affected. But if that’s the case, isn’t it way too early for anyone to be declaring victory?
Back in May, Open Media director Steve Anderson said he thought the CRTC was doing a better job of late. Since then, long-time bureaucrat Jean-Pierre Blais was installed by the government as the regulator’s new chairman. Landing on the figurative aircraft carrier and declaring “mission accomplished” when the job is far from done isn’t exactly a good start, nor is it evidence that a “better job” is being done.
(Kudos to Justin McKillican for the photo idea)