The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has issued updated guidelines on how it will deal with complaints about Internet service providers (ISPs) slowing down certain types of traffic. The CRTC takes all complaints seriously and has established strict timelines to ensure their timely resolution.
Under a 2009 CRTC policy, ISPs are encouraged to expand and upgrade their networks to address increases in traffic. Should other measures be required to manage traffic, ISPs can apply Internet traffic management practices. These practices, whether economic or technical, manage traffic to prevent or respond to network congestion. In either case, an ISP must be transparent about its use of traffic management practices.
“The policy sets out clear ground rules, which we expect all ISPs to follow,” said Konrad von Finckenstein, Q.C., Chairman of the CRTC. “The guidelines we issued today will help Canadians understand which practices are permitted and how to make a complaint. We will require ISPs that are not following the rules to take corrective action as quickly as possible.”
Upon the receipt of a complaint regarding a traffic management practice, CRTC staff will forward the complaint to the ISP in question and request a response. If the ISP fails to respond or bring itself into compliance, the CRTC will take further action to enforce its policy. This can include meeting with the ISP to discuss a complaint in more detail, requesting an on-site inspection or independent third-party audit, or calling the ISP to a public hearing.
Should the CRTC find that an ISP is not in compliance with the policy, it will publish the company’s name and the nature of the complaint. In addition, the CRTC will publish, four times a year, a summary of the number and types of complaints it has received, including the number that have been resolved and those that are still under investigation.