Bell Opens Video Download Store, but Continues to Throttle BitTorrent

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Bell, one of the Canadian ISPs known for its BitTorrent throttling practices, launched its very own video download store this week. So, efficient BitTorrent is throttled for being a bandwidth hog, but customers are still able to download movies at full speed - as long as they use Bell's service, that is.

bellIn their recently launched video download store Bell offers movies to own for $4.99, and rentals for $1.99.

At the same time however, customers of BitTorrent’s video store – a direct competitor to Bell’s store – and BitTorrent users in general see their traffic being throttled. Why? Bell says there is not enough bandwidth available.

The claim that there is not enough bandwidth to go round is suspicious to say the least, and Bell’s response to this data crisis is even more puzzling. Instead of investing money in their network capacity, they simply slow down the connections of their subscribers while ignoring the source of the problem.

To top it off, Bell decided to launch a competing video download service. So while they throttle customers using the efficient BitTorrent protocol because they supposedly generate too much traffic, Bell launches a bandwidth-hogging download store of their own. Not only does this seem unfair to their own customers, it also negatively affects other video services that base their business model on BitTorrent.

The throttling efforts by Bell and other ISPs actually hurt companies such as BitTorrent Inc and Vuze. These companies both offer products that depend on BitTorrent and they become pretty much worthless when BitTorrent traffic is throttled.

Since Bell now has its own video store, the ISP is actively degrading the service their BitTorrent based competitors offer. That is, Bell users will probably not choose a video download service based on BitTorrent because they can get only a few kilobits per second when the network is “busy”.

Instead of investing in more Internet gateway capacity and peering agreements, Bell instead chooses to launch a video store. Perhaps it’s time for Bell and other ISPs to think ahead – BitTorrent is not going away and there will only be more ‘bandwidth hogging’ services in the future.

Or maybe this just an anti-competitive move by Bell?


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