Canadian Gamers Question CRTC’s Speed Testing Project

The CRTC has announced today that it’s launching a program to test Canadian internet speeds vs. advertised speeds.   The project participants are some of Canada’s largest internet service providers, including Bell and Rogers.  The Canadian Gamers Organization [CGO] founder Jason Koblovsky says members of his organization are wary about this project and what it hopes to achieve.

“One the surface, this looks like a great idea until one looks deeply into the CRTC’s news release on this upcoming project.  Unlike other consumer groups, we see major issues with this announcement, and we believe this project will offer little in terms of reliable data on actual internet speeds.” Koblovsky stated.

CGO lists two points of interest regarding this project.  The first is the use of what the CRTC is calling “whiteboxes”.  CGO is concerned that these whiteboxes will allow the ISP to determine which connection is being tested by the CRTC, thus may provide unreliable data.

“This opens the data collection part of this to massive abuse.  We are concerned that ISPs could provide speed preferences to those who sign up for these tests if they know which connections these whiteboxes are installed on.  This would give unreliable data to those at the CRTC studying this.  Our members have voiced concerns on this.” Koblovsky notes.

The second issue Canadian gamers are unimpressed on, is that the CRTC plans on collecting data “when users are not connected.”

“This appears to be the result of big telecom pulling the wool over the eyes of a technically inept regulator.” Koblovsky stated, “While on the outside this appears to be a measure to protect privacy; the technical reality is that most households are now connected through wifi with multiple devices, and it may be extremely hard (if not impossible) to obtain an idle connection to produce proper data for the purposes of this project.  Most devices including next gen gaming consoles utilize wifi connections on a constant bases which communicate with servers to provide firmware updates, pre-order and purchased downloads.  Mobile devices often use wifi to consistently ping location servers, among other things.  Depending on the household, there could be several devices utilizing wifi connections on a consistent basis.”

Koblovsky continues “Consumers need to start questioning appointments made by policy makers to the CRTC especially if those employed by the CRTC have very little to no technical background.  The CRTC can simply not claim it’s consumer friendly, when it can’t even fully and completely understand the technology used in almost every household in Canada.  It’s disgusting.”

The Canadian Gamers Organization is asking Canadian gamers, and consumers NOT to participate in this project until the CRTC comes up with a more technically sound scientific way to produce Internet speed results, that remain technically anonymous and free from influence by the participating ISPs.

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About Jay Koblovsky

As a former consumer advocate, Jay has been a part of the development of Canada’s Net Neutrality Rules in consultation with the CRTC. In 2012 he successfully advocated at the CRTC to have those rules enforced against Rogers Communications. This set a precedent in Canadian telecom policy across the country, which still remains in place today. Jay than became a digital rights advocate, where he was directly consulted by federal government and opposition parties as it relates to digital and civil rights. Jay has engaged in academic debates surrounding digital and civil rights with some of Canada’s top academic legal and policy experts. In 2014 Jay took some time off to advocate for his family. Jay’s son is diagnosed with autism. Jay is now focusing his attention on disability rights and policy. Jay hopes that political connections made during previous civil rights advocacy will assist in bringing not justice but equality to federal disability programs, and to people with disabilities. Jay recently completed a law course on the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. If you wish to get a hold of Jay you may do so at this e-mail address: jay at jkoblovsky dot ca

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