The CRTC has asked Rogers to "address and resolve" a problem that may result in online video games being unintentionally slowed down on its network.
Rogers should file a plan by Sept. 27 for resolving the problem, Canada's telecommunications regulator said in a letter sent by email Friday to Ken Thomson, Rogers's director and counsel for copyright and broadband law.
Following a complaint from the Canadian Gamers Organization, a group representing people who play video games online, Rogers acknowledged that equipment on its network used to slow down some kinds of internet traffic in order to prioritize time-sensitive applications such as internet voice calling and video streaming might affect other applications if:
* Other peer-to-peer applications are running at the same time;
* The game or application was misclassified by network traffic management systems, as in the case of World of Warcraft; and
* All the applications classified as peer-to-peer traffic have a combined bandwidth of 80 kilobits per second or more – the threshold that trips the network traffic management system.
Based on that information, the CRTC said, it seems the equipment "could potentially continue to misclassify time-sensitive traffic such as other online games." It added that "Rogers should address and resolve this misclassification problem."
The CRTC letter, signed by John Traversey, executive director of communications, noted that the use of internet traffic management that causes "noticeable degradation" of time-sensitive internet traffic amounts to controlling the content, and therefore requires "prior Commission approval."
In response to the letter, the Canadian Gamers Association sent an email to the CRTC asking it to ensure that "any solutions presented here to fix the problem also be implemented on other ISPs as well."
Jason Koblovsky, the group's co-founder, said both Shaw and Bell internet customers may be experiencing similar slowdowns while playing games.
Rogers admitted in March, following complaints from gamers, that equipment used to slow down some kinds of internet traffic and prioritize others could negatively affect World of Warcraft. The company has since implemented a fix specifically for that game.
However, the Canadian Gamers Organization, a group representing Canadians who play online games, told the CRTC that the game Call of Duty: Black Ops also seemed to be slowed down on a Rogers connection. That prompted the CRTC to ask Rogers for more information and the revelation that other games could be affected.