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CRTC Approves Usage Based Billing

The CRTC on Thursday gave Bell Canada the approval to implement usage-based billing to wholesale customers. The decision reversed several key conditions it previously imposed on Bell.

23 Comments


  1. Congrats, CRTC! You have successfully maintained your reputation as a sock-puppet for oligopolies.

  2. are the CRTC blind?
    Did the CRTC not see Roger’s reduce their own usage caps within days of Netflix announcing availability in Canada?

    I guess they thought it was merely coincidence that a Television content distributor imposed a direct impediment to fair competition. And here I thought that was illegal in Canada. Stupid me, I suppose.

    And surely Bell doesn’t want to control caps for the same reason, do they? I mean it’s not like Bell distributes Television content too, do they?

  3. CRTC, making themselves seem irrelevant one decision at a time.

    Now I do think that we need a telecommunications regulatory body, but the CRTC has pretty much proven themselves to be ineffective at actually regulating the industry and more keeping the big three able to screw over the consumer and not have to compete.

  4. CRTC, making themselves seem irrelevant one decision at a time.
    Chris,

    But it doesn’t matter that “we” think the CRTC is irrelevant. They continue to have ongoing oversight over these issues, despite the fact that they continue to bungle it up.

    Irrelevant (by our estimation) or not, they have the reigns and are continue to guide the buggy into the ditch. Unfortunately we are all passengers with no ability to jump off.

  5. RE: Brian
    “Did the CRTC not see Roger’s reduce their own usage caps within days of Netflix announcing availability in Canada?

    I guess they thought it was merely coincidence that a Television content distributor imposed a direct impediment to fair competition. And here I thought that was illegal in Canada. Stupid me, I suppose.

    And surely Bell doesn’t want to control caps for the same reason, do they? I mean it’s not like Bell distributes Television content too, do they?”

    It’s also just a coincidence that most of the members of the CRTC are former employees of Bell and Rogers. Just a coincidence…

  6. RE: Brian
    Eric… Unfortunately the CRTC and the Competition Bureau work for different Ministries (CTRC for Heritage, Competition Bureau for Industry Canada). Too many departments, not enough collaboration.

  7. A common complaint of the CRTC is that it’s staffed by people who come from the companies that the CRTC is supposed to regulate – thus resulting in something of a bias on the part of the regulators.
    Is this indeed the case, or just a perception?
    If it is indeed the case, what can we ordinary citizens do to get people on the CRTC who will act as consumer advocates and thus try to balance out this apparent bias?

  8. Francis Bolduc says:

    Usage-based billing should be mandatory
    In my opinion, I think they’re not going far enough. Every customer, not only wholesale, should have usage-based bills.

    It should be a requirement that all telecom bills be based on usage. You use more, you pay more. You use less, you pay less. This includes land-line, cellphone, internet and television.

    As easy as X cents per gigabytes.

    No extra fees allowed. Telcos should be required by law to have usage-based billing. That would make all our lives simpler.

  9. @Francis
    You do realize that the plans that had the higher to no bandwidth caps do cost more than the plans with lower caps, right? Nothing is stopping Bell or Rogers from having to actually compete with other ISP providers that offered plans like this.

    Of course, now they don’t have to so it’s not really a problem anymore for Bell, just the consumer getting screwed again.

  10. @Francis,

    That sounds all nice and fair but they set arbitrary minimums and contract lengths.

    Additionally, its not like 3rd party ISP aren’t paying for the bandwidth. They know customers are different and they average usage their limits. This ruling force them to charge like Bell.

    Example: Teksavvy purchases 200GB from Bell. Teksavvy could have 8 customers each using 25GB, no problem. Second case, Teksavvy has 4 customers using 50GB and they have to charge overages to these customers even though they are paid for 200GB total.
    If you can’t see that Bell being able to set prices for Teksavvy’s customers and how that is anti-competitive, I son’t know what to say.

  11. @ Francis

    I look forward to the day ISP’s give me a refund on bandwidth I do not use. Or even roll over credits every month… Not that it would ever happen.

    Or when buying large blocks of bandwidth, one should get discount pricing no? Why should someone buying 200 gigs for a month pay the same pricing per gig as someone who only buys 2 gigs?

  12. @Francis
    Just like land lines use to be usage based; and how innovation stifled economic growth. I would agree with you but I’m just trying to do the mental math on what your post would be in terms of SMS costs; ISP’s are scrambling as consumers realize how long they’ve been ripped off for and Google keeps eating their lunch. They’ve made themselves big dumb pipe a day at a time…

  13. 60GB/month doesn’t even give you a SINGLE Megabit per second
    60 GB/month = 0.189 Mbps, or 24.272 KB/s per second.
    5Mbps, or 640 KB/s = 1582 GB/month, or 1.544 TB/month*

    * that’s over 30 times more than Bell allows before they start raping you with overage charges which are marked up by more than 20 times the actual cost.

    The CRTC needs to be abolished and the absolute wankers they have running the show right now need to serve time on corruption charges.

  14. @David
    I agree, so long as the way you describe is in fact the nature of the SLA signed.

    Where it gets weirder, however, is if that is not the agreement that they have with Bell. If the agreement that they have with Bell specifies a fixed amount for Bell per customer based on the access speed (and let’s not forget that in many cases Bell also provides the connectivity, the ISP is just a bandwidth reseller), that is a different case. Remember that in this case the ISP has an incentive to sell as much as they can; their costs per customer are fixed and Bell takes the hit on over-cap usage.

    Without a better indication of the nature of the contracts in place, it is hard to say much either way.

    @Francis: To a point I agree with you. However, there needs to be a fixed cost related to the provision of access; even if you don’t use the service in the month it still costs them to maintain the capability to provide on-demand service to the customer. This would reduce the price for usage.

    @JimR: There are currently a number of commissioners at the CRTC who have worked, sometimes in the recent past, in the telecommunications or broadcasting fields, including Rogers, Bell Alliant and the CBC.

  15. All ties to Bell, Telus cut as of yesterday..
    The country is going to hell in a hand basket. All my ties to Bell Canada and Telus (Phone, TV, Cell, Internet) were discontinued, canceled as of Monday. Never again. The CRTC is a joke, anything to do with communications in this country is corrupt at all levels of those suppose to “represent the people”. It simply further underpins the trend of stripping Canadians of their freedoms, the right to choose, competitive marketplace for services.

    It is absolutely disgusting and a disgrace. Time for bumper stickers and t-shirts “Bell can Blowme!”

  16. Mike MacNeill says:

    BRAND NEW Net Neutrality Activist
    ANY ONE IN THE STRATFORD/ST MARYS ONTARIO AREA CONTACT ME AT macplumber@hotmail.com (Let’s STIR UP A PILE OF SHIT!) CHECK OUT THIS… http://www.wix.com/macplumber/net-neutrality

  17. Michael, no comments?
    I know Michael is extremely busy with the Bill C-32 debates, but where are his thoughts on this latest CRTC UBB ruling disaster? Am I missing something, or are the two sentences above all he’s written on it?

  18. David Hirtenfeld says:

    Discontinue all services with Bell
    There is only one way to deal with this issue on a consumer level…boycott Bell services in every way possible…this will hit their bottom line and share values…I personally have cut my home Internet and Telephone services already…Bell TV is next!

  19. Mike MacNeill says:

    Discontinue all services with Bell
    There is only one way to deal with this issue! Cell Phones First.

  20. The CRTC should be renamed as CRTC-Bell.

  21. Andrew Wong says:

    RCMP should start investigate the committee members to find out anyone in the committee holding the 2 biggest ISP providers violating the conflict of interest Act. or they are getting money directly from them. We, tax payer pay them to make money from us, Stupid Canadian.

  22. Bell Sucks
    Unless you never had bell phones in your home then you will be ok. But bell wiring is in every home and the provider that you will be replacing Bell with will have to use Bell phone lines…so we still are screwed. Or go dryloop. I have started to look for another provider as Primus is charging me more for GB usage because they use Bell lines. As long as you are using Bell Telephone Lines in your home you will be charged…I am going to use my Cell Phone and go DryLoop.

  23. John Smith says:

    To everyone who says this is pro-business, then why the !@#! do I not have any other ISP option? Videotron is even more retarted with its billing plans. If this shit happens, I’m left with zero options.

    In fact, the time is ripe to start running fiber across the big cities, and to create a real ISP that doesn’t see itself as a media company. Really hope teksavvy and other isps that use bell’s lines are able to step up and get their own piping in the ground.