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Clement Vows to Overturn CRTC if UBB Decision Unchanged

Industry Minister Tony Clement told a University of Alberta audience yesterday that “We asked (the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission) to review their decision, and if they come back with the same decision the cabinet would overrule it because it wouldn’t be consistent with government policy…promoting competition and choice.” Clement added that “You can’t have competition and choice if you allow a major carrier to force its business model onto an independent service provider.”

18 Comments

  1. omg
    The commenters on that article are absurd and uninformed. Please someone enlighten them. All they can say is subsidize this subsidize that. It’s damn shame such incompetence actually gets to vote at elections.

  2. Change the law – the CRTC is just doing it’s job!
    If you don’t like the way the regulator is implementing the laws, than as a politician stop pointing the finger at the regulator and change/clarify the law!!! Have the balls to do your job if you want to be re-elected.

  3. @schultzter
    I would agree except there is a problem the CRTC doesn’t understand the issue it’s ruling on.

    While they might be following the law with their “heavy users should not be subsidizing lesser users”, the fact of the matter this concept does not even apply in the UBB context. As I’ve mentioned before – networks get overtaxed by concurrent connections – NOT by monthly usage.

    Suffice to say if “heavy users are subsidizing lesser users” – Bell and Rogers simply aren’t in a position to provide the bandwidth they are offering. This is essentially like sell 3 apples to someone, and providing only 1 – in the most basic of analogies.


  4. Interesting reading:

    http://www.dslreports.com/shownews/Telcos-Going-To-Lose-Significant-Market-Share-Due-To-DSL-111061

    I’m sure that Bell is aware of this. So their plan to compete is adding throttling and UBB? I.e. intentionally degrading a service that was too slow anyway?

    What sense does it make?

    Nap.

  5. Ramblin' Rose says:

    Rogers SpeedBoost
    Has anyone seen the latest Television Promo from Rogers…does it amount to pay us more and we’ll temporarily not shape your first 10 MB?

    Spin Doctored?


  6. @Rose:

    There’s no extra charge. What it does is to let the first 10MB from a new connection come at full modem speed (i.e. the speed it is technically capable).

    So if you’re doing traffic in short bursts (like in browsing web pages) you go at the maximum speed of which your modem is capable of. So let’s say you’re on “Extreme” plan which says you’re allowed 15Mbps download speed. When doing traffic as mentioned your speed can easily go up to 50-60Mbps (if you have one of the newer DOCSIS 3.0 modems).

    However if you’re doing continuous traffic (like downloading a huge file), your speed will be the one in your plan (15Mbps) after the first 10MB.

    It is a very interesting concept. It rewards the light users (those *NOT* doing permanent P2P downloads and such) with a huge boost in speed over what their plan actually is.

    So somehow it is the opposite of “throttling”.

    Nap.

  7. RE: Napalm
    It still doesn’t work in a modern Web 2.0 world. Say you had to download a big security update or use a lot of Web 2.0 applications. Rogers is promoting yet another gimmick.


  8. @Eric: “Say you had to download a big security update or use a lot of Web 2.0 applications.”

    You’re talking enterprise applications while this is about residential internet.

    No it won’t help you with Windows 7 SP1 (it’s a 2GB download lol) but for casual web browsing it improves everyone’s experience regardless of their internet plan. I guess that the “Lite” subscribers would particularly pleased.

    OTOH this is “traffic management” done the intelligent way. We both know that there are 2 main ways of chocking a router: trying to pump more data than its bandwidth; and trying to open more simultaneous connections than it can handle. Serving short lived spurious connections (web traffic) as fast as you can is definitely helping with the later. And very pleasing to your customers too. So what’s not to like?

    Nap.

  9. Robert Smits says:

    Need to separate carriage from content
    None of this is going to change until we separate carriage of information – whether it is cable, internet access, or whatever – from content. As long as you have the carrier having a vested interest in prioritizing some content at the expense of others we’re going to have problems.

    It’s high time to separate the two – carriers to deliver information – with no price differential between cable, voip, internet.

  10. Re: separating carriage from content — yup.
    Robert Smits has nailed this one. The main problem here isn’t who paid for building out most of the telco’s infrastructure (In Bell’s case, mostly taxpayers), congestion on the backbones, low real cost of delivering bits, but simply the conflicted interests of the incumbents.

    Bell and Rogers can not deliver new media and legally available content (TV, interactive entertainment, movies on demand from iTunes, etc) that consumers are increasingly demanding without destroying their own late 20th century business revenue model. Of course not. Anyone who claims this issue relates to anything but this is missing the obvious.

    And with the CRTC being “staffed” with former and current Bell and Rogers employees, and certainly maintaining cordial working relationships with the top brass at those companies (round of golf at my private club, anyone?), this attitude won’t change.

    Bell and Rogers are going to be dragged into the 21st century one way or another. They can come kicking and screaming makes fools of themselves as they try to cling to business models which will inevitably change, or they could INNOVATE and figure out how to deliver this new media model competitively to us and make piles of cash doing it. I suspect it’ll take newcomers who are willing to deliver only the content (out there already) or carriage that makes the difference in this fight.

    Holding onto outdated business models and assuming the world will simply stop changing is not the right long-term attitude for either Bell or Rogers. Get moving, or die.


  11. @DaveyJJ: “own late 20th century business revenue model.”

    There’s and interesting connection to C-32, as the roots of this model are in the copyright law.

    Unless $ony goes nuts overnight and decides to place “Salt” and all their other movies on bittorent for everyone to download for free, there will be a need for “trusted” channels through which they can distribute their content (“trusted” in the sense that it’s run by an accountable party that ensures that due payment is received by $ony). These distribution channels are TV (linear or on demand), rental shops, iTunes and the like.

    If you want to change this then you have to change copyright law. Like in abolishing it.

    Nap.

  12. France
    I currently live in France, where the ISP industry is extremely competitive. There are dozens of companies all offering approximately the same deal : unlimited high speed access, HD tv and a VOIP phone giving unlimited calls to all landlines as well as about 190 different countries around the world. Every single one of these offers is under 30€. That’s about 40$ cdn. Intense competition prevents any one company from breaking the 30€ barrier, so the only way to attract new customers is to sweeten the deal by bundling in cell phone service as well. The result is all the same home service, plus a cell phone with unlimited text messages, unlimited calls to a selection of numbers (usually the home number and three cell numbers from any operator) and unlimited or relatively highly capped mobile internet. All for about 50$ cdn a month.
    I’m not particularly up-to-date on the tech involved, could someone explain to me why this is not possible in Canada? Or is it simply lack of interest by the canadian telcos?

  13. Ramblin' Rose says:

    When did Competitive become a Synonym for Cheaper?
    @Philip

    Your comments about an extremely competitive market in France where you say dozens of companies are all offering approximately the same deal where in your words, “Intense competition prevents any one company from breaking the 30€ barrier” also indicate to me that competitive is not synonymous with inexpensive as so many would like us all to believe. If in your view the only way to attract new customers is to sweeten the deal by bundling in cell phone service, why aren’t lower prices also an option in the French Model…are you suggesting they are all providing the service at rock bottom prices with little or no profit margin?

    The problem in part in Canada is that we have become accustomed to paying more for the same or less than our American Brethren to the south (our measuring stick). An article in today’s Toronto Star by Jim Kenzie on the latest Mustang Super Car notes that it is $10,000 more here than in the USA even though our dollar is at par or better than the US dollar. At the same time my favorite California house wines at the Provincially Run Liquor Store recently went from $7.95 to $8.00 because of our new and currency disparity…shouldn’t it have become $7.90. Nothing gets cheaper until theirs sales are hurting or they’ve saturated the market at the current price.

    The sign in one local grocery store says because of extreme temperatures in some US States fresh produce prices will remain high for a few more weeks…it’s the same sign they hung out last year at this time!

    I am paying a separate charge on my home phone bill for touch tone service. When will we stop being gouged for what has become the standard, the norm…where’s the CRTC on that one or would they say they regulate it as opposed to dismissing it? HD Television has become the norm through legislation in the USA and will soon be in most large population centers in Canada, but will basic cable and satellite service in those areas no longer charge more for the norm and offer analog service for less than they do now? Where is the CRTC going to be on that one? Will we be told that we can still stick up an antenna?

    Not until we stop buying “stuff” in significant numbers, not until we stop getting locked up in bundled contracts that offer small rewards for being handcuffed and large penalties to get the cuffs removed before the sentence is over.

    One in Six Canadians are flying out of American Airports ( and mostly to American destinations), because they are a less expensive and reasonably accessible alternative.

    What makes news…that Mr. Obama wants to charge the few who fly into the States from Canada 5 bucks more…we just don’t get it…more of us will drive across the border to fly to where we are going!

    Choices…where’s the balance…two few or two many…or choose none of them…until they get the message?


  14. Just to remind you an old thread:

    http://www.michaelgeist.ca/content/view/2429/196/

    and we all know now that in the end Bell had its way.

    Same will happen with UBB too.

    Nap.

  15. @Ramblin’ Rose
    Some prices in Canada would be higher for a couple of reasons, although not necessarily to the amounts that you’ve seen.

    1) Labour, and labour associated costs, tend to be higher in Canada. This is a combination of wages (which among other reasons I believe became higher to account for the higher cost of of goods in Canada), benefits packages, and government mandated costs such as OHIP in Ontario.

    2) Where the goods are produced in the US, then there is shipping costs to get it here (I include customs costs, even if there is no tariff, etc, you still need to clear customs).

    I agree with you on touch tone; that $2.10 per month should be dropped, especially since touch tone is what the switches want, and Bell won’t sell you service with pulse dialing now.

  16. Back-tracking for a different reason?
    I actually think this is Rogers’ and Bells’ method of stopping providers like Netflix from competing in the Canadian market. Doesn’t anyone find it is suspicious that they go for stopping bandwidth exactly at a time that a company like Netflix needs it. It almost looks like they were very late in noticing that Netflix had been allowed to operate here, and this is their “fix” for losing ground for movies on-line, something both of them are now suddenly advertising heavily for….

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