Shaw is now offering a $10 VoIP "quality of service enhancement" product accompanied by a warning that failure to pay the fee may result in quality of service issues with third party providers. Primus objects, characterizing the fee as a VoIP tax.
The use of packet preferencing or VoIP quality of service fees was precisely the issue I raised in a recent column on why the CRTC’s VoIP decision failed to address the real VoIP competitive threat. While the CRTC has the power to address unfair advantages by network providers (as it pointed out in a letter to the editor responding to my column), the practical reality is that telco and cable co.’s will look for ways to gain competitive advantages that use their direct link with the customer until the CRTC says otherwise. The CRTC had the chance to do so in the VoIP decision but concluded that there was no evidence to support such a move. We have already seen the FCC take action in the U.S. and now similar stories are emerging in Canada. How much more evidence does the CRTC need?