Coming Soon: The Two-Tiered Internet in Canada

Several Canwest papers run a story this morning (Montreal Gazette, Edmonton Journal) on the move toward a two-tiered Internet in Canada.  I’m quoted expressing concern, but the most important part of the story comes from Telus, which not only confirms the move toward tieried pricing ("The industry has to move toward different charges for Internet customers with diverse needs"), but for the first time acknowledges that the company is considering matching the BellSouth approach of charging websites for access to their network ("The company is also thinking about charging large firms such as Google or eBay for access to its network, something that Bell South and AT&T are also proposing in the United States.")

Interestingly, the Toronto Star has a story today featuring an interview with CRTC Commissioner Kevin French who notes the concern with the two-tiered Internet but says "We’re aware of the problem and believe we have the legal equipment to deal with it, but we don’t have a case in front of us. Somebody has to file a complaint."

There is no need to wait.  With the Canadian telcos on record stating that this is where they are headed, the time for the CRTC and Competition Bureau to act is now.


  1. Telephone Companies are Stupid
    I like how the Telus, Bell South and AT&T (interesting how they are all phone companies) believe that Google and eBay are using their networks for free. Really? I thought that the $40 I pay monthly is paying for the use of those networks. No let’s make twice as much money by double-charging for delivering content.

  2. The ISP with the old rules would probabl
    We have heard about this issue for a few weeks, our decision in this house is that we won’t support an ISP that censors website access based on popularity, which is what this sort of thing comes down to. The only sites I would have access to are the ones that specifically pay my ISP an extortion fee.

    If my ISP isn’t able to deliver all of internet for my monthly fee, they can get out of the house.

    “Google?? Hello? Do you offer internet access?”. They have the name, Vonage has my phone lines, by next year it will be “Telus who?”.

  3. Trouble…
    This could cause some serious trouble on the net….imagine the highest bidder gets the greatest access…now the freedom of the internet no longer seems so free, its not controlled by who can pay the most for what. I am not impressed and I hope like hell that this gets shoved back down the throats of these companies looking to make a buck at every bloody corner.

  4. lindsay stewart says:

    the robber barons of bandwidth
    i pay for the bandwidth i use. charging a second party for the bandwidth i use, well that’s just crooked and greedy.

    off topic–on ctv’s question period, sunday, the hosts were running a prospective harper cabinet segment. they went thumbs down on a retired general for minister of defense. he had ties to defense contract lobbyists, a conflict of interest. when they got to heritage, they gave bev oda thumbs up, due to her ties to the cultural community. thought you should know. cheers

  5. This won’t happen… Sooner or later Telus and others will figure out that the reason they are selling broadband access in the fist place is because there are content providers out there (Google, Apple, Yahoo etc.) that their customers are interested in…

    Besides, Google has already indicated they have no intention of playing that game. Some folks have even suggested to Google to shut access down to BellSouth users! Imagine that…


  6. Telecom Cash Grab-Two Tierd ISP service.
    I am a 30+ year veteran of the telecom industry and I can assure you that unless there is significant outcry from the public this attempt to gouge consumers and content providers will succeed.

    The carriers are looking for ways to compensate for losses in other areas. Lost revenue in PSTN, local access, business services and LD are all affecting the top and bottom line for the corporate entities. They are well represented in government through lobbyists and have a track record of beating back consumer friendly FCC or CRTC rulings.

    The facts are that technology innovation is ahead of the traditional telecom carrier business model and the carriers are without a solid strategy to build their business in a competitive environment.

    Innovators on the content and consumer service side are so far ahead and have such great momentum that the carriers cannot catch up let alone keep up.

    Another reality is that there are already extra value for extra cost services available from the carriers. Low bandwidth broadband for consumers, high bandwidth broadband for users with more money and need, business grade service packs that provide better end user support and SLA’s etc.
    The logic of extending these pricing structures to other areas is something the regulators could be convinced of agreeing to.

    Not that I agree with the arguments of the carriers. I believe that the carriers are looking for an easy way out of a tough situation.

    See my blog :

  7. If the regulators agree to this, its still a whole different story whether the sites will pay. Also, those sites would have an infinitely long list of ISPs who will want to cash in.

    If it is regulated in, that doesn’t mean Google will pay. In fact, they might simply agree to ban all acesses to those ISPs who want extra payment.

    Maybe Google should also look at reversing the billing. “If you want to be a Google enabled ISP, send us the required funds”.

    I simply don’t see any reason to buy internet services from an ISP that censors the internet on me. Its not a service worth paying for. But, if its free for the end users then some people might accept that. If Telus drops all end user fee’s, this might work, otherwise I doubt it.

  8. James Sherrett says:

    So has anyone filed a complaint to the C
    As CRTC Commissioner Kevin French says, “…we don’t have a case in front of us. Somebody has to file a complaint.” Then the logical next questions is: has anyone filed a complaint? How does a citizen of Canada go about filing a complaint?

  9. Post Kevin French’s adress
    and I’ll file the complaint:)

  10. Robert Cringely’s Take On The Two Tier
    What the telco’s are propossing to do to the internet is lunacy — it appears they want to kill the goose that laid the golden egg.

    cringely (an american – raises some good points in this regard — i encourage people to read this article:

  11. Bonnie Ireland says:

    free speech
    I desperately need to know where I can file a complaint to the minister of defense in Canada? I have gone every route possible and the cover ups are unbelievable in the military bases. I am a civilian working on the base and numerous events of in just has happened. Why are they a law of their own? I have written a book on the many wrongful happenings that have taken place. I am a Canadian citizen and work for the British army. I am not allowed to go to their country and dictate to them or control them in their jobs so why am I having to do so? What has happened to me and many others is disgraceful and disgusting and yet our Canandian government protects them. I need help in a direction to file a complaint one that won\’t be hidden and forgotten about or where personal gain will take place for the one\’s that help with the cover ups! Thank You!

  12. Marth Tolkien says:

    Thank you so much! It isn’t easy to get these kinds of services in canada. I really hope the bell – south edmonton common will offer this. Thanks again!