Archive for February 9th, 2011

The Usage Based Billing Consultations: What the CRTC and the Government Should Do Next

The controversy over usage based billing has shifted from public frustration and demands for change to several public consultations. Yesterday, the CRTC posted its consultation notice, which gives Canadians until April 28, 2011, to provide their views. Since the CRTC asks whether oral hearings are needed, it seems likely the issue will not be resolved until the summer or early fall at the earliest. In addition to the CRTC consultation, the Standing Committee on Industry continues its investigation into the issue with hearings this week (independent ISPs appeared yesterday, Open Media, Bell, and Shaw are up Thursday) and Shaw Communications announced that it is freezing the implementation of usage based billing pending a customer consultation on the issue.

As the issue continues to attract attention and public comment, there has been no shortage of discussion about what the CRTC and federal government should do, how foreign investment fits into the equation, and whether action is needed on retail usage based billing practices that affect millions of Canadians with incumbent providers such as Rogers and Bell.  Last week, I had several long posts about the issue and why there was reason for concern in the aftermath of the CRTC’s appearance before the Industry Committee (here, here, and here). This post attempts to unpack some of the UBB issues by discussing potential solutions including how to address the narrow issue of wholesale UBB, foreign investment, fostering greater competition, and next steps on current retail UBB practices.


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February 9, 2011 54 comments News