The Usage Based Billing Hearing Concludes: Has the CRTC Come to Competition Too Late?

The CRTC’s usage based billing oral hearing concluded yesterday with a final decision expected some time in the fall.  This long post focuses on the shift in CRTC thinking on the state of broadband competition in Canada but wonders whether it comes too late to make a difference. For many years, the CRTC has steadfastly maintained that the Canadian ISP market is competitive. For example, in the net neutrality decision from October 2009 it stated:

Consistent with the current regulatory approach, under which the Commission has granted forbearance for retail Internet services, primary ISPs may continue to apply ITMPs to retail Internet services as they consider appropriate, with no requirement for prior Commission approval. This approach remains valid due in part to the large number of existing ISPs. A change in the approach would amount to interference with market forces and would result in inefficient regulation, which is contrary to the Policy Direction.

The current CRTC FAQ says much the same thing:

A retail customer is the end user who purchases access to the Internet. The CRTC does not regulate rates, quality of service issues or business practices of Internet service providers as they relate to retail customers. This is because there is enough competition in the market that retail customers can shop around for service packages.

The view that the Canadian Internet services market is competitive has shaped virtually every recent important CRTC decision on broadband regulation. Given its longstanding view that the market was competitive, the frustration felt by independent ISPs, businesses, and consumers simply didn’t resonate with the commission. That led to a decade of decisions on TPIA (the cable access for independent ISPs) that rendered the market practically unusable for independent ISPs. It led to years of delay on speed matching, which effectively left independent ISPs with slower, uncompetitive speeds to offer potential customers. It led to the decision to block ADSL-CO, which would have allowed independent ISPs to co-locate closer to the residential customers. It led to the net neutrality decision, which encouraged ISPs to use “economic ITMPs” such as usage based billing without restriction. Finally, it led to the approval of wholesale usage based billing, which came within days of implementation before the public outcry ground it to a halt.

The CRTC’s Failure

In other words, the criticism of the CRTC for having failed to establish a regulatory environment designed to foster greater third-party ISP competition is well-deserved. The Commission’s track record in this area is awful and much of it stems from the failure to acknowledge what was obvious to so many – the Canadian market, particularly in Ontario and Quebec, is woefully uncompetitive. The CRTC prioritized incumbent investment and dubious network congestion fears over competition, a mistake acknowledged in the dissent by Commissioner Tim Denton in the speed matching case:

What is deplorable, in my view, is the disinclination to consider that specialist outfits like small ISPs should be allowed the opportunity for service innovation because the Commission:

a)      substitutes its opinion for what certain players in the market might decide to do; and
b)      declines to investigate the options for innovation in a serious and prolonged way.

The result is that the possibility for service innovation was turned down, without sufficient consideration, in my estimation. The current ambivalence about the role and legitimacy of smaller carriers continues. They are allowed to exist but denied the means to innovate. In a business with as much uncertainty as this, turning down the possibility for technical and business innovation seems a riskier move than letting it go ahead.

The Commission is now left to wonder why independent ISPs have rarely used cable TPIA (Middleton explains it is a function of cable barriers and poor regulatory decisions), why they are stuck at around 5% of the market (despite Bell’s insistence last week that are no barriers to independent ISPs achieving 10 or 20 percent market share), or why Bell and the independent ISPs won’t strike a commercially negotiated deal (Bell called Commissioner Katz “delusional” for thinking that was possible). A good long look in the mirror might help.

Yet despite this track record, the recent hearing provided glimpses of a change. On Monday, CRTC Vice-Chair Len Katz posed a question to CNOC that started from the following premise:

I guess I come from the position that we, the Commission, have already recognized there is a need to create competition, more competition in order to protect Canadians, and facilities-based competition is not yet here.  So it’s our job to find a vehicle to create that competition and, in the simplest terms, it is to create an environment where broadband would be made available to a third party through a lease arrangement.

Katz re-iterated the perspective yesterday, telling Bell:

One of the reasons we are here is because there has been a finding that competition isn’t sufficient in this country and so we want to find a way of creating more competition. The fact that we all have hopefully come together and agreed on cost-based rates and making sure there is no disincentive to investment to the incumbents, whether it’s cablecos or telcos, is one of the paramount principles that we are all prepared, I think, to buy into. The issue only is how do you allow for more competition, which will not be as what you are looking for, which is a “me too” competition. You are saying that the folks that are coming into this market should be selling the same services that you are selling at the same speeds that you are selling, which is just a “me too” service.  It doesn’t change the dynamics that we are facing in this country, that we are all looking to get out of.

That the CRTC Commissioners may have at long last recognized the need to prioritize competition above all other considerations is the good news. The bad news is that it may be too late.  The Commission has already set much of the wholesale framework and has been unwilling to grapple with the retail one. Retail concerns were ruled out-of-bounds before the oral hearing even began as Open Media was told that most of its submission was irrelevant for the purposes of this hearing (Chair von Finckenstein: “OpenMedia, you mentioned all sorts of very interesting topics such as accessibility, retail caps, business access, et cetera. I don’t deny at all the importance of those subjects, but that is not the subject of this hearing.”). The net neutrality issue, which as I noted last week is the opposite side of the same UBB coin, has been an enforcement failure with even the CRTC acknowledging it needs real penalties to foster change.

The Wholesale Dilemma

Even on the wholesale issue, the Commission finds itself somewhat limited.  Katz’s comments point to the optimal approach –  Canada needs a regulatory environment that allows independent ISPs to differentiate their services any way that they can with price, caps, and speed being the most obvious possibilities (customer service is the fourth area but requires no CRTC involvement).

Price and caps are the subject of this hearing with Bell arguing for an approach that will make it tougher for independent ISPs to compete. Its volume based approach means paying for usage even when that usage has no real cost.  Indeed, when the independent ISPs argue for a capacity based approach – let us pay for capacity and use it as we see fit – Bell argues that such an approach will mean wholesale costs will be higher than retail. Consider this discussion from Monday:

MR. BIBIC (Bell): If you are a larger ISP that can handle — you know, that has the customer base already, and there are some large ones here sitting in front of you that have the traffic volumes and since they are going to have to pay for capacity anyway now — I mean Mr. Stein basically said it last week. I want to use the bandwidth that I buy the most efficiently as possible.  Mr. Stein wouldn’t come forward and be a benevolent ISP and say to Bell, “I’m willing to pay you for the total capacity of the pipe just because I’m a good ISP and I want to be friendly do you”. No, he is going to buy that capacity and if he is going to be paying for capacity regardless of what he uses.  A good businessman has an incentive to make sure he uses that pipe as efficiently as possible.


MR. BIBIC:  That will drive costs to us that are not reflected in the cost model.

COMMISSIONER PATRONE:  So you are saying you won’t —

THE CHAIRPERSON:  That’s where you lose all of us.  They paid for it.  Why can’t they use it 100 percent?  I just don’t get this.

MR. BIBIC:  Mr. Chairman, look, the bottom line is this:  If you fully cost that pipe and you force the ISPs to pay for the full cost and you do the costs properly with no magic markers in the costing group, the wholesale price will be higher than retail. And as I sit here, in my heart of hearts, and you all know it; you will never let the wholesale price be higher than the retail price — ever.  We will not recover those costs.  And if those costs are higher than the retail price you won’t let it happen. All the ISPs came forward last week.  CNOC said it, Primus said it, Mr. Cohen said it.  They said they want cost-based rates but, but make sure that those wholesale prices are below retail and you give us a sufficient margin to let us compete. So if you could sit here and guarantee us that all those costs will be recovered that would be one thing.  But it won’t happen.

In other words, Bell fears that independent ISPs will buy a certain amount of capacity and use precisely what they’ve paid for. Apparently that doesn’t work because the retail ISP model is actually based on having many customers paying for capacity that they do not use. If independent ISPs use the capacity they’ve purchased more efficiently (there is little reason to believe they could use 100% capacity), they risk becoming more efficient than Bell’s retail network and will therefore be able to offer larger caps and lower prices (this is what the public wants but Bell doesn’t).

If independent ISPs have trouble competing on price and caps, perhaps they can offer differing speeds? To this suggestion, Bell was even more emphatic, stating court action would ensue if the CRTC were to open the door to allowing an independent ISP to offer a speed not offered by Bell:

MR. BIBIC: …This hearing is not to inquire about changing the speed matching decision and if the Commission does that, that is out of scope and we all know where we are going to end up.


MR. BIBIC:  Well, we will.  We will have to end up in court because —

THE CHAIRPERSON:  Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa.  Who said anything about redoing the speed matching decision?

MR. BIBIC:  Vice Chairman Katz just suggested that we are here to examine how we will foster more competition and without “me too” services.  “Me too” services in that context of his question meant speed matching.

THE CHAIRPERSON:  You are reading that into his question.

COMMISSIONER KATZ:  Yes.  You are reading a lot into that, but the reality is if you are telling me that every single time an independent ISP is going to come up with a new product that is different than yours you are going to object when you have the capability of offering the same service, if you so chose, with or without their introduction of that service, then there is a problem.

MR. BIBIC:  No, I’m not suggesting that.  I’m saying we have a speed matching decision and those are the rules.  Within the context of speed matching, if ISPs want to offer unlimited services, different caps than us, different prices than ours, different services, whether it’s security, surveillance and all the things that are listed in CNOC’s presentation from February, I have no issues with that; none. The only point I’m making here is that the rule is that incumbents have to offer the same speed tiers to small ISPs.  We are fine with that.  But to design a pricing model for access and volume-based billing that allows small ISPs to now have access to different speeds than we offer I think is going beyond the scope of this hearing. That is the only point I’m making.

Later in the discussion, Bell’s Jonathan Daniels was even more direct:

What’s acceptable to us is in terms of that if we offer a retail speed we will match it for wholesale.  It’s not acceptable for us that the ISP be able to offer different speeds than what we offer in the retail market, because we don’t consider it speed matching.

While Bell’s interpretation of the speed matching decision may not be right, its view of the competitive environment is unmistakable. It has worked tirelessly to limit the ability of independent ISPs to compete by limiting them to what Commissioner Katz terms “me-too” services that are largely indistinguishable from incumbent offerings and hold little chance of gaining significant market share. The Commission now appears to see that the goal should be full competition supported by as much provider differentiation as possible. The question is whether it has come to this realization far too late.


  1. Commission churn
    Oh, lots of Commissioners have come to this realization before. Then their term ended. Many of the current Commissioners’ terms will end soon, too. And then we start all over again. Such is life at the “expert” administrative agency, where the “experts” are behind-the-scenes political appointees.

  2. Schultzter says:

    You say there are four points of competition: price, caps, speed and customer service. But really there’s three: caps, speed, and add-ons – at a given price. If two providers offer the same cap & speed for different prices why would you choose the more expensive one? It’s not like you’ll get better looking electrons (or photons) down the pipe because you pay more! But you might be willing to pay more if you get additional services (anti-virus, VoIP, entertainment, web hosting, etc.) in the package.

    As for customer service, you’ve either got it (so your customers can use their internet) or you go out of business!

  3. Bell’s fears
    I think the big elephant in the room is that as soon as there’s a viable alternative to phone and cable companies, people will move over en-mass. It’s in Bell’s interest to take whatever approach it can to prevent anyone from competing on ANY level.

  4. Oshawapilot says:

    Time to step over the CRTC?
    Hopefully, as happened with UBB, when the CRTC fumbles this decision as well, the government will step on some toes and ensure the CRTC is reminded what their mandate is – big business protectionism isn’t it.

  5. The whole thing reeks of anti-competitiveness. ALL the big providers should be brought up and anti-trust charges and split up to separate functionality. Control of something as critical as the Internet has become should NOT be left in the hands of private companies. Our government really needs to step up and take control of the situation. It’s been out of control for far too long.

    You know, I know a lot of people in the US and other countries and, when it comes to the Internet, the general consensus is that they usually feel sorry for us. That truly is SAD!!!

  6. Bill Hillier says:

    It is high time that the CRTC addresses not only issues around wholesale telecom pricing but retail rates as well. The application of “Market Forces” as a regulatory tool has been an obvious failure. The incumbent telecom providers were left to “self regulate” retail pricing. The net result has been some of the highest telecom pricing in the world. I visited the websites of the providers listed below and calculated the Canadian prices. These prices DO NOT compare favorably with those charged in Canada as stated by the CRTC. The same trend is exhibited on wireless and TV services:
    UK, Orange, 20Mbps , Unlimited, $23.48 CAD.
    France, Orange, 8Mbps, Unlimited, 28.42 CAD.
    France, SFR, 20Mbps, Unlimited, 21.68 CAD.
    Romania, Adnet telecom, 10Mbps, Unlimited, 29.13 CAD.
    Italy, Libero, 7 MMbps, unlimited, 26.99 CAD.
    Japan, OCN, 12Mbs, Unlimited, 25.22 CAD.
    Russia, AKADO-Stolitsa JSC), 20Mbps, Unlimited, 25.00 CAD.
    Netherlands, Online, 4Mbps, Unlimited, $24,04 CAD.
    Netherlands, Online, 20Mbps, Unlimited, $30.88 CAD.
    Netherlands, KPN, 8Mbps, Unlimited, $34.33 CAD.
    Netherlands, XS4ALL, 8Mbps, Unlimited, $41.13 CAD.
    Romania 50 Mbps, Unlimited, $9.56 100 Mbps, Unlimited, $12.86 (incl. VAT) CAD
    Internet, TV and phone services:
    UK 30Mbs unlimited #internet, TV, phone cost $60.54CAD
    Latvia TV, phone, 200Mbs unlimited #internet $59.31CAD Tax inc.

  7. @Bill
    Like I said in another thread. Your research highlights some of the reasons most of my out-of-country friends feel sorry for us here in Canada.

    I even knew one guy who did some work in Japan, he wasn’t originally from there. He got so used to the vastly superior Internet there that he couldn’t stand living in Canada and moved to Japan permanently.

  8. @Bill Hillier
    “UK 30Mbs unlimited #internet, TV, phone cost $60.54CAD

    Holly molly I’m paying almost 3 times that with Rogers. The cost of internet needs to come down and caps removed. This is why we have a telecom regulator in Canada. The CRTC is supposed to be balancing consumer interests with the teleco’s. Paying 3 times if not more for telecom services doesn’t seem balanced to me. If the CRTC doesn’t start acting on consumers behalf here, they should be put on the chopping block. The public pays their salaries!

  9. @Jason
    “Holly molly I’m paying almost 3 times that with Rogers.”

    I’m paying even more than that between internet, TV, and phone. Well over $200/month. I expect to pay more in a rural area, but that cost is still far more than it should be. With unlimited Internet, I could put a tower up so I could get the full 5.2 Mbps (That I’m actually paying for), I could use Netflix and the like and IP telephony and probably easily cut my cost to under $100 a month.

  10. Bill Hillier says:

    It is interesting to note that since 2005 when Structural Separation of telecom was implemented there has been a steady decline in the retail prices paid.
    While In Canada, since the 2006 implementation of “Market Forces” there has been a steady increase in the retail rates charged for telecom services. Our Government needs to consider alternatives to the the 2006 policy direction as the intended purpose is not being fulfilled. A good start might be to review this document for for tried and true regulatory approaches.

  11. Bill Hillier says:

    whoops-should read
    It is interesting to note that since 2005 when Structural Separation of telecom in the UK was implemented there has been a steady decline in the retail prices paid.

  12. Either the CRTC is technically illiterate or is encouraged to pretend to understand as little as possible in this.

    The concept of there being competition is laughable at best. The fact they’ve managed to limit independent ISP’s to the same speeds, and now are trying to prevent them from being able to differentiate their services in terms of data caps and cost is an obvious ploy to prevent independents from being able to compete against them. The fact they managed to stand up and with a straight face say “We can’t sell them capacity or they’ll use that capacity” is pathetic.

    Its very much time that the govt wakes up and threatens to take their control of the core networks unless they open things up and allow competition. Its no secret there is a monopoly, and that they’re using that to drive up profits, so why is it such an uphill battle to get our government to the same conclusions the rest of the world already arrived at?

  13. Brrrring! Time to wake up …
    It is encouraging that voices of consumer interest are finally being heard [Telecom & copyright to mention a few]. I have been tracking these issues for only about five years but in the last 18 months I would say there has been quite a bit more public awareness and activism.

    As noted in the article, the lateness of this awareness means a much bigger battle to turn back the tide. The incumbents have been allowed to get too strong foothold and they will fight any threat to their dominance tooth and nail.

    Therefore, the remedies to counter this are going to have to be equally intensive, but the political will to implement these may be in short supply. Our current majority government is by its nature pro big business, and there are few bigger ones out there than the Telecoms.

    It is incumbent though for our government to see past their inherent ideology for the need to develop our digital economy. I just read today that Ontario is taking bigger piece of the equalization pie as their manufacturing economy is fading to the resource powerhouses of the west. What better time to implement polices that can leverage our educated workforce to move into the fast growing and lucrative digital industries?

    Wake up Harper, Industry Canada, CRTC and Joe public to the increasingly urgent need to address these issues.

  14. Bill Hillier says:

    Bell’s concern
    Bell is worried that the indy’s might be allowed access to the entire copper loop’s available bandwidth under speed matching rules. This could hurt them because if user has iptv with bell the bandwidth available for internet is reduced. Indy’s could be selling much higher bandwidth connections. If the entire copper loop was opened up for internet access, no IPTV, up to 52 Mbit/s downstream and 16 Mbit/s upstream could be made available, thus hurting the incumbents IPTV business.

  15. The situation is bizarre. More competition is desperately needed. At the same time it is perverse to mandate that a company sell to its competitors at a low enough price to undercut itself.

  16. The Australian approach many be the answer …
    Australia is quite similar to Canada as a resource based economy with a population over a large geographic area. Fortunately for them, they have recognized that gold, oil & coal alone cannot be the only foundation of their future.

    @BBC “Mr Rudd described the Australian $30 billion broadband plan as the single largest nation-building infrastructure project in this country’s history, which would play a huge role in turbo-charging Australia’s economic future”.

    “Just as railway tracks laid out the future of the 19th Century and electricity grids the future of the 20th Century, so broadband represents the core infrastructure of the 21st Century,” he said.

  17. @Cory
    “The situation is bizarre. More competition is desperately needed. At the same time it is perverse to mandate that a company sell to its competitors at a low enough price to undercut itself.”

    Exactly!!! It’s a serious conflict of interest. Which is why the main incumbents should NOT be allowed to control the Internet backbones.

  18. Mr. Angry Consumer says:

    What competition?
    There is nothing for the financially disadvantaged to “choose”. A 2gig cap on the lowest tiers? This is WIRELINE!!! As a poorer person I have to sacrifice in other areas to pay for this overpriced access — and the tier I can afford is still inadequate! Bell has cowed us long enough! Reclaim the internet! Boycott Bell and the other incumbents! Long live the independent ISP’s!

  19. All of this is just treating a symptom
    Unless we do a complete rewind to around 2000, we will never see the bottom of these issues. Bell will keep reintroducing scheme after scheme.

    Unfortunately, retail UBB and many other decisions must be taken and re-examined. The CRTC has an equal amount of un-screwing up to the amount of screwing up they’ve done.

    Trying to divest themselves of their irresponsible apathy is just adding insult to the injury they’ve done this country. Own up, open everything back up and stop being so easily mislead by marketers and salesmen.

  20. Ian Andrew Bell says:

    Leasing ports does not equal competition
    Having been inside the belly of the beast and understanding the way that telcos design and position tariffs I can verify that the Leasing option, which was foisted by the CRTC to enable “competition” among dialup ISPs in the late 1990s, was ineffective at creating substantive competition and merely served to apply lipstick to the oligarch pig that is Canadian telecom.

    When the commodity being sought by the consumer is ACCESS there is no real room for 3rd-party competitors who have no physical plant. Them’s the laws of physics you’re running into there.

    The only step that could be taken to actually have a level playing field is to force the cablecos and telcos to provide wholesale services only, as has been done in some places in Europe, and allow competitors to roll in and build consumer services and offer marketing/support above that layer. I actually think that this model is worth exploring but would never happen in Canada, because as anyone with a pulse recognizes, the CRTC is a puppet of Rogers and Bell.

  21. Bell reading into the future?
    While I have little faith in the CRTC actually handing down a decision that will favour small ISPs, competition in the market, and ultimately the consumers, what bothers me even more is that Bell is already going around telling people their “interpretation” of what is happening (going to happen?)…

    I got a call 2 nights ago from a Bell drone (had to wait almost 10 seconds for them to actually talk to me, stupid auto-dialer robots) who told me “fiber” networks were upgraded in my neighborhood and I should take advantage of it. I asked them if they had an unlimited (no cap) data plan and they responded that “the government made unlimited plans ILLEGAL back in march” (illegal is the word he used).

    I CANNOT BELIEVE they are going around telling people that!! (the irony is that I have an unlimited plan with Bell right now, so apparently I’m breaking the law by continuing to use it?).

    Maybe Bell is fully expecting the CRTC decision goes their way, thus making unlimited plans completely unaffordable to smaller ISPs (and “illegal” for them to sell as well, as that would be a completely uncompetitive advantage)….


  22. I wouldn’t be so sure about the CRTC decision. There was an unprecedented amount of public interest in this hearing. The CRTC will have to tread very carefully here or face another public outcry much like when they passed UBB for Bell a while back and was ultimately forced to overturn it by the government.

    Fortunately people are becoming more and more aware of the state of Canadian Internet as compared to most other developed countries. The fact of the matter is we’re being heavily gouged for services which would be considered substandard by those in most other developed countries. I truly believe we have NetFlix to thank for this wide awareness.

    Changes are coming, but I still think we’re years away from anything that even close to what the US or Europe has for Internet service. Our big ISPs are desperately trying to hold on to their oligopoly, while at the same time using their sheer financial power to push anti-competitive agendas and have regulators overlook obvious conflicts of interest.

  23. Bell’s manipulative argument argument about wholesale being more expensive than retail
    Selling access to the independent ISPs at a wholesale rate that would appear to be higher than retail, which Bell is presenting to the commissioners as a no-no, is a clear manipulation by Bell, who so cleverly plays into the commissioners’ political hangups and definite technical incompetence.

    Unfortunately for them, we are not fooled.

    Let them sell wholesale for what it is and what it really costs. We know full well, and it’s high time the commissioners realized it, that any bandwidth sold at retail is actually shared with many others. At wholesale, a 5Mbps connection is the equivalent, on a monthly basis, to 5x3600x24x30.25 Mbits or 1595 Gigabytes.

    1595GB/month, that’s 26 users on Bell using their total capacity every month, 64 in Ontario(!), or 8 on Teksavvy and other independents that have a stated 200GB per month cap!

    So let’s ask Bell the REAL question: We know wholesale is more expensive that retail. Question is, HOW MUCH is it? Are you afraid that with these figures, the public will realise how obscene the markup at retail already is, and how much more than actual cost the independent ISPs are already paying for it?

    So Cory, I would answer your question, “The situation is bizarre. More competition is desperately needed. At the same time it is perverse to mandate that a company sell to its competitors at a low enough price to undercut itself” by answering this: It is far from bizarre, and a proof of how well Bell has been manipulating the public, by making YOU believe it would have to “undercut” itself, when in reality, it is already making a substantial profit selling bandwidth to independent ISPs.

  24. What is it about media ‘companies’ that have four lettered names?

  25. Anonymoose says:

    Speed matching?
    Can someone explain that to me in simple terms? It sounds to me like it was a ruling to prevent the incumbents from forcing lower speeds on their wholesale customers than the incumbent itself offers it’s retails customers, which would be blatantly anti-competitive. Right?

    So now Bell’s arguing that it should apply in reverse? In other words, Bell wants to basically dictate to their wholesale customers, independent ISPs, what speeds they’re allowed to offer, artificially limiting them to the speeds that Bell themselves offer their retail customers? (I say “artificially” because obviously any technical limitation on speeds is outside of the incumbents control, outside infrastructure upgrades that would allow for greater speeds).

    I won’t pretend to understand all the aspects involved in it, but that seems just as anti-competitive to me…. Isn’t that essentially the same problem as the incumbents forcing their caps on their wholesale customers?

  26. Byron Milller says:

    BellAliant trying to monopolize
    We in Canada are paying the highest rates in the world for our internet and communications services. BellAliant is attempting to monopolize the market and control all others or put them out of business. This is unfair market practice. BellAliant should be penalized for attempting to shut out any other competition. Consumers hold the key though. If BellAliant gets its way with the caps, usage billing and throttling, which they have done for years and denied, the consumers have the option of discontinuing service with them. Give your business to one of their competitors or better still, get a satellite connection from an independent carrier that has nothing to do with BellAliant sub-services.

  27. Halina McKenzie says:

    Housewife and mother
    From my personal experience visiting a number of places overseas, the quality and speed of the Canadian internet access stacks up extremely well. When it comes to cost, true, most others have lower access fees. However, users in other countries pay as much, if not a lot more, when you take account of the heavy state subsidies which Canada does not have. I prefer our open competitive system, which in the end will always result in lower costs.

    The CRTC does not have the mandate to interfere with competitive pricing or resource allocation in this sector of our economy, nor should it ever be given such a mandate.

  28. Devil's Advocate says:

    I’d like to know just where and how your “personal experience” drew the data from, in order to come up with such impossible conclusions.

    You sound more like an industry shill than a supposed “housewife and mother”.

    If, as you say, we had such an “open competitive system, which in the end will always result in lower costs” why is it that study after study shows we’re paying a helluva lot more for a helluva lot less, even when compared to some supposed “3rd world” countries??

    And, certainly, my “personal experience”, and that of many others here seems to support these findings. Geez, all I have to do is look at my own bill for a measly 7M connection and compare that to the lower price in a place like Japan for a 100M connection to see there’s a ton of incongruencies between us and the rest of the world.

    From the CRTC’s own pages:
    “The CRTC’s mandate is to ensure that both the broadcasting and telecommunications systems serve the Canadian public.”

    Since there’s obviously no actual “competitive pricing or resource allocation in this sector of our economy”, I would think the CRTC mandate would, indeed, be to see that such a scenario is built. That would seem to be their “Job 1” here, and the crux of all this discussion.

  29. Receiving Shaw spam email now
    “As a previous Shaw Customer we think you’ll be interested in exciting news about our recent upgrades. With the launch of Shaw Broadband 50, you can transform your connectivity and entertainment experience in ways the phone company just can’t match!”

    I’ve never been a Shaw customer, ever. I’m on TekSavvy over a Telus line. Satellite TV. Piss off, Shaw. Jesus.

  30. Un-Trusted Computing says:

    Although I don’t think you’ve spent any time overseas, if you did you’d have a quite different opinion of broadband in Canada, but I’ll give you a hint; what makes broadband so great in Europe are concepts like sub-loop un-bundling and functional separation. “Socialized Broadband” is nowhere to be found.

    Secondly the regulation of pricing at the wholesale and retail level is completely withing the CRTC’s mandate, which it can exercise at its discretion according to its interpretation of the policy directive.

    Lastly like others I would definitely ask you to prove you’re not a Bell troll at this point, seeing as I haven’t seen you around here, and I find it strange that you would use this platform to cheer on Canada’s abysmal broadband.

  31. What will be the final CRTC verdict?
    Is there any chance to believe that UBB will be squashed for good?

    I try to be optimistic but now I’m not sure.

  32. A US perspective
    An analysis of the growing drive towards data caps in the US.

  33. Graham Fletcher says:

    President, The Internet Centre
    It is clear that the real problem is monopoly control of telecom. In Alberta the Supernet – government and private business fibre to every community in the Province, access to which is controlled by the Province – is the next thing nationally. I don’t ask Fedex or UPS or Greyhound if it is OK to use the nation’s streets or highways – I pay for my driveway, I pay to use the road, I obey the rules, and things just work.

    The Feds can tender out a national infrastructure that would include a great deal of fibre, coax and telephone copper that ratepayers and tax payers paid for, and establish a national and regional backbone that all Providers can connect to. EXACTLY like the nations highway and street system. Did it in Alberta, can do it in Canada. The only fly in the ointment in Alberta – it is the only place in North America and pretty much the free world where the ILEC and the CRTC has blocked access to last mile copper, completely stopping competition at the cheap last mile level. That rule can be overturned, if the Alberta Government showed some guts.

  34. Werner Thayer says:

    Catching up
    Just recently Shaw increased my caps from 100 to 250 g. This has been the standard in the USA for sometime. Id like to thank Shaw for the increase but I find it hard to when were playing catchup at twice the cost. I find more and more of whats happening on the internet and copyright laws, following in the footsteps of the USA. Has Canada become a surrogate country of the USA, well we all know the answer to that one. Independence of the USA is just a dream. We allow the USA to run rough shod over our country as long as they leave our established Corporations alone. That would be the Thompsons, McLeans, etc family enterprises. Forgot to mention, The Shaws, Bell, Rodgers, etc.

  35. Is this a First World Internet?
    Just been visiting Canada – I am from UK. I was so surprised and appalled by the range and level of service by the 2 BIG BOYS – no unlimited service and charges are sky-high. What are they talking about the competition here – its pathetic. My feeling is the regulatory body is in league with the big corporations and gives a damn to the canadian consumer. I hope they wake up!!

  36. JoannHILL27 says:

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