Post Tagged with: "ubb"

Netflix on Canadian Data Caps

Netflix on the use of data caps by Canadian ISPs: data caps are actually a very poor way to manage demand and limit Internet congestion. All of the costs of supplying residential broadband are for supporting the peak loads, typically Sunday  nights for residential customers.  Bandwidth consumed off-peak is completely […]

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April 27, 2011 29 comments News

Shaw Planning to Implement UBB This Summer

Shaw executives told an analyst call last week that the company plans to move forward with usage based billing plans as early as this summer.

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April 26, 2011 5 comments Must Reads

What To Do About Usage Based Billing: NDP & Liberal Positions Take Shape

The controversy over usage based billing has unsurprisingly spilled over into the election campaign with the national parties starting to provide some insight into their positions. All the parties were on record as opposing the CRTC’s decision on wholesale UBB before the election (and Industry Minister Tony Clement said he was unimpressed with Bell’s AVP proposal). The bigger question is what are they prepared to do about the issue. The Conservatives have not said much on the issue of late, but the NDP and Liberals have adopted some noteworthy positions.

The NDP was the only party to address retail UBB directly within its platform. The party has promised to ban the practice at the both the wholesale and retail level – “We will prohibit all forms of usage-based billing (UBB) by Internet Service Providers (ISPs)“.

The Liberals revealed their support for “functional separation” in an online chat on Canada’s digital future yesterday (I participated as a commentator). Open Media’s Steve Anderson had the following exchange with Liberal Marc Garneau:

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April 12, 2011 11 comments News

NDP Unveils Its Digital Economy Strategy: Reshaping Internet Access in Canada

The NDP unveiled its election platform today and it includes a commitment to reshaping telecommunications in Canada (posts on the Liberal positions here and here, Conservatives here and here). The party places particular emphasis on Internet access, with a commitment to using spectrum auction proceeds for broadband access, a requirement that ISPs support the creation of new networks, rescinding the market-oriented policy direction to the CRTC, enshrining net neutrality into law, and prohibiting all forms of usage based billing.  The party also commits to retaining foreign investment restrictions in both the telecom and broadcast sectors.

The specific digital economy positions include:

  • We will apply the proceeds from the advanced wireless spectrum auction to ensure all Canadians, no matter where they live, will have quality high-speed broadband internet access;
  • We will expect the major internet carriers to contribute financially to this goal;
  • We will rescind the 2006 Conservative industry-oriented directive to the CRTC and direct the regulator to stand up for the public interest, not just the major telecommunications companies;
  • We will enshrine “net neutrality” in law, end price gouging and “net throttling,” with clear rules for Internet Service Providers (ISPs), enforced by the CRTC;
  • We will prohibit all forms of usage-based billing (UBB) by Internet Service Providers (ISPs);
  • We will introduce a bill on copyright reform to ensure that Canada complies with its international treaty obligations, while balancing consumers’ and creators’ rights.

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April 10, 2011 23 comments News

What to do About Retail Usage Based Billing: A Modest Proposal

OpenMedia.ca, which spearheaded the public uproar over usage based billing earlier this year, launched a Vote Internet campaign that quickly attracted political support. The campaign asks candidates to be pro-Internet, which includes standing up for an open and accessible Internet and stopping the “pay meter on the Internet.” While this predictably raises claims of retail price regulation, addressing concerns about retail UBB need not involve a return to regulatory approvals over retail pricing of Internet services.

I’ve argued that UBB is fundamentally a competition problem and that addressing the competition concerns (which OpenMedia also supports) will address many of the concerns.  Increased competition takes time, however, and in the meantime there are legitimate concerns about the use of UBB in Canada at the retail level given the approaches in other countries and the pricing far above costs.  In addition to discussing those issues, my UBB paper makes a modest proposal for addressing retail UBB that includes greater transparency and a reasonableness standard.  The proposal – which I’ve called the creation of Internet Billing Usage Management Practices or IBUMPs – is explained below.

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April 7, 2011 24 comments News