Post Tagged with: "usage based billing"

Nowak on 10 Myths from UBB Supporters

Peter Nowak has a terrific post that responds to ten frequently heard myths about usage based billing.

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February 22, 2011 10 comments Must Reads

TVO’s The Agenda on UBB

TVO’s The Agenda covered the usage based billing issue late last week. The debate is available here along with a commentary in support of overturning the CRTC decision.

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February 14, 2011 1 comment Must Reads

CNOC on the CRTC UBB Review: It’s Re-Arranging Deck Chairs on the Titanic

The Canadian Network Operators Consortium, which represents two dozen independent ISPs, has asked the CRTC to expand the scope of its usage based billing consultation.  Rather than limit the review primarily to UBB, CNOC says the review should:

include a comprehensive review of the regulatory framework applicable to all wholesale high-speed access services (“WHSAS”) provided by incumbent local exchange carriers and cable carriers (collectively “incumbents”) to their competitors and to include from the outset, in the expanded proceeding, an online consultation and a public hearing, and certain additional procedural steps.

The letter makes it clear that CNOC is seeking nothing less than a complete overhaul of the regulatory framework for broadband competition in Canada.  The organization argues that “incumbent wholesale high-speed services, including the last-mile access, constitute the broadband platform that competitors need to offer almost all telecommunications and broadcasting services to consumers.”  It adds:

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February 12, 2011 25 comments News

Saving the Best for Last: Bell’s Network Congestion Admission

As is often the case with House of Commons committee hearings, yesterday’s Industry Committee hearing on usage based billing saved the best for last. Addressing a specific question from the chair about the separation of IPTV and Internet services on Bell’s network, Bell’s Mirko Bibic responded:

There is a copper loop that goes from our Central Office to the home and all data travels on that pipe so it’s Internet traffic, it’s television traffic, it’s actually voice traffic, long distance traffic, but that’s not where there are general congestion issues. The real issue is when you get to the Central Office and you go behind that to the general Internet, FIBE TV is completely different.

Bell’s comments are noteworthy since they confirm that there is no congestion in the “last mile” – the connection between the user and the so-called Central Office. At the moment, Bell aggregates the data from both its own retail customers and independent ISPs at this stage (which it says causes the congestion necessitating traffic shaping and UBB), though the independent ISP subscriber traffic later goes to the independent ISP before heading to the Internet.  The “congestion problem” is therefore not at the last mile nor at the Internet – it is in the intermediate stage between the two.

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February 11, 2011 62 comments News

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