The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission has approved a request by Bell Canada to implement usage-based billing for its wholesale internet customers.
The decision, made on an interim basis, could result in lower download limits for customers of smaller companies such as Teksavvy and Acanac that rent portions of Bell’s network to provide their own internet services.
Smaller ISPs, which typically allow customers to download hundreds of gigabytes a month, may be forced to lower their limits to Bell levels. Bell’s most popular plan allows customers to download 50 gigabytes a month.
The CRTC on Wednesday also approved a request from Bell that will allow the company to charge small ISPs 75 cents for every gigabyte over 300 that their customers use.
Smaller ISPs had fought the requests and said if granted, their services would become indistinguishable from Bell’s. The CRTC last year also allowed Bell to extend its traffic management practices, where certain uses of the internet such as peer-to-peer file-sharing are slowed or “throttled,” to smaller ISPs.
Independent companies are therefore required to throttle their own customers as well.
Although the CRTC ruled in favour of Bell during the throttling dispute, it also launched an inquiry into the larger issue of net neutrality, or how much control internet providers should have over the connections they provide to customers. The regulator is expected to make a ruling on net neutrality by the end of the year.
Internet experts said that with usage-based billing, the CRTC has once again ruled in favour of Bell at the expense of consumers.
“It raises significant competition concerns since it suggests that independent ISPs will further lose their ability to differentiate their services,” University of Ottawa internet law professor Michael Geist said.
“It also calls into question Bell’s claims during the traffic management hearing that they can’t differentiate between providers since the implementation of [usage-based billing] would mean much more detailed info about end users.”
Mirko Bibic, head of regulatory affairs for Bell, said the company’s network-management technology is capable of differentiating between wholesale customers for accounting and usage-based billing purposes but not for traffic shaping, a fact that was made clear in its filings during the CRTC hearing.
“Our statements to the CRTC were and have always been accurate,” he said.
Bell stopped offering unlimited downloading to its own retail customers a few years ago. Throttling and usage-based billing are key parts of its strategy to fight congestion on its network. Critics, however, have said that Bell has so far failed to prove its network is congested.
Rocky Gaudrault, head of Teksavvy, was angry with the CRTC’s decision and said it will limit his company’s ability to offer new services such as television over the internet and could see an increase to customers’ bills of $10 to $20.
“Today’s decision has to send a clear picture to those the CRTC have to answer to,” he said.
“Someone needs to step in and audit how these lawmakers come to their conclusions as predatory tactics, which last I checked were not allowed in Canada, are being allowed to march through the regulatory gates without any resistance, all while laughing in the face of both Joe competitor and Joe public.”
The CRTC has given small ISPs 90 days to prepare for the implementation of Bell’s usage-based billing.”
” Today the CRTC just proved they are corrupt. Only a person of an IQ of less then 80 could not tell this is bad for consumers, Indy ISP’s and small home run businesses. One of the board members of the CRTC is a former bell and rogers employee, I wonder how much he is taking under the table in cash or stocks.”
“Unbelievable! The CRTC should be dismantled immediately and/or there should be an inquiry into it’s board members. The CRTC does not represent or protect the best interests of Canadians or any company other than the already established monopoly.”
“The CRTC screws Canadians.. AGAIN. This agency is rapidly wearing out its welcome. When Bell is wholesaling access to its system it has NO BUSINESS even knowing anything about the usage of individual customers of another company! It need only know the total usage by Teksavvy (or whoever else) and bill accordingly. Even the wording used by the CBC in this article is slanted. By expressing the issue this way “Smaller ISPs, which typically allow customers to download hundreds of gigabytes a month, may be forced to lower their limits to Bell levels. Bell’s most popular plan allows customers to download 50 gigabytes a month.” CBC is taking sides in a much more complex issue than this paragraph describes. Net neutrality NOW. “
” “Someone needs to step in and audit how these lawmakers come to their conclusions as predatory tactics, which last I checked were not allowed in Canada, are being allowed to march through the regulatory gates without any resistance, all while laughing in the face of both Joe competitor and Joe public.” Brilliantly put. Our internet privileges are slowly being stripped away from us for more and more profit, and the CRTC hasn’t done a thing about it. Crooks.”
” I find it incredibly ludicrous that the CRTC is made up of ex-Bell cronies! How in the heck is THAT fair and unbiased? Whatever Rocky has been cooking up to deal with the throttling fiasco, he had better shift into high gear and really start researching his options on a fail-safe plan to rid the TekSavvy name from Bell’s medusian gaze forever. Or its out of business for his family for GOOD. Bell doesnt want you using Usenet, P2P, Torrents, FTP, VOIP or YouTube HD without forking over 50% of your paycheck. Who else in this world has those kind of markups? Answer: The Mafia. Time to change tactics with Bell. Writing angry letters is not going to cut it anymore.”
“The members CRTC should be investigated. These bunch of crooks are really the public enemies.” ” Canadian Regulators Send Another ( Pornographic) Love Letter To Bell”
I have just renewed a one year unlimited download contract with Accanac/Bell.. I rightfully oppose to Bell. CRTC putting any caps on my downloads. My tracking number is: 0010400029439 http://www.ccts-cprst.ca/en/
CBC had said “ Bell stopped offering unlimited downloading to its own retail customers a few years ago. Throttling and usage-based billing are key parts of its strategy to fight congestion on its network. Critics, however, have said that Bell has so far failed to prove its network is congested. ” SPECIFICALLY AS OF AN 1,2008 THAT IS NOT REALLY A FEW YEARS AGO BUT ABOUT 1.7 YEARS AGO.. and the move was clearly made to allow Bell to offer rental of it’s own movies, to provide internet phone for iphones, and to encourage people to get Bell TV as well
Bell is always seeking news ways by hook or crook as well to make more money cause it undeniably still loses it’s dissatisfied customers faster than it can gain them
PS Australia biggest ISP admits to lying Wednesday, August 12, 2009 | 11:15 AM ET CBCNews.ca. Last week saw an interesting revelation from Telstra, Australia’s biggest phone and internet provider. New CEO David Thodey admitted to a court that Telstra had lied to block rival internet service providers from accessing its network. Under previous CEO Sol Trujillo, an American, Telstra had told other ISPs that several of its downtown telephone exchanges were full so they couldn’t install their own equipment and thereby provide customers with their own services. There was, in fact, plenty of space but Telstra was playing dirty tricks to cut its competitors off at the knees.
“ These things ARE happening, perhaps not to the extent of demolishing bathrooms, but the lying about full areas definitely occurs. In fact, some small ISPs have had such problems with this that they advise potential new customers to sign up with Bell for a month (no contract) and then migrate over to the wholesaler. This is because when wholesalers put in the line request, they are often told that the customer can not receive DSL or that the customer will receive a much lower speed profile.
In regards to the Competition Bureau, our Bureau consciously ignores all anti-competitive behaviour from Bell. When Bell started throttling its retail customers, they lost a large number of subscribers to DSL wholesalers. Bell then unilaterally and magically decided that their network was congested because of wholesaler traffic and started throttling their wholesalers. This was an unbelievably anti-competitive move. However, how did the Competition Bureau respond? They referred all complaints to the CRTC, claiming that all telecommunications issues were the responsibility of the CRTC. Fast forward a few months. An association of small Canadian internet providers, the CAIP, files a tariff application with the CRTC asking for access to Bell’s new upgraded network. The CRTC agrees and gives Bell notice to submit their expected costs from this move. What does Bell do? Bell ignores the CRTC order and instead submits a proposal to impose Usage-Based-Billing on all wholesalers, with absolutely ridiculous overage fees of nearly $1 per GB, with no maximum penalty. The CRTC recently granted this proposal on an “interim” basis. This, despite the overwhelming submission of comments against the proposal. The CRTC even acknowledges that the proposal discriminates against wholesalers, but claims that it is not “unjust discrimination”? Huh? It is worthy to note that Bell Retail is NOT included in this proposal, and Bell only just today added a new $5 for 40GB insurance plan to its offered internet services. Smells like anti-competitive behaviour to me.” http://www.cbc.ca/technology/technology-blog/2009/08/australia_biggest_isp_admits_t.html?loomia_si=t0:a16:g12:r5:c0.0952911:b27157388