The non conformer's Canadian Weblog

February 23, 2011

Bell needs to be regulated, legislated

 

Tony Clement says Ottawa will force change in Internet-fee ruling   Vancouver Sun  Industry Minister Tony Clement says his government is still determined to overrule the CRTC on Internet billing. EDMONTON — Industry Minister Tony Clement is determined to promote Canada’s digital economy — and if that means overturning last month’s CRTC decision on usage-based billing for small Internet providers, so be it. “We asked (the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission) to review their decision and if they come back with the same decision, the cabinet would overrule it because it wouldn’t be consistent with government policy . . . promoting competition and choice,” Clement said Wednesday, following a forum at the University of Alberta. “You can’t have competition and choice if you allow a major carrier to force its business model onto an independent service provider.”

There’s no evidence bandwidth hogs are slowing down the Internet in Canada, said  Industry Minister Tony Clement, and so far there is nothing to prove that usage-based billing would even help the network congestion if the problem did indeed exist.  “No one’s proven to me that there is congestion,” he also had said. ” Many Canadians would be concerned if bandwidth hogs are affecting their use of the Internet. But no one’s proven that’s the case.” Clement has maintained that usage-based billing, or UBB, would instead stifle competition and innovation in the telecommunications marketplace. “The CRTC decision on UBB on wholesale ISPs is simply the wrong way to proceed,” he said.The CRTC had ruled earlier this year that large Internet providers such as Bell and Rogers could force small companies that leased their bandwidth wholesale to place caps on the plans they sold to consumersbut next the fderal government had ordered that the CRTC should  go back to the drawing board on its UBB ruling following a major  outcry from many consumers and the small Internet companies affected by the billing changes. UBB was slated to come into effect March 1 but was put on hold as the CRTC reviews the ruling.

Majority of Canadians they just want  all pricing to be fair — and Bell, Rogers, Telus, Shaw and Videtron etc., so far have been anything but.

Industry Minister says consumer remains king with digital economy iNews880.com

          
 
             
         

Usage Based Billing: CRTC Complaints Department

Posted by Laurel L. Russwurm on September 2, 2009

No Usage Based Billing No Usage Based Billing

FIRST: I mentioned in Psst… Pass It On: Stop Usage Based Billing that everything in the Stop Usage Based Billing blog was in the public domain. It occurred to me that it might help to make this announcement a little more formal. So I have now officially registered this blog with a Creative Commons CC0 listing to place my Stop Usage Based Billing blog in the public domain. This will allow everyone the right to borrow any bits of this blog they may find useful. For letters of complaint, for example. You’ll find the creative commons badge at the bottom of this post, but applies to the entire Stop Usage Based Billing blog.

Of course the downside of registering a Creative Commons CC0is that supporters of Usage Based Billing people may attempt to use material provided in this blog in their continuing misinformation attempts.

You might ask: who in their right mind would support Usage Based Billing?

Sadly, the answer to that one is easy, the main pro-UBB lobby is of course those who expect to profit from Usage Based Billing. That is to say primarily Bell Canada, but can include everyone and every company associated with Bell Canada, including CTVglobemedia and every one they can control either through economic plums or economic sanctions. I’m sure that this type of manipulation is a lot easier during a world wide recession.

The only others supporting UBB are those who have bought into the misinformation being spread and promoted by pro Usage Based Billing lobby. There is no shame in that, after all you can’t beat the talented writers and advertising folks employed by CTVglobemedia. It’s even conceivable that some of those talented people don’t really understand the jargon and might not realize why this is such a big problem. I’d expect controlling the jargon would make it a lot easier to put your own spin on it.

I know we think of a lobbyists making a big noise to sell their cause, but when you’re lobbying for acceptance of something like Usage Based Billing which can’t possibly be supported by any rational argument, lobbying for a silence would certainly be the way to go.

If you’ve already signed the http://dissolvethecrtc.ca/ online petition, and are looking for something else to do to try and stop UBB, as a concerned Canadian it is always within your rights to make a complaint to the CRTC.

CRTC CRTC

Even if you have already submitted your comment or complaint to the CRTC specific to CRTC Ruling File Number # 8740-B2-200904989 – Bell Canada – TN 7181 to protest the CRTC’s extremely bad decision to allow Bell Canada to implement Usage Based Billing, you are still well within your rights to place another complaint through the CRTC complaints page I’ve just stumbled across on the CRTC website.

These pages offer you advice and explain the complain procedure to make it easy for Canadians to submit specific customer complaints to the CRTC in the areas of :

  • television and radio (Broadcasting complaints: TV and Radio | CRTC),
  • phone (Telephone service: making a complaint) including both land lines and cell phones, and
  • internet service in Canada (rates, quality, access, legal actions and complaints)

I would venture a guess that a completely different group of CRTC staffers deal with the complaints made through this web form. In fact there would probably be different CRTC complaints staff sections to deal with each of the three different areas the CRTC is supposed to regulate.

At any time you can go to the CRTC online complaints department and submit a complaint here:

Ask a question or make a complaint
Send us your question or complaint about television, radio, telephone, cellphone, Internet or other services. CRTC responds to most questions within 10 working days. Find out more about how we handle complaints for Television and Radio, phone and internet.

1. Make a Complaint about Broadcasting

Perhaps you might wish to make a complaint about broadcasting. The CRTC first recommends that you complain to your broadcaster before complaining to the CRTC. This is reasonable. So first you should contact CTV and ask them why they are not covering Usage Based Billing. Remember, the CRTC first announced UBB in April, but just approved it in August. In all that time, why has CTV not covered Usage Based Billing? My most recent CTV web search came up with this:

Screenshot: CTV Usage Based Billing Search Screenshot: CTV Usage Based Billing Search

The fact that more than six thousand Canadians have already signed the online petition calling for the dissolution of the CRTC– in spite of the apparent news blackout of Usage Based Billing– hasn’t raised a single microphone at CTV. Isn’t that a strong indication that Canadians are very are interested in the CRTC Usage Based Billing decision? Six thousand concerned Canadians would trigger CTV coverage of any other story. Yet CTV is not covering Usage Based Billing. Why?

CTV is covering the CRTC and CTV is covering news about the Canadian Internet. Here is an example in a CTV online article about the multi-billion dollar revenues generated by Canadian internet services CTV: Telecom Growth. But they are doing it selectively.

Could it be that Bell Canada isn’t allowing CTV news to cover this news? You can ask CTV news yourself. Send in your questions directly:

When that doesn’t work, you may send your complaint along to the to the CRTC about the fact that CTV is only selectively reporting the news to Canadians.

2. Complain about the Telephone Company

It would not be unreasonable to wonder about Bell Canada’s “confidentiality of customer records” I certainly would not trust any company who read their customer’s mail without permission, which is essentially what Bell Canada is doing with its internet “deep packet inspection”. Maybe they really are only reading the bits that say what kind of packets they are. Personally, I wouldn’t take Bell Canada’s word for it.

(Actually, its even worse than just reading their customer’s mail, they’re interfering with it too.)

Like everyone else in Canada, I’ve had issues with Bell Canada over the years. Even though they were incredibly high handed in the days of monopoly, the influx of competition seemed to make them ease up. After all. Bell Canada has always been there. Why not trust them?

Hmmmm. Not too long ago I had a problem with Bell Canada, and I ended up talking to someone in their “loyalty” department. To smooth my feathers he fixed the problem and gave me a $30.00 discount on my next bill. Then he actually told me that if I called back in three months and asked for the loyalty department and said I was going to switch to a different telephone carrier, they would give me another $30.00 discount. He also told me that Bell Canada would give me this “discount” every three months if I kept calling back.

What kind of business is Bell Canada running? I think that policy is twisted. In the first place Bell Canada is essentially bribing customers from switching to the competition. Class action suit anyone? Adding insult to insult, Bell Canada has such a low opinion of Canadian consumers that they don’t even trust us to stay bought.

If Bell Canada can afford to do this it strikes me that they are making too much money already. Lets look at this as a business practice. The first thing that really bothers me is that the Bell Canada Loyalty department is actually penalizing Bell Canada’s loyal customers. The granny who would never dream of switching doesn’t get that annual $120.00 savings because she is loyal to Bell. Call me crazy, but I just can’t figure out why Bell Canada doesn’t just improve service? Reduce charges? Compete fairly? Maybe they are so sure that they are going to get to be a monopoly again that they would rather bribe customers piecemeal as needed than clean up their act.

Personally. I would rather not deal with a company that treats its customers so shabbily. I’m going to be switching my land line to Teksavvy. The savings (yes, in fact they offer better deals than Bell Canada for telephone service too) will help my family budget for the increased internet costs that Usage Based Billing will cause us.

Warning: If you decide to do the same, make sure you call Teksavvy or whoever your new carrier is going to first. Arrange with the NEW CARRIER to arrance the transfer of service. If you do this, you will be able to port your existing Bell Telephone number to the new service. If you call Bell first and tell them you want to cancel, they are likely to disconnect you before your new service is in place, which means that you will not be able to keep the same phone number. (Just another way Bell Canada likes to mess with us

So, after you’ve talked to the phone company, you are supposed to go to the Commissioner for Complaints for Telecommunications Services (CCTS) and find your telephone companytheir list on , you are supposed to deal with them in an effort to clear up the problem.

If you don’t get satisfaction through this process, or if your company is not on the list, you can always go back and make your complaint to the CRTC.

3. Complain about Internet Service

I wouldn’t think there would be any limitation on how many complaints any one citizen is allowed to submit, so long as the topics are different. For example you could reasonably complain to the CRTC about:

  • the fact that CRTC is allowing Bell Canada to implement Usage Based Billing at all 
  • the fact that the CRTC would rule in favor of Usage Based Billing in the absence of any meaningful public consultation 
  • the fact that the CRTC would rule in favor of Usage Based Billing without making sure that the Canadian public was informed of this sweeping change before the fact 
  • the fact that CRTC is allowing Bell Canada to charge you for Usage Based Billing if you (like me) are not a Bell Canada internet customer 
  • the fact that CRTC’s ruling will allow Bell Canada to increase your costs in accessing the internet 
  • the fact that CRTC has jeopardized your privacy by allowing deep packet inspection of your internet usage, and
  • the fact that CRTC is allowing Bell Canada to “throttle” internet use by inflating customer bandwidth, and
  • the fact that this CRTC decision to allow Usage Based Billing will allow Bell Canada to fraudulently bill internet users for the Bandwidth which the customer has not actually used but which has been deliberately inflated through Bell Canada “throttling” 
  • the fact that CRTC is allowing Bell Canada to implement Usage Based Billing in addition to what customers are already paying without providing any additional service to the customer to justify this increase 
  • the fact that CRTC is allowing Bell Canada to implement Usage Based Billing in spite of virtually unanimous opposition from the public (the small segment of the public that found out about UBB) 
  • the fact that CRTC allowed Usage Based Billing will make Canadian internet the most expensive in the world, and therefore unreasonably expensive, which is the opposit of &ldrquo;affordable&rdquo’ 
  • the fact that CRTC allowed Usage Based Billing which will make internet access less accessible to Canadians due to these excessive new costs 
  • the fact that CRTC allowed Usage Based Billing will damage the Canadian economy by limiting Canadian internet access for purposes of education, technology, art, music, writing, resarch, film, science, research, business etc. 
  • the fact that there does not appear to be any good nor auditable way vouched for by Measurement Canada of measuring the usage in order to assess “Usage Based Billing” charges. 
  • the fact that CRTC allowed Usage Based Billing will interfere in the internet consumer market to the extent of eliminating the independent ISP’s ability to compete, and
  • the fact that CRTC allowed Usage Based Billing will interfere in the internet consumer market to the extent of forcing Bell Canada’s (Sympatico) competition, the independent ISP’s, to break contractual agreements with their customers, and which will certainly damage and possibly destroy these companies, which will
  • effectively neutralize and wipe out all Bell Canada (Sympatico) competition

CRTC would like you to go through the same process as with the telephone complaint, where you try to resolve the problem with the service provider. So if you are in fact a Bell Canada (Sympatico) customer, you can direct your questions and complaints directly to Bell or the Commissioner for Complaints for Telecommunications Services Inc. (CCTS) first.

Of course my problem is not with my ISP, my problem is with Bell Canada’s interference in my business relationship with my ISP and with the CRTC’s ill advised approval of Usage Based Billing. So for me, it is a case of going back to make your complaint to the CRTC. Perhaps if enough Canadians ask enough questions we will actually get real answers. Perhaps if enough Canadians complain, the CRTC will be clever enough to quash the Usage Based Billing regulation, and then consider actually adhering to their mandate.

It should be more difficult for CRTC to ignore these complaints as these complaints are supposed to be handled by a staff member within ten days. THESE consumer complaints are supposed to generate a human response. Perhaps if we help to use up their budgeted resources they might be able to grasp why it is bad to allow implementation of Usage Based Billing which will certainly affect the budgets of the Canadian citizens they are supposed to be looking out for. Maybe then the CRTC wouldn’t be so eager to completely ignore the wishes of the citizenry, as did in making this bad decision in the first place.

To the extent possible under law, Laurel L. Russwurm
has waived all copyright and related or neighboring rights to Stop Usage Based Billing

 http://stopusagebasedbilling.wordpress.com/2009/09/02/usage-based-billing-crtc-complaints-department/

 

Virgin Mobile Canada  screws up a simple cell phone and the related cell phone number cancellation procedure. Virgin Mobile Canada Customer services again  told me  today by phone that they have no power, control over the Virgin Mobile Canada billing , account procedures. statements. refunds, departments.. Now even months later from Feb 15, 2010 Virgin Mobile Canada  has not even kept any of their many last Virgin Mobile Canada promises to escalate my Virgin Mobile Canada billing statement, money refund  and on April 13, 2011 Virgin Mobile Canada BECAUSE  clearly is so incompetent they Virgin Mobile Canada that they do continually   do on the phone make useless Virgin Mobile Canada promises . Next Virgin Mobile Canada again informed me that  there is nothing else they can now even do for me cause they are the  Virgin Mobile Canada customer billing  inquiry representative and they are are only a basically useless, powerless Virgin Mobile Canada Customer billing, phone representative, and so they  Virgin Mobile Canada do not know when I will next get my due Virgin Mobile Canada credit,  my money,  my Virgin Mobile Canada cheque, my Virgin Mobile Canada final bill  in the mail, they Virgin Mobile Canada do continue to send me for moths the wrong bills, and it takes Virgin Mobile Canada 4 to 6  weeks to next  correct them so, but over 2 months had passed and they Virgin Mobile Canada have missed their original promised deadline too to do so.. so  they Virgin Mobile Canada continue to lie to me all the time.. they Virgin Mobile Canada do in writing promise you a good Virgin Mobile Canada customer service, they Virgin Mobile Canada claim they have got an award for 5 years for the best customers services, but the reality as I see it differs now  .. Now I get a new Virgin Mobile Canada promise i will get my Virgin Mobile Canada cheque 3 to six weeks from the first  week of April 2011 when my Virgin Mobile Canada account was now supposedly closed.. Virgin Mobile Canada they cannot  DO ANYTHING GOOD FOR ME HERE..The next  Virgin Mobile Canada final statement will only be billed to me on the 16 of April, plus it will take at least another 5 to 9 days and then it may be shipped to me? The Virgin Mobile Canada customer service by Virgin was, is stated to me today as being  the best in the world according to the last 5 years but my own undeniable witness and reality is that Virgin Mobile Canada statement itself as well is all crap. stating lies,  mere  useless words.. having to me no evidence of such a fact.

 

Clearly too greedy Bell, Rogers, Telus. Primus, Virgin they all  needs to be stopped..

 

Thanks to the nearly half-a-million people who signed the Stop The Meter Petition, the CRTC is now reviewing its decision to impose new fees on nearly all Internet users. 
Industry Minister Clement told Parliament he will not allow the same decision to be passed by the CRTC, but has not specified whether he will accept a watered-down version of that decision. We know a Big Telecom-friendly compromise is being pushed behind closed doors. If we don’t speak up now we could end up back where we started: gouged.
The easiest and the most effective way you can help right now is by sending comments to the CRTC at http://openmedia.ca/crtc.
We need to get 100,000 letters to the CRTC now so the Commission, Clement, and other key decision makers know that we will accept nothing less than a fundamental change in the way phone and cable companies operate. 
The CRTC has set up the review of usage-based billing so it avoids touching the root cause of this price gouging. They’re limiting their review so that many Canadians still end up with a pay-metered Internet. We’ve come too far to accept this. 
We’re working with some of the best public interest lawyers, citizen groups, content creators, indie ISPs, and online service providers to push the CRTC to address the underlying stranglehold big telecom companies have over communications in Canada. 
We need to back up our policy work with an undeniable show of support from the Canadian people. Please help us get to 100,000 letters of support by sending your comment in HERE.
The Internet is a bastion of Canadian culture, democracy, and innovation. Lets not let it slip away. 
For the Internet, 
The OpenMedia Team
 
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