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Ottawa to review usage-based Internet billing

CRTC’s decision may conflict with government policy


 

Industry Minister Tony Clement says he will review the CRTC’s decision to allow usage-based Internet billing, which would raise prices for consumers and business that currently receive unlimited web access. Last week, the federal telecommunications regulator announced that smaller Internet service firms, who provide unlimited access to customers by leasing network space from larger telecom companies, would now pay higher rates to those companies. The decision has generated torrents of criticism from Canadians who say higher usage fees will hinder innovation and competitiveness. “I am hearing from a lot of people who feel this will damage our economy,” said Clement in an interview with The Globe and Mail. “I have to be fair on these things – but I am hearing from people that they are worried this will stifle innovation because the cost of using Internet services will be prohibitively high.” Clement will study the decision to see if it is in line with government policy on competition and consumer choice, and may ask the CRTC to review its decision. The government has overruled by the telecom regulation once before. In 2009, the CRTC’s decision to block Egyptian-owned Globalive Communications from launching its wireless service in Canada based on foreign ownership rules was overturned.

The Globe and Mail

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Ottawa to review usage-based Internet billing

  1. Being owned by Rogers, it's not surprising Macleans buried this as long as possible only to publish a compressed, slanted wart. Bonus points have been awarded for making the text a solid block that's designed to exhaust the reader and make them lose interest.

    At least you beat Bell-owned CTV.

  2. Well said GraveDigger…

    The 'spin' placed on the CTV article makes it sound like a bunch of 'internet' hogging geeks complaining they won't get acces to their illegal downloads while Grandma and Grandpa suffer paying higher bills to compensate…

  3. Well said GraveDigger…

    The 'spin' placed on the CTV article makes it sound like a bunch of 'internet' hogging geeks complaining they won't get acces to their illegal downloads while Grandma and Grandpa suffer paying higher bills to compensate…

  4. i thought we already paid the most to get the least here in Canada?

  5. i thought we already paid the most to get the least here in Canada?

  6. As an $8/month Netflix Canada subscriber who was a month away from dumping my $65 Rogers cable bill for good, this UBB decision is a major setback.

    While it may seem petty, my vote in any potential spring election will certainly be tied to repealing UBB, as it is the one issue that has the potential to dramatically impact my pocket-book and quality of life.

    For the non-Internet TV watching crowd, this is as onerous as capping your unlimited cable TV viewing and now restricting it to three viewings of Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy per month whilst charging you $5 for any additional viewing. Utterly absurd.

  7. As an $8/month Netflix Canada subscriber who was a month away from dumping my $65 Rogers cable bill for good, this UBB decision is a major setback.

    While it may seem petty, my vote in any potential spring election will certainly be tied to repealing UBB, as it is the one issue that has the potential to dramatically impact my pocket-book and quality of life.

    For the non-Internet TV watching crowd, this is as onerous as capping your unlimited cable TV viewing and now restricting it to three viewings of Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy per month whilst charging you $5 for any additional viewing. Utterly absurd.

  8. In an information economy, the Internet is an essential piece of infrastructure, just like a highway is for the physical economy. Charging people based on use (except for a few exceptional cases, such as toll roads) in that setting would be a ridiculous obstacle to our economic productivity and well-being. I seriously hope the Harper government recognizes this, and stands up to Bell and the CRTC – Canada cannot afford to go back in time to 1996.

  9. In an information economy, the Internet is an essential piece of infrastructure, just like a highway is for the physical economy. Charging people based on use (except for a few exceptional cases, such as toll roads) in that setting would be a ridiculous obstacle to our economic productivity and well-being. I seriously hope the Harper government recognizes this, and stands up to Bell and the CRTC – Canada cannot afford to go back in time to 1996.

    • Hopefully the CRTC will give us that much-needed ruling on acoustic coupler modems so I can upgrade my internet speed from 300 baud to 1200 baud. Just think of how fast I could connect to my local BBS!

  10. Hopefully the CRTC will give us that much-needed ruling on acoustic coupler modems so I can upgrade my internet speed from 300 baud to 1200 baud. Just think of how fast I could connect to my local BBS!

  11. I love one of the comments on the CTV story:

    "I'd leave a longer response, but I don't want to use up my bandwidth".

  12. I love one of the comments on the CTV story:

    "I'd leave a longer response, but I don't want to use up my bandwidth".

  13. Most home users are already capped and have had that cap slashed in the past year. I was on Rogers Ultra-light (not being a heavy downloader, the speed was sufficient) and last year I went from using a small fraction to being over on my usage because they cut my cap by 90% (while simultaneously raising my rate).

    I bumped up a speed level to get a higher cap; ironically, in part because of the speed increase, my usage went up. No bandwidth savings; just extra cash for the provider.

    UBB is just a further extension of this grab.

  14. I could not agree more! It's disgusting how this publication conveniently ignores issues that conflict with the interests of the mother ship. Disgusting. I even called Coyne out on it a few times, but he obviously did not respond. Besides the silence on matters pertaining to the Internet and the various CRTC rulings, if it were up to Macleans, you'd have no idea that there was a Copyright bill. For shame…

  15. I could not agree more! It's disgusting how this publication conveniently ignores issues that conflict with the interests of the mother ship. Disgusting. I even called Coyne out on it a few times, but he obviously did not respond. Besides the silence on matters pertaining to the Internet and the various CRTC rulings, if it were up to Macleans, you'd have no idea that there was a Copyright bill. For shame…

  16. To conserve bandwidth, we should make it an official rule that on these forums, we start cutting all the vowels out of words longer than 2 characters, the brain can interpret the rest. eg.

    lk, i am svng mny! thnk u rgrs, bll, & tls 4 bng so grdy, & crgng cdns 3 tms th rt vry1 in th rst of th wrld pys.

    See! Perfect! We are saving money already! Yey 21st century Canada!!

  17. To conserve bandwidth, we should make it an official rule that on these forums, we start cutting all the vowels out of words longer than 2 characters, the brain can interpret the rest. eg.

    lk, i am svng mny! thnk u rgrs, bll, & tls 4 bng so grdy, & crgng cdns 3 tms th rt vry1 in th rst of th wrld pys.

    See! Perfect! We are saving money already! Yey 21st century Canada!!

  18. I'm currently in South Africa for university, so I've had to make the switch to paying for internet by the MB. It's awful :(
    You have to think long and hard about each youtube video you watch. I browse the internet with all the images shut off. I'd really hate for Canada to go down this route.
    I'm surprised companies like netflix aren't lobbying harder. Or anyone who relies on internet ads for revenue.

    What I'd like to see covered is some indepth, scientific reporting on the science of providing internet. So far, all I've seen is hearsay and contradictions. No one's actually made a clear case for where the money from paying for extra bandwidth would actually go.
    According to someone I know, the actual cost to the network is less than pennies per GB, so how can they charge us dollars?

  19. I'm currently in South Africa for university, so I've had to make the switch to paying for internet by the MB. It's awful :(
    You have to think long and hard about each youtube video you watch. I browse the internet with all the images shut off. I'd really hate for Canada to go down this route.
    I'm surprised companies like netflix aren't lobbying harder. Or anyone who relies on internet ads for revenue.

    What I'd like to see covered is some indepth, scientific reporting on the science of providing internet. So far, all I've seen is hearsay and contradictions. No one's actually made a clear case for where the money from paying for extra bandwidth would actually go.
    According to someone I know, the actual cost to the network is less than pennies per GB, so how can they charge us dollars?

  20. I see this new pricing scam as a way to deter people from getting rid of cable and there telephone.
    If I only watched net content where would that leave Rodgers and Bell. They would not make the money that they were.
    The Telcos want to keep their monopoly but can't figure out how so they run to the CRTC and ask their "lunch buddies" to help them out. then MR von friendoftelcos says yes so that he can have an excellent retirement.
    And the biggest joke is that there is a cloud computing ad to the right of the screen, and that will be real slow in development in Canada.

  21. I see this new pricing scam as a way to deter people from getting rid of cable and there telephone.
    If I only watched net content where would that leave Rodgers and Bell. They would not make the money that they were.
    The Telcos want to keep their monopoly but can't figure out how so they run to the CRTC and ask their "lunch buddies" to help them out. then MR von friendoftelcos says yes so that he can have an excellent retirement.
    And the biggest joke is that there is a cloud computing ad to the right of the screen, and that will be real slow in development in Canada.

  22. So they are not satisfied with Canada paying more for less services compared to the rest of the world, but would charge more for cutting services? Why is there a need for CRTC in the first place?

  23. So they are not satisfied with Canada paying more for less services compared to the rest of the world, but would charge more for cutting services? Why is there a need for CRTC in the first place?

  24. I thought that the function of government was to protect the freedoms and rights of Canadians, not the monopolistic telecom companies.

    We already pay these companies through the nose for cell and cable fees. So now, I will be paying more for less.

    At a time when "cloud computing" is coming to the fore, Canadians will be left behind the world if we can not affordably access it.

    This makes NO sense whatsoever.

  25. I thought that the function of government was to protect the freedoms and rights of Canadians, not the monopolistic telecom companies.

    We already pay these companies through the nose for cell and cable fees. So now, I will be paying more for less.

    At a time when "cloud computing" is coming to the fore, Canadians will be left behind the world if we can not affordably access it.

    This makes NO sense whatsoever.

  26. 1. Bell and Rogers have massive conflict (self interest) going here.. Their 'on demand, VOIP, and other solutions are also all internet based, but outside of the capped services. They ARE trying to stifle competition.
    2. These caps are basically the telco billing for content they do not own. We are paying them for the PIPES, not the flow inside the pipes. There is no internet 'value add' from them.
    3. The government (WE) subsidized the infrastructure they are using. The government should OWN the infrastructure, since the telco's clearly can not be trusted.
    4. Internet costs are going DOWN, not up.
    5. And don't forget the throttling – you can buy really fast access to the internet but as soon as you try to USE it, it gets throttled down to slow speeds. I don't download a lot, but SAW it happen on Rogers – and that is why I dropped them. That seems a lot like fraud..

  27. 1. Bell and Rogers have massive conflict (self interest) going here.. Their 'on demand, VOIP, and other solutions are also all internet based, but outside of the capped services. They ARE trying to stifle competition.
    2. These caps are basically the telco billing for content they do not own. We are paying them for the PIPES, not the flow inside the pipes. There is no internet 'value add' from them.
    3. The government (WE) subsidized the infrastructure they are using. The government should OWN the infrastructure, since the telco's clearly can not be trusted.
    4. Internet costs are going DOWN, not up.
    5. And don't forget the throttling – you can buy really fast access to the internet but as soon as you try to USE it, it gets throttled down to slow speeds. I don't download a lot, but SAW it happen on Rogers – and that is why I dropped them. That seems a lot like fraud..

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