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Canada Call to Action! Bell Canada Petition Would Limit Competitive Internet Access in Ontario & Quebec

Phillip Dampier April 14, 2009 Canada, Public Policy & Gov't 10 Comments
Bell Canada attempts to muscle the competition with "Usage Based Billing"

Bell Canada attempts to muscle the competition with "Usage Based Billing"

Bell Canada provides wholesale access to independent Internet Service Providers across their service area at wholesale rates.  This allows a limited number of competing ISPs to provide broadband service at affordable rates in cities where competition has been limited, at best.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunication Commission (CRTC), which regulates telecommunications in Canada, ordered Bell Canada to provide equitable access to those independent providers at the same pricing they offer their own retail customers.  But now Bell Canada wants to introduce punitive Usage Based Billing on those wholesale accounts, which would immediately destroy many independent providers who could not begin to compete on price or service.

Not only would customers find their Internet access limited, but substantial overage penalties imposed for exceeding those limits would also be introduced.

TekSavvy, an Ontario-based company providing DSL service, has sent e-mail to their customers pleading with them to contact the CRTC and oppose Bell Canada’s petition.  If you are in Canada, you can make a difference by sending comments to the CRTC opposing this proposal.  You need not be a TekSavvy customer to participate.

Usage caps and limits designed to bolster big profits and thwart competition are not just an American problem.  These issues impact on customers wherever limited competition and lack of informed oversight is common.

The deadline for comments is midnight tonight!

Dear Valued Customer,

We are writing to you today as many activities are underway to shape/reshape Internet use as you all know it. Over the last year some of you have been made aware and/or have seen activities on throttling in the news or in your daily lives. Another proceeding relating to the Internet in Canada required Telecom providers (Bell/Telus/etc.) to provide ISPs with wholesale service speeds that match those that they offer to their own retail customers.

Specifically, Bell has been directed by the CRTC to provide matching speeds which would allow us all to have more flexibility in our day to day online requirements. Instead of adhering to these directives, Bell decided to take this issue to the federal Cabinet and at the same time file a tariff application with the CRTC proposing to introduce Usage Based Billing (UBB) on its wholesale customer accounts.

What does this mean for you, the consumer?

Bell provides TekSavvy with last mile, wholesale DSL access services, which TekSavvy uses to provide you with your Internet access. If Bell were to be allowed to introduce UBB on this service, a cap of 60GB would be imposed on all of its users, with very heavy penalties per Gigabyte afterwards (multiple times more than our current per Gigabyte rate of $0.25/GB on overages). This would inherently all but remove Unlimited internet services in Ontario/Quebec and potentially cause large increases in internet costs from month to month.

If you’d like to make your comments/concerns known about what Bell is attempting to do, please do so here.

Select the word “Tariff” from the drop down list.

Add the following in Subject Line “File Number # 8740-B2-200904989 – Bell Canada – TN 7181” and make your thoughts known!

The deadline for filing your comments is today at midnight, so hurry!



Currently there are 10 comments on this Article:

  1. Diane says:

    This is Spreading like a Virus!

  2. mattliving says:

    Good luck the CRTC. They so much as told Bell to do this.

    Contact your local government and DEMAND that any BELL lease for telecommunication line access on YOUR public land be immediately revoked and renegotiated. If Bell is refusing to honour or is breaking contract with independent ISPs then local governments should NOT be supporting Bell with public leases.

    If telcos like Bell can not get land leases then they can’t run the lines. If they can’t run them then local government should! This is getting well out of hand.

    I think it’s criminal that companies like Bell and Time Warner continue to flip the bird at the rules knowing full well that regulators. These are the SAME players who are meeting privately with Canadian and US governments to carve up the broadband and content markets for the next century with their ACTA and DMCA negotiations.

    We ALL have to stop BELL. Anyone who can drop Bell for another ISP should do so IMMEDIATELY.

    The rest of us have to start emailing our local, provincial and federal government representatives and DEMAND action once and for all against Bell and their abusive if not criminal practices.

    • mattliving says:

      Oh and one more thing regarding this metered bandwidth bullshit.

      If I were a Bell customer I would demand Bell immediate start blocking every advertisement that I did not personally agree to view/pay for. See how long players like Google will tolerate any such BS.

      If you’re going to get metered then you had better have a say in what is stuffed into your pipe. Otherwise you’re paying for everyone’s advertising so maybe send Google a bill for the difference!?

  3. Lesty420 says:

    They just keep pushing. Hopefully now we’ll start pushing back.

  4. Stephen says:

    It is entirely unreasonable to permit a de facto monopoly like Bell, to arbitrarily impose limits on the services they provide to third parties. The imposition of caps on data transfers is merely a means to profiteer on existing, antiquated and inadequate backbone services rather than investing in appropriate and long overdue upgrades to backbone bandwidth in proportion with their alleged high speed consumer Internet products. It borders on criminal misrepresentation to sell 8Mbps DSL services when a cap at 60GB per month actually results in an effective averaged 23Kbps service.
    “An advertisement will contravene the law if it contains a representation that is either false or misleading. Even though each statement in an ad may be literally true, an offence can still arise if the “general impression” conveyed by the ad is misleading.”
    Commercially, if I buy a 1Meg service, then we are talking a 1Mbps committed information rate and although it may be burstable to 100M, my corporation’s lawyers would rip Bell a new asshole if they claimed it was a 100M service. Likewise, if that 1Mbps was only good for the first 6000 seconds – third asshole time.

  5. That’s the point of this site. I only wish we had more people helping to work this issue with articles covering bandwidth caps as they pop their ugly heads up. I realize we are late with Canada, which is already suffering from Rogers caps and Bell Canada being the usual evil thing it is, but the abuse doesn’t stop there. Canadians have to endure ludicrous pricing for the iPhone data plans that are much higher than stateside and more limited.

    Your MPs should absolutely be more involved in these issues. Again, bandwidth caps retard innovation and business development, something Canada needs just as badly as the States during this economic downturn.

    And until more competition can get into the market, you get stuck with one or two providers that basically collude to keep service on the worst possible terms.

    There is absolutely no reason why southern Ontario and Quebec in particular don’t have the same kinds of services that are available in the USA. Having been out to Alberta, I can understand the wiring costs to reach far flung communities across that province, or the Prairies, may carry a higher cost, but if you’re in Windsor, Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, Quebec City, or Hamilton, just to name a few, the disparity of access should be unacceptable.

  6. soldout says:

    This is what I wrote to send to the CRTC, but it asks for my name and I am afraid to identify myself to them for fear of reprisial or future punishment:

    “I am furious that Usage Based Billing is even being proposed by Bell Canada, let alone considered by the CRTC. It is infuriating that the majority of Canadian citizens ALREADY pay an overpriced and grossly inflated internet access fee for an already substandard internet connection, and no regulations are put in place to protect the consumers from such blatant price gouging, yet mechanisms are in place to allow for these power grabs by corporations to juice and gouge even more out of the Canadian people. I cannot articulate my outrage.”

    I didn’t send it so you can send it instead, if you agree with it. I’m too scared already, seeing how corporate interests already take priority over an individuals interests, I don’t feel safe.

  7. JamesM says:

    Concerning Canada, isn’t the Rogers data capping as low or lower than the proposed TWC plans?

    Soldout, I don’t understand what you’re afraid of, aside from any ISP in Canada denying you Internet access at all — and if they don’t have your business, they don’t have your $ either?

    Unless you’re afraid of the Canadian government … which may be another issue entirely? 🙂

  8. bryan says:

    Another thing that people don’t realize about bell and DSL is that they do resell to local providers at their “fixed” rate, which is alway higher then the amount they charge the customer for signing up. They get around this by claiming the amount charged is an “introductory offer” to the consumer for signing up. Thus they provide service to the end user cheaper then to other providers. This is killing the DSL market.

    Europe already has 16mb DSL as standard practice. Ontario and Quebec is still stuck at 3 or 5mb. Bell has no need to increase capacity or decrease price when there is no competition for them to do so. DSL/Internet is a huge Cash cow for them while it doesn’t help a small business succeed.

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