By Lindey Pinto
October 28, 2010
CRTC Decision: All for Bell, and Usage-Based Billing For All
Today the CRTC pushed telecom policy one step in the wrong direction for independent Internet Service Providers (ISPs), and one giant misguided leap in the wrong direction for Canadians. The problem? Usage-based billing (UBB).
When the CRTC approved Bell’s request to bill Internet users based on how much they download, they didn’t limit it to individual internet aficionados like you and me. The CRTC has also imposed UBB on the independent ISPs that rent lines from Bell, which allows the telecom giant to limit how many gigabytes of usage these indie ISPs can provide to their customers. This means that indie ISPs will be less able to differentiate their services from those of Bell, and will be therefore less able to compete in Canada’s “free” market.
This is a blow to consumer choice, to access, and to diversity in telecommunications in Canada.
In August, we at OpenMedia.ca celebrated the CRTC’s decision mandating that major telecom companies allow their indie ISP competitors to obtain access to the same speeds of broadband as those offered to the major ISPs' own retail customers. The UBB decision made today essentially nullifies that good policy, which Steve Anderson, National Coordinator of OpenMedia.ca, had called “a win for independent ISPs, Internet users, innovation and the Canadian economy.” We are now at a loss.