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Canada CRTC Rules Against Usage Based Billing

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the internet-buffet dept.

Canada 117

iONiUM writes "In a somewhat surprising end to the ongoing fight between large ISPs (a duopoly in Canada), and independent ISPs, the CRTC has ruled in favor of the small ISPs. This means that independent ISPs can continue to have unlimited plans offered to customers. From the article: 'Under the CRTC’s new capacity-based approach, large telephone and cable companies will sell wholesale bandwidth to independent ISPs on a monthly basis. Independent ISPs will have to determine in advance the amount they need to serve their retail customers and then manage network capacity until they are able to purchase more. Alternatively, large companies can continue to charge independent ISPs a flat monthly fee for wholesale access, regardless of how much bandwidth their customers use. Both billing options give independent ISPs the ability to design service plans and charge their own customers as they see fit.' Score one for the citizens."

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CRTC rules for frosty piss (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38067710)

eh?

Duopoly? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38067780)

No, there are certainly more than two major Internet providers in Canada.

Shaw, Telus, Rogers, Bell, Cogeco, MTS, etc.

That said, good decision.

Re:Duopoly? (4, Informative)

Mad Merlin (837387) | more than 2 years ago | (#38067856)

In any given area, there's one company that owns the phone lines (say, Bell) and one other company that owns the cable lines (say, Rogers). That's it. Any Internet access you can get runs over their last mile lines or is horribly expensive and/or slow (satellite, wireless).

Re:Duopoly? (2)

Warren416 (2436238) | more than 2 years ago | (#38068070)

I hate bell. I hate rogers. This is good news for everybody but the people at Bell and Rogers who enjoy screwing over their customers. W

Re:Duopoly? (4, Informative)

penguinstorm (575341) | more than 2 years ago | (#38068178)

It's not going to change the fact that in virtually every market *except Toronto* you're buying your connection from your phone company or your cable company directly. Toronto seems to be the only city with the critical mass and regulatory structure to allow third party providers to survive and flourish. It hasn't happened here in Vancouver.

Re:Duopoly? (2)

mirix (1649853) | more than 2 years ago | (#38068224)

This. I really wish they would split it up... one company is responsible for the last mile, and that's all they do. Just the physical medium. It can be municipally owned, whatever.

Then let whoever wants in hook up at the central office. That way we'd get some real competition, which just isn't happening here. Too much conflict of interest when the line owners are also the service providers.

Re:Duopoly? (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#38068310)

It's not going to change the fact that in virtually every market *except Toronto* you're buying your connection from your phone company or your cable company directly. Toronto seems to be the only city with the critical mass and regulatory structure to allow third party providers to survive and flourish. It hasn't happened here in Vancouver.

But that's not unusual anywhere in north america.
You have the phone company or the cable company.
Every other option pretty much disappeared when Dial Up vanished.

Re:Duopoly? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38073008)

> Every other option pretty much disappeared when Dial Up vanished.
Dial-up was over the phone company's line. The difference there is that the phone company was obligated to route calls to dial-up ISPs the same as any other phone company.

In Europe (and apparently Canada as well), the same situation applies to DSL, i.e. you can have the physical cable terminated at equipment belonging to the ISP or to a competing voice-call provider. The company which owns the cable cannot leverage the ownership of the cable to force you to buy voice or data services from them, or to vary the cost of renting the cable depending upon whether you buy voice or data services from them.

Re:Duopoly? (5, Informative)

Maow (620678) | more than 2 years ago | (#38068714)

allow third party providers to survive and flourish. It hasn't happened here in Vancouver.

I'm in Vancouver, and *enjoying* my first Shaw-free month with TekSavvy as ISP over Shaw's cable lines (I own my cable modem).

They're certainly worth checking out, if for no other reason than $30 / month is what a 7.5 Mbps connection is actually worth.

Note, at 17:25 on a tuesday afternoon I'm getting SpeedTest.net score of 30ms ping, 19.24 Mbps download, and, 0.48 Mbps upload speeds.

Shaw is, of course, still making money on the last mile, but a lot less than when I used them directly.

TL;DR: it's up to *us* to make the 3rd parties flourish: change ISPs today.

Re:Duopoly? (1)

DarwinSurvivor (1752106) | more than 2 years ago | (#38069908)

You get 2.5 times your advertised down speed at night or am I reading that wrong?

Re:Duopoly? (1)

haruchai (17472) | more than 2 years ago | (#38070210)

He probably is - Teksavvy has an Extreme Cable plan ( for Toronto, at least) that advertises up to 15 Mbps but at off-peak hours, you can hit over 30 Mbps. Might get even more if you have a DOCSIS 3.0 cable modem.

Re:Duopoly? (2)

Maow (620678) | more than 2 years ago | (#38071536)

You get 2.5 times your advertised down speed at night or am I reading that wrong?

Correct, though possibly temporary.

It seems that my "Up to 7.5 Mbps" is more of an "at least 7.5 Mbps".

I was surprised by the numbers posted, retested and got very similar numbers.

This neighbourhood appears to be a couple blocks from Shaw Cable's trunk lines for Vancouver, where there are multiple 1-2 inch diameter "pipes" strung to the telephone poles, and 100 Mbps is available, so that might be one reason.

Just testing again, at 01h48 and... WOW, sustained over 30 Mbps download, though final score was 20.47 Mbps, nearly 3 times the advertised "up-to" rate. I'm shocked.

I wonder how SpeedTest.net calculates their speed score, as my most-recent test dipped under 20 Mbps only briefly.

http://www.speedtest.net/result/1594919457.png [speedtest.net]

Go TekSavvy(, with kudos to Shaw's infrastructure)!

Re:Duopoly? (1)

multipartmixed (163409) | more than 2 years ago | (#38072128)

I live north of Kingston, and a CLEC just buried conduit from the pole in my front yard to the back of my house.... to go with the fiber that they strung on that pole last summer. I should have fiber internet Real Soon Now.

Thank God not all the small telcos were bought by Bell. These guys bought a mom-n-pop ISP and expanded instead.

Re:Duopoly? (1)

studog-slashdot (771604) | more than 2 years ago | (#38075632)

I live north of Kingston, and a CLEC just buried conduit from the pole in my front yard to the back of my house.... to go with the fiber that they strung on that pole last summer. I should have fiber internet Real Soon Now.

Thank God not all the small telcos were bought by Bell. These guys bought a mom-n-pop ISP and expanded instead.

Please post the name of the CLEC so others may also benefit.

Re:Duopoly? (1)

p0p0 (1841106) | more than 2 years ago | (#38067864)

As far as I know (which ain't far) Bell and Rogers own the lines, while everyone else leases them. I also believe the majority is Bell lines anyway.

This is great. I pay ~$40/month for TechSavy, 25mbps down, 5mbps up, and unlimited bandwidth. Bell and Rogers offr nothing close to that.

Screw you Major ISP's! We paid for you to put in the lines, you should be able to pay for the upgrades yourself!

Re:Duopoly? (5, Informative)

BobNET (119675) | more than 2 years ago | (#38067986)

Spell TekSavvy [teksavvy.com] right and link to it so others can bask in its awesomeness!

teksavvy going under (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38068072)

see this :
http://teksavvynews.ca/index.php [teksavvynews.ca]
Chatham, Ontario, November 15, 2011 â" TekSavvy Solutions Inc. (âoeTekSavvyâ), one of Canadaâ(TM)s leading independent internet service providers, is disappointed with the rates for the wholesale high-speed services that the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (âoeCRTCâ) approved today. The rates are for services that Internet service providers need to purchase from the large telephone and cable companies, such as Bell and Rogers, in order to provide Internet access services to their own retail customers.

In Telecom Regulatory Policies CRTC 2011-703 and 2011-704 issued today the CRTC implemented new rate structures and rates for wholesale services.

TekSavvy is pleased with the rate structure adopted, but the actual rates will increase the cost of Internet for Canadian consumers.

âoeThe CRTC decision is a step back for consumers. The rates approved by the Commission today will make it much harder for independent ISPs to competeâ, said Marc Gaudrault, TekSavvyâ(TM)s CEO. âoeThis is an unfortunate development for telecommunications competition in Canadaâ, he added.

-30-

Re:teksavvy going under (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38069700)

Where exactly does it say that teksavvy is going under? Yeah, I didn't think so.

Re:teksavvy going under (1)

msobkow (48369) | more than 2 years ago | (#38074454)

Where does it say they're going under?

I'd mod you troll if I had the points.

Re:teksavvy going under (1)

tom17 (659054) | more than 2 years ago | (#38075484)

Dunno if they are going under, but Mark at TSI has already stated that the rates Bell charge for a 1Gbps link will go up from ~$1,700 which it is now, to $22,000 under the new plans on offer. Yes, you read that right, an increase of 13x the cost.

However, individual line rates have gone down, so the actual end result may not be as alarming, still waiting on word from him about the result of this...

Re:Duopoly? (1)

penguinstorm (575341) | more than 2 years ago | (#38068210)

Well, that's a little bit childish when expressed that way, even if the sentiment is true.

They need revenue to pay for the upgrades. The problem is there's no direct correlation between the bandwidth used by a single customer (or even an average aggregate group of customers) and those upgrades.

No one's disputing the fact that these guys need money, it's their desire to bill you for usage which creates a situation that effectively stifles innovation and adoption of new services that's in dispute here.

To your point, though, they are exploiting a monopoly that they've historically had and that, of course, is exactly governments have historically broken up monopolies.

Re:Duopoly? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38068500)

Well, that's a little bit childish when expressed that way, even if the sentiment is true.

They need revenue to pay for the upgrades. The problem is there's no direct correlation between the bandwidth used by a single customer (or even an average aggregate group of customers) and those upgrades.

Except there is. If these independent ISPs are not paying per GB, then they are surely paying for xMB/second of aggregate throughput. So, in fact, there is a direct correlation between bandwidth used by a group of customers and the money going to the cable and cell cos (or the ISP throttles to avoid buying a bigger pipe). If they waste it on hookers and blow instead of upgrades, well, what can I say?

Re:Duopoly? (2)

penguinstorm (575341) | more than 2 years ago | (#38069314)

Not really though. The cost of bandwidth is somewhat arbitrary, in the way that the price of automotive fuel is arbitrary: that is, there are real hard costs associated with it but they're not the major input and the price is driven quite a bit more by demand (which in both of these cases has proven to be extremely elastic) and not as much by inputs.

It doesn't cost my cable company $40 more per household in equipment to provide service to my home, which is already plumbed for cable. They didn't even have to come in to install it. Despite this, the price for "normal high speed internet" has remained at about $40 a month since my first installation, some 10 or 12 years ago.

The inputs don't nearly equate to the costs they're asking and the number of gigabytes I pull per month has nothing to do with how much pipe they have to lay, except inasmuch as they want to provide a certain *quality* or service to a give number of customers and so avoid saturating a pipe.

Re:Duopoly? (4, Informative)

realityimpaired (1668397) | more than 2 years ago | (#38067942)

How many of those ISPs have overlapping service areas?

Shaw, Rogers, Cogeco, and Videotron have divvied up the territories for cable service, and don't overlap service areas.
Similarly, Telus, Bell, MTS, and Aliant have divvied up the territories for landline service, and also don't overlap service areas.

It's only in the mobile telephone area that there's overlap between companies like Bell/Telus, and even that isn't *real* overlap, as they're sharing each others' towers.

So yeah. For Internet service, there is a duopoly. You're either buying cable service from one of the cable companies, or you're buying landline phone service from one of the phone companies, and the only way to choose which cable/phone company it is is to move to a different part of the country.

Re:Duopoly? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38070528)

Shaw & MTS in Manitoba both completely overlap

Re:Duopoly? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38072412)

Read what he said again. Maybe after a Reading Comprehension 101 course.

Re:overlap (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38072120)

The duopoly is telco vs cable. Like the USA, it is illegal in Canada for 2 telcos or 2 cable cos to operate in the same area.

Re:Duopoly? (2)

Adult film producer (866485) | more than 2 years ago | (#38068066)

Yep. I'm with cogeco and my basic service for $45/mnth includes a cap at 60 gigaBytes. Each gig over costs me $1.50 until I pay $30 (IIRC) Its a way to induce BW hogs to upgrade to "pro service" or whatever its called for $35 or $40 more. I can't really argue with that business plan except that I know it only costs them roughly 20 pennies to move all of that data. Sure... make your profit, thats fair... but where is the Fios we've been promised for the last 10 years? Not happening.

Re:Duopoly? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38075018)

better check your bill -- Cogeco increased your overage to $50.

Re:Duopoly? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38068214)

You can't really say that Telus is an Internet service provider because that would imply...er...that they actually provide service.

I had an account with them and I repeatedly tried to get some help from them. Finally, I sent them a nasty email and quit the account. They charged me a termination fee! I had to go to court to get it back. I got to see some of their internal emails as part of the process. They really fumbled the ball. Things like "It appears his first request didn't get logged into the system." and "It appears that we missed his second request because it looked so much like the first." And, if you believe it, some c*nt with the initials Darcey Sylvester at Telus internally tagged my account with a note "Client charges 240 cancel fee. THIS FEE IS NOT TO BE WAIVED IN ANY WAY!!!!!!" (capitalization and exclamation pts. *directly* from Telus internal documents). Well, the judge said that it is reasonable to expect technical service when you have an Internet account with someone so I won the case.

Here's something funny (sad?) related to this. I told my buddies about winning my court case. Now you would expect them to say "Way to go!" and "We're glad you got them bastards!" but instead one of them said "Ooooo...eeeeee...that's bad, they'll probably never give you a phone line or anything again". I cried a little. Then I slapped him and we drank some more beers.

Anyway, FU Telus!! If you have an account with Telus, I wonder what your account is tagged with.

QUOTE FORM TSI( BAD DECISION ) (2)

CHRONOSS2008 (1226498) | more than 2 years ago | (#38070438)

"Hey gang, I have to leave and join everybody at the ISP Summit as we all digest this further. In a nutshell though I'm not happy.

In essence I like the model but the usage component is way too high. As an example, a gig link from Bell currently costs us something like $1700/mth and under this plan it would go up to $22000/mth then looking at the MTSA pricing - $2810/mth for the same thing... it just doesn't pass the smell test."

PARENT poster has it soo wrong as does all the main media
the costs for indie isps are going up by a factor of roughly 13 times in my case and at best doubling in small regions
this effectively puts a lot a people out of work and off the net that barely afford it now.

If I'm not mistaken.... (5, Informative)

mark-t (151149) | more than 2 years ago | (#38067810)

... there's absolutely nothing in this ruling that actually prohibits UBB... it only prohibits charging more than the amount that was agreed to. Simply put, once a customer has used up the bandwidth that they've paid for in a money, they will have to go and buy more.

It cuts out the suprise bills at the end when you find out just how much bandwidth you really used last month, but it doesn't really stop ISP's from charging consumers based on how much bandwidth they actually use, or, more specifically, they intend to use.

D'oh! Hit submit to soon! (0)

mark-t (151149) | more than 2 years ago | (#38067842)

I saw the typo literally just as I pressed submit...

s/paid for in a money/paid for in a month/

Re:If I'm not mistaken.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38067974)

I believe this ruling means that large telecoms can lease their bandwidth to smaller ISPs who will resell it to consumers, but the large telecom will have no control over how the reseller does this. The ISP could put caps on the reseller as a whole, but not on an individual user.

Re:If I'm not mistaken.... (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#38067976)

... there's absolutely nothing in this ruling that actually prohibits UBB... it only prohibits charging more than the amount that was agreed to. Simply put, once a customer has used up the bandwidth that they've paid for in a month, they will have to go and buy more.

It cuts out the suprise bills at the end when you find out just how much bandwidth you really used last month, but it doesn't really stop ISP's from charging consumers based on how much bandwidth they actually use, or, more specifically, they intend to use.

So how does that work for them having any ability to throttle your usage?

Re:If I'm not mistaken.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38068036)

This ruling has no direct impact on consumer billing. It only governs wholesale internet access sold from ISPs who own the physical infrastructure (ie. TELUS, BELL, etc) to smaller ISPs who then re-sell to consumers.

I saw the announcement on TV and from what I heard the CRTC doesn't actually consider consumer billing as part of its jurisdiction. Although I could have mis-interpreted that.

Re:If I'm not mistaken.... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38068058)

This ruling has no direct impact on consumer billing

Isn't the impact that the large ISPs can't interfere with the consumer billing choices of resellers?

Re:If I'm not mistaken.... (1)

Demonantis (1340557) | more than 2 years ago | (#38068074)

I think there are two different meanings of bandwidth colliding. From the CBC article they are purchasing pipe size not data amount. I have seen both used for bandwidth. It would be nice to know which the CRTC actually means. as they are completely different. http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/story/2011/11/15/pol-crtc-ubb-decision.html [www.cbc.ca]

Re:If I'm not mistaken.... (5, Insightful)

penguinstorm (575341) | more than 2 years ago | (#38068162)

You're not expecting the CRTC to have a thorough, comprehensive technical understanding of the industry they're regulating, are you? Seriously: let me know how that works out for you.

Frankly, Usage Based Billing is a secondary concern to Net Neutrality. Every internet service provider in Canada was built on a monopoly granted to them by the Government of the day (literally or in essence) to provide services that can *now* be replaced by online IP based services. They all have a vested interest in retaining those monopolies and the additional bills you incur as a result.

I get my connection from the *only* cable provider in the mega-city I live in. They could easily start throttling streaming video and impede the technical growth of 1.7 million people.

The CRTC seems like not much more than a cabal run by the large telecoms these days. They're supposed to be an advocate FOR CANADIANS not for the businesses. When they start doing that, I'll have hope.

Re:If I'm not mistaken.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38070396)

You think a megacity with one ISP is bad? Northwestel controls all communication in the Northwest Territories, as well as most of Nunavut, the Yukon, and a chunk of northern BC. Sure, not the largest population, but try getting away from them when they control cable television and internet, dial-up, satellite internet (they purchased an awesome company, turned it to crap and kept the old name). They also own the entire telephone infrastructure, and until very recently actively worked to block outside cellphones from being able to use their towers. Coming up to work for the summer? Time to lock into a new contract!

But hey, we get 20 gigs of data for only $65... or is it the $80 I was quoted and paid into for two years? Who knows, they refuse to send bills if you have a credit and give you the runaround when you demand your excess payments to be refunded.

Re:If I'm not mistaken.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38072306)

Well said.

Re:If I'm not mistaken.... (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38069156)

This is not about whether a Canadian ISP can bill you, as a consumer, according to how much you use. They can and they do.

This ruling is about whether a large ISP (such as Bell), that controls the network itself, can force its own pricing plans onto smaller ISPs that have to lease bandwidth on lines controlled by the big guys. The answer is now no, they cannot do so; the small ISPs are free to create their own plans for their own customers.

Re:If I'm not mistaken.... (1)

madhi19 (1972884) | more than 2 years ago | (#38071732)

Yeah but now that they can't squeeze smaller players out of the market we may finally get them to compete on price that will bring down price for all customers include those who are stuck with Bell!

Re:If I'm not mistaken.... (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 2 years ago | (#38069342)

Simply put, once a customer has used up the bandwidth that they've paid for in a money, they will have to go and buy more.

Care to explain what you understand by "used up the bandwidth"?
Doesn't it sound like the non-nonsensical "used up all the speed of your car"?

(Bandwidth is measured in "bits per second". "Usage Based Billing" should be in something sort of "distance traveled" or "fuel purchased" in the car analogy).

Re:If I'm not mistaken.... (1)

rikkards (98006) | more than 2 years ago | (#38069484)

Teksavvy has usage based billing but the difference between them and Rogers/Bell is that their cap is reasonable (300G vs 95G), they don't throttle, and their cost is $10 cheaper. If you go for the same price, you get unlimited.

Incorrect (2)

GreenEnvy22 (1046790) | more than 2 years ago | (#38069980)

I believe you are wrong there. It says for their wholesale customers, they are allowed to bill based on connection speed, but not total monthly bandwidth usage. This means a small ISP would pay for a 100Mbit link, or 2 Gbit link, etc... It is billed in 100Mbit increments. ISP can use as much as they want, but they will only get that amount per second they paid for. This makes sense to me, you pay for the size of the pipe you need, doesn't matter how much data you put through the pipe.

Re:Incorrect (1)

Maow (620678) | more than 2 years ago | (#38071448)

This makes sense to me, you pay for the size of the pipe you need, doesn't matter how much data you put through the pipe.

My initial reading of the decision on CBC's site made me think it would be *harder* for small ISPs to start up, as they'd under-utilise their connection until their customer base grew enough.

It is billed in 100Mbit increments.

This is good, as small, new ISPs can ramp up the size of their connection as their customer base grows.

I want to read more about TekSavvy's response to the decision, as I'm a new & satisfied customer of theirs.

Re:If I'm not mistaken.... (1)

tixxit (1107127) | more than 2 years ago | (#38073152)

UBB wasn't about charging users for a fixed amount of downloads, it was about the big telcos charging wholesalers prices per individual, instead of, you know, wholesaling bandwidth in bulk to the independents. Basically, they wanted to impose their consumer-level pricing schemes on wholesalers, rather than sell in bulk. A big part of UBB was a change in the laws that would let the big telcos charge the independents rates based on "market value" (ie. what they charge their customers), rather than actual cost to provide the bandwidth (plus a small profit).

The big win is that the telcos still need to base their wholesale price on actual cost, rather than an arbitrary price they set based on "market forces" (ie. them) and whatnot.

Good news (1)

koan (80826) | more than 2 years ago | (#38067944)

Lets hope some of that sensibility flows down south.

Re:Good news (1)

Stormthirst (66538) | more than 2 years ago | (#38068112)

Good luck with that.

Re:Good news (2)

koan (80826) | more than 2 years ago | (#38068200)

I've found when I take that attitude it leads to in-action on my part, then eventually I get whittled down to caring for nothing.
It's a frustrating when the people making the rules either know nothing about the Internet (most judges) or that they are motivated by little more than greed RIAA, MPAA, could it really hurt to voice approval of sensible behavior?

I know it hurts our position to give up by assuming we are done for.

In favour? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38068056)

I think the consensus is that this will basically double the price of wholesale Internet.

Usage based billing is efficient (4, Interesting)

Ichijo (607641) | more than 2 years ago | (#38068110)

Usage-based billing with variable pricing is actually the most efficient way to charge for a limited resource. Under the "all you can eat" flat rate model, the most economical amount of capacity is not where there is no network saturation ever, but where the cost to your users of the inconvenience of network saturation equals the cost of adding capacity. That means a little network congestion is actually a good thing in this pricing model.

Under the "usage-based billing with variable pricing" model, there are neither heavy periods nor light periods, but expensive periods and inexpensive periods. It gives people the freedom and ability to economize by scheduling their heavy downloads for the cheap periods to save money.

If something is in less demand during certain times of the day, why shouldn't the seller charge less during those times? This is why restaurants offer lunch and happy hour specials.

Aren't freedom and the ability to economize good things?

Re:Usage based billing is efficient (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38068194)

Aren't freedom and the ability to economize good things?

Sure, and those freedoms are available to ISPs selling to retail customers. The incumbents have a monopoly/duopoly on the last mile infrastructure, and the goal of the regulations are for the reseller ISPs to pay the incumbent (Bell) the cost involved in the last mile connection, plus a small profit. Network saturation doesn't really make any sense to the last mile of DSL, especially when Bell's own internet TV offerings somehow manage to travel that connection without congestion.

All retail ISPs are free to innovate and choose the pricing scheme that best suits them/their customers, and they should all be on a fair and level playing field as to what they pay for access to the last mile infrastructure monopoly.

Re:Usage based billing is efficient (5, Insightful)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 2 years ago | (#38068258)

Except bandwidth isn't a limited resource, which is what they're charging for. UBB is the easy and cheap way to stall back network upgrades and ding consumers hard in the pocketbook at the same time. In Ontario, independents with their own DSLAMS and cable plants can offer 200-300gb caps and competitive, or better service than the big incumbents can. This tells me that either these organizations have serious fiscal problems in operations, they're so inept that they can't figure out what needs to be upgraded, or there is no problem with bandwidth, and they're just out to screw everyone they can, because they're in a duopoloy, monopoly or super-monopoly position.

Re:Usage based billing is efficient (4, Insightful)

Ichijo (607641) | more than 2 years ago | (#38068332)

bandwidth isn't a limited resource

If bandwidth were a free good [wikipedia.org] , then it would be in such abundance that everybody would have all they could ever want and nobody would ever have to pay anybody for it. Clearly, that isn't the case.

Re:Usage based billing is efficient (1)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 2 years ago | (#38069616)

You're not paying for the bandwidth. You never have, you're paying for the hardware. Remember your highschool physics?

Re:Usage based billing is efficient (4, Insightful)

harryjohnston (1118069) | more than 2 years ago | (#38069684)

Since the hardware determines the bandwidth, I don't see your point. (Are you confusing bandwidth with data?)

Re:Usage based billing is efficient (2)

inhuman_4 (1294516) | more than 2 years ago | (#38071198)

bandwidth isn't a limited resource

If bandwidth were a free good [wikipedia.org] , then it would be in such abundance that everybody would have all they could ever want and nobody would ever have to pay anybody for it. Clearly, that isn't the case.

There are two units of measure that are often conflated. One is the number of packets (P), the other is the transmission rate, packets per second (P/s). Packets (P) are a free good (sort-of they do cost electricity) my computer can generate as many packets as I please at no cost. The bandwidth (P/s) however is a limit resource, to get more you have to pay more. So it makes sense to charge for bandwidth (P/s), but charging for packets (P) doesn't make sense. It's not like your router can only handle so many packets then has to be replaced. UBB is an indirect way of limiting bandwidth (P/s) by limiting packets (P).

In a free market system with strong competition UBB is a much better system for multiple reasons. Unfortunately in North America the market is mostly duopolies or monopolies and market effects which make UBB work breakdown.

Since ISPs make money selling more bandwidth than they buy based on the assumption that not everyone will use their bandwidth 24/7. Caps on (P) prevent statistical outliers (24/7 bandwidth use people) from screwing up this business model since no money is made on people who max out their connection. I think most people agree this is reasonable. (Note: some companies claim 'unlimited' but in fact do have caps; they are scum).

UBB is good because is makes people set their own caps (P) based on how much they are willing to spend. Which just like the outliers indirectly limits bandwidth (P/s). This is good because it allows ISP to give out high bandwidth (P/s) knowing that people will set their own limits, making the system more economical and efficient for eveyone.

The problem with UBB is that it discourages ISPs from increasing the bandwidth (P/s) they can handle. Since UBB rations (P) and not (P/s) users will not increase (P) because it will cost them too much. This is where the free market steps in as everyone will want to be with the company with the lowest price per (P). This competition will force companies to lower their cost per (P). Since the cost is now lower customers will use more (P) forcing companies to increase network capacity (P/s) to accommodate.

Since most ISPs in North America are a monopoly there is no reason for ISPs to ever decrease the price for (P) or invest in the network (P/s). Accommodating new users is done by increasing the price since (P) is a limited resource. Increasing the price causes people to ration (P) more but the company makes more money on the same network (P/s). The networks capacity (P/s) determines how much (P) the ISPs have and they auction it off at the highest point the market will bear. They can justify an increase in costs if there is more demand for a "limited" resource (P), ie. "we are running out of internet".

In our current system ISPs must make money by adding new users, since arbitrarily increasing the price of (P/s) would be an abuse of monopoly power and the government would step in. This is down by lowering the costs of (P/s) so more people will sign on. New users must be accommodated with more bandwidth (P/s) on the network since reducing the bandwidth (P/s) or cap (P) of existing users is again an abuse of monopoly power and the government will step in. This forces network upgrades, and eventually causes ISP to offer better services.

Really the problem is not UBB, but the lack of a free market in ISPs in North America. UBB is a solution that doesn't address the problem and will only make things worse.

Re:Usage based billing is efficient (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38070606)

Bandwidth is a limited resource at peak times, and an unlimited resource at off-peak times (when there's more bandwidth than people want to use). The optimal pricing model is for it to be free at off-peak times, and at on on-peak times, to price it just right so that the quantity demanded is equal to the quantity available (i.e., so you don't quite get congestion). Of course, that leaves you with a substantial fixed cost for the actual infrastructure that you still need to pay for somehow...

Re:Usage based billing is efficient (1)

Neil Watson (60859) | more than 2 years ago | (#38072630)

I believe that the UBB plan had little or nothing to do with limited bandwidth. Bell and Rogers own TV channels and networks. They own both content and the means to distribute it. Enter new enterprises that offer content over the Internet, Netflix. I believe UBB is really about keeping control of content and eliminating any content competitors.

Re:Usage based billing is efficient (1)

eddy the lip (20794) | more than 2 years ago | (#38073244)

Within a week of Netflix announcing they were coming to Canada, Rogers lowered their usage caps.

Re:Usage based billing is efficient (2)

wwbbs (60205) | more than 2 years ago | (#38068294)

UBB is great when you do not have artificial limits imposed by the people that control the internet backbone and the last mile; that only have that monopoly as it was subsidized by the tax payers in return for ongoing service. While I agree that companies should be able to make a profit but what appears to have happened is some bean counter got a bright idea that people should pay more now per byte than they did even five years ago. I blame the mobile market for jacking up the rates bell figured we can charge $100/Gig for Mobile internet why the hell can we not make more on the broadband connections. If your bill for 20 Gigabytes of data transfer was $200 instead of $20 Would you care? What about $2000 for 200Gigabytes?

Re:Usage based billing is efficient (1)

Ichijo (607641) | more than 2 years ago | (#38068470)

If your bill for 20 Gigabytes of data transfer was $200 instead of $20 Would you care?

If that charge applies only to the peak usage periods from 6-9am and 6-9pm, and it's free at all other times, plus a flat $10 per month line charge, I could get pretty close to paying only $10 per month for broadband internet. That wouldn't be so bad.

Re:Usage based billing is efficient (2)

Grieviant (1598761) | more than 2 years ago | (#38068420)

Just one small difference between theory and practice - UBB as envisioned by the Canadian telcos was never intended to be efficient, it was intended to make them more money without any further investment in the infrastructure. Do you really think they're going to concede anything on the low end of the bandwidth usage spectrum, for example by offering old-granny-1GB-per-month a $10 plan? Not a chance in hell. It's a means to punish people for actually using their connections for all those great things they're advertised for (gaming, video and music streaming, large downloads), foisted onto the consumer under the guise of 'fairness'.

Re:Usage based billing is efficient (1)

Ichijo (607641) | more than 2 years ago | (#38068550)

Do you really think they're going to concede anything on the low end of the bandwidth usage spectrum, for example by offering old-granny-1GB-per-month a $10 plan?

Yes, because that's $10 more per month they would be getting from her than if they charged a flat rate of $50 per month.

Re:Usage based billing is efficient (1)

aclarke (307017) | more than 2 years ago | (#38068494)

I don't have a philosophical argument with UBB as a concept. However, its implementation by Bell/Rogers/etc. was a cash grab and a way to stifle market innovation by choking out resellers. I wrote a bit about it [clarke.ca] a few months ago, if you or anyone actually cares.

IIRC, Bell's per GB overage charges were over a thousand times their actual costs. No matter how you slice that, it's anti-consumer and anti-competitive. Additionally, in a fair system I'd expect to see the base cost of an internet connection go down for the vast majority of lower-than-average users. Of course that wasn't going to happen.

Over the last couple months I've averaged about 280GB per month on my home DSL. Of course I think I should pay more than the average user for that. However, I think the excess charges should be in line with costs plus reasonable profit.

Re:Usage based billing is efficient (1)

Ichijo (607641) | more than 2 years ago | (#38068656)

IIRC, Bell's per GB overage charges were over a thousand times their actual costs... I think the excess charges should be in line with costs plus reasonable profit.

In the real world, product prices aren't set directly by "costs plus reasonable profit," but by whatever the market will bear. If you charge above the market, nobody will buy your widget, and if you charge below the market, you'll run out of widgets and lose money not just on the widgets you sold but also the widgets you couldn't sell because you ran out.

How "costs plus reasonable profit" is related to selling price is that if you can't make a reasonable profit, you won't produce any to sell. This reduces supply, causing the market equilibrium price to rise. Or if you can make an incredible profit, more sellers will find it worthwhile to enter the market, increasing supply and causing the price to fall.

Re:Usage based billing is efficient (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38068766)

In the real regulated world, prices are exactly set by "cost plus reasonable profit" for tariffed services. What the hell are you talking about?

Re:Usage based billing is efficient (1)

silas_moeckel (234313) | more than 2 years ago | (#38069536)

That only works in an open market telecom last mile is not open. A sane market would decouple the last mile lines and services.

Re:Usage based billing is efficient (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38070132)

Not when it comes to data networking and it's because the limited resource, i.e. data bandwidth (amount of data per unit of time), has to already exist whether or not your actually using it. What's more is that in reality no single user can actually hog this resource due to the marvels of technology called, Traffic Management, which guarantees every user equal access to the limited resource (ignoring application specific throttling for the sake of simplicity). A data cap is a misdirection as well since someone who downloads 50GB evenly over the duration of a month actually uses less of the data bandwidth than someone who does it as fast as the network will allow; i.e. data cap/data volume do not directly effect how the limited resource is used (when was the last time you asked iTunes to download an album at 100Kbps to go easy on the data bandwidth?).

The real issue is that ISP's over book the network in order to bring down the capital expenses on equipment purchases. Which is fine, but then they really should be advertising their service packages with the guaranteed minimum bandwidth that a use can expect, and perhaps the average and maximum as well. I would guess that the minimum bandwidth figure is embarrassingly low; i.e. the over booking is likely excessive compared to the realities of how the network is actually used these days.

Re:Usage based billing is efficient (1)

scamper_22 (1073470) | more than 2 years ago | (#38073886)

Most sensible people acknowledge. There is no 'free lunch'. There are real costs to providing internet connections (infrastructure, support, transit charges...) The only question is how do you break down the usage.

Most physical models we could come up with are problematic. Many might try a metaphor like our roads. We have similar issues of infrastructure costs, too much traffic, congestion, peak periods... So road tolls seem sensible to some people. This is some form of usage based billing.

Yet let's remember, usage based billing is not some kind of natural way to charge things. When you go to an amusement park, they typically charge you an entry fee no matter how many rides you go on. Subscription models are out there a plenty. The big advantage of subscription based models is predictability in pricing and ease of use.

But we have something in the 'internet' that we don't have on our physical roads. On the internet, we can control the usage of our users. We can't control car drivers (when they drive, how fast, what path they take, how they merge....)

The technology exists and has existed for a long time to manage networks. This is more true with DSL and fibre, but you can also do it with cable.

Now for a piece of wisdom I've learned in my many years. Bureaucracy should always paint with a very broad brush. This is true for both companies and governments. You cannot 'micro-manage complexity'.

Considering telcos are in general natural monopolies and we have to regulate them to some extent, we must make sure to regulate them with a broad brush to REDUCE complexity in regulation.

1. Ban usage based billing.
2. ISPs can charge different rates for different connection speeds, priorities.
3. ISPs can only throttle per user. Not per protocol.

3 rules.
Easy to regulate.
Keeps pricing predictable.
Prevents conflict of interest (throttle netflix...)
Allows the ISPs to control their network traffic.

And as always... this kind of regulation should only be applied to a natural monopoly/cartel situation. This is not a restaurant when you have lots of choices, can start up your own restaurant if you're not happy, and can choose to just make your food at home if none of the options are there.

Re:Usage based billing is efficient (1)

billtom (126004) | more than 2 years ago | (#38074742)

This hearing wasn't really about Usage Based Billing as a concept.

As is pretty common in these sorts of things, the terms of debate g0t all twisted around by the participants as they try to put forward their various agendas.

The real question being addressed was: in what ways can the big telco companies force their wholesale customers (the independent ISPs) to adopt certain billing practices on their retail customers?

The fact that the question, this time, was about UBB was incidental to the basic point.

Basically, the big telcos HATE having to make their last mile infrastructure available at wholesale rates to independent ISPs. But the regulator (the CRTC) forces them to do it and won't budge on that basic point.

So, instead, the big telcos are trying to make it unprofitable to run an independent ISP and drive them all out of business (while still, technically, offering wholesale access to their networks).

The latest tactic is to try to force the independent ISPs to offer the same terms of service to their retail customers as the big telcos offer to their retail customers. The thinking being that if the prices, bandwidth, data caps, etc, etc, are all exactly the same between the big telcos and the independent ISPs, then most users won't bother seeking out the independent ISPs and will just stick with the big telcos for internet access (as the customers already have a relationship with the big telcos for telephone or television access).

But, the big telcos have to go through the regulator (CRTC) in order to execute this plan to destroy service differentiation because the terms of the wholesale market are heavily regulated. (If they weren't, then the big telcos would just drop wholesale alltogether.)

So, this whole thing isn't really about Usage Based Billing as a general concept. It's about the big telcos trying to force their particular UBB plans on the retail customers of independent ISPs; as opposed to allowing the independent ISPs to adopt their own UBB plans with details different from the big telcos.

If only... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38068130)

I live in Quebec, and the only "small ISP" that allow unlimited internet are based on the Bell ADSL network. That's 2.5mbps here, instead of the cable (videotron) who can reach 50mbps. If only some of these small ISP would allow unlimited cable use, but no.

Re:If only... (1)

Phisbut (761268) | more than 2 years ago | (#38073834)

I live in Quebec, and the only "small ISP" that allow unlimited internet are based on the Bell ADSL network. That's 2.5mbps here, instead of the cable (videotron) who can reach 50mbps. If only some of these small ISP would allow unlimited cable use, but no.

Teksavvy offers an unlimited plan on Videotron's cable, but it's outrageously priced (80$/month for 8/1 Mbps)

Canadian broadband is still crap (5, Interesting)

Grieviant (1598761) | more than 2 years ago | (#38068192)

Sure, score a small point for not letting Bell and Rogers increase the abuse, but our wired broadband status quo is still terrible. High prices, low monthly caps (60GB typical) with massive overage fees, absurd asymmetry between D/L and U/L rates (10 Mbps down / 0.5 Mbps up typical), unmitigated throttling any time the provider feels like it (apparently 65-85% of the time [nytimes.com] ), 'unintentional' throttling of gaming, etc. Aside from the low caps, you can't even get around any of this by going with one of the smaller ISPs since AFAIK the leased lines are subject to the same 'traffic management' policies.

The service is pretty shitty also - video buffering on a 25Mbps D/L connection, ping to the west coast randomly spiking up to 400ms, problems that 5 calls to tech support over the period of a month and one modem replacement failed to resolve. The tech support guys and technicians all but admit that it's a policy issue rather than anything they can fix.

Re:Canadian broadband is still crap (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38068364)

I use Distributel, who are a Bell wholesaler, and I don't experience any throttling. The only hitch is that my speed is shit (3mbps), but it was worth it to me to have no caps. I moved here from the states, and my wife and I were on Rogers. The first month here I'd never even heard of caps and wasn't thinking about it, and I had a 250gb overage just on the basic internet usage I was accustomed to in the US. I was more than willing to trade paying for that shit in exchange for shitty speeds. I understand Distributel is now offering cable in my area, which is I think 12mbps, but I'm not sure if it's worth it to me for the extra 10 bucks a month. What I have is sufficient for what I use it for (including streaming video like Hockey Night in Canada from cbc.ca, Netflix, PS3 gaming, etc).

Re:Canadian broadband is still crap (2)

DeathFromSomewhere (940915) | more than 2 years ago | (#38068786)

Currently posting from Edmonton using 250 down / 15 up / unlimited data. Sucks to be you bro, but you shouldn't say all of Canada has crap broadband just because you do.

Re:Canadian broadband is still crap (1)

Mad Merlin (837387) | more than 2 years ago | (#38069140)

Currently posting from Edmonton using 250 down / 15 up / unlimited data.

How much is that costing you? That could be had here if you don't mind paying 5 figures a month for it.

Re:Canadian broadband is still crap (1)

DeathFromSomewhere (940915) | more than 2 years ago | (#38069190)

$140 standalone. It's cheaper if you bundle it but I don't need TV.

Re:Canadian broadband is still crap (1)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 2 years ago | (#38069626)

So you have shaw would be my guess. Which puts you into the 'small' minority of Canadians who can get it. Drive 2hrs north of where you live, and zip. You'll be lucky if you can get a 1.3meg/256k connection that's stable.

Re:Canadian broadband is still crap (2)

DeathFromSomewhere (940915) | more than 2 years ago | (#38069902)

2 hours north of Edmonton is the middle of nowhere. Living out in the bushes has its pros and cons, like anywhere else.

Re:Canadian broadband is still crap (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38070030)

No, the majority of Canadians live in large, urban centres. Canada is a big place. Most of it is sparsely or outright uninhabited. If you live 2 hours outside the city, be prepared to deal with the lack of a lot of services that city dwellers take for granted. If you're able to get DSL at all, consider yourself lucky. It's simply not cost effective to provide every rural area with high speed Internet.

Re:Canadian broadband is still crap (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38069758)

Talked to my "smaller ISP" (Teksavvy cable) and they say their traffic and is not subject to any traffic management policies, from Teksavvy, or Rogers.

Also Caps of 300GB @ 25/1 is reasonable... But direct from Rogers or Bell is silly.

Re:Canadian broadband is still crap (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38075512)

...unmitigated throttling any time the provider feels like it (apparently 65-85% of the time [nytimes.com] ), 'unintentional' throttling of gaming, etc. Aside from the low caps, you can't even get around any of this by going with one of the smaller ISPs since AFAIK the leased lines are subject to the same 'traffic management' policies.

Actually that's not quite true at least not right now. Bell does indeed put the screws to its 3rd party resellers and forces its traffic management upon them but Rogers via Teksavvy at least here in Ottawa has not and this might be true of any cable based 3rd party ISPs or at least any of them that aren't running on Bell's lines. Which is specifically why I switched to Teksavvy Cable the very day it became available in my neighborhood. Internet cost chopped in half, monthly bandwidth more then tripled and a very minor sacrifice in download speed for all of that which I think was well worth it.

George Orwell is turning over in his grave (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38068492)

Where is the utopian society he dreamed of in 1984? Put control back in the hands of big business for heavens sake. They know what is best for us.

14.6GiB per $ (3, Informative)

harryjohnston (1118069) | more than 2 years ago | (#38068842)

If I've done my math right, then for Bell-based customers this works out as roughly 14.6GiB per dollar, or seven cents per gigabyte, assuming the network is always congested. The actual cost depends on the peak to off-peak traffic ratio and on how much congestion is considered acceptable, but this provides a minimum.

Folks who want, say, 5Mbs free-and-clear (no congestion and no data cap) would be paying Bell $110.65 per month plus a $14.11 access fee. That's more than I'd prefer to pay myself, but it isn't out of reach.

However, it isn't clear to me exactly what this is buying. I suspect it doesn't include actual internet connectivity, but is just what the retail ISP is paying for Bell to get the traffic from the customer to the ISP. So you need to add the ISPs internal costs, profit margin, any applicable taxes, and whatever wholesale internet rates the ISP pays. I strongly suspect that by the time you've added all this up, 5Mbs free-and-clear is still going to be too expensive for most people.

Re:14.6GiB per $ (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38068912)

Not really since even the ISPs with unlimited plans still oversell their back-haul capacity. Very very few people run their connection at 100% 24/7.

Re:14.6GiB per $ (1)

harryjohnston (1118069) | more than 2 years ago | (#38069438)

But many people think they should be able to. :-)

Re:14.6GiB per $ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38070172)

I absolutely agree with you. Thing is, if you have a small enough group that does that and you can still make a profit and provide good service to all your users then why not do it? I'm a fan of ISPs providing a guaranteed minimum service level and allowing bursting for the rest of their unused bandwidth. I think it would be more honest than the current bogus max speed advertising.

Re:14.6GiB per $ (1)

inhuman_4 (1294516) | more than 2 years ago | (#38071226)

I absolutely agree with you. Thing is, if you have a small enough group that does that and you can still make a profit and provide good service to all your users then why not do it?

Indeed TekSavvy does this. They offer two streams: Low pings capped, high ping unlimited. Basically cheap/gamer and massive downloader packages. I'm with the later and I am very happy. Ping times are really not bad at all and I get as much usage as I want. After dealing with Rogers/Bell for years switching to smaller companies like TekSavvy and Moblicity have been an eye opener for what service should be like. I just wish they could expand outside Toronto, and that Bell would stop hassling Teksavvy all the time (eg. this UBB crap).

Re:14.6GiB per $ (1)

Maow (620678) | more than 2 years ago | (#38071488)

Indeed TekSavvy does this. They offer two streams: Low pings capped, high ping unlimited. Basically cheap/gamer and massive downloader packages.

I'm a happy TekSavvy customer too, but their packages don't have varying ping times (http://teksavvy.com/en/res-internet.asp). Not even sure how they would implement such a thing over someone else's infrastructure.

After dealing with Rogers/Bell for years switching to smaller companies like TekSavvy and Moblicity have been an eye opener for what service should be like.

Could not agree with this more! I'm with TekSavvy & Wind and it's a treat to not begrudge service providers my business.

TSI screwed up my order and left me without internet for > 9 days, so I was using my tethered Android through Wind and it worked brilliantly, they saved my arse.

Having dumped "Humongous Bank" for a credit union ages ago, I can't think of anyone I do business with that I despise any more.

Happily using TekSavvy (1)

Maow (620678) | more than 2 years ago | (#38069614)

I'm on my first month using TekSavvy (a 3rd party reseller) here in Vancouver, over Shaw Cable's "last mile".

Can't say how happy I am to have cut Shaw, Rogers, and Telus from my life (thanks to Wind Mobile too).

Just putting this out there for anyone else who might be interested.

To top it all off, "Humongous Bank" is history too, thanks to VanCity.

Re:Happily using TekSavvy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38069750)

Way to go! Unfortunately their CRM software could not catch you on the way out with a special promotion

Re:Happily using TekSavvy (3, Informative)

Maow (620678) | more than 2 years ago | (#38070592)

Unfortunately their CRM software could not catch you on the way out with a special promotion

I don't understand.

Rogers' customer retention tried to keep my mobile business, but I just hated them far too much.

Shaw didn't try retention deal and I wanted to be rid of them anyway. Had they matched TekSavvy's deal, I'd still not have stayed since Shaw would likely have continued to up the price every few months.

Unfortunately, TekSavvy screwed up my order, which I didn't find out about until connection day.

Fortunately, Wind includes unlimited internet for my $40 / month, so I tethered with them until TekSavvy waived their $50 connection fee (and, double bonus, the first month's fee too!).

All in all, I feel good about who I do business with now, and how rare is *that*?

It's *still* ONLY a 'Duopoly' (1)

doccus (2020662) | more than 2 years ago | (#38070890)

I live in Canada, and some time ago wanted to switch from one of the 'Big Two' to one of the small ones (in fact the very first local ISP i ever signed up with).. Turns out that they have to 1) apply for permission *from* the big two, before they can provide you service..if there's any unresolved issues between you and the big boys, including , but not limited to) unpaid bills, arbitration, complaints due TOS violations of any kind, etc etc, they can refuse permission to allow subcontracting access of any kind.. and they did in my case.. This is the nature of 'Free competition' in a fascist social domocracy.. and Canada fits the description to a tee.. the description is, by the way .. Fascist social democracies are those states win which the government owns, and regulates, in concert with big industry, almost everything, and has no mechanism in place to appeal decisions, to one's elected representatives between elections.. These small 'independents' provide illusory free market operability, and only can offer more variations of packaging of the same services already offered by the big boys. Say, for example, that the big two are practicing DNS blocking of 'implicated copyright infringing' sites, which they do.. with regularly.. here in Canada, one of the few alternate services these smaller ISPs can offer is alternate DNS management.. However, that's already available online for free, with 30 seconds searching.. If there's throttling occuring, it is NOT going to be released via the subcontracting plan.. Even with Megabit internet, my speeds NEVER exceeded 1000 Kbps.. And now, down one step, on the high speed plan, i average only 300 to 450 Kbps.. on a good day .. if downloading from a 'suspect' file hosting service, my speeds often average 12- 36 Kbps... this does not change simply due to a subletting of the account. The main ISP is still watching the sub-letted account name, IP address, and history.. I could go on.. it's no different buying , say , car insurance, medicine (even if paying cash you still need a government registration card to be allowed to buy your prescription). Not as bad as the UK here.. but on the way..

Torontonian here (1)

JigJag (2046772) | more than 2 years ago | (#38073010)

To cut my bills I did the following:
* Internet: Teksavvy over Cable. Long ago I had Rogers Cable ($70/month, 5 Mbps Up / 256 Kbps Down), then Teksavvy DSL and now Teksavvy Cable (Extreme: up to 24/1 Mpbs, 300 Gb cap, $43/month)
* Telephone: Unlimitel (VoIP) with my dedicated Asterisk computer at home. $3.50/DID (I have 3), plus usage, which comes to about $7, so around $10/month for 3 lines
* Television: cut Rogers Cable in Feb 2011. Now I have Netflix (US & Canada), and antenna. I don't watch sports on tv (or in real life if I can help it) and the news are acquired on the net or on the antenna. $8 for Netflix Canada, $8 for Netflix US, $5 for US proxy to get Netflix US. I could cut Netflix Canada but they have shows not available on Netflix US. For the price, I'm ok with paying both.

Now if only I could find a way to reduce the Electricity bill (Toronto Hydro hiked their rate many times over the last 2 years), I would be golden. Unfortunately, solar is out of reach for me. Last quote I got was $50,000 to equip my roof and that equipment cannot even store the electricity I produce, it's gone to the grid immediately.

JigJag

The proof of the pudding is in the eating (1)

moozh84 (919301) | more than 2 years ago | (#38074644)

Here are the facts:

- Of the developed world, Canada has among the worst Internet speeds for the worst prices.
- Our Internet providers are all posting record profits year after year.
- Our Internet providers are all buying up big media companies so they can control the gateways and the content itself for their own benefit.
- Alternative forms of content distribution are between throttled and bandwidth-capped.
- I can get better service for significantly less money through a competitor who is a fraction of the big company's size. If Wal-Marts taught us anything is that the little guys can't compete with the big guys. If the big companies don't have to undercut the little companies to stay in business or to keep their customers, they're obviously doing other uncompetitive things.

It's safe to say that Usage-Based Billing, or anything else these companies are advocating for, are not in the best interest of everyone. You can argue the theory of pricing models and justify traffic management policies until you're blue in the face, but as long as the facts are laid out like this there is no reason to trust anything the companies are pushing for.

North (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38074778)

I'll be interested to see how this plays out in the north. The current standard for ISPs in the north is with usage-based billing and I am curious to find out how this ruling plays out with them. If they are forced to adopt them, I'm sure they will switch to a very restrictive throttling model, much like the current model XplorNet uses.

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