Canadian Broadband Regulators Annoyed That People Are Pointing Out They Don't Understand What They're Regulating

from the job-hazard dept

If you were paying attention last week in Canada, there was a huge fight over an attempt by Canadian regulators, the CRTC, to implement new "usage based billing" pricing structures for independent ISPs who make use of Bell Canada's network. The effective result of this, of course, is to try to prop up old business models, while holding down new, more efficient, more economically valuable business models. However, due to public outcry, politicians asked the CRTC to justify itself, and the response was basic annoyance at having to defend the decision.

However, as some are noticing, perhaps a large part of that annoyance comes from the realization that the CRTC didn't even fully understand what it is regulating, focusing on the bogus consumer-focused claim that it's about "fairness" in broadband pricing, so that "broadband hogs pay their fair share." Of course, if that were truly the focus, then shouldn't it also mean that the broadband companies, like Bell Canada, should be refunding tons of money to the non-broadband hogs? Except, that's not happening. The whole "broadband hogs" claim has always been a red herring. As we've seen over and over again, "usage-based billing" is never about offering "fair plans" to those who don't use very much. Instead, it's almost always about setting very low bars to force normal users to pay much more while decreasing their incentive to use new, more innovative internet services.


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  1.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Feb 8th, 2011 @ 4:50am

    I guess netflix was right. Nothing to worry about.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 8th, 2011 @ 5:13am

    the CRTC didn't even fully understand what it is regulating

    This link doesn't actually prove that, it only serves up Michael Geist's opinion, which to now surprise is against their decision.

    There is a whole bunch of political grandstanding going on with this issue, as the opposition Liberal party was quick to come out against the decision, and now the ruling Conservative party also comes out against it. They are both playing to get the youth vote in an upcoming election.

    it's almost always about setting very low bars to force normal users to pay much more

    Considering that Bell Canada's "low bar" is low but reasonable (25gig on small plans, 75-100gig on fast plans) and that they do sell "overage" at a reasonable price (doubly the fastest plan's bandwidth for about $10 a month) it isn't particularly out of line. A low bar would be a cap of 2 or 3 gig a month, which would trap almost everyone.

    Now that the politicians are involved, nobody will be surprised to see more high bandwidth plans,but the prices will end up going up to respect them. There is no free lunch on this one.

     

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    gorehound (profile), Feb 8th, 2011 @ 5:25am

    Re:

    they have a real BS situation in canada
    the consumers have spoken out in anger and rightly so

     

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    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Feb 8th, 2011 @ 5:28am

    Re:

    You act like Bell doesn't have a choice in this. They must curb bandwidth usage or go belly up. I got news for you, they don't.

    You truly believe that they're offering their top tier connection for $10 a month? How many hundreds of dollars do you need to be paying them already to get that deal? Is it like Verizon where you can get their DSL for $14.99 a month but you must first have their $69 phone service?

     

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    Chargone (profile), Feb 8th, 2011 @ 5:29am

    New Zealand has usage based billing, and always has. though in this case it's due to the very limited connections from here to anywhere else.

    the idea is that you buy priority on the network. depending on who you're signed up with, that means either you pay to have priority for the first X amount of data you use, and then lose the priority and have your speed drop down to 'an equal share with all other non-priority users of what's left of the available bandwidth after all priority users have theirs allocated' (which can be anything from full speed to slower than dialup), or you pay for priority for the first X amount... then your ISP charges you more to continue giving you priority, because they have to by that priority on the lines to give it to you. prices for this are all over the map.

    basically, most of our traffic is getting data from overseas, mostly the USA. our bandwith has a hard cap for that: there's two or three under sea cables (i think it's only two) out of the country. they can't exactly be upgraded...

    so the whole thing is a method for handling Actual scarcity.

    of course, the US and Canada don't exactly have this particular limiting issue, so can't really make the same argument.

     

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    B's Opinion Only (profile), Feb 8th, 2011 @ 5:32am

    An online poll from The Globe and Mail today ( http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/technology/tech-news/ubb-internet/the-public-is-right-to-be-cyni cal-of-internet-usage-regulators/article1898151/ ) shows that 43% of readers have had to pay for bandwidth overages at least once. Remember that UBB and the new ridiculously low caps haven't even started yet!

    These 43% of users hit the OLD, larger limits of 100GB or more.

    Strangely these numbers are much different from Bell's claims, or of the useless 3 year old data everyone is using.

    @Anonymous Coward: There is nothing 'reasonable' about selling a commodity at 100 to 250 times its cost.

     

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    Daniel Barratt, Feb 8th, 2011 @ 5:34am

    I didn't even realize other canadians had a 'bandwidth hogs' stance until this whole fiasco happened and I talked to some non-tech savvy people who seemed to believe they were being charged more as low-bandwidth users to support the heavy users, rather than just being bilked by their ISPs. It seems to be a sad state of affairs where people have just accepted that rogers and bell are anti-competitive and it's acceptable for them to get together and price fix.

    First of all, the average user should pay $50 a month for 60GB of bandwidth. That's just ridiculous. Second of all, having done the math, those caps don't seem to properly scale at all. Okay, I'm a heavy user. I accept that and I will pay more. For bell, that means the best I can hope for is 75GB at 25Mbps for $52.95, which means I could use up my cap in 6.8 hours at full bandwidth. For Rogers, I'd pay a whopping $99.99 for 50Mbps, but with a 175GB cap I could use that up in 7.9 hours.

    I know A LOT of canadians who just want an unlimited plan.... they don't even really care how fast the line is. How can Bell, Rogers and the CRTC claim to be consumer-focused and not cater to us consumers?

     

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    Ben (profile), Feb 8th, 2011 @ 5:34am

    Re:

    "This link doesn't actually prove that, it only serves up Michael Geist's opinion, which to now surprise is against their decision."

    That is false.

    Von Finckenstein opening statement:

    "All ISPs advertise their rates, bandwidth caps and the additional usage charges that apply. Consumers can shop around for the plan that best meet their needs. Internet services are now sold like other public utilities, such as water, gas and electricity. As we reported in our most recent Communications Monitoring Report, Canadians used on average 15.4 gigabits per month in 2009. Most users therefore fall well within the caps currently set by the Large Distributors and would not be charged more unless their monthly usage increased dramatically."

    Which Michael Geist goes on to counter the many false points:
    "The practical reality for most Canadians is that there are very limited choices - typically the duopoly of cable and DSL - with plans that mirror one another. "

    Very true statement. In my area you get Bell or Rogers who's plans are pretty much the same, and Teksavvy, who for Bell's prices offers 200GB cap. Without the independent ISP I would have no choice, and this is the same for pretty much everyone else.

    "Second, the frequent comparison of Internet services to utilities such as electricity or gas is misplaced. Electricity and gas are consumed - as you use it, it disappears. Bandwidth does not disappear once used. Moreover, Von Finckenstein conveniently omits the fact that pricing for electricity and gas are regulated in virtually every province in Canada. For electricity, there is a range of regulatory regimes that control both wholesale and retail prices. For natural gas, the prices on transportation and distribution are regulated and the commodity cost of gas changes in response to markets. "

    So the CRTC is comparing Internet services to Gas and electricity utilities which are far from analogous.

    "Third, Canadians should be very uncomfortable with the CRTC's notion of "heavy users" and the reports that 15.4 GB represents an average user. If we are to set the standard of heavy users based on 2009 data, the majority of users will be classified as heavy users (and find themselves paying for overages) before long. As MP Peter Braid noted during the hearing, policies should be forward looking and it feels like the CRTC's reference point for Internet usage is stuck looking back in the rear view mirror."

    And this kicker. This is setting up everyone to be locked down in low cap plans with ridiculous overages or overpriced high cap plans. Choose your poison.

    "Considering that Bell Canada's "low bar" is low but reasonable (25gig on small plans, 75-100gig on fast plans) and that they do sell "overage" at a reasonable price (doubly the fastest plan's bandwidth for about $10 a month) it isn't particularly out of line. A low bar would be a cap of 2 or 3 gig a month, which would trap almost everyone." That's bullshit. $2/GB is not at all reasonable when the actual costs are around 2 cents / GB or around 10-100 times the actual costs. And notice the low users don't get cheaper plans either. This is pure greed. And all this based on Bell's information and word. What a joke.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 8th, 2011 @ 5:39am

    Re:

    Actually it was a question of political survival.
    They enacted that crap and immediately the results where reduced band and high prices all over the spectrum there was no hogs to blame was there, everyone and I mean everyone saw their internet go up and less service being provided.

    What happened next?
    Tens of thousands of angry Canadians flood the communication channels cursing at them, now they know what metered internet is all about.

    Any one who says that metered is something fair is either idiot or stands to benefit from abusing the system for undeserved profits.

     

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    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Feb 8th, 2011 @ 5:43am

    Re:

    You made me start looking up info on undersea cables. I didn't know that there were dozens of cables. I also didn't know that one of the largest complaints of at least one of the under sea providers was the lack of connection between them and the end user. The ISPs are lagging when it comes to providing the bandwidth.

    I can't say how it is in New Zealand, but you may want to question what your ISP is telling you.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 8th, 2011 @ 5:46am

    Re: Re:

    I didn't say they offer their top tier for $10, they offer to double bandwidth (to 150-200gig a month) for a $10 top up fee. Their high end plans (25 gig "fiber") are running around $60 a month average, from what I can see.

    Bell Canada has bundling discounts, but they aren't big money, $5-$10 a month if you have multiple services. But there is no service obligation to get internet service, they do "dry line" installs as well at the same price.

     

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    freak (profile), Feb 8th, 2011 @ 5:47am

    There's an image going across the net, explaining why the billing is so f***ing bad.

    Bell wants to charge $2 a GB after you hit your limit, right?
    Take a 160GB solid state memory card, that's $300. Next day shipping for that costs $10.
    That's about 15mbs, and a little under $1.94 per GB, which means that under the new law, it would cost less to buy a solid state drive, load it up with internet related stuff, ship it, and then THROW IT OUT, than to pay for internet.

    So yeah, still wonder why us up here are a bit pissed off?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 8th, 2011 @ 5:48am

    Re: Re:

    Do you have any examples of prices that changed as a result of the CRTC decision?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 8th, 2011 @ 5:54am

    Re:

    It is an interesting poll, but sort of misleading. First off, it's self selecting (only appears on a page of an opinion piece about bandwidth overcharging) and second, it doesn't touch on what limit they hit, on what network, etc. Could it be people hitting limits on wireless plans, or base or very limited plans, example?

    Strangely these numbers are much different from Bell's claims

    it isn't strange at all. Without qualification, the numbers presented in an "informal opt in if you want reader poll"are fairly meaningless.

    There is nothing 'reasonable' about selling a commodity at 100 to 250 times its cost

    Feel free to expand on this. What are they reselling for 250 times the cost?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 8th, 2011 @ 5:56am

    Re: Re:

    I just wanted to highlight your last point.

    40 Gb costs about a dollar. No one objects to this sort of metered plan. You'd actually pay for the cost of what you use. If you use 1500-2000 Gb, then your monthly bill would be about $40 to $50.

    In any other industry you'd be outraged to overpay by so much. This isn't about fairness. If it was, costs would go down.

     

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    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Feb 8th, 2011 @ 5:56am

    Re: Re: Re:

    So, $70 for 200G max. So, using Bell's math, my internal network that runs around 1-2TB a month must cost me $700 to maintain every month. Guess what, it doesn't. My electricity bill goes up higher from turning on the TV then running 2TB threw my network.

    You're getting ripped off. In fact, everyone who has a download cap is getting ripped off no matter how high it is.

     

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    Blatant Coward (profile), Feb 8th, 2011 @ 5:59am

    Re:

     

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    Brent (profile), Feb 8th, 2011 @ 6:03am

    Saskatchewan is the place to be, I guess

    I live in Saskatchewan, and while I'm concerned about the implementation of UBB, I'm currently unaffected. My ISP (Sasktel - A crown corporation) has NO plans to implement any sort of usable based billing. I pay about $35 a month for my 5mbps DSL connection, with unlimited usage.

    The only other competitor in my area (Saskatoon) for broadband is Shaw, and with their fastest plan (100mbps) you get a cap of 250gigs, with a $1/GB charge over that. At my current usage levels, I'd be paying an extra $250 a month.

    I have no problem with fair, real-world usage based billing where it's billed like my electricity. A base fee to maintain the line coming in (Let's say $10 a month) then a per GB charge for whatever I use. If bandwidth costs somewhere around a few pennies per GB, then I'd be happy to pay $0.10 per GB for my usage.

    Everyone wins. Those who barely use their connection would save money and no longer subsidize those who saturate the pipe.

    What they want to implement, however, is not real usage based billing. It's just a bonus on top of an already highly profitable business. Reading the details of the CRTC's decision, the incumbents would have been able to charge indie ISP's a few DOLLARS per GB, basically eliminating any ability for them to remain competitive in the market.

    Adding it all up, Mike is correct: It's nothing more than a power-play to block competition. Both competition from indie ISP's charing their lines AND competition from online video services like Netflix competing with their traditional cable tv offerings.

    I'm sticking with my unlimited (albeit a tad slow) DSL service, thank you very much. Though in reality, 5mbps is fast enough for my needs.

     

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    TheMcG, Feb 8th, 2011 @ 6:09am

    @Anonymous Coward they are actually reselling at closer to 10000% profit. the average GB at peak hours costs 0.01-0.03$ and at low periods of use the cost is essentially nothing. because the cost doesn't come from having to get the additional data it comes from congestion in the tubes as it were. They buy BW at a speed not by how much data is transfered. so if this really was about congestion they would be doing something like peak hour speed cap 5mbit off peak hour cap 25mbit no cap.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 8th, 2011 @ 6:10am

    Re: Re: Re:

    it costs 2 cents a gig if you are willing to go and get it yourself at the peering point. After that you would have to string probably tens of thousands of dollars of fiber to get it to your own door.

    Bandwidth isn't just "bandwidth", it is the bandwidth delivered to your door. It is all the network, all the connections (each with their own bandwidth restrictions) that are created to make it run.

    If there are 100 customers in your neighborhood and they all want 10meg/sec full on connection, that is a 1TB connection. That means for every jump inside your phone company network, they have to have at least 1TB connectivity at each step along the way to make it work out, until they get to their peering point. You cannot only look a the cost "at the peer" and say they are making big markup.

     

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    freak (profile), Feb 8th, 2011 @ 6:30am

    Re: Re:

    Thanks!

     

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    Anon, Feb 8th, 2011 @ 6:31am

    Re: Re:

    I had a hard time proving the prices were irrational until I found this image a couple weeks ago. In my mind it makes it very obvious that one of two things are happening:
    1. The internet wasn't connected properly in Canada.
    2. I'm being gouged by my ISP.

     

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  23.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 8th, 2011 @ 6:53am

    Re:

    Let's add some reality to the discussion. from the Bell website:

    40GB Usage Insurance Plan

    Give yourself peace of mind with extra Internet usage for only $5/month. Download all the TV shows you missed worry-free.

    It isn't $2 a gig. It about 12.5 cents a gig.

    Oh look reality comes to town.

     

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    Greevar (profile), Feb 8th, 2011 @ 7:00am

    Re: Re:

    "Canadians used on average 15.4 gigabits per month in 2009. Most users therefore fall well within the caps currently set by the Large Distributors"

    That's a wholly incorrect statement. The average doesn't signify the majority, it's merely spreads the total equally amongst all points of data. If you want to find out what most of them use, you need to use some more statistically accurate methods (like counting the number of users with above-average usage and comparing that to below-average usage). Averages do no indicate what "most" of the people are using.

    For example, we take these five values 25,20,15,4,3 which averages at 13.4. That comes out at about half the majority of the data points. Let's try the opposite: 25,15,5,5,4, which comes to an average of 9.8. That's about double the amount of the majority of data points. Now if we take the average as a reference point and count how many people are above vs how many are below it, we find that the first data set the majority of the data has high values and in the other example the majority is of low values. Lastly, if we take 25,20,15,15,17, we get and average of 18.4, which is in line with the majority of users. Even when I average the numbers from all data sets, I get an average of 14. This still is lower than the majority of data points as 9 out of the 15 are above average and the rest are below.

    The first two instances use averages, but do not offer accurate indications as to what values occur most often in the sampling. It only divides the sum of all values equally among the total number of data points, which, you can see, doesn't represent the majority unless all of the values are very similar. I find it deplorable that people use such shoddy statistics to justify what they know is wrong.

     

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  25.  
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    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Feb 8th, 2011 @ 7:03am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    But once that fiber is strung, it's strung. That tens of thousands of dollars is a fixed cost, nothing else. It's meant to be distributed between the tens of thousands of customers over the life span of the wire (AKA many years). That is not the reason for the price increase.

    The only reason for an increase in price based on usage is if it cost more to run 100G of data threw that wire then 1G. It doesn't. Any increase in price would come from electricity and would be so small as to be a statistical anomaly. The price change may be caused by the change in usage, or it could be caused by the ever fluctuating prices of electricity.

     

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  26.  
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    freak (profile), Feb 8th, 2011 @ 7:06am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    To give a degree of fairness, they do have to maintain that wire and the equipment at either end.

    Which is more than the cost of electricity, I think. I could be wrong.

     

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    Perry K (profile), Feb 8th, 2011 @ 7:06am

    Re:

    You're lacking full knowledge of how Bell's GAS access works apparently.

    This isn't about what's reasonable. This is about Bell imposing additional retail based costs when 3rd party ISP have already paid for their bandwidth.

    1. They pay Bell a fee per subscriber and this fee has been deemed by the CRTC to be 'fair and just' as per tarrif.

    2. They pay a fee for each 1 Gb/s aggregration link to their NOC, again as per tarrif.

    Now that the packets are in the hands of the ISP, so to speak, they should be able to decide how to manage that traffic. This includes paying for the upstream transit, their own routing gear, etc.
    So why does Bell get to double dip and tack on an additional cost for something that the ISP delivers. Is Bell going to pay the upstream transit?

    If anyone is looking for a free lunch here it's Bell.

     

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  28.  
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    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Feb 8th, 2011 @ 7:13am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    But the maintenance doesn't really change due to the amount of traffic that crosses the wire. Maintenance changes much more due to bad weather then transfer rates. Are our prices going to spike in the winter and drop in the summer?

    In my personal experience, I've found that electronics have a tendency to degrade at the same speed whether they are running full speed or sitting in a box unplugged.

     

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  29.  
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    freak (profile), Feb 8th, 2011 @ 7:16am

    Re: Re:

    Not sure where you're looking. Canadian website? Can't be.
    Right now, Bell doesn't HAVE a limit. Their plans are unlimited, (w/hidden 'hard' throttling after 60GB).

    The $2/GB is their planned charging rate for companies who use 'Bell's network', (Take in mind, that the network was built at least half with taxpayer dollars, and we still haven;t been allowed to see the actual budgets).

     

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  30.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 8th, 2011 @ 7:18am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The wire is only the wire. The head end equipment (routers etc) are "wear" items. They need to be maintained, and you need to have enough of the to support the traffic. Every jump you see on your tracert inside your local network is more equipment required, more physical space to operate it in, more cooling, heat, light, whatever...

    It has to be installed. It has to be maintained, and there has to be enough to it to pass all the data to meet the end user needs.

    Bell on their website offers "ups" on data in 40gig blocks for $5 a month, or 12.5 cents a gig. I would say that is pretty cheap considering what is required to bring it to you.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 8th, 2011 @ 7:19am

    Re:

    Reasonable? If you ignore the rest of the world and pretend it doesn't exist. And if you ignore monopolisation, and a fake capitilism that actively discourages free market competition, then yeah, it's damn reasonable. Sign me up, I'll take 2!!

     

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    Cap'n Jack (profile), Feb 8th, 2011 @ 7:23am

    Re:

    "it's almost always about setting very low bars to force normal users to pay much more"

    This is about the most ridiculous thing you could possibly say, and it shows you have a lack of understanding about the underlying issues. If this is the first time you're reading about it, maybe it's because Techdirt didn't go into the very strong OpenMeter campaign, or the fact that this decision was mainly protested against by other, smaller ISPs.

    Here is the deal: one small, popular ISP that has to buy it's bandwidth in bulk from Bell and Rogers was charging, for its lowest plan, 200 GB caps at $27.95, cheaper than anything Bell or Rogers offer. They were doing this easily and still making money, because while Bell was allowed to over-charge it's consumers, it had to charge it's competitors fairly.

    The CRTC's ruling was heavily protested in part because it impedes smaller ISPs and forces them all to set lower bandwidth caps, at almost no benefit to them, and at a high benefit to Bell (who gets to protect it's business model, and take away any advantage its competitors have). Bell and Rogers are taking a hit in competition, not on their network.

    So, let me point out that you are demonstrably wrong when you say that lower-tier users are going to be forced to pay more. That is untrue, since Teksavvy will not be changing it's pricing scheme if the CRTC is overruled. It's the speed and not the bandwidth limit is the real thing of value, as Teksavvy demonstrates. Bell sets it at a cripplingly low 25 GB to curb Internet piracy and services like Netflix, not to offer cheap prices to consumers.

    This move is good for consumers, good for small ISPs and bad for Bell.

    The CRTC is clearly in Bell's pocket.

     

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  33.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 8th, 2011 @ 7:23am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Bell's rate plans are different depending on where you live. In Ontario, their Fibe25 plan offers 75gig of bandwidth in the price. In Quebec, that same plan comes with 100gig (due to competitive pricing choices they make).

    See bell.ca

    The $5 a month top up is on their current plans, you can pre-commit to additional bandwidth and pay the rate (use it or not). At 12.5 cents per gig, it is a very low retail price. It certainly isn't the $2 a gig others are tossing around here.

    Bell does also respect all existing rate structures, so if you got in on an unlimited plan at some point, they will continue to honor it as long as you have the connection, until you change rate plans. If you are on one of their older 6Mbps plans, those were "unlimited" but subject to traffic shaping against P2P usage between 8am and midnight.

     

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  34.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 8th, 2011 @ 7:27am

    Re: Re:

    You have to remember how the system works: The third party companies are not only renting the "last mile". Rather, the third parties are using the bell system and network all the way to at least the central office if not further, including all the equipment for customer logins, etc. it all travels on the same network until a set point (call it a dmarkation).

    Then transit from the Bell centrals to the third party NOC is charges at a fee. Once the data reaches their NOC, they can do what they want with it.

    Basically, it isn't last mile rental, it is full network rental, and data delivery to the third party NOC door.

     

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    PeterScott (profile), Feb 8th, 2011 @ 7:29am

    Re: Re:

    Oh look, shilling comes to town.

    Bell cut the packages from 60GB down to 25GB and are willing to sell that missing cap to you for $5. This is only a deal if you are severely confused, or if you are shilling for Bell. Exceed that cap and your price/GB is:

    Direct quote from Bells page:
    Usage overage charge (up to $60) $2.00/GB

     

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    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Feb 8th, 2011 @ 7:29am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I've already pointed out the fallacy of the maintenance argument. Fixed costs, no more, not a reason for a price increase based on usage.

    Again, any transfer cap, any, is a rip off. I don't care how cheap it is. And $5 for an extra 40G is still bad.

    I personally have no grounds to bitch about transfer caps. Even when Comcast imposed their 250G cap, they never enforced it here (I tested, 500G a month, they didn't flinch). They couldn't, we could just go to any of five other competing providers, each of them had advantages over Comcast. If it can be done here, it can be done anywhere.

    Why are you fighting so hard against someone who's fighting for you?

     

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  37.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 8th, 2011 @ 7:32am

    Re: Re:

    Lol, so, errrrrrrrmm..... which reality is this? And what town did it come to? TAMSHILLSVILLE?

    Come on, where the hell did you just get those *ahem* "facts"? Or are you just going to leave this hanging (ie. got called out and bailed... AGAIN!)

     

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  38.  
    icon
    PeterScott (profile), Feb 8th, 2011 @ 7:36am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Clearly you are Bell shill. All the "insurance" does is return the Cap to where it was before Bell cut it recently.

    Here is a direct link to Bells page showing the $2/GB overage charges:

    http://internet.bell.ca/index.cfm?method=content.view&content_id=17737&language= en&CFID=132348948&CFTOKEN=96051369
    "Usage overage charge (up to $60)1 $2.50/GB $2.00/GB"

     

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  39.  
    identicon
    BT, Feb 8th, 2011 @ 7:42am

    Re:

    "Considering that Bell Canada's "low bar" is low but reasonable (25gig on small plans, 75-100gig on fast plans) and that they do sell "overage" at a reasonable price (doubly the fastest plan's bandwidth for about $10 a month)"

    1) Their caps range from 2GB to 75GB. And for the record, most of the Bell coverage area does not have access to the faster plans that have a cap higher than 25GB.

    2) There is nothing reasonable about 25GB when you actually look at the usage numbers. Bell's own information indicates average usage was 1.5GB in 2002 (the first time they put in caps of 5GB down/5GB up) and 15.4GB in 2009. Using those numbers, we see an annual growth of 39.5% - giving an estimated average usage of 21.5GB in 2010 and 30GB for 2011. If the average is over the cap, the cap is most definitely not reasonable.

    3) The overage prices you are quoting have 2 faults - first, it's limited. You can only get 120GB extra this way. Second, it has to be pre-purchased. Go over without expecting to, and you're paying $1-$2.50 per GB over (slower plan = more per GB over).

     

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  40.  
    identicon
    BT, Feb 8th, 2011 @ 7:48am

    Re: Re:

    That 40GB Usage Insurance Plan?

    Limited to 3 per month (for a total of 120GB extra). Does not take effect until the next billing cycle. Does not count towards the $60 soft cap for "up to 300GB" usage.

    For a better dose of reality, also from the Bell website, for what they claim is their most commonly used plan:

    "25 GB of usage per month; $2.00/additional GB, (max. $60 for up to 300GB, $1.00/GB thereafter), rounded up to the next MB"

     

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  41.  
    identicon
    BT, Feb 8th, 2011 @ 7:51am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Here is an example (currently on hold pending the result of the CRTC review):

    http://www.primus.ca/en/residential/internet/ubb/index-on.html

    Note that Primus had already started charging these rates before the decision was put on hold.

     

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  42.  
    identicon
    BT, Feb 8th, 2011 @ 7:58am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Incorrect. All of the currently offered Bell plans have usage limits, ranging from 2GB to 75GB. Clear as day on the Bell Canada website.

    The last unlimited plan Bell offered was discontinued in January 2007. People can't be forcibly moved from that unlimited plan if they were on it, but they are subject to bi-annual $5 price increases.

     

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  43.  
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    Perry K (profile), Feb 8th, 2011 @ 8:06am

    Re: Re: Re:

    I never said 'last mile' I described both the last mile and getting the data to the NOC. All of those rental fees are paid for at cost + 15%

    Even if those 3rd party aggregration links are fully saturated it makes no difference. If it did, then Bell didn't do their homework on submitting their costs for these tarrifs. If that's the case they should apply for updated GAS tarrifs instead of trying to both double dip and set retail rates for their competitors via UBB.

     

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  44.  
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    Another User, Feb 8th, 2011 @ 8:10am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I have seen Comcast enforce the cap. My coworker was kicked off for going past his limit for 2 months.

     

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  45.  
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    Cap'n Jack (profile), Feb 8th, 2011 @ 8:11am

    Re: Re:

    Shit, quoted the wrong thing. Let's pretend I quoted this instead:

    [b]Considering that Bell Canada's "low bar" is low but reasonable and that they do sell "overage" at a reasonable price it isn't particularly out of line.[/b]

     

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  46.  
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    max, Feb 8th, 2011 @ 8:14am

    Re: Re:

    If it were electricity and gas, we would just be billed for it at the end of the month. Bell wants to call it insurance so we have to buy it at the beginning of the month and pay for GB we don't use. Cuz if we don't buy the insurance in advance and we go over, it's worse than bouncing a cheque.

     

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  47.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 8th, 2011 @ 8:16am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Actually, if you pay attention, the Bell cost would be:

    $70 for 200 gig.
    $5 for 40 gig blocks. So to get up to 1 TB would be $100 more (20 blocks)

    $170 a month for 1TB delivered to your door. That isn't exactly spendy.

     

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  48.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 8th, 2011 @ 8:19am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Why are you fighting so hard against someone who's fighting for you?

    I learned many years ago that there is no such thing as a free lunch. I don't like Bell, I don't like the alternatives either. But I know that someone has to pay the piper or things don't happen.

     

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  49.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 8th, 2011 @ 8:19am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Which province and which plan please? Citation needed.

     

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  50.  
    identicon
    BT, Feb 8th, 2011 @ 8:20am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Bell limits you to 3 blocks per month - no more.

    1TB, on any Bell plan, would result in overage charges of $760 + tax ($60 for up to 300GB, $1/GB after that)

     

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  51.  
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    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Feb 8th, 2011 @ 8:23am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Yep, you've seen it, but not in my city. When they implemented the cap I started watching my bandwidth usage. 500G+ a month for 6 months, not even a letter. My usage increased, I wanted them to cut me off. It would have given me a reason to go with the cheaper business DSL. They won't enforce it where they have competition and here we have plenty.

     

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  52.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 8th, 2011 @ 8:26am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Perhaps you want to try clicking the "FIBE" tab to see the better rates. You are also not seeing the "bandwidth pre-buy" packages there. You are looking at pure overage charges.

    The funny part is no matter what thread I post in here, I am called a shill. An MPAA shill, now a Bell shill.

    What you didn't mention is that your internet connection price per month (based on speed) has dropped significantly in the last few years. Buying back the bandwidth difference still leaves it cheaper than it was to start with. You still get as much for less net money.

     

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  53.  
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    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Feb 8th, 2011 @ 8:27am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    There is no such thing as a free lunch. You're already paying for your lunch, $60 for it. You're getting screwed on your lunch.

     

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  54.  
    identicon
    BT, Feb 8th, 2011 @ 8:27am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Ontario, both Performance and Fibe 6 plans.

    Found in the fine print on this page:

    http://www.bell.ca/shopping/en_CA_ON.Bell-Internet-Performance/DSLTIPONNewMassNCOPF10.detai ls?promo=true

     

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  55.  
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    freak (profile), Feb 8th, 2011 @ 8:28am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Yes, it is a minimal cost. I was comparing it with electricity for that purpose.

    I am mostly being sarcastic.


    Also, they tend to average out the cost of maintainence over a year and apply that to your monthly bill, otherwise you WOULD see a seasonal increase.

     

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  56.  
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    freak (profile), Feb 8th, 2011 @ 8:36am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Much be provincial difference then; it states to me, clear as day, that, in contrast to rogers, there is no bandwidth limit.

     

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  57.  
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    techflaws.org (profile), Feb 8th, 2011 @ 8:38am

    Re:

    Reasoable by whose standards? Yours?

    In Germany you get 16000 kbit/s flat + phone flat (wired, all networks) for 39 Euros.

     

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  58.  
    identicon
    BT, Feb 8th, 2011 @ 8:55am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Bell Aliant?

    Bell Canada (as opposed to the subsidiary, Bell Aliant) only has DSL service in Ontario and Quebec. Both provinces have caps on all packages.

     

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  59.  
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    PeterScott (profile), Feb 8th, 2011 @ 9:03am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Where are rates going down? For years after leaving bell I had unlimited GB for under $40 month.

    Fibe rates aren't better, they are just more money for more BW. They still have $1-$2/GB overage charges.

    Top Bell plan is something like $61/75GB.

    Teksavvy: $32/200GB. More than double the cap for less than half the price.

    You really have to be shilling to say Bell is offering a deal.

     

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  60.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 8th, 2011 @ 9:04am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Checked their site for Ontario:

    "Unlimited High Speed Internet
    Only $34.95/month*
    Enjoy speeds up to 5 Mbps**. Just for signing up, you also earn bonus Aeroplan® Miles or AIR MILES® reward miles. Plus additional miles every month, based on your monthly spending."

    Any other points you want to make?

     

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  61.  
    identicon
    BT, Feb 8th, 2011 @ 9:14am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    As I already said - currently on hold pending the result of the CRTC review.

    Notices of the usage based billing being put on hold started going out to their customers on Friday, and they were quick to update their webpage to reflect the changes.

    http://www.dslreports.com/shownews/Primus-Backs-Off-Overages-For-Now-112596?nocomment=1

    Full text of the email they sent is:

    "In light of the CRTC’s recent announcement to review their decision and delay the implementation of Usage Based Billing, Primus will not implement usage caps on our Internet service at this time, pending final direction from the CRTC. In the meantime, Primus is pleased to continue to offer unlimited Internet services to all of our customers.

    For customers who purchased and were billed for additional usage plans, credits will be issued. If you have not yet been billed, we will remove the plans from your account.

    If you have any questions, please contact Customer Care at 1-800-806-3273.

    Thank you for choosing Primus.

    Sincerely,

    Primus Canada"

     

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  62.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 8th, 2011 @ 9:20am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Cheap how?

    The caps where 250 before so the price got jacked up 400%

     

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  63.  
    identicon
    David Johnson, CD, Feb 8th, 2011 @ 9:22am

    UBB not a good thing

    I don't mind paying for a bigger pipe but I do object strenuously to having to pay for the contents of the pipe as well.

    Back in the modem days, if I wanted more bandwidth I either bought a faster modem or added more lines and pooled the modem inputs. Bell did not care how long I was using the phone line(s) a minute a week, or 24/7 it was the same cost.

    When the internet was young and only the early adopters were heavy users unlimited 5 mbps was the norm.. html pages were simple (many html editors to this day will tell you how long the page will take to load over a 56K modem) , bittorrent was in its infancy, limewire/shareaza/napster had their day. Today we are in the land of WEB2.0 pages, streaming video in HD and other high bandwidth legal applications over the internet.. and bell and the cable companies are losing their revenue streams.. Gone are the days I paid $300/month in long distance charges, no more $150/month for cable so now these people need to find some other way of getting this money out of me.

    If someone wants a low bandwidth plan then let them have it.. you want 1.5mbps at $10/month and I want 1.5 Gbps @ $150/month then so be it. Just don't limit my usage whether its ftp,http, smtp, bittorrent, media streaming, just don't limit my usage.

    As a BBS operator I didn't care what speed modem you connected at.. 300 bps - 56kbps no matter to me.. I always had the highest speed modems available (as a fidonet/NANet hub I had to transfer a lot of data so I needed high speed modems just to move the bits around.. Since phone lines were my limiting resource, everyone was given a time limit per day of usage, whether they played a game or messaged or downloaded for that time period I did not care.. If I wanted to increase my revenue I added more lines and modems but once the hardware was paid for (fixed cost amortized over time and # of users) and the phone line was the only recurring cost.

     

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  64.  
    identicon
    Aerilus, Feb 8th, 2011 @ 9:43am

    Re: Re: Re:

    It occurs to me as i read this that they are measuring in gigabits not gigabytes at least that is what i am seeing? 15 gigabits needs to pretty much be divided by ten (theoretically 8 but really 10)to equal bytes which is storage so 15.4 gigabits divide by ten equals 1.54 gigabytes. and that is ludicrous a decent divx rip is at least 700Mb a good one is 1.4Gb netflix streaming has to be at least a couple hundred Megabytes per movie so you could watch around 5-6 movies on netflix a month. maybe my math is wrong or someone means 15.4GB and reading the article that is linked too (http://www.michaelgeist.ca/content/view/5620/125/) the author switches between gb and GB so i am confused are they selling gigbits which is generally speed or gigabytes which is generally storage size i quess technically you could sell gigabuts bits as a storage size but that is not convention

     

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  65.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 8th, 2011 @ 11:24am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    @Anon C you say that the provider has to have at least 1TB for the hypothetical 100 customers

    Well, typically they don't do that. The math that justifies the difference between theoretical peak requirements and actual deployed capacity falls under the heading "network provisioning". And it's a bit of a black art that also takes into account the failure mode and costs associated with congestion.

    Which leads to a main reason that the comparing of shoveling bits on a network to other things like electricity and gas is invalid.

    Electricity is energy and there is a cost to create it. When you push too much electricity through wires, fires and explosions happen (thus the plethora of safety equipment on the grid [circuit breakers/fuses in your home being just one example]). Failures in this system can be catastrophic. And the pricing reflects all of these realities.

    Gas is matter. As such, it is finite and we have things like economics to try to understand the fluctuating cost. Transport of matter is constrained by physical things like pipes and tankers. You can't buy or use more than you can have delivered. Failures in this system can also be catastrophic but are typically not a result of excessive demand. The pricing reflects all this.

    Digital data is a series of signals passing over networking equipment. This equipment is on and running 7/24. The incremental cost of shipping data vs. not shipping data verges on (for practical purposes on wired systems) unobservable. When the system is stressed, data is delayed or dropped by the system. To look for examples of catastrophe, you need to start inventing scenarios in which the ambulance was too late because your tweet was delayed and somebody died. Indirect at best. Whether or not the pricing reflects this is at issue and the feeling is that we're being milked.

    Absolutely, there are real and substantial costs borne by network providers. However, in the absence of competition (and two huge publicly traded companies who are expected to pay dividends to shareholders), the likelihood of getting fair rates for connectivity seems pretty remote.

     

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  66.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Feb 8th, 2011 @ 11:34am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "$60 for it. You're getting screwed on your lunch."

    Must be a tuna, with caviar, and truffles sandwich. Even then 60 bucks for a sandwich is a bit much.

     

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  67.  
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    Greevar (profile), Feb 8th, 2011 @ 1:18pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Gb is referring to bandwidth (i.e. speed). GB is referring to total data transferred.

     

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  68.  
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    Greevar (profile), Feb 8th, 2011 @ 1:20pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Disregard my previous comment. The author is misusing the two units. It should read 15.4 Gigabytes, not bits.

     

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  69.  
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    freak (profile), Feb 8th, 2011 @ 1:41pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    That was something I was unaware of before, thanks.
    Bell Aliant, yes.

    I'm not keeping too up-to-date on how badly the ISP's here are screwing us; it was blatantly obvious that they were screwing us years ago, and the prices have only gotten worse since then for only a very small improvement in service.

     

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  70.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 8th, 2011 @ 3:00pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Anon, the reason you're called a shill is that you're advocating grotesque and abusive overcharging based on economic modeling which has nothing to do with how actual networks operate, used to justify unabashed gluttony and greed.

    What's next: claiming it's "reasonable" to charge more, per kB, for cellular "texting" than the US gov't pays (including amortized R&D, equipment, deployment, maintenance, personnel, and other costs) per kB for communicating with Hubble or space shuttles?

    The simple truth is that these companies aren't keeping their networks updated (and no, "sparse" population nodes isn't an excuse; see the broadband penetration in Scandinavia), aren't modeling their billing on any single reasonable and consistent methodology, and are taking every opportunity to lie to customers, inflate prices, and lobby for blatantly extortionistic legislation to further damage the already near non existent competition they face.

     

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  71.  
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    Any Mouse (profile), Feb 8th, 2011 @ 5:23pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Just at a guess here... They are talking about overages. You can't always know you're going to go over, and even if you do 'buy' those blocks, you are limited to 3. Step back and look at the conversation, again.

     

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  72.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 8th, 2011 @ 6:31pm

    Not so Mike. I'm in Australia, where data caps are the norm.
    I hate them, of course (I'd love to have unlimited data), but from a technical point of view (I'm a computer scientist) they really do make sense: they're the only way to stop people (like myself) chewing up bandwidth 24 hours a day.

    As for refunds to light users, it exists in the form of different sized plans: light users buy the smaller, cheaper plans.

    Anyway, it's all a storm in a teacup: market forces will kill it off eventually anyway. 5 years ago I had a 10GB plan and the largest available was about 50GB. Now I have a 120GB plan, and there are 350, 500, 1000GB plans available, Guess what else has turned up recently? Yep, unlimited plans! Even here where ISPs pay for every GB, competition and falling data prices mean unlimited plans emerge anyway.

    So don't panic...

     

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  73.  
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    TtfnJohn (profile), Feb 8th, 2011 @ 7:12pm

    Re: Work for Bell, do you?

    Let's look at Bell Canada, shall we, in marked contrast to say, TELUS. Not to say that TELUS is going to come out of this lily white but there are differences.

    Bell went nuts during the "convergence" craze of the dot com era and shortly after. It got newspapers, notable the Grunt and Flail, CTV network, radio stations and a whack of other things.

    Anything you'll note but investment in their plant, inside and out.

    TELUS meanwhile, stuck to it's knitting as a telecom and invested in plant, inside and out, tested out things like video over IP and eventually came up with an offering that works over twisted pair. For those in areas such as mine, small town semi rural, where the plant's not in great shape, there's an option with satellite.

    TELUS also built out its DSL system in a way where it's the incumbent it's far ahead of Bell where it's the incumbent.

    Now, back to Bell, they lost their shirt with "convergence", fell behind in investment in plant and is now looking for the CRTC to subsidize a build out they should have been doing 5 or 10 years ago. (The same applies to the cable companies in Canada who are still addicted to copper.)

    The sell the myth of bandwidth hogs to the CRTC, along with the two big cable carriers and the CRTC comes out with this so called metered structure.

    TELUS, meanwhile, sat this whole thing out. Sure they're cheering the ruling cause they can charge more for less service like the other guys. In the meanwhile they're rolling fibre to the house in smaller, semi rural and rural places.

    I can't see where you're going with the Cabinet telling the CRTC to withdraw this. The higher cost solution to customers, in the long run, is the CRTC's decision which gives the three carriers who pushed this and removed the competitive pressure to move from copper to fibre. So, like cellular, we get to remain the highest cost jurisdiction in the developed world with the worst service (tied with the USA) and rank somewhere like 45th globally just better than Mauritania and Ghana.

    And no, the CRTC doesn't understand what it's regulating here. Nor, it seems do you. Bandwidth doesn't cause choking in teleco networks because the choke point is throughput not bandwidth. Bell, Shaw and Rogers networks have really ugly throughput. No wonder they want never ending, CRTC, imposed caps.

     

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  74.  
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    TtfnJohn (profile), Feb 8th, 2011 @ 7:34pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    If you believe for a single moment that Bell is losing money as things stand you're seriously mistaken.

    As I've pointed out, though, Bell has to make a huge, delayed investment in their plant to get things up to date. Mostly outside plant. And that is what they want Canadians to subsidize after ignoring that issue for so long while they diddled around with media "convergence" before they figured out it was a costly mistake.

    Unless you have access to internal sales plans you have no idea what Bell actually charges medium and larger customers for access to the Internet or other services. So, I have to assume that you're looking at published rates for residential and small business use.

    You are correct that there's no regulatory requirement to provide Internet service but there is one to provide for dial tone. There's no need for a second pair to provide "dark" service on twisted pair as DSL and voice are split at the demarkation point or inside. So if you're envisioning the "dry line" as a second pair you're simply wrong.

    Incidentally fibre as no bandwidth as it's all digital light which, in and of itself, has no bandwidth. Speed is determined by the equipment in the central office including multiplexers which control throughput but not bandwidth as there's no bandwidth to control.

     

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  75.  
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    TtfnJohn (profile), Feb 8th, 2011 @ 7:57pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Also, they tend to average out the cost of maintenance (sp) over a year and apply that to your monthly bill, otherwise you WOULD see a seasonal increase."

    No you wouldn't. Maintenance costs per mile of twisted pair are a fraction of a penny a year while the cables placed on poles or underground are reckoned to have a life expectancy of something like 20 years before replacement. Winter weather doesn't increase that, And, as telcos operate their network at a fixed voltage of 48V DC regardless of traffic there's no cold spike as there is for power companies who need to supply more of their product in winter for increased HVAC and lighting.

    Fibre cable is rated for life expectancy of between 30 and 50 years mounted aerial or below grade.

    That doesn't say there's no maintenance costs for outside plant but it's far lower than you seem to think it is.

    What's expensive is build out.

     

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  76.  
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    freak (profile), Feb 8th, 2011 @ 8:24pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Ground swells and freezes here often take out underground equipment and cut off internet to outlying communities for 1-2 days during the winter.

    Power outages and and spikes, also more common during winter, tend to destroy some of the ancient equipment they use, (already on its last legs, difference between dying evenly throughout the year and all during winter).

    And, also, spring floods from the melt often destroy kilometers of previously underground wire, thus they often have to 'build out' another 20 km again.

    None is which is anywhere close to building out to a new community, but if they didn't average out maintenance costs, you would see a seasonal reflection in your bill.

     

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  77.  
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    freak (profile), Feb 8th, 2011 @ 8:28pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    * . . . I* would see a seasonal reflection on my* bill.

    You probably have better weather/ a more dense population base wherever you are.

     

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  78.  
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    freak (profile), Feb 8th, 2011 @ 8:40pm

    Re:

    Heh, you speak about competition as if it were legal here.

    No. In the states, where often they only have a choice between 2 big companies outside of very large cities, municipal broadband plans are often declared illegal by bribed officials.
    And it's worse up here in Canada, where there are laws that make, in some regions, municipal providers literally illegal. As in, not allowed to use fibre networks. Can't use existing ones, can't build new ones.
    Dial-up is still the highest speed available to my parents, for example. At the same price I pay for high speed.

     

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  79.  
    icon
    Brendan (profile), Feb 8th, 2011 @ 10:01pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "The Author" was von Fickenstein, the head of our regulatory body, the CRTC.

    This is sort of the basis of the problem. He doesn't know what he is talking about.

     

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  80.  
    icon
    Brendan (profile), Feb 8th, 2011 @ 10:04pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Care you sign up for an account, or at least enter a name? It helps to frame the skewed view you present.

     

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  81.  
    icon
    Brendan (profile), Feb 8th, 2011 @ 10:10pm

    Re: Re:

    Freedom.

     

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  82.  
    icon
    Brendan (profile), Feb 8th, 2011 @ 10:13pm

    Re:

    With Bell's 25GB cap, you'd be 33% better off than a 56k modem, which can transfer roughly 18GB in a month!

    Yay advances in technology!

     

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  83.  
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    Brendan (profile), Feb 8th, 2011 @ 10:20pm

    Re: Re:

    So it effectively dramatically increases the monthly price to get a reasonable bandwidth allotment. Say, over 250GB, or ten times what Bell decrees is reasonable.

    That $40 quickly becomes $80 to actually be _usable_ for services other than email and cat photos.

    Of course, we could always just buy Bell satellite service instead of downloading TV shows, right? That would save us money in bandwidth... hmmm. Nevermind the pesky overpriced cable/sat rates.

    We all know what this game is about, and its about Bell shitting it pants at the idea of people cutting the cable/sat cord and downloading video (legit or otherwise) without paying stupidly high Bell rent.

     

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  84.  
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    Brendan (profile), Feb 8th, 2011 @ 10:33pm

    Re: Re:

    I'm on your side, but where are the municipal fiber rollouts actually blocked?

    I'm familiar with cable/DSL franchises where muni's agree not to compete, but I think we should just throw those out the window.

    Fuck em. Let's build our own network, owned by the people, and sell access back to Bell/Rogers if they want to use it (at the same rate as TekSavvy et al, of course).

     

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  85.  
    identicon
    Boo, Feb 8th, 2011 @ 11:14pm

    If we don't pay these ridiculous overage fees, how else will BELL/Rogers pay for their multi million dollar ad campaigns to suck more people in.

     

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  86.  
    identicon
    Charles, Feb 9th, 2011 @ 12:31am

    Re: Saskatchewan is the place to be, I guess

    I'm a Sasktel user as well, with a very strong dislike of Shaw. You pretty nailed everything on the head with your comments, and saved me the trouble of writing up everything I too was thinking. :)

     

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  87.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 9th, 2011 @ 4:42am

    Re:

    Unlimited got there after the government said it was going to build their own network and wire the whole country with fiber right?

    Because when it was just Telstra I didn't see anybody talking about "unlimited" there, it happened because people opened up those things to competition and what you said just prove it, without the underlying political change "unlimited" is just a pipe dream because the players are not for it.

     

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  88.  
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    TtfnJohn (profile), Feb 9th, 2011 @ 6:47am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Reality Check

    Bell, TELUS, SaskTel, Manitoba Tel have had areas dedicated to that sort of equipment for decades and started to expand that space and equipment some years ago.

    Each of these carriers also operate Internet centres and , The largest belonging to Bell and TELUS. In short they operate hubs, fail safe roll over, duplication and so on. No one forced them to do this they did it on their own. Also both TELUS and Bell have physical capacity dedicated to these server operations of two to three times (or more) the current capacity required and, in case you hadn't noticed, each discrete piece of gear is getting smaller, not larger.

    The main point is that they're used to it. They've built and continue to build the data centres needed to support the hub operations, increased server capacity, storage, built out routers as necessary, proxies, and just about everything else you can think of. Each discrete piece of gear connected by fibre (not copper) which makes it digital end to end with effective insertion loss of zero and signal attenuation of zero.

    Incidentally each discrete piece of hardware is hot swappable heavily reducing maintenance outage time.

    So once again we're dealing with throughput, not bandwidth. There is, by design and Internet standards, plenty of excess capacity to deal with traffic bursts or sustained increases such as the Vancouver Olympics.

    The largest companies have private "line" build out dedicated to just them which include governments, the military, health care, the movie and tv production industries, air and sea ports (and traffic control), coast guard, BC Ferries,St Laurence Seaway, universities, power companies etc. Most of which have requirements of zero downtime.

    The residential and small business traffic is tiny, though growing, compared with these users.

    Which makes your, and Bell's claims, that they can't possibly be ready for or handle the increased residential traffic so much bunkum.

    Nor is this traffic considered "local network", that's reserved for internal use.

     

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  89.  
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    TtfnJohn (profile), Feb 9th, 2011 @ 7:14am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    There's also the fact that provisioning takes into account peak demand periods, for example the Christmas shopping season as well as heavy data and voice spikes the occur on or around Mother's Day (that's by far the busiest voice traffic day and data traffic is rapidly catching up for that day).

    All of which means that there's substantial capacity for both voice and data traffic that's idle at any given moment.

    Which also refutes Anon C's argument that it's an equipment problem in switching centres that's a major part of the problem.

    Cable, I'll admit, is a different beast because of the shared nature of coax as opposed to the private nature of twisted pair.

    Still, it goes back to my main argument that what Bell, Shaw and Rogers want subsidized is the build out from central offices to the side of the house, aka, the last mile. That Bell, Shaw and Rogers haven't seen fit to invest in this, as private companies, isn't my problem as a customer, it's entirely theirs and their shareholders. (I am one, by the way.)

    On the Internet certain data is dropped or rerouted regularly without notice by end users due to it's design. TCP/IP does this as does the much older PCM which has carried voice and data across the switched network for 60+ years now with no noticeable degradation at the receiving end.

    Your Tweet to 911 might be delayed or disassembled and reassembled as will be your voice or cell call. All without notice.

    So we're back to the last mile again.

     

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  90.  
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    TtfnJohn (profile), Feb 9th, 2011 @ 7:44am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    What Anon C is referring to is the concept in the telecom industry of "private line". This is loosely regulated because it can be point to point to the business in question. Where it enters a central office at all it simply passes through it from address A to address B without touching switching or Internet hubs. It can be voice or data.

    As to Anon C's abuse of the acronym NOC (Network Operations Centre) for telcos a NOC is a place where constant oversight of the switched network and associated network takes place. The only time it touches DSL is at the last Central Office where the DSL equipment is going to the last mile and they only react to alarms from the equipment.

    Equivalents for the actual Internet from the telco's hub exist but they're smaller monitoring stations usually physically close to the hub. They react to failure of, say, DNS servers (always redundant), and reroute or repair on the spot.

    For example Centennial Pier in Vancouver may have a data private line from the actual pier itself to the pier owner/operator's office where loading and unloading of ships is monitored, choke points identified and ships scheduled with the Port of Vancouver and crane problems are sent to those charged with repair and maintenance of those.

    It's possible to recreate this on the Internet with the use of server and DNS "tricks" which are allowed for in the specifications. This is often done for the military, coast guard and other services where speed and security are of a highest order.

    But no one is sending or receiving data at a high rate all the time even in "private line" situations. I can't think of a single situation where one of those configurations would ever be "saturated" in the sense that all the throughput is being taken up all the time.

    Incidentally, bandwidth is a radio term that has no meaning when you're taking end to end digital transmission even on twisted pair. In the days of analog modems in the voice band it had a slight meaning but for DSL or fibre it's meaningless.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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