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


    "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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