Isn’t it nice when democracy works? Sad that it’s only when an election is imminent.
For those of you that may have similar downloading habits to me, you may have noticed that some of the major ISP’s have started putting a cap on your bandwidth. At ~$2/GB charges for overages, your nice conservative monthly bill can balloon up pretty quickly.
Well, Prime Minister Harper and Industry Minister Tony Clement finally flexed their muscles to the CRTC; Here is an article in all it’s glory from Ottawa’s The Star:
Richard J. Brennan Ottawa Bureau OTTAWA—A controversial CRTC decision that effectively imposed usage-based Internet billing on small service providers will be reversed, the Toronto Star has learned.
“The CRTC should be under no illusion — the Prime Minister and minister of Industry will reverse this decision unless the CRTC does it itself,” a senior Conservative government official said Wednesday.
“If they don’t reconsider we will reverse their decision.”
The promise to reverse the ruling comes as CRTC Chair Konrad von Finckenstein is scheduled to explain the decision Thursday before the House of Commons industry committee.
While the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission is an independent agency, its decision can be overturned by cabinet. The Star was told that could happen as early as next week.
The CRTC decision has sparked outrage across the country with Canadians rushing to sign petitions asking the Conservative government to reverse it. Industry Minister Tony Clement has received tens of thousands of emails requesting that it be struck down.
“Frankly, a decision like this is clearly not in the best interest of consumers,” the senior official said.
“This is a bread-and-butter issue.”
The CRTC’s ruling affects the wholesale business of the major Internet service providers, who sell capacity to smaller resellers. To encourage competition, major telecom operators that have spent heavily on infrastructure are required to lease bandwidth on their networks to small providers.
Major providers charge customers extra if they download more than the monthly limits they set, typically between 20 and 60 gigabytes. Small providers, however, offer plans with 200 gigabyte ceilings and even unlimited use.
The issue came to a head last week, when the CRTC denied independent service providers the right to continue offering unlimited Internet plans.
Although critics say the CRTC ruling will lead to lower download limits and higher rates, major Internet service providers say usage-based billing based is fair because it means heavy users pay more than those who just surf the web and use email.
As it invests billions in new broadband capacity, Bell says old pricing structures need to be brought in line with the huge amount of growth in Internet usage. Businesses and consumers are increasingly relying on the Internet to download videos, documents and even software. Rogers says its customers are using about 40 per cent more data each year.
Consumers’ Association of Canada president Bruce Cran said the CRTC decision is nothing but corporate gouging by Canada’s monopolistic communications companies.
John Reid, president of CATA Alliance, a group that advocates for innovation in Canada, said, “This has to be a decision that Canada makes — that it wants to be the best in the world in the provision of high-speed Internet.”
He added, however, that usage-based billing is not the answer. “You don’t want to stifle the sort of richness that comes from using high-speed Internet,” says Reid.
Sounds great, but if you think this means Shaw or Telus won’t be charging you for overages, don’t hold your breath. It is likely only removing the restrictions on third party resellers that are leasing communication infrastructure from the big ISPs.
I remember back in 2006-ish, the CRTC had ruled that the major ISPs had anti-competitive practises, because the small ISP with no infrastructure couldn’t enter competitivley into the market. All of a sudden, all it took was a ~$20 registration fee to the CRTC and anyone could be a licensed ISP. Shaw and Telus had no choice but to wholesale their internet at a reduced rate.
Looks like I’ll be switching my internet services over to Compu-Global-Hyper-Mega-Net. (Yes it actually exists) I don’t think the owner is actually interested in becoming a real service provider. Hopefully he is interested in taking on a couple of friends though.
Is it just me, or is this the second major public outting of a decision by the CRTC this year? I wonder who Mark Knopfler uses for his ISP?