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Bell Proposing Usage-Based Billing

samzenpus posted more than 5 years ago | from the pay-the-man dept.

The Internet 238

Idiomatick writes "Bell Canada is attempting to impose UBB on its wholesale customers. As Bell was given a last-mile monopoly in much of Canada by the government, they are required to follow rules set up by the CRTC; this includes leasing their lines to competitive ISPs. And they are given a directive by the CRTC to provide competitive speeds to said ISPs. Teksavvy has informed its customers that were this to go through, the current monthly cap would be quartered and the cost for exceeding it would be 'multiple times more than our current per Gigabyte rate of $0.25/GB on overages.' They have also helpfully included a link where you can send your comments/concerns to the CRTC directly."

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Do-over (4, Interesting)

concernedadmin (1054160) | more than 5 years ago | (#27594785)

How much would it cost to rip up the ground and lay down more fiber? It seems like in most cases, a (natural?) monopoly results. When things get this bad, is there any chance that a new generation of telecommunications companies can spring up (perhaps with government subsidies to get them going)?

Re:Do-over (4, Interesting)

digitalchinky (650880) | more than 5 years ago | (#27594963)

It's not so much the cost that matters, it's the monopolies you mention. They are not natural though, they were formed from contracts that were drafted with precision greed and much forward contemplation of their potential future value. They did have a hundred years or so of prior telephony contracts to give them a good heads up. It'll be many years and many legal battles before your new generation get to turn their first clump of dirt.

Re:Do-over (1)

Jurily (900488) | more than 5 years ago | (#27595221)

It'll be many years and many legal battles before your new generation get to turn their first clump of dirt.

Nah. This pile of crap that is the world economy will collapse much sooner.

Fun fact: The US is bankrupt since 1971 [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Do-over (1)

$1uck (710826) | more than 5 years ago | (#27595577)

Bankrupt?

The word doesn't mean what you think it does.

Re:Do-over (1)

jank1887 (815982) | more than 5 years ago | (#27596029)

last I checked, bankruptcy meant you were unable to meet payments asked for by creditors, and you seek formal means of restructuring or partially satisfying your debt by fulfilling the negative side of lender risk.

Last I checked, China hasn't come callin' for payback.

Re:Do-over (1)

BPPG (1181851) | more than 5 years ago | (#27596259)

Bankruptcy is declared, like crying Uncle. I can be a friggin' hobo and not have declared bankruptcy, as I'm not required to until creditors are banging at the front door of my cardboard box.

Until then, I'm allowed to claim my cardboard box to be a fully-furnished mansion if I wanted to.

Re:Do-over (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 5 years ago | (#27596317)

Yet.

The national debt is now at $110,000 per U.S. home and will climb to $150,000 before the next presidential election. Add another $90,000 in personal mortgage/credit card debt (on average). $200,000-$240,000 per home may not be bankruptcy, but it's as close as you can get without crossing the line. We are in deep trouble.

Re:Do-over (4, Insightful)

ILongForDarkness (1134931) | more than 5 years ago | (#27595251)

Not likely. That is why is is a natural monopoly. It isn't just that you have the infrastructure owned by one company, it is that the marginal cost for another company entering the market will be much much higher than the prices of the existing supplier, and even if you subsidize a second company while they roll out their infrastructure it still will cost more. There will now be two backbones sharing the same pool of customers, thus the fixed costs will have to be recovered fro, whatever the fraction of customers you can lure away is, not the whole market as it was before.

Also, the new company would have to run new wires to the house. So you buy a house and want to go with a different phone provider in this scenario you'd probably end up with a house full of the other guys boxes that are inactive and eye sores.

In short, people like to think that competition is the cure for everything, but unfortunately it is not. Sometimes the nature of the game is that it is cheaper for the customer to give one company excessive profits then to have two companies competing and have the price still be higher but now the companies' are just breaking even (in an economical since, ie including "fair" return on investment). If things get out of hand governments regulate the natural monopolies and make them lease their backbone, or only charge fair prices. Other natural monopolies belong to the government because it makes the most sense, education (though that depends were you are I suppose), national defence (could you imagine time sharing a tank with your neighbours? Would be fun though).

Re:Do-over (1)

Tejin (818001) | more than 5 years ago | (#27596041)

There is one way to surreptitiously build infrastructure on the cheap. Cable companies have connections to nearly every home, and many are getting into the internet/phone gig. Where I work, the cost per metre of fibre optic cable is low enough that we're running new cables all the time.

Re:Do-over (1)

dfiguero (324827) | more than 5 years ago | (#27596073)

There will now be two backbones sharing the same pool of customers, thus the fixed costs will have to be recovered fro, whatever the fraction of customers you can lure away is, not the whole market as it was before.

Given that the story says:

As Bell was given a last-mile monopoly in much of Canada by the government they are required to follow rules set up by the CRTC this includes leasing their lines to competitive ISPs.

"Much of Canada" must be a significant amount of customers and I think you would need to consider that whatever new company would compete against Bell would try to offer some nice incentives to attract customers. They would probably push the status quo and consumers would get the best.

I know your point is that it doesn't seem to make much sense for a company in terms of profit but although the profits might not be the same as that of a natural monopoly, I think the profits of an oligopoly would still be attractive.

Re:Do-over (1)

Hizonner (38491) | more than 5 years ago | (#27596223)

How the heck is education a natural monopoly?

Re:Do-over (1)

swb (14022) | more than 5 years ago | (#27596433)

Or for that matter, defense?

How completely aligned are the national defense needs of, say, Hawaii with those of, say, Ohio? Note, I don't say there aren't mutual interests, but to say that there is 100% overlap is ridiculous.

We've been kind of snookered into this one-size-fits-all all-national-interests-are-aligned mindset.

Re:Do-over (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 5 years ago | (#27596399)

In my area Comcast and Verizon compete with one another, and I see a lot of benefit: (1) Lower prices and (2) increasing speeds.

If there was a monopoly it would probably be ridiculous (Verizon used to charge $100/month). It's akin to when AT&T controlled everything and phone quality sucked, but once Sprint, MCI, and other competitors entered the market, prices dropped to ~5 cents a minute and data speeds increased from AT&T's maximum 300 bit/second modem to non-AT&T 28,000 or 56,000 modems. Breaking-up the monopoly removed the stagnation that had existed for thirty years.

Re:Do-over (5, Interesting)

Swizec (978239) | more than 5 years ago | (#27595351)

This is what happened in Slovenia. A new comer (T-2) came along and decided to say fuck you to the biggest and the baddest and just start laying down fiber, offering FTTH at prices much lower than the market value and simply work against all conventional business ideology.

What happened was that after a few years they were the cheapest, fastest and all around bestest internet provider in the country. This forced the biggest and the baddest to sharply drop their prices and start laying FTTH to simply stay in business at all.

Now, about 5 years after this started happening, Slovenia is the 7th in the world in FTTH adoption right behind Scandinavia and Asia.

Fun fact: It's about half cheaper to get 20/20 FTTH here than it is to get 1024/256 ADSL.

Re:Do-over (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27595487)

"bestest" ??

Re:Do-over (2, Insightful)

Jerry Smith (806480) | more than 5 years ago | (#27596199)

"bestest" ??

Oh hell YEAH, this IS the appropriate situation to use that word!

Re:Do-over (1)

Shrike82 (1471633) | more than 5 years ago | (#27595395)

It costs a lot more than you'd think. Somewhere between $70,000 per mile in suburbia, up to $250,000 a mile in a city cente (Source) [gigabeam.com] Other sites quote different prices, but they're always in the region of 10's of thousands of dollars per mile for rural areas, up to hundreds of thousands of dollars for cities. So it's not economically desirable to run more cable I'm afraid.

Re:Do-over (1)

Vu1turEMaN (1270774) | more than 5 years ago | (#27596331)

Verizon ran it for free to my house, almost a half mile from the main road. Are you saying that it cost them 30,000$ to do that? I mean, we were one of the very first to have fios (at all) in the pittsburgh area.

I guess they strategized and said "oh man he torrents 2TB per month, so when we move to a usage-based model we'll pay it back in a year".

Re:Do-over (5, Insightful)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 5 years ago | (#27595437)

This should be compared to e.g. roads, railways, waterways, airports and other major pieces of infrastructure. As such it is best owned by the government or a government-appointed company that takes care of the maintenance only, and is not providing services. All users pay a certain fee, based on a flat fare or per use or whatever. I say here government, it may also be a public non-profit that is set up for this very purpose.

For example the government builds and maintain roads, and charges a vehicle tax to use them.

An airport, often also government run, charges the aircraft that want to land there a certain fee, possibly depending on size of the aircraft.

So it would be the government that builds/maintains the cables, and then rents it out for the ISP to provide services on it. Or maybe even telephone companies, or TV services. All the government should do is lay a digital cable, and other companies can connect to it with their digital services (and provide end-point equipment such as set-top box for the TV, modem for an Internet connection or telephone set). The cable just provides a way to get those bits from a to b regardless of what those bits are for. The only limits may be the legality of content, and the bandwidth demanded.

It is not doable, also not desirable, to lay more than one set of the same infrastructure. Coax or telephone cables may be replaced by fibre for example, but it is not a good idea to put two sets of coax (TV cable) in the ground.

The competition should not come from more sets of cables here, like there is only one road network but it is operated by various bus companies, minibus operators, taxis, rikshaws, and private cars. They all pay a certain fee to be licensed to use the road, and maybe tolls for use of certain tunnels or bridges. That's how cables should work as well.

The problem is of course that lots of cables were laid by private companies, though often government sponsored, when it was thought that it all should be privately owned and run. That legacy we have now basically all over the world, and this is why they are talking about a "third channel" and thinking of ways to do Internet over electricity cables just to get more competition. It is just patchwork. Cables should be publicly owned like the roads and other major pieces of infrastructure, become a common carrier, and sell no more than their transport service to wholesale customers. Just like the telephone companies sell telephone calls (data transport) to anyone, regardless of whether you are just having a nice chat with your mum, trying to close a business deal, or are having a bout of telephone sex. The call costs the same, and everyone is allowed to make as many of them as their line allows (which is usually one at the time but more lines can be rented if you need it).

Re:Do-over (1)

Locklin (1074657) | more than 5 years ago | (#27596089)

This is the only solution that will work, in my mind. How much do you suppose it would cost to ship a parcel if a single postal company owned the roads? would second-tier postal carriers like UPS have to lay down their own roads? or bend over and pay the monopolies whatever they want to "rent" time on the existing roads? Government owned infrastructure like roads, AND CABLE, leads to more competition, a free-er market, more innovation, jobs and better service for customers.

Re:Do-over (4, Insightful)

billcopc (196330) | more than 5 years ago | (#27596275)

It's not about fiber or infrastructure or anything like that. It's about Bell playing dirty and dodging the anti-monopoly laws that were specifically enacted to keep Bell under control.

Every single move is a direct attack to shut out resellers and competitors. With this particular predatory billing strategy, they are guaranteeing that any DSL reseller goes out of business because the "wholesale" cost is greater than their own 1st-tier retail service. At the same time, the low caps proposed are ensuring that their users won't be able to ditch their $200/month DTV and phone bills in favor of IPTV and VoIP.

You guys in the states see the same bullshit, although it is not _quite_ as dramatic (yet) because you still have a handful of telecoms fighting over the market. Up here Bell is god, and has been for nearly a century, because every time they've been split up or shoo'd out of an area, they have bought back their shares in the newly-formed companies that replaced them. The few conglomerates they don't own outright, they collude with, like Rogers and Videotron. There is no real competition.

Bell is so ominous up here, many people mistakenly believe it is a crown corporation run by the government. The CRTC, which is supposed to be a media watchdog, is Bell's lap dog. Let me put it to you this way: If the Bush family ran a telco the way they ran a country, Bell Canada would be the result.

non-profit co-op for Layers 1 and 2 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27596367)

How much would it cost to rip up the ground and lay down more fiber?

Or simply take the current infrastructure and nationalize it into a non-profit co-op. The ISPs then buy into this co-op.

The fibre and copper is maintained via fees to the ISPs, but the actual Layer 3+ routing is handled by them.

Equal footing for all, and you have a neutral third party taking care of the hardware that doesn't have a conflict of interest with running their own ISP.

Thats it... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27594797)

I'm moving to.. oh. Well fuck them!

Re:Thats it... (5, Informative)

shimojimatto (1220722) | more than 5 years ago | (#27595031)

I'm moving to.. oh. Well fuck them!

Move to Japan! The AWESOME internet choices are endless!

1000Mbit fibre Optic for $50/mo after a $300 setup fee (this service is pretty new)
Unlimited usage... no caps... no filters

OR
100Mbit fibre optic for $60~70 a month no setup fee
Unlimited usage... no caps... no filters

OR
50Mbit ADSL for $30 a month.. no setup fee
Unlimited usage... no caps... no filters

OR
3.0Mbit (down... only about 1Mbit up) wireless internet anywhere through the cell network for varying prices based on data usage...

And those top 3 also usually include free IP phones and some sort of video download service... optional Video On Demand services etc.etc...

Why does the US suck so bad?

Re:Thats it... (5, Interesting)

arogier (1250960) | more than 5 years ago | (#27595095)

Not everything going on in the US broadband wise is completely disheartening. Last week my hometown passed a bond initiative to fund fiber to the home as a municipal utility.
http://www.highlandilnews.com/index.html [highlandilnews.com]

Re:Thats it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27595117)

Move to Japan!

The bandwidth ain't the only reason I'd like to move there, if you get what I mean.

Re:Thats it... (2, Funny)

TheP4st (1164315) | more than 5 years ago | (#27595161)

The bandwidth ain't the only reason I'd like to move there, if you get what I mean.

Would the other reason have something to do with tentacles?

Re:Thats it... (-1, Offtopic)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 5 years ago | (#27595167)

Yeah. The AWESOME porn choices are endless!

You can get used school girls' panties at vending machines, and act like it's totally normal.

OR
Buy mangas with shitting dick-nipples in them, and act like it's totally normal.

OR
Can play "Say the tongue-twister correctly and get loads of money. Say it wrong, and get a kick in the balls." on live countrywide TV, and act like it's totally normal.

OR
Go to school, and then after school, go to private lessons, then go home and do your homework, then go to bed, for the first quarter of your life. And act like it's totally normal.

OR
Pay $5000 for a 30 m2 apartment, share it with 5 other people, so you can pay the rent, and act like it's totally normal.

And those usually include being pressed into subway trains by the staff, until you can't breathe anymore... optional raw fish in algae as food etc.etc...

Why does Japan suck so bad?

Re:Thats it... (4, Informative)

shimojimatto (1220722) | more than 5 years ago | (#27595229)

Yeah. The AWESOME porn choices are endless!

You can get used school girls' panties at vending machines, and act like it's totally normal.

OR Buy mangas with shitting dick-nipples in them, and act like it's totally normal.

OR Can play "Say the tongue-twister correctly and get loads of money. Say it wrong, and get a kick in the balls." on live countrywide TV, and act like it's totally normal.

no one here would call any of that normal...
except the being crushed into the train and the studying...

OR leave your car, bike, and apartment/house unlocked all day and have it all be there when you get back and act love the country for it.

OR see about a gazillion hot girls on my way to and from work everyday and love the city for it.

OR recycle 75% of your garbage and use economical ecological public transit every day... and love the country for it.

OR have a decent sized house that really wasn't that expensive but is still only 30 minutes commute from anywhere in the city... and wonder why people who pay $5000 a month for an apartment are so retarded.

... and yeah... some of the porn/sex biz stuff is pretty messed up. And some of the TV shows are kind of crazy... but F-ing hilarious!

Re:Thats it... (1)

ag0ny (59629) | more than 5 years ago | (#27595311)

OR
Pay $5000 for a 30 m2 apartment, share it with 5 other people, so you can pay the rent, and act like it's totally normal.

Not true. More like $800/month for a nice 40 m2 apartment [flickr.com] , for myself alone. Oh, and that price includes 30Mbps fiber optics. Unlimited and unfiltered, of course.

It's also probably worth noting that our IT-job salaries are much higher here than they would be if we were working in the USA.

Re:Thats it... (1)

darkstar949 (697933) | more than 5 years ago | (#27595981)

That rent really isn't that bad considering I'm paying US$1000 for a 42 sq meter apartment near Boston and I have to pay for my internet and phone separately, another US$90 a month.

However, how much did it cost for you to acquire and move into the apartment? I've heard that some of them what up to six months worth of rent up front.

Re:Thats it... (2, Informative)

Mishotaki (957104) | more than 5 years ago | (#27595653)

Yeah. The AWESOME porn choices are endless!

You can get used school girls' panties at vending machines, and act like it's totally normal.

OR Buy mangas with shitting dick-nipples in them, and act like it's totally normal.

too bad that there is a law against showing genitals in porn...

Re:Thats it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27596069)

by Hurricane78 (562437)

So, I assume 78 is your IQ and not your year of birth. Fucking retard.

Re:Thats it... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27596049)

Because the US is run by corporations that could give a rodent's behind about the consumer. It's all about money, not service. Companies here are greedy bastards and want, want, want. The wastes of flesh running the financial sector are a great examples of the types we have running companies here in the US.

Re:Thats it... (1)

socrplayr813 (1372733) | more than 5 years ago | (#27596365)

It's much more feasible for them to run cable in Japan because of the population density. They get a lot more people out of those 1000 ft of cable than most of the US. Only our biggest cities can come close to that value, and most people in the US don't live in them. All that open space means a lot of digging to get people connected, even in relatively dense suburbs.

Re:Thats it... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27596395)

Why does the US suck so bad?

Population density. US = 31/km , Japan = 331/km. It's a lot easier for a business to provide internet services when you can sneeze and service hundreds of people.

Even US cities are much more widely spread out. Not just houses stacked on-top of each other. It's a hell of a lot easier and cheaper to run wires to peoples houses or provide nation-wide WiFi.

Same reasons go for Europe and other similarly high-density populations. It's also one of the main reasons that train networks don't economically work in the US outside of large density cities like LA, Chicago, or New York.

Re:Thats it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27596463)

It sucks so bad becasue of the size of your infrastructure. Japan is 143,619 square miles. That's slightly smaller than the state of California. How much would it cost to put in fiber in the entire US, as apposed to just CA?

Why do you think Japan is on the leading edge of cellphones? How many towers would you need to cover CA? Compair that to number that you need to get nation wide coverage in the US.

You canadians need a regulator with some teeth (5, Informative)

jonwil (467024) | more than 5 years ago | (#27594829)

No wholesale provider here in Australia could impose such charges on 3rd party ISPs in this way, if they did, the ACCC would put a stop to that. (at least as far as fixed line DSL goes)

Re:You canadians need a regulator with some teeth (3, Insightful)

freedom_india (780002) | more than 5 years ago | (#27594867)

Australia??? The land where Telescum is the provider of crappy broadband experience, and where Optus sucks??
Where the Government has plans to engage in gagging free speech at a level that will make Himmler jealous?
Seriously??

Re:You canadians need a regulator with some teeth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27594879)

he said teeth, not brains... key distinction there 'mate ;)

Re:You canadians need a regulator with some teeth (1)

Techman83 (949264) | more than 5 years ago | (#27594967)

Yeah as backwards as the current government seems to be, certain things have been put in place in the past. Telstra internally isn't even allowed to talk to it's own wholesale department.

Not to say the situation is at all that great here, Telstra have a monopoly, especially in Mobile phones (Leave any major city and you'll only get Telstra coverage)

Australia's got it all worked out! (1)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 5 years ago | (#27596037)

Canada should look to Australia. Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has announced that the Australian government will build a new $43 billion national broadband network [today.com] , connecting 90% of homes to 100-megabit fibre internet. "We believe that fast broadband is absolutely essential for our nation's future", he said.

"Telstra has raised issues with the amount of bandwidth usage this will produce, given we're still hooked to America by tin cans and string, but our Great Firewall of Australia Internet filtering project should keep usage down to reasonable levels at near-dialup speeds. We promise you won't go over your download cap."

The Great Firewall will reliably block all illegal material, child pornography, terrorism and unAustralian thoughts.

"Not only are the contents of the list illegal," said Senator Stephen Conroy, " but revealing the list is also illegal, and so is linking to someone linking to someone claiming to reveal the list. So we're blocking Google Search. Having to use Anzwers should keep usage right down."

Calling it, the "single largest infrastructure decision in Australia's history," Mr Rudd said the project would employ up to 37,000 people a year monitoring citizens' net access, reading their email and correcting spelling errors in their football forum posts.

A consultative process will determine the regulatory framework for the network. "We're considering getting Senator Fielding to do it personally," said Senator Conroy, "since he's the dickhead who demanded the censorship in return for his votes. Hopefully it'll melt his brain. Bloody balance of power. At least Xenophon's bloody sane."

Re:You canadians need a regulator with some teeth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27594901)

Teksavvy is just a reseller of Bell service. Any charges Bell imposes on Teksavvy get passed onto the consumer.

This is still better than the alternative with most Canadian ISPs where if you go over the (low) cap, you just get kicked off your contract (paying the early cancellation fee).

Re:You canadians need a regulator with some teeth (5, Informative)

Nazlfrag (1035012) | more than 5 years ago | (#27594955)

Australia? Where you get charged $150 a gigabyte for excess usage? As detailed in the light grey text in smaller font underneath the plan? Yeah, we're doing great.

Telstra: Additional usage charged at $0.15/MB [bigpond.com] .
Optus: Excess Data: $0.15/MB up to 2 GB then Speed Limited to 64 kbps [broadbandguide.com.au]

Re:You canadians need a regulator with some teeth (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27594995)

Internode? Adam? iiNet?
And Telstra have been slapped down over their crap in the past, and the Rudd government looks like it is going to do that better (and I say that as a paid-up member of the Liberal Party). there are many things wrong with our broadband system, but at least we are better-off than the USA and Canada.

Re:You canadians need a regulator with some teeth (2, Insightful)

RuBLed (995686) | more than 5 years ago | (#27595045)

I don't live in Australia and I can't believe the pages you had sent. A 1GB cap (combined upload and download) per month at at least 8Mbps speeds. Isn't that like consuming your bandwidth in a few minutes after (accidentally) clicking some HD video streaming site? Why not limit it in speeds? I'm inclined to think that the ISPs there like their victims to rack up additional charges and laugh maniacally while printing the bills.

Re:You canadians need a regulator with some teeth (1)

linzeal (197905) | more than 5 years ago | (#27595363)

So do banks. Some banks live off overdraft fees and ATM surcharges, wait all of them do.

Re:You canadians need a regulator with some teeth (5, Informative)

jonwil (467024) | more than 5 years ago | (#27595065)

I am paying AU$50 per month and getting 25GB (10GB peak and 15GB off peak) per month with no excess usage charges ever. If I exceed the 25GB, I get shaped back down to 64kbps for the rest of the month. Only idiots who sign up with Tel$tra BigPond or Optarse get hit with crap like that, there are options available (no matter what bit of gear your phone line is hooked up to) that have no excess usage fees ever. (pretty much all of them do have the "you get x amount per month and then get shaped down to 64k or 128k for the rest of the month" though)

Re:You canadians need a regulator with some teeth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27595257)

Sounds like an incredibly bad deal. In the UK I'm paying £17.50 (~US$25) for unlimited broadband at around ~400kbps down, 25%-50% of that up. The sort of deal you're getting for AU$50 would typically cost £10 or less a month, and Sky offer a free service not far off that.

Re:You canadians need a regulator with some teeth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27595287)

Which kinda shows that all the people in the United States who are complaining so much about restrictive internet need to pull their head out and realise that they rode a fairly sweet deal for a long while and it's about time they came back to reality.

Re:You canadians need a regulator with some teeth (1)

Malc (1751) | more than 5 years ago | (#27595357)

I was paying almost half that with Teksavvy when I lived in Toronto (up to last year). I was on the "premium" plan, which gave me 100GB/mo. I can't remember what the charge was for exceeding that, but it was reasonable. Their other non-premuum plan had unlimited usage, but used transit/peer connections or something that weren't as good (i.e. higher or variable latency).

In Australia, if you have DSL but not ADSL2+, many people have 384kbs upstream or less (yes, I'm one of them), which is just ridiculous. I haven't had upstream that slow for 9 years (limited to 320kbs back then due to the Nortel platform Bell was using before they switched to regular G.DMT), and it's amazing how much difference it makes. That coupled with poor performance in Sydney where I'm routed across the Pacific makes it pretty sluggish at times. Maybe a different ISP would be better, but oh, you get locked in to contracts here too, making it expensive to change. Kevin Rudd would be better spending the $2,000/person on things other than the last mile, as that's not really the main problem.

Re:You canadians need a regulator with some teeth (1)

bemo56 (1251034) | more than 5 years ago | (#27595783)

In Australia, if you have DSL but not ADSL2+

Actually we have just started getting ADSL2+ Connections hooked up in the city areas. I was able to download a 10mb file in the time it took to click the link, I'd be blown away by the speeds you can get in other countries.

Re:You canadians need a regulator with some teeth (1)

DarqFallen (946938) | more than 5 years ago | (#27595365)

I am paying $45.00 a month for DRY loop 5meg w/ 200 gigabyte (not gigabit) cap. If I go over Teksavvy averages this over the last 2 months. If that average is under 200gb, No charge, if its over $0.25 per GB or I can buy a pack of 100GB for $10. There is no throttling if you use MLPPP which Teksavvy fully supports.

Re:You canadians need a regulator with some teeth (1)

Sinbios (852437) | more than 5 years ago | (#27595619)

Did you read the article? You're about to get royally penetrated.

Re:You canadians need a regulator with some teeth (1)

donatzsky (91033) | more than 5 years ago | (#27595505)

Ouch! I pay EUR 30/month, and for that I get whatever my line can handle (18/1 in my case) and no limits what so ever. Plus free landline phone (including international calls) and a decently large iptv package. http://www.free.fr/adsl/ [www.free.fr]

Re:You canadians need a regulator with some teeth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27595019)

Ignoring that Internet access in Australia is worse than in Canada (for you Americans, Canadian Internet access is quite a lot worse here now than in most places in the states), I'd say it's a combination of CRTC incompetence, ineffectiveness, some historical artifacts due to our proximity to the US, and a government that sucks on telecom policies (not to say that Liberals were much better seeing as how ACTA got started under them, but at least they were incompetent/lacked political will regarding these issues & only payed lip service to appease US interests).

There's also the whole issue with it seeming like the CRTC is pretty much owned by the communication providers (Rogers in particular). DSL is at least somewhat regulated (whereas for some reason the same regulations don't apply to Rogers). They get even worse when it comes to cell-phone service where we have little to no competition (we have about 3 national cell-phone providers - 1 GSM, 2 CDMA), although that is arguably the fault of the CRTC but of legislation* that severely limits/forbids foreign-ownership of communication networks in Canada.

* I think the legislation is correct in spirit even if the wording is wrong. One of its goals is to ensure that these companies come under Canada's far stricter privacy laws.

Consequence of CRTC regulations (5, Informative)

Dr J. keeps the nerd (1061562) | more than 5 years ago | (#27594891)

The CRTC requires Bell to resell its lines for fixed rates. Bell must offer service that's at least as good as what it provides to its own customers. As the regulated rate is below Bell's own rate of return from an actual Bell customer, Bell has no incentive to provide better service that what it provides to its own customers. If the CRTC allowed for other arrangements, Bell could strike a deal with a wholesaler to offer unlimited service at a higher price. As it stands, it can't. Nothing here is surprising.

Re:Consequence of CRTC regulations (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27595529)

Not really. For wholesale DSL, "Bell" is two different companies. One division (Nexxia?) owns the last mile and is the reseller to wholesale DSL providers. The other division, "Sympatico", is Bell's internet retailer.

The CRTC can only mandate what the 'last-mile' division of Bell does. Sympatico is free to do whatever it wants. The Sympatico tail is wagging the Nexxia dog.

The CRTC needs to keep Nexxia on a leash and allow for proper competition between Sympatico (DSL retailer) and all the other DSL retailers that get wholesale access to the last-mile network.

Greed at its finest.... (1)

notarockstar1979 (1521239) | more than 5 years ago | (#27594907)

It's too bad really. They will do everything they can to keep any actual competition from showing up in a market. They're just making the customers of the smaller ISPs suffer out of spite.

Re:Greed at its finest.... (1)

PhilixDMA (883145) | more than 5 years ago | (#27595179)

Consequently they'll lose my business. I'm currently with Teksavvy and the pricing/service is excellent. Best I've ever recieved. I've used Rogers and Bell in the past and paid easily three times as much for the bandwidth I've used. Teksavvy also has an extremely helpful set of tech support staff and maintains an open dialog with their customers on the dslreports.com forums. Sadly, if Bell manages to get this usage based billing by the CRTC, I'll be changing to a cable service like Rogers as I won't want to provide Bell with any money even through another company. Currently, I use an analog phone service from Bell for around 30$ a month, with Teksavvy costing 35$ + Tax monthly for 200GB and a static IP. If I switch to Rogers, Bell will lose me as a phone customer. I'll have no reason to not subscribe to a digital phone service from Rogers.

Re:Greed at its finest.... (4, Interesting)

multipartmixed (163409) | more than 5 years ago | (#27595671)

> If I switch to Rogers, Bell will lose me as a phone customer. I'll have no
> reason to not subscribe to a digital phone service from Rogers.

Make sure your port your number. When you port your number away from Bell, it triggers some magic retention-department panic. They'll call you several times asking how they can get your business back. Make sure you tell them exactly why you're no longer a Bell customer, maybe if enough people shout loud enough they'll eventually listen.

In my case, there was no DSLAM in the nearest CO; they suggested I get Bell WiMax. After I finished laughing at them, I explained that my new phone company had their own ADSL2+ DSLAM in that same CO, and that I was pleased-beyond-belief with the service I was receiving. The bits... they torrent!!

Christ this shit is funny. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27595131)

You North Americans really need to get out more so you can discover just how fucking pampered you've always been.

Re:Christ this shit is funny. (2, Insightful)

DeadDecoy (877617) | more than 5 years ago | (#27595353)

Maybe being outspoken, vocal, and whiney, is the only way to get what you want. Sometimes if you let people take an inch, they go all the fucking way because they want to make money. You should try it sometime, maybe you'll get what you want. :)

Re:Christ this shit is funny. (1)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 5 years ago | (#27595797)

My Internet service has gotten progressively worse for almost a full 10 years now. Its not that we aren't doing ok on a global scheme it is that our services we once had are deteriorating and I've no idea why that is so.

Why, Oh Why! (1)

Skal Tura (595728) | more than 5 years ago | (#27595163)

Why are they constantly attempting this, even tho users will always be mad?

And with these high prices too ... If the per gb price would even be something sensible! I transfer probably over 1Tb a month (backups, video feeds etc), so 0.25 would endup being 250euros per month for me ... Many times what i currently pay

Re:Why, Oh Why! (1)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 5 years ago | (#27595841)

It isn't Bell raising it's prices. Bell owns the last mile lines which it is forced to lease out to competition. Bell is raising it's competitors prices. That this would even get considered is scary.

Or come and live in SA.... (2, Informative)

Sken-Pitilkin (1039222) | more than 5 years ago | (#27595207)

Where I pay around 60 times what Americans pay per gig (at a whopping 384kb/s) and I have a really cheap service provider :)

Re:Or come and live in SA.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27595275)

Well then don't vote for the ANC again. Them thar bitches are milk'n you dry, beeaatch!

Re:Or come and live in SA.... (1)

inasity_rules (1110095) | more than 5 years ago | (#27595865)

Move north one country and it gets even worse... Though at the moment I'm paying US$25/month for unlimited EDGE (~100kbps). When it works...

Go kill progress (4, Insightful)

Bender Unit 22 (216955) | more than 5 years ago | (#27595217)

Everything these days are done on the internet from entertainment to doing taxes.
In some countries the goverment are even investing money in internet connectivity to provide better connections to more people.
But when you then start to charge by usage then you'll see people stop using it and development slows down.
One would think it was better for the country as a whole to have people to embrace the technology rather than do bean counting on their internet traffic.

It's no coincidence (1)

myspace-cn (1094627) | more than 5 years ago | (#27595233)

This was planned, with everything going to hell, we can't have alternative voices. Any excuse to copy and analyze every packet and plan future attack on the people getting organized against the corruption in each respective country's government.

Canadians have their Republican Problem
Americans have their Corrupt two party problem.

The Broadcast spectrum is fascist owned in each country.

So as they crack down on people, there won't be many tools left to fight back.

(It would be nice if Canadians and Americans could get along in this light. Our LEADERS are the scum, not the citizens.)

You Fail It (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27595247)

ago, many of you networking test. Inventing excuses would take about 2 OpenBSD leader Theo WORLD. GNNA MEMBERS from within. more grandiose

Sounds like blackmail (1)

rossz (67331) | more than 5 years ago | (#27595377)

That's a nice internet you have there.
It would be a shame if something were to happen to it.

sounds entirely reasonable (4, Insightful)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 5 years ago | (#27595397)

you pay by usage for every other commodity, so why not bandwidth too?

If this had been the model from the very start (when modems ruled the earth), it would be taken as normal. It's only because the data volumes of users have been low, that it's not worth billing per megabyte. However now we have the "power users" (read: bandwidth hogs) bleating on, as if someone's taking away their candy.

Re:sounds entirely reasonable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27595441)

... because you already pay for bandwidth. I pay for 18Mbit. I don't pay for transfer volumes, and I like to keep it that way.

Re:sounds entirely reasonable (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27595473)

Because bandwidth isn't finite, as long as the pipe is there and lit the difference in cost for using 100% of the bandwidth compared to 0.1% is practically nothing. Unlike other utilities no resource is being consumed.

Re:sounds entirely reasonable (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 5 years ago | (#27596111)

Because bandwidth isn't finite, as long as the pipe is there and lit the difference in cost for using 100% of the bandwidth compared to 0.1% is practically nothing. Unlike other utilities no resource is being consumed.

"100%" can't be reached for something that isn't finite. Bandwidth is not infinite.

Re:sounds entirely reasonable (1)

Nesa2 (1142511) | more than 5 years ago | (#27595645)

Internet = Information
Would be nice if only rich people would have access to information and keep lower classes there, where they are?
What about public libraries? Only rich people can read unlimited amount of books, poor will have to read only 2 per month? Is this your logic?
Internet is not same as any other commodity.
Govermenets will take over Internet eventually or at least control it's access to ensure everyone is able to get at information equally.

Re:sounds entirely reasonable (1)

Minupla (62455) | more than 5 years ago | (#27595941)

Balderdash.

If bandwidth hogs were the issue they'd be going after companies who share a DSL with 100 staff. Ours is pegged all day every day. Check Bell's rate plans, business bandwidth is unlimited. How are the third parties going to compete with that? If Bell can sell unlimited bandwidth to business clients, shouldn't their wholesalers?

The issue is they want to put their competition out of business. Simple. They like being a monopoly (who wouldn't?) and want to make it as unprofitable as possible to compete with them, or at best, require all the wholesalers to lower their customer service to Bell's (crappy) standards.

Min

Re:sounds entirely reasonable (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 5 years ago | (#27596467)

If bandwidth hogs were the issue they'd be going after companies who share a DSL with 100 staff.

Not that many comapnies have 100 employees, and those with more than that will have something like a leased line rather than DSL.

Plus I'm sure they charge plenty more for a business line.

Re:sounds entirely reasonable (1)

stephanruby (542433) | more than 5 years ago | (#27596067)

If this had been the model from the very start (when modems ruled the earth), it would be taken as normal.

It did start like that initially. In France, the Minitel was charging by the minute (for most non-essential services). And in the US, the AOL service was charging by the minute as well. I remember that time well, one month -- my family had to pay AOL $500. The only other competitors were Prodigy and Compuserve (both were still using awful looking DOS interfaces, and I believe they also both charged by the minute as well).

It's only because the data volumes of users have been low, that it's not worth billing per megabyte.

Bullshit. Just take look at cell phones. Texting (even without any pictures) is ridiculously expensive for very little data. They attract you with what seem reasonable sounding rates, but they bank on you (or your family members) going over your limit -- charging you an arm and a leg if you go over (way more than their marginal cost for the overage).

It's just like the credit card industry, the people who always pay their bills on time are referred to as the deadbeat customers. And the customers that they can justifiably punish, they're allowed to rape them with overage/late fees.

Makes sense in the long run? (2, Interesting)

Max Romantschuk (132276) | more than 5 years ago | (#27595415)

Ultimately I think Internet access may well be another utility like water or electricity. It sort of makes sense to pay for what you use, so to speak.

But the charge should be so low that you need to really strain your connection a lot to feel it, and at the same time normal monthly fees need to go away.

I don't like the idea, but it makes sense economically. It costs energy to move packets around and keep networks running. The more you use the more you should pay.

But having some crazy base fee and then some punitive extra usage fee on top of that... No thanks.

Re:Makes sense in the long run? (1)

Locklin (1074657) | more than 5 years ago | (#27596171)

Water and electricity have monthly connection fees that are fixed in most places. Usage is tacked on top of that. If you use zero electricity or water for a given month, you will still get a (smaller) bill covering the infrastructure.

Usage based is fine if you're an honest ISP (4, Insightful)

syousef (465911) | more than 5 years ago | (#27595459)

- That means charge a very low initial access fee. Say $5-$10 max per month
- Don't force customers to pay for 20GB/month if they're not using it
- Don't force customers to predict how much they'll be using period then take their money anyway if they don't use it
- Do not charge a ridiculous amount beyond the cap. Charge a fixed rate per GB and keep it reasonable

ISPs and phone companies have had it too good for too long oversubscribing and overcharging for people using way under their quota. This move isn't to make things fair - it's to gouge heavy users. I don't pay $10 for my first 5 litres of petrol then $400 for my next 5 litres. One reason is that I could go to the competition. ISPs typically have monopoly, near monopoly or at best duopoly. They are NOT playing fair.

Re:Usage based is fine if you're an honest ISP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27595811)

In Romania, I'm paying 9 EUR/month for 3 Mbit Internet + 30 Mbit metropolitan (connections with peers from the same provider). Next time someone wants to say bad things about Eastern Europe, they should stop for a second and consider not only the technologies that are available, but also the costs for using them. We may not have many iPhones here, but almost everyone has a mobile phone.

Re:Usage based is fine if you're an honest ISP (4, Informative)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 5 years ago | (#27595835)

The problem is that Bell has a monopoly. To deal with this they are forced to sell their lines to other companies to compete with them. But now they are charging said companies per usage which is not how it is supposed to work for backbones. This will result in tripling the cost of competitors services. Which will in turn kill their competition and give them another monopoly. Teksavvy customers paying for the over 200GB/mo service (40$) will end up paying almost 200$ a month in the low end.

Another thing that Bell has been doing is shaping. They have been shaping Teksavvy's customers for years now. Which I think is another fairly clear abuse of monopoly power. Teksavvy is completely against the practice, had they their own lines they would not throttle torrent users or anything like that...

Re:Usage based is fine if you're an honest ISP (4, Interesting)

Hizonner (38491) | more than 5 years ago | (#27596157)

I agree. UBB actually makes a lot of sense, but the UBB structure they're proposing is wrong. If you're going to bill on usage, bill on usage; don't set up some arbitrary cap at which the rate goes insane.

I don't think it's a matter of gouging heavy users, though. Not exactly, anyway. The problem is that the carriers sized their infrastructure on the assumption that the subscriber base would grow a lot, but the data transferred per subscriber would not grow as much as it has. They didn't see mass-scale P2P file sharing coming along, let alone YouTube coming along and replacing cable TV.

So now they have a big, expensive, inadequate infrastructure (and an inadequate pricing model to go with it). The depreciation schedules they based their plans on require that infrastructure to last a long time before it gets replaced, but it's already being overwhelmed.

I think what they're really trying to do is less to gouge heavy users, and more to discourage heavy use entirely, so that they can continue to limp along on their old infrastructure long enough for it to pay for itself.

In other words, they screwed up their market forecasts, and now they want everybody do without improved service until they make their money back based on those flawed forecasts.

Of course it was their screwup in the first place, and most of them (I don't know about Bell or Canada) got a lot of subsidies and tax breaks based on promises of fabulous networks. They then kept as much of that money as they could get away with while building out the cheap network they thought they could get away with. I therefore think they (their shareholders) should really be first in line to eat the costs of writing off the infrastructure they built in error.

Then they can go ahead and do UBB to create a revenue stream to get financing to build a proper network.

its =/= it's (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27595603)

it's = "it is".
its = possessive of its.

Please make a note of it.

Re:its =/= it's (0, Offtopic)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 5 years ago | (#27595697)

Your right. You should of put the typoinsummary tag in.

FAILZORS... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27595629)

The options here already suck (1)

mongolian (768610) | more than 5 years ago | (#27595689)

In Montreal, we are bound to either Bell (or someone who wholesales from Bell) or Videotron. I've taken all three routes at some point or another and have yet to have a stable connection.
Videotron would sell 10Mb and give you 3-4 max. Support sucked.
Bell was the worst. It didn't work for the first month because they had been ripping up wires in our area and they just never got around to our case. After that it was only out any time it rained or snowed. 30GB cap and their 15Mb really meant 5.
Electronic Box resells from Bell and has generally been good. It's more expensive ($45 for 5Mb, unlimited and without dealing directly with Bell). At least support is good, though all of our requests get forwarded to Bell because they have frequent outages. I'm otherwise just contented to not be dealing directly with Bell and their outrageous prices for exceeding their traffic limit.
Anyone got anything better around here?

Deadline for filing comments has passed (4, Informative)

debrain (29228) | more than 5 years ago | (#27595843)

As I understand it, the deadline for filing comments on the UBB passed on midnight April 14th, 2009.

If you nevertheness wish to file (and high volume of comments, albeit late, may nevertheless be of interest to the CRTC), the commentary ought to fall under "Tariff", and an appropriate subject might be File Number #8740-B2-200904989 - Bell Canada - TN7181.

Keep in mind that this is DSLAM bandwidth (i.e. the "last mile" copper wire) that Bell proposes to impose this tariff on. It is not network bandwidth from an ISP to the backbone. Bell is obliged to sell DSLAM access on a wholesale basis to competitor ISPs. For interesting statistics, consider reading this: http://www.dslreports.com/forum/r20690166-The-Bell-Disclosure [dslreports.com] -- the statistics read, if I understand it (and there's a pretty decent chance I don't) the risk to a customer of having less than 100% bandwidth available at any one point is exceedingly low (i.e. less than 1% of it occurring for less than five minutes on any given day).

Interestingly, Bell has not disclosed how much money it has paid for Arbour Networks' deep packet inspection and bandwidth limiting hardware. I understand, informally and anecdotally (and, again, there's a decent chance I'm wrong), that the amount spent on the bandwidth limiting hardware greatly exceeds the cost of upgrading the DSLAMs to eliminate any risk of the above mentioned rare less-than-complete bandwidth. I would quite like to see more information on the cost of Arbour Networks' bandwidth limiting hardware, and the cost of upgrading DSLAMS. Hopefully the CRTC board does, too.

Re:Deadline for filing comments has passed (1)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 5 years ago | (#27595889)

The CRTC is probably used to getting 2~3 emails a day. I'm sure getting a hundred even a few days late will be of interest to them haha.

Precluding competition (1)

yamfry (1533879) | more than 5 years ago | (#27595849)

I think it is worthwhile to note that unhindered access to the tubes would provide competition for a number of Bell services. Skype [or insert favourite service] provides competition for Bell VoIP and Bell landlines. Streaming video and video download stores (and their unlicensed counterparts) compete with Bell satellite TV and the Bell video store. Unlimited transfer (or a reasonably high cap) may inspire more open hotspots which would compete with Bell cellular internet service. By creating artificial scarcity in bandwidth (and their already-implemented throttling of encrypted and torrent transfers), they ensure the survival of their own services.

Teksavvy's email for those curious (1)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 5 years ago | (#27595867)

The teksavvy email every customer got, nice to see an ISP fighting filtering even if it is for their benefit. The enemy of my enemy I guess...

Dear Valued Customer,

We are writing to you today as many activities are underway to shape/reshape
Internet use as you all know it. Over the last year some of you have been
made aware and/or have seen activities on throttling in the news or in your
daily lives. Another proceeding relating to the Internet in Canada required
Telecom providers (Bell/Telus/etc.) to provide ISPs with wholesale service
speeds that match those that they offer to their own retail customers.
Specifically, Bell has been directed by the CRTC to provide matching speeds
which would allow us all to have more flexibility in our day to day online
requirements. Instead of adhering to these directives, Bell decided to take
this issue to the federal Cabinet and at the same time file a tariff
application with the CRTC proposing to introduce Usage Based Billing (UBB)
on its wholesale customer accounts.

What does this mean for you, the consumer?

Bell provides TekSavvy with last mile, wholesale DSL access services, which
TekSavvy uses to provide you with your Internet access. If Bell were to be
allowed to introduce UBB on this service, a cap of 60GB would be imposed on
all of its users, with very heavy penalties per Gigabyte afterwards
(multiple times more than our current per Gigabyte rate of $0.25/GB on
overages). This would inherently all but remove Unlimited internet services
in Ontario/Quebec and potentially cause large increases in internet costs
from month to month.

If you'd like to make your comments/concerns known about what Bell is
attempting to do, please do so here:

http://support.crtc.gc.ca/crtcsubmissionmu/forms/Telecom.aspx?lang=e [crtc.gc.ca] [crtc.gc.ca]

Select the word "Tariff" from the drop down list.

Add the following in Subject Line "File Number # 8740-B2-200904989 - Bell
Canada - TN 7181" and make your thoughts known!

Cutting it close? (1)

Belgaren (172248) | more than 5 years ago | (#27596373)

You missed the last lines of the email:

The deadline for filing your comments is today (April 14 [sic]) at midnight, so hurry!

Regards,

Rocky

This is Canada (-1, Troll)

mario_grgic (515333) | more than 5 years ago | (#27595935)

You think anyone gives a fuck or is able to comprehend what this is all about. This is the land where mediocrity is highly regarded and prized, and any kind of progressive thinking highly frowned upon and taxed to death.

So yeah, Canadians will get what they deserve.

Re:This is Canada (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27596379)

I do not understand this comment. I cannot find a thought expressed in the words. A greater mystery is why the comment got 2 mod points, unless those came from meat puppets.

Is this the resurgence of Newpapers (1)

Jon_S (15368) | more than 5 years ago | (#27596035)

As soon as customers start getting charged by the kilobyte, everyone is going to turn off ads. I don't bother with ad blocking right now since I have plenty of bandwidth and I'm lazy. But if I have to *pay* to watch some stupid flash ad in the side of a web page you for sure I will install the ad block plug-in.

Once everyone starts doing this, internet advertizing will be less attractive and advertizers will go back to newspapers. OK, so maybe that is a little far fetched. But my point remains, selling internet ads will be significantly less lucrative if UBB become widespread.

Complain! (1)

whisper_jeff (680366) | more than 5 years ago | (#27596247)

I urge all Canadian slashdotters to write to the CRTC and lodge a complaint. If they receive enough complaints from informed people (and I'd like to think we're a relatively informed lot), they will hopefully take action and put an end to Bell's shenanigans. Until they are put in their place, they will continue to abuse their infrastructure monopoly.
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