Federal Government to Decide on CRTC Internet Billing Ruling

by Jordan Richardson on February 2, 2011

There is a small glimmer of hope for those in the fight against usage-based billing, as the federal government has announced that it will take a look at the ruling handed down by the CRTC recently. The government will decide by March 1. Prime Minister Stephen Harper apparently requested the review, with his communications director confirming it by adding that the government was “very concerned” about the impact of the ruling.

Industry Minister Tony Clement confirmed this, reiterating the March 1 date. The government will either accept the ruling, send it back for review or reject it outright. “This is a very important issue for consumers, for small business, and for innovators,” Clement said.

As was revealed yesterday, Canada’s small internet service providers began the arduous task of slashing download limits and eradicating their unlimited internet service plans. The impact from such a move hurts businesses and personal users alike, with companies that rely heavily on the internet for business forced to recalibrate their structure or sign a contract with one of the major providers in the country.

Bell’s argument, in particular, was that extending its usage-based billing plans to wholesalers would discourage “excessive internet use” causing network congestion.

Of course, Bell has been attempting to harness the internet for a while now. They had to prove their case on internet congestion to the CRTC in June of 2008 after they limited the speeds (“throttled”) of peer-to-peer programs on their networks. CAIP (the Canadian Association of Internet Providers) noted that Bell failed to prove there were any congestion difficulties.

At CRTC hearings in July of 2009, the small ISPs argued that competition would open the doors of the internet wider to allow for a solution to the “congestion problem.” They noted that varying options for consumers would put the net neutrality debate to bed in Canada, adding that giant providers like Bell throttle wholesale internet as well. It was also revealed that Bell essentially provides access to a “pooled infrastructure” that is not available for capacity upgrades on behalf of small ISPs.

So now we have the federal Liberals and the federal NDP party asking that the federal government examine the CRTC decision. Harper has stepped up to the plate, in theory, and the ruling is being examined on a broad scale. All we can do now is wait for March 1 to roll around.

Here’s George Stroumboulopoulos on metered internet.

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Clement Discusses Usage-based Billing Ruling Before House of Commons Committee — TheTelecomBlog.com
August 15, 2012 at 6:17 am

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Guest February 2, 2011 at 11:42 am

The link on George Stroumboulopoulos’ view is missing

Jordan Richardson February 2, 2011 at 8:35 pm

I thought I had embedded the YouTube clip, but apparently it didn’t take. There should be a link there now.

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