News tagged: TekSavvy DSL
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Fear that Canadian regulators were going to do their job has resulted in a welcome -- though likely brief -- return to unlimited broadband in Canada. Our friends to the north are well-known for some of the most predatory and punitive broadband caps and overages anywhere, courtesy of uncompetitive broadband markets and regulatory capture. Yet over the last few weeks, Canadian providers Rogers
(and soon Videotron) have been offering Canadian consumers unlimited broadband as limited-time-promotions -- if
they're willing to pay $10 to $30 extra.
Why the sudden change of heart? Fear.
Canadian broadband industry watchers have been expecting a new ruling from Canadian regulators most thought would lower wholesale rates, allowing independent ISPs to offer more viable unlimited services. As such, incumbent ISPs started offering these promotions in the hopes of beating independent ISPs to the punch. As it turns out, they didn't actually have much to worry about.
A War on Consumers and Independent ISPs
For the last five years Canadian telcos like Bell have been waging war on independent ISPs in an effort to drive them from the market.
As we recently noted
, Voltage Pictures is trying to get TekSavvy to hand over the identities of thousands of BitTorrent users in order to send them "copyright-violation-o-matic" letters scaring those users into settling for copyright infringement. These mass-lawsuit efforts have stood on legally unsound ground here in the States, relying on often unreliable IP address evidence.
Two things you'll often hear defenders of usage caps on fixed line networks say is that the caps will scale with time as the network improves, and that the caps allow carriers to avoid having to raise rates because heavier users are now "paying their fair share." Except the lack of competition that allows low caps and high overages to exist in the first place is the exact same thing that allows a carrier to not only continue raising rates, but also to squeeze the cap ever tighter once it's in place. story continues..
Canadian ISP Telus this is providing the latest clear example of this.
It has been about half a decade now that I've been pointing out that most of the meters used by ISPs to track and bill consumers for usage aren't accurate. Customers of Canadian cable operator Cogeco have long complained the company's meter is inaccurate when users can load it at all
, and every so often the meter simply goes mad -- like last Spring when the meter was horribly confused by leap year
Copyright troll Voltage Picture's attempt to extort money out of Canadian Teksavvy customers will have to wait a little longer. As we recently noted
, Voltage Pictures is trying to get TekSavvy to hand over the identities of thousands of BitTorrent users in order to send them "copyright-violation-o-matic" letters scaring those users into settling for copyright infringement of Voltage films.
The FCC has hired a new chief economist with a history of cheerleading broadband usage caps for the cable industry. According to the FCC, they've hired Steven Wildman, an economist and professor at Michigan State University, as the agency's new chief economist. story continues..
Last week we noted
how the copyright troll efforts of Voltage Pictures have made their way north of the border, the studio's legal team demanding the names and addresses of more than 2,000 TekSavvy users as part of a mass shakedown effort. As in the States, Voltage is one of several copyright trolls tracking BitTorrent activity then sending legal threats to users and ISPs.
The law firm Dunlap, Grubb and Weaver (aka the U.S. Copyright Group) has perfected the "copyright-o-matic
" approach to P2P lawsuits, sending out letters en masse to users they've identified as having traded copyrighted files, threatening to sue those users unless they settle for the rock-bottom initial price tag of $1,500.
FCC boss Julius Genachowski has been busy lately paying lip service to Silicon Valley, most recently telling a bunch of Silicon Valley conference attendees that caps were something we should be "concerned" about
, after telling cable companies just a few months earlier he thought caps and overages are nifty and innovative
. Speaking again to Silicon Valley folks yesterday at a speech
at Vox Media headquarters, Genachowski hashed out his muddy position a little further, again insisting he was "concerned" about caps -- sort of -- maybe:
(Growing usage) presents challenges for broadband providers in managing the growing loads on their networks while earning returns to drive capital investment in network upgrades and expansion.
Canadian regulators are suing Canadian wireless companies for misleading charges related to various text message, ringtone and other frequently-shady services that can carry hidden fees. According to a report in the Globe and Mail
, Canada's Competition Bureau is suing Telus, Rogers, BCE and the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association for violating the misleading advertising portion of the Competition Act.
A user of the Canadian cable company Videotron posts to our forums
claiming that his WEP-secured router was hacked, resulting in a third party using his bandwidth. Because Videotron (like most Canadian ISPs) imposes caps and charges overages, the user says the intrusion resulted in a rather steep broadband bill in upwards of $600.
With ISPs so relentlessly eager to move from flat rate to usage-based billing, you would think that they would have made sure they had the technical skills to do so first. Again and again however we've noted how U.S. story continues..
Anybody who warns of an unavoidable capacity crisis on wireline or wireless networks is lying in order to sell you something. That may be a blunt assessment to some, but it's the only conclusion you can draw as we see time and time again that claims about a looming network apocalypse (remember the Exaflood
?) violently overestimate future traffic loads and underestimate the ingenuity of modern network engineers.
We've often talked about how Canada was actually seeing some significant growth in their broadband sector early on, with users seeing faster speeds at fairly reasonable prices. The country also consistently ranked very high in the global broadband penetration rankings -- despite the evil bogeyman known as "geography" -- which many here in the states use to justify the United States' broadband failings. story continues..
Recent data story continues..
shows that Canadian cable ISP Rogers is the worst ISP tracked by MLabs when it comes to meddling with, throttling, or otherwise restricting user traffic. As Canadian network neutrality complaints rise sharply
after the nation imposed new neutrality laws, Rogers is busily responsible for more than half of them -- as the company continues to use network management platforms that impact legitimate traffic, applications and games (just ask our users
Yesterday we noted that as expected, the CRTC's ruling last year resulted in higher rates, with independent ISP Teksavvy unveiling new prices
that for some users are up to 17% higher. The good news is that while Bell and other Canadian incumbents did get the authority to jack up prices on wholesalers (and by proxy consumers) they failed to get usage-based pricing imposed that would result in independents being unable to offer unlimited broadband tiers.
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