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Canada Sees Usage Billing Broadband Backlash
As Independent ISPs Fight Regulatory Capture
by Karl Bode 06:36PM Wednesday Jan 26 2011 Tipped by fatness See Profile
Yesterday Canadian telecom regulator the CRTC finalized their ruling on usage-based billing, making some fairly minor concessions at the behest of independent ISPs, such as capping wholesale UBB rates at 85% of retail UBB rates. By and large however this was a largely empty gesture, and the CRTC remains a breathing example of regulatory capture and government dysfunction. By every measure, this was a coordinated move by incumbent ISPs to overcharge consumers for Internet video and crush independent competition using the bogus threat of the Exaflood.

Canadian consumers tend to be fairly-well keyed into the broader anti-competitive and innovation-stifling ramifications of the move, if this Vancouver Sun article on the growing consumer backlash is any indication. Our various Canadian broadband forums have exploded with consumer complaints in recent months, and independent ISPs are also voicing their concerns. Rocky Gaudrault, CEO of independent ISP TekSavvy, shares his thoughts on the CRTC ruling:
quote:
The current decision was expected although the percentage was disappointing. Before this can get better, hopefully permanently, we will have some turbulence in the days to come. While we do what we can to fix this, this issue needs to be an issue beyond dslreports. It needs to be an issue for the non-techies who have no clue what's about to hit them. We estimate more than half our clients are above the 25GB cap now imposed. I see you people as the future trend of what the regular users will be over the next 3-4 years.
It's an interesting battle to watch given that Canadian incumbent ISPs took a lesson out of the U.S. ISP playbook in using hijacked, cajoled, lobbied and otherwise bribed regulators to help them kill off independent ISP competition. They just did in two to three years what it took U.S. ISPs a decade to accomplish. Those same U.S. ISPs eager to impose this kind of punitive, economically surreal price structure are watching this unfold with great interest, given previous attempts in the United States to impose very low caps and very high per byte pricing have fallen painfully on their face.


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