Archive for usage based billing

CRTC has a poor memory, send your complaints again

Posted in Aggravations, Thoughts with tags , , , , , , , on February 23, 2011 by Mitch Leuraner

A few weeks back I sent the CRTC a message telling them what I think of their ruling to allow Bell Canada to force Usage-based Billing on the customers of its competition. Not long after that Tony Clement came out and told the CRTC just what he thought about it too – and they “agreed” to a review.

Well, that review is now.  Just yesterday I recieved this email:

Hello

Thank you for taking the time to contact the CRTC to express your concerns regarding the billing practices of wholesale Internet services. In light of the concerns expressed by Canadians regarding this issue, the Commission has decided to review its own decision.

We therefore invite you to participate in the review by submitting your comments at https://services.crtc.gc.ca/pub/Intervention/Submission-Soumission.aspx?lang=e&EventNo=2011-77&EventType=Notice#Step0. Comments must be received prior to April 29, 2011. Note that all information you provide as part of this public process, including any personal information, becomes part of a publicly accessible file and will be posted on the Commission’s website. We also include links to the CRTC news release http://www.crtc.gc.ca/eng/com100/2011/r110208.htm as well as Telecom Notice of Consultation CRTC 2011-77 http://www.crtc.gc.ca/eng/archive/2011/2011-77.htm for your information.

Yours truly,

Suzanne Papineau
CRTC Client Services

1-877-249-2782 /télécopieur/facsimile 819-994-0218
Conseil de la radiodiffusion et des télécommunications canadiennes / Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0N2
Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission / Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0N2
Gouvernement du Canada / Government of Canada

On the surface this seems good – the CRTC appears to be willing to hear what regular Canadians think about the issue. 

But wait a minute… didn’t I already tell them what I think? That is, after all, the whole reason they sent me the email in the first place.

I guess all the complaints that were sent in weeks ago don’t count now, because they were sent before the review processes was started.

So… send in your complaints again!  Don’t let the CRTC ignore your voice just because you were willing to speak up early.  And if you didn’t complain before, make sure you do now!  Before 29 April!

Math doesn’t lie

Posted in Finds with tags , , , , , on February 20, 2011 by Mitch Leuraner

CRTC openly limits competition – that’s what it is for

Posted in Finds, Thoughts with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 17, 2011 by Mitch Leuraner

There has been a lot of talk lately about the CRTC and it’s decisions – most notably ones concerning the operation of Wind Mobile in Canada and the allowance of Usage-based Bill by Internet Service Providers.

Most of the discussion has focused on the idea that more competition in Canadian industries is better than less competition.  And of course, every high school economic text-book says exactly that. More competition means that companies will have to provide as much value to the consumer as possible, otherwise consumers will just look somewhere else.

Fine. But here is the problem.  The CRTC was not created to foster competition. Really.

Want proof?  Okay!  On Tuesday (16 Feb) the CRTC denied a request by Shaw Communications to add National Geographic Wild to its list of offerings for satellite services in Canada. Unfortunately, that particular channel is considered foreign content. According to Public Notice 2000-173, the CRTC will not allow any non-Canadian content to be distributed if it will compete with pre-existing Canadian content.

That’s right – the CRTC openly denies competition if it appears to come from outside the country.

So what does that mean for Canadians?  It means that we have to watch Animal Planet or Oasis HD, because they are not associated with National Geographic.  Nevermind the fact that National Geographic has become the defacto standard for reporting on wildlife and the greater world around us – reporting that focuses 90% of its effort on content from outside North America.

In the beginning, the reasoning for creating a body to protect Canadian content seemed like a good idea.  People were afraid that we would become too engrossed in American newspaper, magazine, television and radio industries.  Unfortunately, a major consequence was overlooked: stifling competition from the strongest competitor means that our own industry can relax.  And that is not good for Canadians.

So what is the answer?  We definitely don’t want our own industries to fail.  Afterall, they keep a lot of us working.  But clearly denying Canadians from viewing American content is becoming more and more difficult.  I personally gave up television proper many years ago and have since found all of my content online, where it is CRTC free.  That doesn’t mean that I don’t get Canadian content – not at all – it just means that I only get the Canadian content that is up to the standards that I expect.

And this is where the world is going.  I think that – regardless of content rule – the television industry is going to have some hard times ahead as online content becomes easier to find. We need to stop concerning ourselves with where content comes from, and focus on attracting consumers to cable and satellite providers generally.  They’ve already lost me and most of my friends. If the trend continues, we’ll soon have an awful lot of people looking to switch industries.

CRTC slapped down again

Posted in Finds, Movies, Music, Thoughts with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on February 3, 2011 by Mitch Leuraner

Usage-based billing in the internet industry is bad.  But the fact that an organization created to protect consumers actually tried to require such billing is nothing short of a travesty.  Thankfully, just about every politician in this country – regardless of ideology – seems to be able to see the problem with the CRTC‘s recent ruling.

And late last night Canadian consumers were finally vindicated. In an ironic show of support for the internet, Industry Minister Tony Clement Tweeted about his stance on the issue:

Borrowed from the Vancouver Sun online. Thanks!

Even better, the Vancouver Sun online has quoted a senior government insider who said:

“The CRTC should be under no illusion. The prime minister and the minister of industry will reverse this decision unless the CRTC does it itself.”

Booyah! That’s how representative democracy is supposed to work!

Now if only we can get some changes made in the CRTC itself.  Two major decisions being over-ruled in as many years definitely indicates that the current decision-makers are out of touch with reality Canadians.

Usage-Based Billing is bad for everyone… except Bell, Rogers

Posted in Aggravations, Finds, Thoughts with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 27, 2011 by Mitch Leuraner

A recent decision by the CRTC has mandated that ISPs institute usage based billing by 1 March 2011. 

This is bad.  Very bad.

If you don’t understand why, then go to the link above and read Digital Home‘s explanation of the decision – they have it explained at least as well as I could, if not better.

When you are done reading and you are furious – and you will be furious – you are going to want to know what you can do about it.  The truth is, getting something like this turned around is hard.  Government agencies, the CRTC especially, don’t like taking criticism and they really don’t like admitting they were wrong. 

But there are some things you can do, and our friends at Digital Home have a perfect list: 

If Canadians really want to stop UBB, the time is now. Instead of complaining on blogs or signing petitions, do the proper thing. Phone, mail and email your MP. Here is the link which lists all 305 Members of Parliament. Click on your MP and you will find a phone number and an email address. Send them an email to complain and when you’re done, email James Moore, Minister of Heritage Canada ( Moore.J@parl.gc.ca ) , email the Minister of Industry Tony Clement ( minister.industry@ic.gc.ca ) and contact Stephen Harper your prime minister at ( Harper.S@parl.gc.ca ).

When you are done that, goto this link and make a complaint online to the CRTC.


Do it.  If you have doubts about what you should include in your letters, check out Digital Home’s article Usage Based Internet Billing: What can you do? for help – it’s definitely worthwhile.

We can stop this. But not if we just sit by and watch it happen.

UPDATE:

This guy has the right idea – but he needs your support!  Make sure that your MP knows what is going on!