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Showing posts with label CRTC. Show all posts
Showing posts with label CRTC. Show all posts

February 3, 2011

Clement Makes CRTC Back Off; Internet Usage Ruling Reversed, For Now.

The cabinet has the authority to overturn the ruling.

The Prime Minister has given tony clement the authority to say that they want the CRTC to reverse the decision or else the cabinet will do so.

Tony goes back to the basic issue; Anti-Consumer and Anti-Choice, and how it will dampen innovation.

He wants dependent ISP's to exist for the sake of competition and giving consumers a choice citing its better for the marketplace and consumers.

He doesn't want to speculate on cap size. He doesn't want to destroy business models.
The CRTC must reverse its decision that ends unlimited internet access plans offered by smaller internet providers or the federal government will intervene, Tony Clement confirmed.

Asked by the CBC's Rosemary Barton through Twitter whether it's true the industry minister would overturn that decision if the CRTC does not back down, Clement replied: "True. CRTC must go back to drawing board."

Clement's comments come as CRTC chairman Konrad von Finckenstein is set to testify before a House of Commons committee on Thursday.

Many small internet companies rent network access from Bell and then resell it to consumers or businesses at a discount. These small companies had been able to offer their customers unlimited internet access at a set rate.

But the CRTC recently ruled in favor of Bell, which wanted to put usage caps on the companies that rent its internet access. None of the big internet service providers like Bell offer unlimited plans.

Bell had argued that extending usage-based billing to wholesale customers was necessary to discourage excessive internet use that caused congestion on its networks.

The ruling means mean these smaller internet companies can no longer offer unlimited usage plans. Their customers will now have to pay based on how much data they upload to and download from the internet, known as usage-based billing.

The CRTC also said Bell would have to provide the smaller companies a 15 per cent discount on its rates.
But consumer and internet advocates have been lobbying hard against the decision, which they said was leading to higher prices and snuffing out competition among internet service providers (ISPs.)

They also argued it would prevent consumers from taking advantage of new services such as Netflix, which allows users to stream high-definition movies and TV episodes over the internet to their television for a monthly flat rate.

First came P2P and music trading. The ISP's didn't care much because it provided a market for their fledgling high-speed internet offerings and a reason for people to ditch dial-up.

Then people started trading full length feature films and high-def television, often before they even aired in the country and at resolutions unmatched on TV. Then the ISP's became concerned; why would people want to purchase their expensive cable packages if they it was already out there to be had for free? So they began to employ traffic shaping, where the ISP's slowed or even blocked certain internet transmissions.

However, this innovation proved a market. Now, companies like Netflix are streaming TV and Movies over the internet for a reasonable price and the ISP's are petrified. Why are people going to put up with $100 bills when they can have it all for $8 a month? So the ISP's try to choke this before it really takes hold. They decide to limit how much people can download through arbitrary caps set so low we might as well go back to dial-up since all we'll be doing is checking e-mail.

To their shame, the CRTC has done nothing to protect the consumers' interests in all this. In fact, I can't think of a single thing the CRTC has done in the past decade which actually protects the consumer or the public at large, except when they were forced to by government intervention.

I want to say that I hope this will force the CRTC to be more critical of its own decisions, but considering they're composed of ex-industry execs, I think they'll likely just find ways to help media companies bleed consumers to death with paper cuts instead. After all, this was the same body that, only a year ago, thought it would be okay for cable providers to raise rates simply because Canadians could afford it (translation: we'll drain Canadians so long as they have a nickel of disposable income).

I find it interesting that the Conservative government does so much that seems entirely backwards, yet from time to time they get down to business and do something that people can actually approve of. Is this simply pre-election lies or truly what we can continue to expect from this government? I hope the latter, but given their history I'm inclined to think the former.

Neither the Conservatives, or the Liberals were on this issue until they thought of how they could take advantage of the issue. It was Jack Layton/NDP who was on this issue for some time. I think Canadians feel absolutely betrayed by the CRTC on so many issues, they want it disbanded immediately. It is only impeding market development at this point.

Don't let your guard down, this was just their first try. They will move in to try this again.