How CRTC Usage-Base-Biling affect Canadians & why it sucks

Starting March 1, 2011, Canadians will become the highest paying industrial country for internet services. Some Canadian household could expect a 90% cut to their current internet plan with a recent CRTC decision.

This decision will take out more money from Canadian consumers and reduce competition in the internet services.

Details for UBB can be found here:
http://www.crtc.gc.ca/eng/archive/2011/2011-44.htm

The REASON the CRTC approved UBB was to allow Bell to deliberately inflate the cost of the Internet. Bell and Rogers argue the UBB is a way to encourage users to reduce their usage to deal with the booming online traffic and decrease network congesting as people do more online – downloading mp3’s, gaming, streaming video content.

Companies that support this proceeding are: Bell companies, Bragg Communications Inc., Cogeco Cable Inc., MTS Allstream Inc., Rogers Communications Inc., Saskatchewan Telecommunications, Shaw Cablesystems Ltd., TELUS Communications Company, and Quebecor Media Inc., on behalf of its affiliate Videotron Ltd. Source: CRTC

To summarize this new regulation with UBB, all DSL and cable internet providers will be force to cap all of their internet plans at 25Gb per month. There will no longer be any Unlimited and 200GB bandwidth per month plans. It will now have a maximum cap at 25GB per month on all DSL plans in Ontario and 60GB in Quebec. This ruling will force all independent DSL and Cable Internet providers to significantly match other major providers (Bell/Rogers) usage bandwidth cap at 25GB per month.

Big corporations like Bell and Rogers were unwilling to match the bandwidth usage and instead turned to regulators to force the competitors to match the packages Bell and Rogers setup.

Canadians are already paying the most money for cellular phone services according to a recent study by Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

The study says Canadians are paying one of the most expensive cellular phone services, paying an average of $500+ per year compare that with Finland that pay the lowest amount for cell phone service, only $131.44 per year and cell phone users in Sweden only pay $137.94 per year.

The new pricing with Usage-Base-Billing (UBB)

All DSL and Cable Internet Providers can only offer internet plans with a maximum cap of 25GB per month in Ontario and 60GB in Quebec.

Canadian will have no choice and get stuck with this 25GB cap because of corporate greed.

For additional bandwidth, users will have to pay a very high overage rate, above your new monthly limit, of $1.90 per gigabyte in Ontario ($2.35 per gigabyte in Quebec).

The CRTC did however provide an option for insurance usage blocks at $4.75 per 40GB block per month, which can be purchased if you want to reduce your cost for use above 25GB (60GB in Quebec).

Insurance Blocks Offered:

* $4.75 – 40GB extra usage
* $9.50 – 80GB extra usage
* $14.25 – 120GB extra usage (maximum 3 blocks)
* $55.00 – 275GB extra usage (maximum 240GB extra usage in Quebec)

For example, all Ontario DSL users will get a cap at 25 GB per month, if you want more you will have to buy the Insurance Blocks.

25GB+40GB (1 insurance blocks) = 65GB, that is additional $4.75 per month on top of your monthly bill.

25GB+80GB (2 insurance blocks) = 105GB, that is additional $9.50 per month on top of your monthly bill.

25GB+120GB (3 insurance blocks) = 145GB, that is additional $14.25 per month on top of your monthly bill.

25GB+275GB (240GB in Quebec) = 300GB, that is additional $55.00 per month on top of your monthly bill.

The bandwidth issue is a lucrative market. If the goal is to limit competitive, this is the way to go.

If Canadian consumers don’t like the new pricing with the UBB, then you will have to swtich with a competiter. Oh wait. There is no competition because all Ontario Internet Providers will have 25GB cap!

Join the fight to stop Usage-Base-Billiing (UBB)

As of Feb 2, 2011, there are over 357,700 people signed the petition to stop UBB. This is one of the biggest online petition in Canadian history. If you want affordable internet access join the fight by going to http://stopthemeter.ca/ and sign the petition.

* Join the twitter campaign at http://act.ly/2kw
* Join the Facebook campaign http://www.facebook.com/notes/openmediaca/stop-the-meter-on-your-internet-use/455248704798

Bell built these internet lines with Canadian tax payer dollars and these telecommunications structure ware heavily subsidized by Canadian government with tax payer money. http://www.crtc.gc.ca/eng/publications/reports/t_review05.htm

The bandwidth cost next to nothing (1-3 cents per GB) and these big corporations Bell and Rogers want Canadians to pay more. Instead of matching the bandwidth cap – Bell and Rogers went to the regulators to setup their package. Technology is suppose to progress and with this UBB ruling, it will regress.

Update on the CRTC UBB decision

Industry Minister Tony Clement had this to say on Twitter in response to this question “Is it true you will overturn internet decision if crtc does not back down?”, Mr Clement responds “True. CRTC must go back to drawing board”.

Back in 2009, the government overruled CRTC decision for not allowing Globalive Wireless Management Corp. to operate in Canada. CRTC decreed at the time that it went against foreign ownership regulations while the government decided that some competition was needed in the cellular market and overruled the CRTC.

It looks like Canadian consumers may win this battle.

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