The fight over usage-based Internet billing

The CRTC’s policy usage-based billing policy dates back to 2006, but the current fracus started with this ruling on an application by Bell Canada and Bell Aliant in August, 2009


In May, 2010, the commission honed the ruling, sparking more outrage from independent Internet providers. It gave permission for Bell to start extending UBB to ISPs in six months
In October, 2010, following appeals from Bell, the commission said the telco didn’t have to wait until all of its customers had shifted to UBB before extending it to ISPs. But it did extend Bell’s start time to January, 2010.


Once the commission ratified its decision last month the Harper government suddenly reacted, prompted in part by a petition signed by tens of thousands of people
After several days of pressure from the public and policians, CRTC commission chairman Konrad von Finckenstein told a parliamentary committee that the regulator will take 60 days to review its decision in case it missed something.


Industry minister Tony Clement finally reveals what’s upsetting the government. Also, an industry analyst says there’s a solution.
On July 11, 2011 the CRTC started its latest UBB hearing. This background piece describes what’s at stake.
The hearing opened with Bell Canada insisting that any wholesale pricing scheme has to have a usage-based component. Bell’s is called Aggregated Volume Pricing, under which ISPs would have to buy blocks of capacity each month for customers.
A coalition of ISPs counter Bell’s proposal with one that would see wholesale pricing tied to the monthly peak traffic ISPs generate, instead of volume.
As the hearing winds up, CRTC commissioners closely question Bell and ISPs on their rigid stands.
The CRTC’s verdict: Carriers can sell wholesale connectivity by capacity, in 100 Mbps blocks, to ISPs. But the rates vary from carrier to carrier.
The ISPs’ verdict: The framework is right, but not the rates