CRTC Makes Decisions On Usage Based Billing And Throttling… And The Decisions Don’t Suck

Today the CRTC posted several decisions on Usage Based Billing for wholesale ISPs as well as the throttling of users connections.

On the Usage Based Billing front, here’s what the CRTC said:

“The Commission confirms the interim approval granted in Telecom Order 2009-484 to proposals by Bell Aliant and Bell Canada to introduce usage-based billing for their wholesale residential Gateway Access Services. However, the implementation date established in that order is varied.”

So in short Usage Based Billing will happen, but it won’t happen anytime soon. The CRTC (shockingly) seems to have recognized the issues surrounding Retail vs Wholesale ISPs and as a result they have delayed implementation of Usage Based Billing until further notice in order to give enough time to work through the various issues at hand. That’s a bit of a reprieve for independent ISPs who were facing the prospect of being priced out of the market because the make Bell look really uncompetitive.

In terms of throttling, the CRTC says that ISPs have to advertise the fact that they throttle and give details on how they do it and what they throttle. Plus the CRTC recommends that it be used as a last resort. If throttling is to be used, then the people doing the throttling have to give 60 days notice for wholesale ISPs and 30 days notice for end users. In this decision, there’s this little tidbit:

Accordingly, the Commission finds that use of an ITMP resulting in the noticeable degradation of time-sensitive Internet traffic will require prior Commission approval under section 36 of the Act.

That means that if Bell messes with Skype, VoIP, audio/video streaming (i.e. YouTube), etc, they will require prior CRTC approval. Notice they didn’t focus on the intent of the throttling. They only focused on the result. That’s huge and is sure to piss off Bell.

So in short, this is a victory of sorts for Canadian Internet users. But the battle is far from over. This is a window for Canadian Internet users to put more pressure on the Canadian Government and the CRTC to create a more competitive Internet space within Canada. So if you’re Canadian and you pay for your Internet access, make sure your local MP knows how you feel, and you should do it sooner rather than later.

Otherwise, your Internet will continue to suck as has been pointed out on this blog previously.

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