Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Usage Based Billing.

On January 25, 2011, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (aka CRTC) approved Bell Canada's request for usage-based billing for internet access. There's been a lot of chatter about this online.

It now looks like the decision may be rescinded, but I'm still going to send letters to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Minister of Industry Tony Clement's office, my own Member of Parliament (even though he's buggered off and his office is only being manned by clerical staff), and CRTC Chairman Konrad von Finckenstein. I hope others will follow through with their brave talk online by sending these officials letters. 

Here's mine:

• • •
Stephen Harper, MP
House of Commons
Parliament Buildings
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0A6

February 15, 2011

Dear Prime Minister Harper,

Re: Telecom Decision CRTC 2011-44.

I strongly oppose the recent Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission ruling permitting UBB by telecoms.

Bell Canada’s proposal to limit alleged bandwidth abuse, is not about recouping costs (because $2.00/GB is $1.98 above their real costs). They want to force Canadians away from their keyboards and back to their chesterfields and their satellite tv receivers. Yes, this is all about Bell Canada attempting to prop up their main revenue stream: the increasingly obsolete distribution system of satellite television. It is not appropriate for the CRTC to bolster the profit margins of an already successful company just because fifteen years ago Bell Canada misinterpreted the future of entertainment.

It is obvious that the CRTC does not understand the myriad of ways Canadians use the internet today. Chairman von Finklestein also doesn’t appear to appreciate how vital the internet will become for Canadians (of all ages, and income levels) in the very near future.

On a personal level, the fee model will have an adverse effect on my family. We live in an isolated rural area. The internet is integral to our quality of life. We use it for banking, shopping, accessing the news, borrowing library resources, watching television, buying music, playing games and communicating with friends and family. We will not be able to afford these options if our service provider adopts UBB.

In addition, our sons are registered with a Distributed Learning school in British Columbia. They use the internet to research projects, download textbooks, watch educational videos, attend teleconferences, and participate in electronic classes with their teacher. Increased fees for usage will limit my sons’ educational opportunities.

Please help bring an end to Telecom Decision CRTC 2011-44.


Nan | Wrath Of Mom


  1. Writing ours today. The ctrtc really needs to wise up.

  2. What! Oh yuck. I still remember when a good friend (in the years 2000-2001) had only so minutes a month of internet, so would make her husband, and herself, keep a log by the computer of how long they were online. Not good.

  3. I am hopeful this will be gone soon...however the fact that it is trying to be pushed through is unnerving.

  4. I'm hoping that the amount of petitions, letters, etc., will turn things around.

  5. @happygeek -- remember to send a copy to your MP! If you use his/her House of Commons address it doesn't even need a stamp.

    @OmahaMama -- we did that too, back in the mid 90s when we were on dial up.

    @Jenifer -- I'm really curious about what it would mean for libraries and schools? I haven't found anything addressing those users specifically.

    @Nicole -- I've signed the online petition, but I believe that petitions (especially online petitions) are pretty meaningless. It's more significant to politicians and civil servants if a citizen takes the time to compose and post a tangible letter.