Monday, November 1, 2010

CRTC [Canada] Approves Usage Based Billing to Bell Canada

A recent decision by the Canadian regulator, CRTC, allows Bell Canada to use metered (usage based) billing in its wholesale broadband service:

"In this decision, the Commission approves the Bell companies’ request to review and vary Telecom Decision 2010-255 with respect to the implementation of usage-based billing for their Gateway Access Services (GAS) customers and with respect to equivalent treatment as it relates to promotions. The Commission also approves the Bell companies’ request regarding the level of rates for the GAS UBB component and excessive usage charge, and initiates a proceeding to examine whether the rates for the UBB components of GAS and of third-party Internet access service should be lower than the comparable retail UBB rates. Finally, the Commission denies the Bell companies’ request to readjust the costs used to determine the flat-fee component of GAS."

See "Telecom Decision CRTC 2010-802" - here.

CBCNEWS reports (here) that based on this decision - ".. Bell will charge wholesale service providers a flat monthly fee to connect to its network, and for a set monthly usage limit per each ISP customer the ISP has. Beyond that set limit, users will be charged per gigabyte, depending on the speed of their connections. Customers using the fastest connections of five megabits per second, for example, will have a monthly allotment of 60 GB, beyond which Bell will charge $1.12 per GB to a maximum of $22.50. If a customer uses more than 300 GB a month, Bell will also be able to implement an additional charge of 75 cents per gigabyte."

While in mobile service, usage based billing gains traction (leading to Bill Shock Prevention regulation), in fixed services (cable or DSL) there is still hesitation to implement it after so many years of flat rates (see - AT&T). No wonder a wholesale giant like Bell can do it, potentially leaving the small ISPs with no other choice.  It seems that "fair use" policies are more common today (example - Telenet)

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