The CRTC decision on usage/capacity-based internet billing is out and, true to form, it’s a complex one with lots of digesting to be done. There have been quick reactions from various parties about how the sky is falling or conversely about how the ruling is great for consumers, but the reality, as usual, falls somewhere in the middle.
The decision can be boiled down to two headline issues: the moderation of cable and DSL wholesale rates, and the elimination of any distinction between business and residential services for wholesale purposes. The first part is contentious, while the second one is definitely good for consumers, businesses and independent internet providers.
It’s probably wise to first set straight how this whole system works. Big network owners such as Bell, Rogers and Videotron are required to allow indie ISPs to access their infrastructure in order to sell their own internet services. This has been a long-held regulation meant to foster competition.
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission’s decision in 2011 implemented a new pricing structure on how these smaller ISPs would pay the network owners. The capacity-based-billing scheme charges them in two ways: once, a set rate for every one of their customers that connects, and twice for the total monthly capacity used by the indie provider. Read the rest of this entry »