interweb freedom

(formerly Stop Usage Based Billing)

How will they bill the “USAGE” in the Usage Based Billing?

Posted by Laurel L. Russwurm on August 29, 2009

No Usage Based Billing

No Usage Based Billing

If the CRTC is actually going to allow Bell Canada to implement usage based billing, the question is: How?

If we are being charged per packet, how is that going to be itemized?

Itemized Internet Bills?

To figure out how much internet individual users are using Bell Canada will need an army of bean counters to keep track of each packet that is being used by each user. Interesting. Then all of this data will need to be sorted out and itemized. This will generate a huge invoice each month. This is also going to dramatically increase Bell Canada’s actual cost of doing business. (We’ll look at “Marginal Costs” in the next blog post… I am still learning about that.) iPhone Bill a Whopping 52 Pages Long
PoliTech writes “iPhone bills are surprisingly large – ‘Xbox Large’, according to Ars technica: ‘AT&T’s iPhone bills are quite impressive in their own right. We’re starting to get bills for the iPhone here at Ars, and while many of us have had smartphones for some time, we’ve never seen a bill like this. One of our bills is a whopping 52 pages long, and my own bill is 34 pages long. They’re printed on both sides, too. What gives? The AT&T bill itemizes your data usage whenever you surf the Internet via EDGE, even if you’re signed up for the unlimited data plan. AT&T also goes into an incredible amount of detail to tell you; well, almost nothing. For instance, I know that on July 27 at 3:21 p.m. I had some data use that, under the To/From heading, AT&T has helpfully listed as Data Transfer. The Type of file? Data. My total charge? $0.00. This mind-numbing detail goes on for 52 double-sided pages (for 104 printed pages!) with absolutely no variance except the size of the files.’ You would think that a data company would have a more efficient billing process.”

Bell Canada

Bell Canada

I am curious as to how Bell Canada will handle this.

If they do itemize the packets, how will we know they aren’t just making these numbers up?

Measurement Canada

Measurement Canada

I contacted Measurement Canada on August 21st via their online form to inquire as to how they will monitor Bell Canada’s measurement of individual internet use to safeguard Canadian consumers when Usage Based Billing is introduced.

Because of course they cannot possibly allow Bell Canada to just pull “Usage” numbers out of the air. If they are going to be billing us for what we are using they need to be able to back up their claims of what we are using.

And Bell Canada certainly can NOT be allowed to Bill Canadian Users for the packets that they deliberately discard when they throttle Canadian internet use (see UBB Glossary). I mean really, if Bell Canad is going to deliberately inflate the figures of what bandwidth Canadians are using, they cannot then bill us for this inflation. That would be FRAUD. So Measurement Canada will certainly need to be right on top of things to ensure fairness and honesty.

No wonder Measurement Canada hasn’t responded. I expect that THEY have no idea of how to oversee Usage Based Billing. Or the manpower to even begin to monitor Bell Canada’s auditing of internet usage. Personally I don’t trust Bell Canada to tell me how many packets I’ve used. I expect independant government oversight.

Privacy Laws

Another thing to consider is the question of how Bell Canada is going to bill Internet users who are NOT their customers. Since I have never had a business relationship with Bell Canada’s Internet arm, they don’t have a business relationship with me. So how are they going to know who to bill? They can’t force Teksavvy to hand over secure billing information. We do have Privacy Laws in Canada…. don’t we?

And of course privacy laws should also protect Canadian consumers from having Bell Canada’s telephone branch from giving up customer information to the Bell Canada internet wholesaling division who will want the information on who to bill.

So if Bell can’t get my billing information from Teksavvy, does this mean that Teksavvy will be forced to hire the army of administrators needed to perform the internet useage audit necessitated by introducing UBB? That doesn’t seem fair.

Putting aside the question of where this internet auuseage audit will take place, who will pay for this whole new layer of accountants? The consumer will.

So not only will we be paying extortionate fees for internet access which includes, but is not limited to

  • surfing the web…
  • along with the website ads we will now have the privilege of paying Bell Canada to enjoy
  • email
  • all of the spam that the spammers get to send us for free
  • all the software we download,
  • freeware which developers make available FOR FREE will now earn Bell Canada new profit
  • shareware which developers make available for customers to tryE will now earn Bell Canada new profit
  • commercial software we purchase,
  • inxluding of course all those Windows updates…

BUT we will also be paying the costs of the massive new buraucracy which will be necessitated by the very fact of Usage Based Billing.

That isn’t all…. Canadian tax dollars will now have to pay for Measurement Canada staff to both figure out how to oversee and police this practice of Bell Canada Usage Based Billing.



Talk about adding insult to injury.

From everything I have read, there is currently no technology in place to meter internet bandwidth (in the usage sense).
These are all issues and questions which should have been answered before the CRTC even considered Bell Canada’s request for Usage Based Billing.

Certainly before the CRTC approved Bell Canada’s implementation of Usage Based Billing.

Canadian internet users CAN do something about this travesty.

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