interweb freedom

(formerly Stop Usage Based Billing)

fingers crossed: competitive broadband

Posted by Laurel L. Russwurm on December 12, 2009

No Usage Based Billing

No Usage Based Billing

I think I made it but my computer clock said:


when I looked after submission…so maybe I didn’t.

Although I’ve previously informed our government of my unhappiness at the thought of implementation of Usage Based Billing, I thought it wouldn’t hurt to make use of the online form through the Competitive Broadband website,

I almost didn’t do it, but the fact that the government actually listened to Canadians in the matter of Wind Mobile made me think that they might in fact listen to this too. After all, wrecking the Canadian economy isn’t really going to be good for anyone in the long run.

But I just can’t imagine a world without the Independent ISPs. Until you’ve been an ordinary internet customer who has had the misfortune of having no choice but to deal with Bell Sympatico or Rogers about technical issues or billing, you just can’t imagine how dreadful the thought of ever having to deal with them again is.

The Competitive Broadband submissions are forwarded to:

  • Industry Minister Tony Clement
  • Prime Minister Harper
  • Opposition Leader
  • MP

For what it’s worth:

Dear Sir/Madam

The internet is incredibly important to Canada and Canadians. I’m not a business, I’m a mother and a writer, A Canadian internet consumer.

If Bell Canada is allowed to charge charge third-party ISP customers “Usage Based Billing” this will essentially double my costs as a moderate internet user without providing any additional value. That is not right.

I live in a fairly well off community but I know for a fact that there are people in my community who are unable to afford the internet at home. Can you imagine the extra pressure and difficulty this creates for school children in today’s world? Projects are done on computers. High school students are expected to hand in coursework digitally. Assignments can be posted online. Important information like Snow Days are posted online.

If hardworking families can’t afford the internet now, they certainly won’t have any hope of it if Usage Based Billing is in put into effect. Many Canadian children who are already at risk will be in worse shape if Internet prices are allowed to skyrocket.

An increasing share of business and employment opportunities are only available online. The unemployed need to access the internet if they want to be able to find the bulk of the jobs. We are still in a recession.

Quite frankly I am not looking forward to paying for the privilege of receiving spam, or paying for the privilege of having web advertising inflicted on me, or paying for the privilege of downloading automatic Windows updates (which you can no longer even choose to decline if you have Vista). Ironically Canadians will no longer be able to download free software like Open Office or Ubuntu for free. We’ll be paying Bell Canada for it.

It would seem that if Bell Canada is allowed to do this, they will kill off the independent Canadian ISPs. It wasn’t so very long ago that the Canadian Government forced Bell Canada to share the infrastructure with other service providers.

Which is why services like Teksavvy can exist. That’s the ISP I use. TAs I understand it Teksavvy gets to keep something in the neighborhood of $5.00 out of what I pay per month, while Bell Canada gets more than $20.00– strictly for the use of the phone lines. Yet Teksavvy handily provides good service for less than Bell Canada does.

So you would think that Bell Canada would match the deals being offered by their competitors.On the contrary, Bell Canada hasn’t even tried. Instead of playing fair they want to kill off the competition.

If our current Independent Service providers are put out of business by this ruling it is unlikely that any small company will ever have any hope of competing with Bell Canada again on the unfair playing field provided by the CRTC.

Drastically increasing the cost of internet usage– for no reason except increased profit for Bell Canada and without providing anything in return– could seriously damage Canadian internet access.

So this move may in fact seem to be good for Bell. But it certainly is not good for Canada.

A few years ago Canada was at the leading edge of internet affordability. This is why so many Canadians are not only online but comfortable online. We could afford to be.

However over the last few years we’ve been sliding more and more quickly toward the bottom of the list– due in no small part to the actions of players like Bell Canada.

The real price we’ll pay is the curbing of Canadian internet use.

Not only will the cost of using the internet increase, it will affect how Canadians use the internet.
We will be much more careful about what we go online to do.

* We might decide not to make a blog because it will be too expensive.
* We might cut our kids off Facebook because it will be too expensive.
* We might decide not to add to wikipedia because it will be too expensive.
* We might decide against posting our photos on Flickr,
* but if we do, grandma might not download photos of the grandkids because it will be too expensive.

Allowing this will not only damage the Canadian economy, it will damage the chance of a good future to our most important natural resource, our children

I almost didn’t bother to do this, but the Wind Mobile decision gave me hope,

Please write to tell me what your position will be.


Laurel L. Russwurm

I hope they’re listening still.

STOP Usage Based Billing

One Response to “fingers crossed: competitive broadband”

  1. Laurel L. Russwurm said

    Ah… that’s what happens when I do something uber-last minute… no time to fact check.

    Clever girl that I am, I thought that this was the court challenge that had to do with UBB, but it seems its the one for the Bell denial of access.

    Well, the basic premise is the same. Allowing Bell Canada to put our Independent Service Providers out of business would be very bad indeed.

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