interweb freedom

(formerly Stop Usage Based Billing)

Overturn the CRTC Ruling

Posted by Laurel L. Russwurm on October 29, 2010

No Usage Based Billing

This ruling means that Canadian Internet rates will rise dramatically.

Funny thing is, since I’ve been with TekSavvy for a long time, the grandfather clause it may very well make UBB a non-issue for my family. At least at first.

Canadian Flag CC-BY

Even so, Usage Based Billing will impact on all of Canada.

It doesn’t matter if you can afford it or not. It will affect Canada’s use of the Internet.

Usage Based Billing will change how Canadians use the Internet.

Canada is composed of a wildly dispersed and diverse group of citizens. Our country has maintained a mosaic culture in spite of the fact that our American Cousins opted for a melting pot approach.

Instead of one large shared American Dream, Canadians have as many dreams as we need. That may well be a big part of why Canadians have so enthusiastically embraced the Internet. The ease of Internet access has allowed Canadians to share, celebrate and embrace our differences. The past decade has brought us the beginnings of a golden age of Canadian culture undreamt of in the era when I grew up. Back in those dark days Canadians were searching in vain for the “Canadian Identity”. The fact that it no longer even comes up is a sign of cultural health. The Internet allows Canadian artists to distribute their work both at home and abroad with an ease never before possible. This is a priceless benefit to all Canadians, rich, poor, strong, weak, new immigrants, old immigrants, and first nations… we’re all in this together.

Right now, at this moment, Canada is uniquely placed to continue as we have been, leading the world in making use of the Internet to the great benefit of Canadian Culture and Economy.

This isn’t to say there aren’t problems. There are.

The backbone Internet carriers have chosen not to reinvest much if any in the infrastructure, so what was once cutting edge technology fifteen years ago is now 15 year old technology. Canadians are faced with mediocre Internet service. Our premium priced fastest speeds are laughable in most of the rest of the world. The prices Canadians pay for connectivity are cutting edge, but what we get in return is mediocre service.

And that’s BEFORE implementation of Usage Based Billing.

Usage Based Billing will make the price Canadians pay for Internet access unquestionably the highest in the world.

This is unacceptable.

The CRTC reports to Parliament through the Minister of Canadian Heritage.


The CRTC’s mandate is to ensure that both the broadcasting and telecommunications systems serve the Canadian public. The CRTC uses the objectives in the Broadcasting Act and the Telecommunications Act to guide its policy decisions.

CRTC Role in Regulating Broadcasting and Telecommunications Systems

More than a year ago I wrote letters to the Prime Minister and The Honourables Moore and Clement. The eventual response I received from the PMO was:

“We have taken the liberty of forwarding a copy of your correspondence to the office of the Hon. Tony Clement, Minister of Industry. His office is in the best position to respond to the issues you have raised. ”

The response that took the PMO five months to craft:

The CRTC is supposed to regulate according to laws under the purview of Industry Canada, placing it back in Industry Minister Tony Clement’s hands. And we have seen Tony Clement show that bad CRTC decisions can be overturned by the Government, as he demonstrated when he had Cabinet overule the CRTC so WindMobile could set up shop in Canada.

The response I got from Tony Clement in respect of Usage Based Billing was quite promising:

Under the Telecommunications Act, Cabinet can decide to take action in response to a petition by varying (changing) the decision, referring it back to the CRTC for reconsideration or rescinding the decision. Cabinet can also decide not to intervene and let the CRTC decision remain in place. The government’s powers to intervene expire one year from the date of the decision in question. Given that the matter is still under consideration by Cabinet, it would not be appropriate for me to comment at this time.

—Tony Clement, email excerpt We Interrupt this Prorogue…. January 2010

@TonyClement_MP Tony Clement Thx for the input, but as there is a 90 day appeal period it would be inappropriate for me to comment further. Be well.

They can do it again.

Tell Tony Clement that UBB will be bad for Canada. Postal mail, phone, write, email, tweet… Mr. Clement can be reached in a variety of ways. Tell him what you think about UBB. Tell him this bad ruling needs to be overturned.

It seems many Canadians have been asking Tony Clement about this on Twitter today.

It sounds as though the Honourable Tony Clement was saying that the Indie ISPs have another 90 day appeal period, after which time Bell would have to give 90 day notice to customers. I’ll try to confirm that.

For more information on how and who to write to, this article has a guidelines, tips and addresses for wrote a whole lot of letter writing: Write Letters to Stop UBB The time to write is now.


If you haven’t already, sign the petition. There are only 11075 signatures.

If you have already signed, who else should you be asking to sign?

That’s easy: anyone who uses the Internet.
Because Usage Based Billing will harm not only Canadians, but our Economy.

You can also call or write your MP, MP postal code look-up

Heritage Minister James Moore – email:

Industry Minister Tony Clement – email:

Prime Minister Stephen Harper – email:

After all, they work for us, don’t they?

STOP Usage Based Billing

STOP Usage Based Billing


13 Responses to “Overturn the CRTC Ruling”

  1. Rigar said

    This is a pile of bunk,it is the Telcos trying to take advantage of uninformed,ignorant,(Civil Servants, Politicians) that have NO understanding of how the Internet works.It costs them no more, a Bit is a Bit, I would understand if they improved service. (that is not the case). Also how does this effect the impaired, if you are sight impaired or hearing impaired,you use more bandwidth, so these old F!@#$%! that are make these decisions should get a grip on reality, and quit capitulating to the Telcos and start doing there job and look after the Consumer! IS THAT THEIR JOB or NOT!!!!

  2. jeff said

    Sorry to bring up an old thread but I just read that Ontario ISP providers will be limiting bandwidth to 25 gigs March 1st. 25 GIGS!! This wasn’t enough five years ago when limiting began by Bell, how in hell do they think its enough now? I have internet T.V. and run several sites over my connection, currently with Shaw I get 60 Gigs but even that I hit pretty much every month.

  3. […] October 2010 #78 Did ACTA pass? #79 CRTC Renegs – UBB is Coming Soon #80 Overturn the CRTC Ruling […]

  4. […] October 2010 #78 Did ACTA pass? #79 CRTC Renegs – UBB is Coming Soon #80 Overturn the CRTC Ruling […]

  5. […] October 2010 #78 Did ACTA pass? #79 CRTC Renegs – UBB is Coming Soon #80 Overturn the CRTC Ruling […]

  6. David said

    An important point: multimedia content is moving to the Web. NetFlix in the US, which has primarily been a DVD-rental-by-mail business, is now moving to a streaming video service. This shift will likely continue in the coming years, with DVD rental companies like Blockbuster making similar moves. Now we have a NetFlix streaming service in Canada, and a couple of months after it is introduced, we get this CRTC ruling.

    It is important to recognize that, as the US increasingly moves toward streaming content, the CRTC is moving toward a billing model that could make this cost-prohibitive for Canadian customers. This can potentially hurt technical innovation, and has obvious implications for competition. ISPs like Bell, Shaw, and Rogers, who bill for every movie that you view, will be able to shut out NetFlix and any other services that might be introduced in the future, forcing customers to purchase movies through them instead (at a much higher rate).

    This is a huge mistake, and Canada should be innovating, not moving in a direction that stifles future growth.

  7. […] I was impressed with all the things you can find on the site (since Usage Based Billing won’t be implemented for a few months yet, Canadians can still afford to search the […]

  8. RobertX said

    I don’t recall asking questions about that site. Now to pique your curiosity again, I will inform you that there is a certain “Michael Lerner”, the same Michael Lerner that started the online petition to disband the CRTC, that operates the site. Want to know how I knew? I ask him a question and his name came up in the answer.

    • No, Robert, you didn’t ask me about it, someone else did on

      When ever I complete a “Stop Usage Based Billing” article I always announce it on, and I always tag the announcement !StopUBB so that the announcement gets posted to the Stop Usage Based Billing group. The same announcement is then rebroadcast to the people who have subscribed to my Twitter feed, but there is no “!” marker in Twitter because they don’t have groups in the same way, so Twitter replaces it with the #StopUBB hashtag.

      Since the confusion was brought to my attention, I posted disclaimers both here and on so people seeking information would be aware that I don’t have any about this new petition.

      This blog exists as my personal public service attempt to raise awareness, provide information, explanations of obscure jargon, and to encourage people to take action both to spread the word (since the media has mostly not), and to let the government know what they think about Usage Based Billing.

      As I’ve learned about the issue, the scope of this blog expanded to cover related areas like Net Neutrality. This Stop Usage Based Billing blog is licensed directly into the public domain to facilitate sharing and spreading of information. I don’t own the name “StopUBB,” so there’s nothing at all wrong with someone else starting a petition or another site. (Especially as I don’t do petitions.) It would have been nice to have had some warning, but it would be even better if the site were to provide information about the proprietor(s) so I wouldn’t have had to spend time writing this.

      Although I’ve encouraged people to sign the petition at I don’t have anything to do with that site either. I do, however, feel very strongly that the CRTC is behaving badly and needs at minimum radical reform or possibly even dissolution of that is what it will take to get Canada a regulatory body that understands the technology they are regulating as well as one capable of following the legislated mandate of looking out for the best interests of Canadians.

  9. RobertX said

    Something to catch your attention with:

    • In conjunction with this Stop Usage Based Billing blog, about a year ago I started a StopUBB group on which also broadcasts on Twitter with the #StopUBB hashtag. The group was nicknamed “StopUBB” at Tom Low-Shang‘s suggestion.

      You might want to read Tom’s take on Bell’s approval of UBB Bell Says Jump, CRTC Jumps.

      Personally, I have absolutely no connection at all with the website you mention.

      Obviously I agree with the site in principle, having written however many thousands of words here. I am guessing that the site is on the up and up, but since there is no site owner identification it is hard to tell.

      The site has an online petition, as well as an automated form letter site. In these days of Identity theft, people need to be cautious before handing over their email addresses. It’s always a good idea to exercise caution before giving out personal information (like email addresses) online.

      Much as I’d like to, I simply can’t vouch for that site, and right now I’m too involved in NaNoWriMo to have the time to check it out (I have to sleep sometime). But I felt I had to answer your question promptly since you are the second person to inquire about today. Again, although it’s probably fine (after all, fighting UBB is a good thing) I am not in any way responsible for

      I would suggest writing your own letters, and sending them by postal mail is always an improvement on email, particularly an email form letter.

  10. RobertX said

    Very well, I will get off my lazy ass and put together a letter.

  11. […] Overturn the CRTC Ruling […]

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