The FCC, the CRTC and NetFlix
Posted by Laurel L. Russwurm on November 19, 2010
[Seems the Stop Usage Based Billing blog has been getting traffic from The Consumerist, so I put together the following comment to try and clear up/boil it down for their audience. Except it’s being held for moderation. Since its a nutshell version of the situation I thought I’d post it here whilst I get back to writing my 2010 !NaNoWriMo novel.]
Our backbone telephone carrier Bell does the throttling here in Canada, (in much the same way Comcast “throttled” and got slapped down by your FCC. The difference here is that when Bell got caught throttling they were given *permission* to throttle from our CRTC.)
The same Bell has asked the CRTC for Usage Based Billing.
Thing is, the CRTC has said they can throttle, cap or UBB their own ISP customers as much as they like. And they are. They do it already. They don’t need CRTC permission to do that.
But, you see, Bell has been losing customers to the Independent ISPs (especially when these customers discover that Bell is throttling etc ) In Canada it is the Indie ISPs who have challenged Bell’s right to throttle. And who have been fighting for net neutrality.
The thing about both Bell’s Canadian throttling and UBB is that Bell is doing both to the customers of the Independent ISPs.
Because as well as being a backbone carrier, Bell also happens to be an ISP that competes with the Independent ISPs. (I think in the US this would be called an “anti-trust” issue.)
Bell had to ask the CRTC permission to charge UBB to their competitors customers.
So Bell wants to charge UBB — an additional price structure — to the customers of the Independent ISPs. I thought this was unreasonable when I first learned about this and felt compelled to start this public service blog to try to raise awareness of the issue.
More than a year later I still can’t get my mind around the idea that Bell would even ask our government telecommunications regulator to charge Usage Based Billing to their competitors customers. This is just… inconceivable.
The most incredible thing is that the CRTC gave this permission.
Interesting that it happened just as Netflix rolled out in Canada.