interweb freedom

(formerly Stop Usage Based Billing)

UBB: Still Misunderstood

Posted by Laurel L. Russwurm on February 3, 2011

No Usage Based BillingJohnny Rocket passed this along on the comments page:

Toronto Star: Ottawa to reverse CRTC decision on Internet billing

Oh look, another one: The Vancouver Sun: Harper Conservatives to quash CRTC decision killing unlimited Internet

Sounds like the Government is pressing the CRTC to overturn the ruling.

This sounds promising, but at the moment it is nothing more than talk.

The real story is Jason Koblovsky: CRTC To Appear Before Committee On UBB
That the CRTC Chairman Konrad von Finckenstein will be addressing Industry Canada tomorrow, presumably to explain the ruling.
Four days are allotted to the CRTC. Of course, anything can happen.

Nothing has actually changed.

The reality is that Usage Based Billing has been approved and has passed through many appeals &tc. since Bell first asked the CRTC for it in 2009.
Currently all the appeals are over, and there is an intact ruling that the Independent ISPs must implement by March 1st.
That has not changed.

Back in May of last year, the CRTC gave UBB conditional approval, saying UBB would not go ahead until all of Bell no longer had customers with unlimited service since imposition of Bell’s UBB on wholesalers would force them to withdraw unlimited service they provide their customers. So for a number of months, it appeared that we were safe from the spectre of UBB. But Bell appealed the decision and the CRTC renegged, instead allowing Independent ISPs to “grandfather” the levels of service enjoyed by longstanding customers, who had accounts dating from 2007.
(2007? What’s up with that? If they were going to do a grandfather deal, at the very least the cutoff should be from when UBB was approved.)

The CRTC has made incredibly bad rulings in regard to the Internet. There are a couple of other incredibly important longstanding issues that need to be looked at here as well.

Hopefully, Industry Canada will be looking at these when they talk about UBB, because everything is related:


A few years ago Bell began “throttling” the Internet. Not just their own retail customers, their wholesale customers’ customers too.
[No, that is NOT a typo: the CRTC allows Bell to deliberately degrade the Internet service of their competitor’s customers.]

When the Independent ISPs brought this to the attention of the CRTC… that bandwidth they pay Bell for was being throttled, the CRTC gave Bell permission to do this.

Interestingly, Bell actually started “throttling” at the same time they were Globe and Mail: Bell launches video download store

Internet Ignorance

The justification for “throttling” was that the Internet was too congested.

Apparently The CRTC bought the Bell argument that the Internet was in danger of getting full and maybe crashing.

Jesse Brown famously asked the chairman about proof, and amidst the waffling, the answer seemed to be that Bell said so.


The CRTC trashed Canadian privacy protection by allowing Bell to deploy Deep Packet Inspection without the slightest bit of oversight.

If you don’t understand what that means, that’s okay, because apparently the CRTC didn’t understand it either.

The short version is that DPI allows Bell to look at everything on the Internet.

Bell has CRTC permission to read your email without needing a warrant.
Without the slightest bit of accountability.
The CRTC trusts Bell with our private data.

I don’t.

The only way to stop them from reading our email or looking at the naked baby in the bath photo we emailed grandma is to encrypt the email. Of course, the reason Bell asked for and got permission from the CRTC to do this was so that they would know what internet traffic to discriminate against. Because Bell discriminates against encrypted internet activity. On purpose.

“We established independent regulators because they’re supposed to have the expertise, the freedom from partisan pressures, the time and the longer-term perspective to make the painful and complex decisions required to keep industries that are otherwise liable to market failure operating in some semblance of the public interest. ”

Globe and Mail: Richard French “Second-guessing the CRTC comes at a price”

Richard French thinks the problem is that the Government is overturning the regulator.

The sad fact is that Mr.French would have a lot more credibility if he wasn’t parroting the oft cited bogus argument about “heavy users.”

Like the CRTC, Richard French doesn’t understand the problem in getting expert advice from the special Interest Group the CRTC is supposed to be regulate.

The problem is that the CRTC does NOT understand the Internet.

Mr. French is writing for the Globe and Mail which is owned by Bell. Coincidence?

Maybe he should read my article Speculation not Prophecy

P.S. Two More Good Links

A Mainstream Media article that understands UBB Financial Post: Counterpoint: Net users will pay a lot more

And a blog: Barrel Strength: The perpetual error of communications policy

It’s not over yet.

Regulating Canada into the last century will not help our digital economy survive in this one.
We need to Stop Usage Based Billing before it starts.

If you haven’t already, sign the petition. There are only 13711 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

3 Responses to “UBB: Still Misunderstood”

  1. Globalive ruling to be appealed by Ottawa…

    Ottawa will appeal a Federal Court ruling on Feb. 4 striking down cabinet’s 2009 decision allowing Globalive to launch its Wind Mobile wireless brand, Industry Minister Tony Clement stated Tuesday.Clement stated Globalive — majority-funded by Egyptia….

  2. The short version is that DPI allows Bell to look at everything on the Internet.

    Worse than that, DPI is a tool for Bell to see everything YOU look at on the Internet. Not just their own customers, but third-party ISP customers too. And throttle the traffic Bell doesn’t like by discarding specific application data packets. And the only CRTC requirement for allowing this is that Bell has to post on a Web page that they’re doing this. But if I’m not a Bell customer, how would I ever see such a notice?

    Using another form of DPI, Bell examines the traffic on their GAS so that they can bill third-party ISPs for the bandwidth used by third-party customers. Of course, the bandwidth they bill for is measured BEFORE throttling, so customers get charged for the packets that Bell discards. Which packets then get re-transmitted, so Bell can bill them and discard them again.

    What a business model! Not making enough profit? Just discard your customer’s data, and bill them for it. Need more money? Discard even more data!


  3. […] need to Stop Usage Based Billing before it starts. If you havent already, sign the petition. …read the full article here Post Information Rate this Post:  Loading … Written by Frank, Filed under: Digital […]

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