UBB Choice? Smoke and Mirrors
Posted by Laurel L. Russwurm on February 4, 2011
There has been shock and surprise that Bell requested a delay in UBB implementation. Of course it makes perfect sense… it will have died down in a couple of months. Will the same level of consumer outrage be there? We’ll have to see. Bell has been playing politics in Canada since it was formed by an Act of Parliament.
The lack of care for consumers as a crucial Internet stakeholder was apparent in that the CRTC allows the regulated Industry a three month appeal process, yet Implementation of UBB (including notification) to consumers was a single month.
And the CRTC is planning a “review.”
In von Finckenstein’s effort to defend UBB, he failed to recognize that there is a world of difference between supporting the choice of an ISP to implement UBB and a regulatory model that leaves an ISP with no other alternative. The CRTC’s UBB decisions are wrong not because UBB is wrong, but because they undermine the potential for competitors to make alternative choices.
Michael Geist is right.
The biggest tragedy is that Consumers are deprived of choice.
It doesn’t matter that Industry has choice if consumers have none.
The biggest failing of the CRTC is that the ONLY thing they take into account is the needs of the industry. Throughout the whole UBB issue, they have totally and utterly ignored the public. I first heard about UBB when the CRTC had closed the comments after the first proposal by Bell. At that time 4,000 consumers had filed complaints about UBB using the proper CRTC process. Yet when the CRTC approved UBB, it dismissed this incredible level of citizen input with a single line that consumers had commented. That’s THOUSANDS of responses made about something that had NO press coverage.
Throughout the entire UBB process, the CRTC has completely ignored citizen needs and issues. Incredible since their mandate is to look out for consumers.
If you don’t think that is a mammoth number, look at the number of participants in last year’s Digital Economy Consultation – which *did* have press coverage:
“Between May 10 and July 13, more than 2000 Canadian individuals and organizations registered to share their ideas and submissions. ”
The CRTC has consistently ignored consumers, while ruling in the Interests of the large telcos. What UBB seeks to do to Independent ISPs is terrible.
But I believe it is most terrible because of what it will do to consumers.
Right now, today, in 2011:
- many Canadians only Internet option is dial-up.
- many Canadians have but ONE Internet ISP “choice”.
- some Canadians have two Internet ISP “choices” – legacy telephone or cable ISP
- some Canadians have the choice between the legacy telcos (aka the carrier-ISPs) and Independent ISPs.
The only “choice” many Canadians have, the only way to choose a different ISP, is to move to a different geographic location. You know, sell your house, get a new job. etc.
Which is no choice at all.
The past two years has consisted of a great deal of time and money spent by all the ISPs. Lawyers fees alone would have been staggering.
If all of that money had been spent on expanding service areas, think of where Canada would be now.
No matter what happens, this has been an incredible #FAIL on the part of the CRTC.
In SPITE of the CRTC, there actually are a few UBB free choices, regardless. According to Reddit: UBB-Free ISPs yak.ca and eyesurf.net don’t get their Gateway Access through Bell. There probably are more like them scattered across the country.
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.