interweb freedom

(formerly Stop Usage Based Billing)

Posts Tagged ‘CRTC Chairman Konrad von Finckenstein’

CRTC Approved UBB

Posted by Laurel L. Russwurm on May 6, 2010

No Usage Based BillingAccording to the CBC Story, CRTC approves usage-based internet billing this will probably come to pass in September.

Canadian Flag Submerged in American FLAG

More than 8,000 citizens told the Stephen Harper Conservatives that they did not want copyright law that is a Canadian DMCA. But it looks like Prime Minister Harper is going ahead with it anyway.

Around 4,000 citizens protested against Bell Canada’s imposition of Usage Based Billing on the customers of the Independent Service Providers. The CRTC ignored the protests from the consumers and the Independent Service Providers and gave it provisional approval.

Another 10,000 Canadians signed the Dissolve The CRTC petition. Yet the CRTC is still there. Making bad rulings that demonstrate they don’t understand.

This Canadian Government just doesn’t even listen to citizens.

Conservative Party logo

It seems that citizens aren’t listened to even when we have a minority government.

Even with a minority government we’ve been screwed with UBB. CRTC has approved Bell Canada’s request to implement Usage Based Billing on the Independent Service Providers customers. On average, Canadian internet costs will at least double come September. They were already among the highest in the world. (For mediocre service too.) It was too bad, I was really attached to my Internet Service Provider, but it will be a miracle if they can stay in business.(I will never grasp the rationale of why Bell can collect money from people who are not their customers.)

Usage based billing will put Canada at a huge disadvantage internationally. We just lost a huge bit of Internet access…

Konrad von Finckenstein

To get an idea of where the CRTC is coming from in approving Bell Canada’s imposition of Usage Based Billing I offer this exerpt from Jesse Brown’s October 2009 Interview with CRTC Chairman Konrad von Finckenstein.



12:30 KvF: Well, well just a second. You know, you have, uh, If somebody comes forward and says this, uh, Internet Service Provider is it in, applying Internet Traffic Management, and he is, uh, this, that, unfairly, uh, discriminating against me or, uh, it may impairs my use, and the first, then the onus, as we set out in our, uh, the, our decision, is on the ISP to come forward and say either “No I’m doing it” or “Yes I’m doing it and I’m driven to it by this and this” and you go though the analytical framework. So you’re positing right away that actually that, that is happening. I don’t, you have to, that’s exactly what you are trying to do, trying to be preventive and, uh, prompt. If and when congestion arises, if it doesn’t arise then of course there’s no issue. If it does arise, then, as I said before, that’s, they may build extra infrastructure, if not they put in economic measures to, to have people pay for the use and thereby modu, modulate the use. If that doesn’t work then only you go to technical ones. Then, uh, uh, you want me to prove a disaster before it has happened. How can I do that?

—CRTC Chairman Konrad von Finckenstein
Search Engine with Jesse Brown: The Neutral Throttle? An interview with CRTC Chairman Konrad von Finckenstein
Transcript on This Blog Is Not For Reading

In listening to Chairman Konrad von Finckenstein’s answers all through the interview, he clearly indicated that he accepts everything Bell Canada told the CRTC as truth. It sounds like there was never any evidence. But if Bell Canada says they have to throttle people of course they do. Nad things might happen if not.

But the very saddest thing is the CRTC Chairman’s idea that the way to address an inadequate Internet infrastructure is to curb customer use by imposing caps and high prices.

The Canadian Internet is too successful seems to be the problem the CRTC is addressing. Too many people use it for too many things.

Instead of asking Bell Canada why they have not been upgrading infrastructure (beyond maintenance) over the last 15 years, the CRTC solution is to curb Canadian Internet use so that we will use it less. This does not bode well for our children’s future. Much less an economy that runs more and more online.

That’s the CRTC strategy. Now, I’m not an economist, but somehow that doesn’t really sound like a recipe for fostering online economic growth to me.

Canadians need to pay more and use the Internet less.

Since this will make the Internet so much more expensive for Canadians, probably a lot of the copyright stuff will be moot. Independent musicians and other artists will have a much harder time finding an audience when the audience can’t afford to wander freely online.

I’m open for suggestions.

Here’s an oldie but goodie:

If you haven’t already, sign the petition. There are only 10603 signatures

If you have, who can you get to sign it?

That’s easy: anyone who uses the Internet.

Because Usage Based Billing will harm us all.

Usage Based Billing is a Disservice to Canada.

STOP Usage Based Billing

STOP Usage Based Billing


Posted in Changing the World | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 27 Comments »

What Century is the CRTC in?

Posted by Laurel L. Russwurm on March 24, 2010

No Usage Based Billing

On Monday March 22nd, 2010 the Toronto Star reported the long awaited “fee for carriage” results in the article CRTC backs TV over cable in fees dispute: Regulatory agency avoids imposing ‘fee for carriage’; leaves final decision up to Federal Court

London, star of the 1980's Canadian TV series "The Littlest Hobo"

My favorite CRTC "fee for carriage" commentator

What is happening here? Why did the CRTC spend a great deal of time and money providing a forum for the “fee for carriage” dog and pony show?   Dog is right… one of the Twitter commentators was HoboLittlest If you read Hobo’s Twitter feed you can clearly see that he has gone to the dogs.

Remember all the attack ads and finger pointing where each side accused the other of greed and the broadcasters declared that “local TV Matters”? That led up to the CRTC hearings which presented an opportunity for the Cable/Satellite carriers to duke it out with the TV Channels/Networks.

The CRTC decided this “fee for carriage” issue by saying the cable companies have to start paying the TV networks. Surprisingly, the CRTC has said that payments needn’t be in cash, they may instead choose to barter. Wow. Barter. Wonder how Revenue Canada… ooops, the Canada Revenue Agency feels about that?

passing the buck

Then the CRTC says the “final decision” must be made by the Federal Court as the CRTC might lack authority to make the decision.

So the TV broadcasters think they’ve got it made in the shade.

Well, everyone except for the CBC.   Because the CRTC quasi-decision specifically excluded the CBC from what CBC perceives will be a lucrative revenue stream.


Then a bad situation was made worse when the CRTC told broadcasters they must invest a percentage of the gross in Canadian Content.   Presumably funds will come out of the “new income” from the cable companies.   Except CRTC Chairman Konrad von Finckenstein never exactly explained how that would work if the new payments was made by barter.

As if that isn’t bad enough, the CRTC went on to reduce the total Canadian Content requirement by 5%.

I believe that Canadian Content regulations have turned out to be a very bad thing for Canadian Culture. If we must have Canadian Content laws, then the percentage must be high, at LEAST 80% for TV programming.

Scrapping CanCon altogether would be by far the best solution.

But the worst possible solution is to mandate a middling amount of CanCon and then chip away at it bit by bit.   Which is of course the situation we actually have.

What is the CRTC playing at– they have decided to dictate what programming broadcasters must fund.   Excuse me?

I thought the CRTC was supposed to regulate telecommunications for the benefit of Canadian consumers.   Yet here they are dictating programming decisions.   It isn’t the CRTC’s job to decide what programming is essential for Canadian audiences. It’s none of their business.

CRTC logo

The only thing the CRTC seems intent on doing is avoiding blame.

What the CRTC is failing to do — again — is protect the interests of Canadian consumers.

There is only one pool of consumers in Canada. In the real world, the only people who will be stuck with additional fees will be the beleaguered Canadian consumer. Again. In a recession. I guess the CRTC hasn’t noticed that there is a recession on from their ivory tower.

What should the CRTC be doing? Certainly not allowing the price gouging that will inevitably come out of this. What they need to do is enter the 21st Century.

Cable TV, like Internet Service Providers, should not be providing content. Cable/Satellite should be the TV industry version of “dumb pipes”.
In this digital world, there is no earthly reason why consumers are forced to pay for 50* channels in order to get the two that they actually want.   Why do we have to subsidize forty-eight channels to get two?   Just think how great the two good channels would be if they got all of that money.

The cable companies have the technology to deliver individual channels, and in fact have had this capability for quite some time. It should not cost consumers more than $10 per month per channel that they actually want. But instead most Canadian families are paying between $50 and $200 per month for the tiered “packages” the are forced to subscribe to in order to get the few channels that they actually watch.

I really don’t get it. Why does the CRTC exist? As I understand it, the CRTC is supposed to protect consumers, because we do not have the lobbying power of the big monopolies. Yet instead CRTC regulations have led to Canadian consumers subsidizing a great deal of programming that they don’t want or need. This is ridiculous.

The CRTC is mouthing platitudes about “market forces” resolving these issues. Yet there are no true market forces in play here. The only reasonable way that “market forces” could possibly be the deciding factor would be for consumers to pay only for the content they consume.

Canadian Flag

Which is certainly not the case now.

The decline in broadcast television is largely due to the broadcaster’s reluctance to restructure for the 21st century. Instead of working out new business models, they have instead asked the CRTC for what is essentially a bailout. And the CRTC is giving it to them — at the expense of the Canadian consumer.

Why is the Canadian television audience shrinking? Many Canadians have given up on cable. Like me. Four years ago we decided the cable bill was just too high for what we were actually watching. Let me tell you, it is a lot cheaper to buy the DVDs you are actually going to watch than pay for cable that you don’t.

Interestingly enough, there is more to watch online than YouTube.  Did you know that there is an awful lot of original content available legally online.

The cast of Team Epic superheroes posre in front of a skyline including the CN Tower.

Online Canadian programming isn't afraid to set Canadian shows in Canada.

The Internet Canadian superhero series Team Epic is a program that my family watches.   Hey, Canada isn’t exactly new to the superhero game, after all,  Canadian-born artist Joe Shuster created Superman with his partner American writer Jerry Siegel  in 1932

But that’s not all, there are all sorts of other online programming on LIFEFORCE[tv].   There is quite a lot of original made-for-the-Internet programming out there. For free.

But surprisingly there is also an awful lot of online television programming provided direct from — you guessed it — the television broadcasters.

Broadcasters like Global TV

or CBC

or CTV

or CityTV

The CRTC is also responsible for regulating the Internet. Yet the CRTC has allowed the Canadian Internet monopolies (essentially the same cast of characters who own the tv industry) to:

(a) discriminate against certain customers by selectively “throttling” the service these consumers are paying for
(b) deployment of Deep Packet Inspection to achieve this discrimination [DPI is of course illegal in Europe because of the invasion of consumer privacy it allows]
(c) encourage the monopolies to cap customers bandwidth consumption as a means of forcing Canadians to use the Internet less
(d) granted provisional approval of Usage Based Billing (which will likely kill off the fledgling Independent Internet Service Providers)

Red Maple Leaf graphic

Funny how the CRTC is not protecting the interests of Canadian Internet users.

Clearly the CRTC does not understand what is happening in the world of technology. What is worse, they are making absolutely no attempt to understand it.

Isn’t time to dissolve the CRTC?

Canada needs a regulatory body that can understand the technology and regulate in the best interests of Canadians.

What we have is the CRTC which regulates in the best interests of the Media/TV/Internet monopolies. If the CRTC continues down this road Canada’s economy will be in serious trouble.

*I chose “50 Channels” of cable programming as an example. Some people may only have to pay for 25 cable channels in order to get the two that they want to watch, while others might need to pay for seventy. Each cable package is different, but all discriminate against the consumer.


[Note: There will be more on CanCon coming in my new in the wind post later today.]

Posted in Changing the World | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »