interweb freedom

(formerly Stop Usage Based Billing)

Posts Tagged ‘glossary’

Throttling PROVES that the Internet is NOT congested

Posted by Laurel L. Russwurm on September 3, 2009

No Usage Based Billing

No Usage Based Billing

A big part of the Bell Canada argument in favor of Usage Based Billing (and “Throttling”) is the idea that the internet is “congested”. This is pure fabrication.

It is simply not true.

If the internet was actually congested, if the internet was anywhere near full, throttling would be the last thing Bell Canada would do BECAUSE the act of throttling actually increases the consumption of bandwidth.

Every time Bell Canada engages in the process of “throttling”
Bell Canada is adding to the alleged internet congestion.

Bell Canada throttles by deliberately cluttering up the internet. Throttling does indeed slow your service down.

Throttling is done by slowing down your internet packets by disabling some of them, so you are forced to use more bandwidth. They stop your packet’s message from getting through. Bell Canada doesn’t remove the packet, it is still floating around on the internet. But this forces you to send a replacement packet that maybe this time Bell Canada will allow to get to its destination. So those disabled packets are now adding to the supposed congestion.

Of course the computer users can not see this. We don’t KNOW when Bell Canada is stopping out packets, or for that matter how many packets they are stopping. We just know its taking a long time.

In trying to understand this, I came up with the following analogy (a version was originally posted in the comments section of one of the CBC online stories, CRTC wants internet pricing answers from Bell).

Understanding Throttling: The Ice Cream Parlour Analogy

Say you went to an ice cream parlour and ordered a 2 scoop ice cream cone. The server scoops one scoop into your cone, throws a second scoop in the garbage and then places a third scoop on top of the first,. Then she hands you your 2 scoop cone along with a bill for 3 scoops.

THAT is what throttling is. If you’re transferring a 5 gigabyte file you might find yourself paying for 7 gigabytes of bandwidth. Up until now it has “only” had the impact of making Canadian internet users reach their bandwidth limits sooner. But with “Usage Based Billing” you will ALSO be paying for Bell’s deliberate bandwidth inflation, in other words the bandwidth they throw in the garbage (the 2nd scoop).

Lets try a long distance phone call analogy.

Say I want to make a 3 minute long distance phone call to my granny.

So I call her up on the telephone and say, “Hey Gran, what’s happening?”

But at this point, the phone company deliberately cuts off my connection.

So I have to call her back. Of course I do.  This time I say.

“Hey gran, it’s me. Sorry, I don’t know what happened. Anyway. I was wondering what you’re up to this weekend. Since Marv is in town I thought we could have a…”

WHOOPS. The phone company disconnects my call again. So I have to call back again. This time I say,

“Hey gran I’ll make it quick… we’re having a barbeque for Marv on Sunday… Can make it? Sure you can bring your beau. Ok, Jack’ll pick you up at 2. Bye.”

When the phone bill comes in, instead of paying for the three minute call I’ve budgeted for, thanks to the phone company’s deliberate interference, I end up paying for 5 minutes on the line with my gran rather than three.

This is how throttling works. Which is a compelling reason why Usage Based Billing should never have been approved. As long as Bell is “throttling” they are deliberately inflating customer usage numbers. Which means that when they implement Usage Based Billing, they will be fraudulently billing customers— with the permission of the CRTC.

The fact that we don’t understand the jargon is a big part of why Bell Canada (and the CRTC) think they can get away this. In self defense I’ve done some research and created a Glossary of UBB terms on my dedicated Stop Usage Based Billing blog:

Usage Based Billing: A Glossary

If CRTC does not understand these issues, why are they giving Bell Canada permission for implementation of them?

Don’t forget:
6325 signatures!

Posted in Changing the World, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

Psst… Pass It On: Stop Usage Based Billing

Posted by Laurel L. Russwurm on September 1, 2009

No Usage Based Billing

No Usage Based Billing

I’m nobody important.  I’m not a “Name” commentator.  I’m not an “expert” on the internet.  I’m only a member of the public.  A Canadian.  An individual.

Just a mom, with a blog.

Like you, I’m a member of the Canadian public that the CRTC believes does not matter. In granting the Bell Canada request for Usage Based Billing the CRTC casually dismissed the Canadian public– the very people they exist to serve– in one sentence:

Telecom Order CRTC 2009-484 – Ottawa, 12 August 2009 – Introduction

“2…. The Commission also received a large number of comments, mostly from individuals;
these submissions generally opposed the Bell companies’ applications.”

Like most Canadians I didn’t know about Usage Based Billing, so I wasn’t one of the “nobodies” who posted the comments so cavalierly dismissed by the CRTC.

Some people in the Canadian computer community were in fact aware of the Usage Based Billing issue because American ISPs had been trying to get Usage Based Billing approved in the States. So pros and cons of Usage Based Billing had been discussed in technical forums, often alongside net neutrality. (Something else I’d never heard of.) But the FCC turned them down. So the Americans have provided a bona fide example of a telecommunications regulator actually operating for the public good. Huzzah!

None of those technical folks with their thumbs on the pulse of the internet were prepared for the sudden onset of Usage Based Billing. The first even THEY seemed to have heard of it was on the last day (the only day?) submissions were to be accepted by the CRTC.

Why don’t Canadians know that their internet costs will double in less than three months?

Strong and free?

Strong and free?

Because Usage Based Billing has not been in the news.  That’s the way the CRTC and Bell Canada want it.  The last thing they want is for ordinary people to find about about this.

They need to keep Canadians in the dark.

After all, CTV is ignoring it. The Globe and Mail is ignoring it. Of course Bell Canada is a very large shareholder in both of these news outlets. And of course the news media controlled by Rogers isn’t covering Usage Based Billing either. Coincidence? I think not.

The only coverage I’ve been able to find is some stories on CBC online, but the story apparently hasn’t been big enough to keep alive. But still, thank goodness for CBC, because their coverage has been better than nothing.

The big problem is that although most people who know about this are understandably annoyed:

Most Canadians still have not even heard of Usage Based Billing

The first time most Canadians will even find out about Usage Based Billing will be when they are suddenly hit with a huge bill.

The problem is, Usage Based Billing will have a huge impact on Canada.

Short term, it will cost us twice as much as we’ve been paying to go online. Which will make Canada far and away the most expensive place on earth to access the internet.

And we’re not talking about improved service. Canadian’s won’t get anything new or better for the privilege of paying twice as much.

The reason Bell Canada wants to introduce Usage Based Billing is to be able to inflate the take.
And incidentally kill off Bell Sympatico’s surprisingly robust competition.

The CRTC’s own website says:

“But the CRTC’s role in telecommunications is evolving. In many telecom markets, several consumer choices are available. This natural competition results in better prices and packages for consumers. In these cases, CRTC allows competition, not regulations, to drive the market. The CRTC regulates only where the market doesn’t meet the objectives of the Telecommunications Act. CRTC’s website

Yet the CRTC’s approval of Bell Canada’s Usage Based Billing does precisely the opposite of what they claim they do.

Usage Based Billing will directly harm the independant ISPs who purchase bandwidth wholesale through Bell Canada’s Gateway Access System. These ISPs have done a good job. They’ve brought competition into the Canadian marketplace in exactly the way they were supposed to. Because they offer great service and great deals, they have been getting customers. Maybe even customers who are dissatisfied with Bell Canada.

The introduction of Usage Based Billing means that all the people who have contracted for internet service through the independent ISPs will find our service providers can no longer meet the terms of the contract. The fledgling Independant ISPs will be hit badly. This will stun, stall or eliminate Bell Canada’s internet competition. Usage Based Billing is here because the CRTC used regulations to drive the market into the ground. Not for the benefit of Canada. But for the benefit of Bell Canada.

Bell Canada is a soulless corporation, and as such they are entitled to be greedy and desirous of making make twice as much money for the same service.

Usage Based Billing is NOT what the CRTC is mandated to do.

The CRTC exists expressly to regulate soulless telecommunication giants so they can’t double costs to Canadians for no reason beyond corporate greed.

Usage Based Billing will compromise or eliminate both access and affordability. The CRTC has no excuse for giving Bell Canada carte blanche to gouge the taxpayers they are supposed to represent. This CRTC regulation is in direct contravention of their own stated objectives of the Telecommunications Act.

This is what the CRTC is supposed to do on behalf of all us nobodies:

According to the CRTC’s own website, the CRTC is supposed to:

  • CRTC Mandate: ….ensure that both the broadcasting and telecommunications systems serve the Canadian public.
  • Broadcasting: ….ensures that all Canadians have access to a wide variety of high-quality Canadian programming….
  • Telecommunications ….ensures that Canadians receive reliable telephone and other telecommunications services, at affordable prices.

CRTC Website: About the CRTC

The CRTC is incompetent, or the CRTC is corrupt. It doesn’t really matter which because the result is the same.

The point is that they are not only NOT supposed to do harm to Canada the CRTC is supposed to protect Canadian interests.

And this ruling will unquestionably harm Canada. At minimum CRTC is not doing their job.

And this will harm Canada how?

The increased cost means that Canadians will be paying much more than citizens of other countries to access the internet.

The costs to Canada will include (but not be limited to) Canadians paying to:

  • receive spam in their email,
  • see advertisements on websites,
  • or to upgrade Windows.
  • Job seekers may not be able to access jobs requiring online response.
  • School web access will be underused as families may not be able to afford the bandwidth.
  • Grandmothers downloading photos may be forced to choose between internet access and dinner.
  • The people who can barely afford to get online now will find it much more difficult when the cost is so much higher.

Economic damage done to Canada, although more difficult to quantify, will happen nonetheless. For instance:

  • Research and development will not be undertaken by scientists, inventors and web developers because of exorbitant cost constraints not faced by scientists, inventors and web developers in other countries.
  • Many Canadian Arts start-ups will not happen because suddenly Canadian graphic designers, artists, musicians and writers will no longer be able to avail themselves of the low or no-cost internet that will still be available to the other artists, writers and musicians in the rest of the world. Without this means of promoting their work in the face of exorbitant internet charges, many budding talents will be lost to Canadian culture.
  • Canadian IT Businesses who have already invested in websites dependent on high traffic counts neccesary to generate advertising revenue may find themselves floundering and failing in the face of a drastically reduced Canadian customer base. The artists, writers and musicians who do manage to commission websites or contract with hosting sites, will still have a much harder time connecting with their potential audience because the audience will need to be more careful in how they use the internet due to exorbitant usage costs not faced by consumers in other countries.

This economic damage won’t just impact on internet users, it will impact on all of Canada. Economically. In the midst of a recession.

Since the news media isn’t reporting this, we need to spread the word because the word MUST spread.

The petition to has slowed to a trickle. I think most of the people who know about Usage Based Billing have already signed it. But it is still very important to get more signatures. Hitting the 10,000 mark would be a big enough story that the major news outlets would not be able to ignore it without losing credibility.

But in the mean time, since the major news outlets aren’t telling anyone, WE must be the ones to pass it on.   It’s time for us nobodies to reach out and touch someone.  Individually none of us have the reach to spread the news to very many people at all. But if we all took the time to tell just a few people, the story would get around.

Write a letter to your Member of Parliament.   If you don’t know who that is, you can find out at :Members of Parliament. Snail mail to elected officials is still free.

If anyone needs to borrow bits from the Stop Usage Based Billing blog to use in any letters, everything in this blog is in the public domain. So feel free to help yourself if any of what I’ve written will help. Also, the UBB Glossary is pretty good reference material.

Another way ordinary Canadians can tell total strangers about Usage Based Billing is through writing a letter to the editor of your local newspaper. Smaller newspapers, even free ones have an audience. Even if it doesn’t get published, at least somebody will read it. And if they don’t publish, you can always send it along here and I will publish it.)

I’ve signed up with where I’m starting a StopUBB group at

Canadians need to find out about this before the damage is done.   Do what you can.

So please, pass it on!

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How will they bill the “USAGE” in the Usage Based Billing?

Posted by Laurel L. Russwurm on August 29, 2009

No Usage Based Billing

No Usage Based Billing

If the CRTC is actually going to allow Bell Canada to implement usage based billing, the question is: How?

If we are being charged per packet, how is that going to be itemized?

Itemized Internet Bills?

To figure out how much internet individual users are using Bell Canada will need an army of bean counters to keep track of each packet that is being used by each user. Interesting. Then all of this data will need to be sorted out and itemized. This will generate a huge invoice each month. This is also going to dramatically increase Bell Canada’s actual cost of doing business. (We’ll look at “Marginal Costs” in the next blog post… I am still learning about that.) iPhone Bill a Whopping 52 Pages Long
PoliTech writes “iPhone bills are surprisingly large – ‘Xbox Large’, according to Ars technica: ‘AT&T’s iPhone bills are quite impressive in their own right. We’re starting to get bills for the iPhone here at Ars, and while many of us have had smartphones for some time, we’ve never seen a bill like this. One of our bills is a whopping 52 pages long, and my own bill is 34 pages long. They’re printed on both sides, too. What gives? The AT&T bill itemizes your data usage whenever you surf the Internet via EDGE, even if you’re signed up for the unlimited data plan. AT&T also goes into an incredible amount of detail to tell you; well, almost nothing. For instance, I know that on July 27 at 3:21 p.m. I had some data use that, under the To/From heading, AT&T has helpfully listed as Data Transfer. The Type of file? Data. My total charge? $0.00. This mind-numbing detail goes on for 52 double-sided pages (for 104 printed pages!) with absolutely no variance except the size of the files.’ You would think that a data company would have a more efficient billing process.”

Bell Canada

Bell Canada

I am curious as to how Bell Canada will handle this.

If they do itemize the packets, how will we know they aren’t just making these numbers up?

Measurement Canada

Measurement Canada

I contacted Measurement Canada on August 21st via their online form to inquire as to how they will monitor Bell Canada’s measurement of individual internet use to safeguard Canadian consumers when Usage Based Billing is introduced.

Because of course they cannot possibly allow Bell Canada to just pull “Usage” numbers out of the air. If they are going to be billing us for what we are using they need to be able to back up their claims of what we are using.

And Bell Canada certainly can NOT be allowed to Bill Canadian Users for the packets that they deliberately discard when they throttle Canadian internet use (see UBB Glossary). I mean really, if Bell Canad is going to deliberately inflate the figures of what bandwidth Canadians are using, they cannot then bill us for this inflation. That would be FRAUD. So Measurement Canada will certainly need to be right on top of things to ensure fairness and honesty.

No wonder Measurement Canada hasn’t responded. I expect that THEY have no idea of how to oversee Usage Based Billing. Or the manpower to even begin to monitor Bell Canada’s auditing of internet usage. Personally I don’t trust Bell Canada to tell me how many packets I’ve used. I expect independant government oversight.

Privacy Laws

Another thing to consider is the question of how Bell Canada is going to bill Internet users who are NOT their customers. Since I have never had a business relationship with Bell Canada’s Internet arm, they don’t have a business relationship with me. So how are they going to know who to bill? They can’t force Teksavvy to hand over secure billing information. We do have Privacy Laws in Canada…. don’t we?

And of course privacy laws should also protect Canadian consumers from having Bell Canada’s telephone branch from giving up customer information to the Bell Canada internet wholesaling division who will want the information on who to bill.

So if Bell can’t get my billing information from Teksavvy, does this mean that Teksavvy will be forced to hire the army of administrators needed to perform the internet useage audit necessitated by introducing UBB? That doesn’t seem fair.

Putting aside the question of where this internet auuseage audit will take place, who will pay for this whole new layer of accountants? The consumer will.

So not only will we be paying extortionate fees for internet access which includes, but is not limited to

  • surfing the web…
  • along with the website ads we will now have the privilege of paying Bell Canada to enjoy
  • email
  • all of the spam that the spammers get to send us for free
  • all the software we download,
  • freeware which developers make available FOR FREE will now earn Bell Canada new profit
  • shareware which developers make available for customers to tryE will now earn Bell Canada new profit
  • commercial software we purchase,
  • inxluding of course all those Windows updates…

BUT we will also be paying the costs of the massive new buraucracy which will be necessitated by the very fact of Usage Based Billing.

That isn’t all…. Canadian tax dollars will now have to pay for Measurement Canada staff to both figure out how to oversee and police this practice of Bell Canada Usage Based Billing.



Talk about adding insult to injury.

From everything I have read, there is currently no technology in place to meter internet bandwidth (in the usage sense).
These are all issues and questions which should have been answered before the CRTC even considered Bell Canada’s request for Usage Based Billing.

Certainly before the CRTC approved Bell Canada’s implementation of Usage Based Billing.

Canadian internet users CAN do something about this travesty.

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