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Discussion Starter #1
OTTAWA-GATINEAU, August 30, 2010 — The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) today determined, on the basis of the evidence submitted at a recent public hearing, that large telephone companies must make their existing Internet access services available to alternate Internet service providers (ISPs) at speeds that match those offered to their own retail customers. This requirement will ensure that alternate ISPs can continue to give Canadians more choice by offering competing and innovative Internet services.

“Access to broadband Internet services is a key foundation for the digital economy,” said Konrad von Finckenstein, Q.C., Chairman of the CRTC. “The large telephone and cable companies are bringing their fibre networks closer to Canadian homes and businesses, which allows for faster Internet connections. Requiring these companies to provide access to their networks will lead to more opportunities for competition in retail Internet services and better serve consumers.”

The large telephone companies have been investing in upgrades and expanding their networks. In recognition of these investments, the CRTC will allow them to charge competitors an additional 10-per-cent mark-up over their costs for the use of their wholesale Internet services’ higher-speed options.

The Commission has also taken steps to make the obligations imposed on large telephone and cable companies more equitable. To this end, large cable companies must modify their existing Internet access services in such a way that alternate ISPs can connect to their networks at as few points as possible. This will enable competitors to make use of the cable companies’ services just as easily as those of the telephone companies. Furthermore, the cable companies are already required to provide access to alternate ISPs at speeds that match those offered to their own retail customers.

In addition, the Commission denied the alternate ISPs’ requests that the large telephone and cable companies reconfigure their networks. Although these reconfigurations may have permitted alternate ISPs to offer additional services to consumers, the CRTC felt that they would constitute a disincentive to network investments without necessarily enhancing innovation or competition.

Canadians connect to the Internet primarily through services provided by the large telephone and cable companies and a variety of alternate ISPs. The wholesale framework currently in place allows ISPs to pay for the right to use the large companies’ networks to serve their customers. The CRTC will consider the need to phase-out mandated Internet access services when alternatives, such as wireless or satellite Internet services, become more accepted as substitutes.
Hopefully this works out for consumers.
 

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This is one care of CRTC "madness" I can't get my mind around. We are not in the 19th century when local telephone companies, in areas Bell et al would not service, needed access to the majors' networks. The reality is that almost all the smaller competitors are interested only in "picking the low fruit"; gathering customers who are cheap and easy to serve due to concentration in big cities or through targeted marketing to special interest groups. They keep their costs low because they don't have to build costly networks across thousands of kilometres of and then want access to those same markets.

That the CRTC has extended a flawed policy that applied to the last generation wired networks to the new high speed networks is disappointing. It seems this is not even time-limited like the requirement Rogers/Bell/Telus must make their wireless networks available to the new cell phone carriers for 10 years.

Imagine telling RBC/TD/CIBC that they must make space in each of their branches for the local credit union. That we would understand as ridiculous, but not this. Why?
 

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I'm surprised more people haven't been discussing this story.

I thought a lot of folks would be very happy.
 

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Agreed - huge story that potentially opens up a much wider spectrum of service providers and specialized applications. Our version of the 'Interconnect' decision that opened up the long distance market in the 70s.

Here's hoping they extend the newfound 'customer choice' philosophy to the cable/broadcast side....

This isn't 'madness': this is perestroika.
 

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What people aren't talking about is the strange requirement of the CRTC that DSL be used to extend high speed internet (HSI) to rural customers. Bell and Telus have asked to do the job using HSPA and the CRTC has firmly refused this request.

The cost of extending DSL to rural areas will be very high, and in the end will have to be subsidized if all of rural Canada is to get HSI. When there is already HSPA coverage to over 95% of our population, and HSI is available over that network, shouldn't we be asking Bell, Telus, et al to expand HSI service using HSPA so that rural customers can get reasonable HSI at reasonable cost now, rather than wait years for some rural customers to get DSL?

I am not a great lover of Bell and the other carriers but sometimes what they suggest is the right thing to do, and this is one of those times.

And it's a great irony that if some politician sees the logic of this they will be accused of being on the side of the big monopolies.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
The clear problem with HSPA is the caps imposed. If Bell et al. offered to install this technology and have caps similar to wireline, then I don't think the CRTC would take issue with it, or at least they would have no leg to stand on.

Having said this, I don't think that urban users should be subsidizing high speed internet for rural users. I'd love to have a few acres and a house for the same price I paid for my postage stamp sized lot and house, but that's not going to happen unless I move to the boonies where the same level of service cannot reasonably be expected.

As for opening up the speeds, I don't think the bank analogy works. It would be more like the government building the highway system, turning it over to say Ford, then Ford turning around and saying you can only drive Fords on our highway. After a little fuss, they allow competitors on, but the competitors are only allowed to drive in the right lane at 20 km/h while Fords can use the other lanes at 100 km/h. Of course no one else is going buy anything but Ford. Competition would be there in name, but not practically.

I think that the market dominance developed by Bell is from their taxpayer protected past and that they need to understand this type of decision is part of the deal. If Bell wants to get away from this, they need to negotiate a price with the taxpayers to buy the system out right. The cost of that should be enough to build a publicly funded, accessible network for all Canadians, therefore crushing Bell in the process.

Bell et al. need to understand cooperation is part of the price they need to pay for the start they got from Canadian taxpayers. If they shut down all competition and it goes back to a monopoly system, the gov't will regulate changes again. Bell also needs to understand that a third party DSL customer is better than a cable only household. With more companies pushing their product, DSL should increase in market share directly benefiting Bell and its shareholders.

I will be checking with my ISP. If I don't lose my grandfathered no UBB account for increasing my speed, I will do it. Even if I can get a reaonably faster speed with a cap of say 80 or 100 GB (highest in the last year is only about 65 GB) I think I will consider switching to a faster package.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Looks like the new tariffs are out. If I'm reading the charts correctly it's about $46/month for 12 mbps with a 50GB cap.

16 mbps is $59/month with 75GB cap
25 mbps is $69/month wiht 75GB cap

7 mbps upload is going to go for about $4 extra/month

From what I understand it also looks like you need the Bell modem to use higher speed services including 7 mbps upload.

Business class internet for 10 mbps for $60 with no cap looks pretty good now.

I guess with these tariffs I'll be sticking to my grandfathered uncapped 4.3 mbps line.
 
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