Tuesday, February 1, 2011

CRTC siding with mega ISPs to limit competition

Some time ago, the country’s largest ISPs changed their Internet usage policy so that they could charge heavy users more. To do so, they capped their base usage allowance and set a high price on usage above the cap. Ordinarily no problem, right? Just the free market at work.

Well, not really. There’s nothing free about the Internet Service Provider (ISP) market in Canada.

To begin with, the mega-ISPs are large telecom corporations and television cable companies, all of whom are protected from open, unfettered competition by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC).

Additionally, the CRTC has agreed with arguments from large ISPs such as Bell and Rogers Communications that usage-based billing is a way to encourage heavy users to reduce their usage. Nonsense, folks, more Internet is a good thing for consumers and is not nearly as costly to ISPs as their charges imply.

For a while, independent wholesalers could buy large blocks of usage from Bell, etc., and retail to customers in competition to the mega companies by providing unlimited (or practically so) services to their customers. This fall, however, the CRTC sided with the large ISPs and put a stop to that—wholesalers themselves are now pretty well forced to move to usage-based billing—severely limiting competition and artificially driving up the cost to consumers.

Now we have the prospect of usage-based billing as our only option with charges above the cap set at anywhere from $1 to $4 for each gigabyte when the cost per gigabyte to the ISPs is about one penny—some mark-up, eh?

You can get more information here and below are a couple of videos explaining what is going on.




© 2011 Russell G. Campbell, except videos,
All rights reserved.


  1. Thanks to the CRTC we continue to be held hostage to these monopolies. For example in the Mission area of the Fraser Valley we are limited to Telus and Shaw cable for high speed internet service, and neither will consider providing the service. We do not live in some isolated area and many of my neighbours have a home-based business which depends on the internet. Try doing this while being limited to Telus dial-up internet, and you will understand our frustration.

  2. We can hardly expropriate the wires that carry the networks! What the CRTC did was say "well, what Bell and Rogers have today is fine, and there isn't really any argument for expanding bandwidth capacity".

    The ruling's baloney.