Thursday, February 03, 2011

Bell and the CRTC

There was a line in my post from the weekend which I removed on a friends recommendation. I'd like to talk about the idea in that sentence. Before I do though, I will point out as my friend rightfully did, that this is my opinion. I have no proof to back this up, only a chain of events that make it more clear in my mind.

Bell Canada doesn't want you using their Internet for anything that would harm their other sources of revenue. They don't want you using VOIP because that harms their existing telephone and long distance business. They don't want you using Netflix because then you're not using their satellite or IP TV services.

In a hearing over a year ago at the CRTC, on the traffic management practices that Bell uses to slow down your Internet connection, the CRTC asked Bell for proof of the congestion that required this. Bell complained that they couldn't provide this proof because how their Internet works was a trade secret. Eventually they were compelled to provide this proof and submitted a very lengthy document. This document was long and full of non-essential information. At the end of it all, it showed that there was a < 1% probability that at some point during a one year period a couple of their aggregation points were congested in their busiest locations in Toronto. Their proof was not very convincing if true. And most importantly, showed that an upgrade of a couple of their aggregation points would have solved the problem in the affected areas. Furthermore, the period we're talking about is from a time where usage caps were higher. What's even worse, is that Bell spent millions on improving their infrastructure, not to mitigate traffic congestion that they claim existed, but so they could offer IPTV through their Fibe service.

Bell actually wants you to beleive that it's more expensive to send 160GB over your internet connection then mail it.

The reality is that providing usage, which is not to be confused with the speed of the usage, is incredibly cheap and getting cheaper. Another large company, Telus will have you believe that things in Canada are great. However, a cursory glance will show that we pay more for less than almost any other developed country.

Of course Bell has many devisions, and I cannot believe that they they wouldn't try to maximize profits in all of them. They make no money of the content you consume on the Internet. That really doesn't sit well compared to all their other divisions.

The CRTC in their aforementioned traffic shaping ruling, told Bell that they should use economic incenetives to discourage heavy usage. And now here we are with UBB.

The CRTC, the government mouthpiece of Bell

If you listened to the Traffic shaping and UBB hearings at the CRTC, which are available live from the CRTC website, you can immediately tell that the CRTC only believes Bell. If you hear Rogers or Shaw or any of the 3rd party ISPs talk, they are met with scepticism and asked to prove all of their statements. When Bell speaks, their word is taken at face value or, in the rare occasion when proof is required, their proof can be week and still pass mustard.

Today, the Head of the CRTC stood in front of the commons and repeated exactly what Bell has been telling them over the last year.

There are a lot of things wrong with what is said in Konrad's speech. There are contradictions in terms of pricing and misinformation in terms of congestion. I'm too tired and angry to write them all out in detail. I will however point out this one bit from the end:
"We are convinced that Internet services are no different than other public utilities, and the vast majority of Internet users should not be asked to subsidize a small minority of heavy users. For us, it is a question of fundamental fairness. Let me restate: ordinary users should not be forced to subsidize heavy users."
That's right, the ISP model, that has worked successfully for over a decade, is unfair and must come to a stop! We must preserve those precious bits so they don't get all used up by the heavy users. It's unfair. Someone please fire this man as soon as possible. He doesn't understand what he is saying, can't hire someone who can explain it to him, or is being paid off by Bell. I cannot accept any other explanation for this stupidity.

1 comment:

Christina Norman said...

Bandwidth is not the same as standard utilities. We will never run out of "bits" and the cost of generating new bandwidth is nominal (not linear or worse like other utilities).

Unfortunately the public does not understand this, or the ridiculousness of the proposal that it be treated like any other utility is not clear.