The Next Chapter: CRTC announces how it will review its usage-based billing decision

by Knowlton Thomas

(To check out the whole CRTC saga, click here.)

The CRTC has detailed precisely how it will review its decision on allowing UBB for ISPs. This follows a dramatic finish to a public firestorm, where Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his Conservative government repealed the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission's decision to implement usage-based billing for internet service providers starting in March.

Later today, the CRTC will at last respond to the public and political pressure and officially announce the terms and principles by which it plans to review the decision—and Canadian consumers are all ears, for they have much to lose. And what's got them nervous is that Konrad van Finckenstein, chairman of the CRTC, isn't backing down.

Quoth the Globe and Mail:

“The great concern expressed by Canadians over this issue is telling of how much the Internet has become an integral part of their lives,” said Konrad von Finckenstein, chairman of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission in the release.

Interestingly, despite widespread consumer outrage, intense media coverage and orders from the Prime Minister and Industry Minister Tony Clement to review and overturn the decision, Mr. von Finckenstein maintained that he came to the decision independently -- something he first told the industry committee on Thursday.

In theory, Konrad's reasoning makes sense: "Mr. von Finckenstein reiterated in the release today that he does not feel that average Internet users —who download only light amounts—should 'fund the bandwidth used by the heaviest residential Internet consumers.'" However, Canadians are clearly appalled by the notion of not having the option of unlimited internet—and furthermore, trusting major ISPs like Rogers and Bell with pricing by the byte. Plus, it would damage many home-based businesses, where companies like Google and Apple have essentially started, putting our country's ability to innovate at risk.

Now in effect is a consultation process in which citizens and any other parties may submit comments regarding the CRTC's UBB decision. This will last until the end of April.

Bell Canada
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Bell is Canada's largest communications company, providing the most comprehensive and innovative suite of communication services to residential and business customers in Canada. Operating under the Bell brand, the Company's services include Bell Home Phone local and long distance services, Bell Mobility and Solo Mobile wireless, high-speed Bell Internet, Bell TV direct-to-home satellite and... more

Rogers Communications
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

We are a diversified Canadian communications and media company. We are engaged in wireless voice and data communications services through Wireless, Canada's largest wireless provider and the operator of the country's only national Global System for Mobile Communications ("GSM") based network. Through Cable we are one of Canada's largest providers of cable television services as well as... more

Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC)
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) is an independent public organization that regulates and supervises the Canadian broadcasting and telecommunications systems. The CRTC does not regulate newspapers, magazines, cell phone rates, the quality of service and business practices of cell phone companies, or the quality and content of TV and radio programs. As an... more

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Knowlton Thomas

Knowlton Thomas

Knowlton is the managing editor of Techvibes and author of Tempest Bound. Based in Vancouver, Knowlton has been published in national publications and has also appeared on television and radio. Previously he was an editor for New Westminster weekly The Other Press and served on its board of directors. When not working, Knowlton enjoys hiking, tennis, and martial arts. more

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