Canada's CRTC to discuss usage based billing, broadband pricing

Canada's telecom regulator, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), will hold discussions with incumbents, competitive service providers and industry groups on usage based billing (UBB) and broadband service wholesale pricing issues.

Last November, the CRTC ruled that Canadian incumbent service provider Bell Canada (NYSE: BCE) could implement a usage-based billing (UBB) plan for competitive service providers that purchase services from the incumbent carrier and resell to their consumer customers.

Not long after issuing its decision on UBB, there was a public outcry from competitive carriers such as Primus and Tek Savvy as well as Tony Clement, Canada's Industry Minister, who vowed to overturn the CRTC's ruling.

As previously reported in March, during this week's hearings, the CRTC will look at three main issues: usage-based charges, whether aggregated between the small ISPs or applied to each small ISP; usage-based charges driven by peak traffic periods; and an examination of network capacity and congestion.

Of course, the big piece of the CRTC's talks will center on whether they should stick with a UBB plan as part of the pricing plans for incumbent service providers like Bell Canada and Telus (Toronto: T.TO), which also said it is considering incorporating a UBB structure into its broadband service offerings.

Although the hearings will entertain presentations by competitive and incumbent carriers, the CRTC has also received 100,832 public comments, including 97,833 from the Openmedia.ca lobby effort.

For more:
- itWorld Canada has this article

Related articles:
Telus changes its Usage Based Billing (UBB) tune
Canada's UBB restrictions: A blow to competitors and consumers
Bell Canada's revised UBB plan is a "Band-Aid," says critics
CRTC to conduct hearing on usage based billing in July
CRTC allows Bell Canada to implement usage based on competitive ISPs

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