Canada's CRTC to hand down decision on usage-based billing this week

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), Canada's telecom regulator, will finally go public with its decision on whether to let incumbent service providers like Bell Canada (NYSE: BCE) place usage-based billing (UBB) rates on their wholesale competitor service provider customers.

The possible implementation of UBB has been a major point of debate between traditional telcos, competitive providers and consumers.

After angry consumers and politicians voiced their concerns that if their respective independent service providers like TekSavvy would have to implement UBB they would no longer be able to get unlimited all-you-can-eat data plans and would have to pay more for their connections. This drove the CRTC to reconsider its rules.

Although the UBB issue has centered on how much consumer Internet access prices and how much bandwidth they should be able to consume, the CRTC said that it would only look at the wholesale prices that competitive service providers have to pay for using large incumbent carrier networks such as Bell Canada and Telus (Toronto: T.TO).   

"Consumers were upset because what they were being told - right or wrong - was that the unlimited usage plans that the alternative providers offered were at risk," said telecom analyst Mark Goldberg.

Bell Canada, for one, believes that competitive providers are a major cause of network congestion and they should pay for what they use.

However, competitive ISPs argue that it if they had to charge the same overage prices that incumbent operators did, they'd cease to operate.

For more:
- CTV News via The Globe and Mail has this article

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