The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) is making a move to drive out broadband competition by allowing Bell Canada (NYSE: BCE) to move ahead with a usage-based billing (UBB) plan for competitive service providers that purchase services from the incumbent carrier.
Last Thursday, the CRTC overturned a decision made just this past spring that it could implement usage billing only if Bell Canada took its existing retail customers off their own unlimited bandwidth plans and gave wholesale ISP customers a similar "usage insurance" plan it provides to retail broadband consumers.
Bell Canada can now put its UBB plan in place for wholesale customers in 90 days.
With the new plan, competitive carriers that rent facilities from Bell Canada will be charged a flat monthly fee and have a set monthly usage limit. If the wholesale customer goes over the monthly limit will then be charged by the gigabyte.
Of course, both the wholesale ISPs and ultimately the end-customer lose out. Much like the U.S. broadband market, where there aren't all that many competitive consumer facing ISPs left, Canada's ruling puts the power back into the hands of the incumbent telco to stamp out competitive players with burdensome fees.
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