CRTC to conduct hearing on usage based billing in July

Canada's telecom regulator, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), will let consumers voice their opinion about Usage Based Billing (UBB) in July.

The CRTC's proposal to let large service providers such as Bell Canada (NYSE: BCE) to charge its wholesale ISPs customers (TekSavvy and Primus) a flat monthly fee, but also set a monthly usage limit. If that wholesale customer goes over their monthly limit, they will be charged by the gigabyte.

Met with backlash not only from ISPs and government leaders alike, the new rules mean that consumers will no longer be able to get unlimited usage plans.

In a release announcing the hearing, the CRTC said that it will focus on three main areas: usage-based charges, whether aggregated between the Small Internet service providers (Small ISPs) or applied to each Small ISP; usage-based charges driven by peak traffic periods; and an examination of network capacity and congestion.

However, the CRTC added that it would not expand its hearing to examine retail Internet service billing issues because it says "there is no evidence that market forces are not working properly in this unregulated market." Likewise, the CRTC said it will not review the regulatory framework for wholesale broadband Internet access services.

The CRTC isn't alone in its UBB desires. A similar trend is taking place in the U.S. as service providers like Frontier and AT&T have put in place their own UBB rules for their respective DSL customers.  

For more:
- see the release

Related articles:
Canada's UBB restrictions: A blow to competitors and consumers
Canada's CRTC requires incumbents to offer 15% discount to wholesale customers
CRTC allows Bell Canada to implement usage based on competitive ISPs
Canadian ISPs imposing data caps after CRTC wholesale ruling

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