The ongoing saga of Bell Canada and their data throttling is getting even more interesting now as Bell has told the CRTC to, essentially, buzz off and let us do as we wish:
The CRTC on March 3 reiterated that third-party companies should continue to be able to rent telephone companies’ networks in order to provide their own customers with phone and internet services. The regulator considered this network access as essential for smaller companies to offer their services, and for some of them to survive.
In its appeal, Bell said such regulation is no longer necessary now that there is enough competition in phone and internet markets. In home phones, Bell is competing with a number of major cable companies, not to mention Voice over Internet Protocol providers and cellphone carriers. On the internet side, Bell faces competition from cable companies.
Uh huh. This isn’t good enough. No, Bell, you’re not really facing heavy competition. There are only three mobile phone companies in Canada and, what, 3-4 companies who control the consumer-available Internet pipes. As for local phone service, well, I don’t buy it. Cable cos are probably the only real competition, but POTS still is the only service that will work without power or the Internet.
Traffic shaping, while it seems like a sensible approach, ignores the fact that P2P and torrents are still a new technology and could, very likely become the distribution tool of choice for things other than music and pirated movies. I can imagine big software downloads and other large files being transferred that way (distributed back up, maybe). So to start down this path stymies innovation and continues to push Canada in to the technological backwater.
Bell’s move comes a week after it faced heavy criticism for extending its traffic-shaping policies to the companies that use its network. Bell has for some time been slowing down the internet speeds of customers using certain applications, such as the file-sharing technology BitTorrent, and last week admitted to extending the practice to the smaller companies.
Michael Geist continues to speak out about all facets of our challenges in Canada but the lack of interest and action on the part of the government is what I find most disturbing.
“This suggests it’s an all-out battle between Bell and a lot of the smaller players seeking to provide competition,” University of Ottawa law professor Michael Geist told CBCNews.ca. “This is a real cause for concern for consumers as well as the competitive environment in Canada.”
Geist and others have criticized Minister of Industry Jim Prentice for his silence on the issue. Prentice was “disinterested” in the issue when it arose in question period in the House of Commons on Wednesday, he said. Source: Hands off our network, Bell tells CRTC
This might be the irony of the Tories. They want to be hands off business, but also pro-business success. Doesn’t the government see that our current environment is leaving Canada behind? Our mobile data rates and general lack of telecommunications competition is hurting Canada’s competitiveness on the world stage.
Will our government, technically a minority government but the absence of a backbone in the Liberal Party makes them a majority, see that it needs to act to keep Canada on the technology curve? It’s knowledge work, mobile, telecommunications, and the Internet where Canada has the potential to really shine and be competitive. As long as we can use the tools.