I’ve been gathering reactions to last week’s CRTC decisions on wholesale rates for Internet access. My takeaway is a lot of people are having trouble understanding what the hell it all means. So in this series of posts I’m going to provide some plain-language context.
Today, I’m covering broadband competition, and the unusual structure of Canada’s wholesale and retail Internet access market. In the next post, I’ll look at how the CRTC arrives at wholesale costs and what that will mean for your residential bill. Finally, I’m going to focus in the third post on the UBB controversy of two years ago and how that relates to the recent rulings.
A pig in a poke
Communications services play an increasingly important role in our lives. Yet the evidence is that awareness among consumers about what they’re getting when they buy broadband is stunningly low. Continue reading →
Here’s the 3rd and final part of our interview with Richard Stursberg. By this point, we’ve pretty much moved off the CBC to discuss the Internet, cross-platforming and residential broadband.
As Devin notes in the extro, we have more talks planned. Some will be interviews, others more like conversations. We’ve got unconfirmed commitments from the CEO of an indie ISP… the head of one of Canada’s major media lobbies… and an academic (or 2) who specialize in broadband Internet issues. All the fun of a talking blog, with all the substance of ink on paper.
[Hey, speaking of ink, how about that Tower of Babble? Go buy Richard's book. If it doesn't make you laugh and cry, get some help.]
DE has late night call with 2 Netflix staff, ends up being about Microsoft’s Silverlight platform (April 2).
Some links and teasers
1) The Commons Heritage Committee report on private TV ownership and new viewing platforms is here (surely anything called “Heritage Committee” or “Heritage Canada” lacks credibility as a forum for determining Canada’s digital future; so apparently Netflix is a bigger threat to our welfare than letting three companies own most of our broadcasting system). Canada’s media establishment is warning policymakers and politicians we need:
more Canadian content on more platforms;
more concentration of ownership;
more protection from foreign services (e.g. Netflix), which are sucking the life’s blood out of our struggling vertically integrated conglomerates;
I’m so outraged at what the CRTC, the Harper government and the incumbents are doing to Canada’s Internet that I’m hereby offering my services pro bono to any legit organization that intends to challenge the CRTC’s latest UBB decision: the Canadian Network Operators Consortium, OpenMedia.ca, the Canadian Association of Internet Providers, PIAC … (some restrictions may apply).
Why is this man smiling? UBB!
The CRTC threw a bone to our small ISPs on Tuesday by mandating a 15% discount off the incumbents’ retail rates so resellers have a little room to make an operating margin (Telecom Decision CRTC 2011-44).
The Commission is caving on its prior decision to cave to the incumbents by eradicating the 25% discount it offered up in its May 2010 UBB decision (Telecom Decision CRTC 2010-255). Bell knows that when it appeals to Cabinet, it’s got a great chance of stomping the resellers into the ground – since the Harper government counldn’t care less about how distorted the market gets as long as market forces rule. And the Commission is so stuck in its ivory tower it has lost all touch with us end-users, who have to suffer indignities such as those I’ll now describe… Continue reading →