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Canadian ISPs Fight Back, Again 200

Posted by kdawson
from the there-goes-competition dept.
jenningsthecat writes "With the recent CRTC decision giving Canadian telcos such as Bell and Telus the legal right to deny third-party ISPs access to their infrastructure, smaller Canadian Internet providers are again fighting for their lives, and are asking their customers for help. The ISPs are seeking public support, asking people to go to competitivebroadband.com to send either a form letter or a personalized message to the Industry Minister, the Prime Minister, the Opposition Leader, and optionally the respondent's local Minister of Parliament. If the CRTC's decision is not overturned, approximately 30 ISPs will likely be forced out of business. Competition in the ADSL market will be totally eliminated, and Canadians will have only two choices for wired Internet access: the local Cableco or the local Telco. Given that Canadian taxpayers have heavily subsidized the telcos in multiple ways for several decades, this decision to hand over exclusive control of the keys to the cookie jar hardly seems fair."
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Canadian ISP's Fight Back, Again

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  • Bigger picture! (Score:4, Informative)

    by Monkeedude1212 (1560403) on Friday September 25, 2009 @01:26PM (#29541427) Journal

    Living in Canada and working in Telecommunications a bit (and my father still does) you begin to learn a few things about these two big companies. Where I live there are 2 basic Internet Service Providers, Shaw (cable) and Telus (Telecommunications).

    Telus, being the Telecommunications company - actually OWNS most of the physical infrastructure, or the wiring, that runs across the city. Shaw basically sets up a deal (not sure of the terms) so that they can provide internet access THROUGH telus' wiring. You can try both service providers, but essentially you have two choices: Regular speed with random faults of downtime (telus) or something slightly slower but pretty reliable.

    The big wigs of these companies are by no means in competition, with the way they charge rates, make deals to use each others services*, I wouldn't be surprised if they both play Golf together, all the while discussing "How can we make an extra few Million this year. A little for me, a little for you..."

    *(for example, 411 directory service from ALOT of providers that aren't Telus is done by Telus Employees)

    • Re:Bigger picture! (Score:4, Informative)

      by Shaman (1148) <shaman@@@kos...net> on Friday September 25, 2009 @01:33PM (#29541511) Homepage

      FYI, while they "own" the infrastructure, they didn't pay for it. Your tax dollars did.

      And they use up BILLIONS of dollars per year worth of free right-of-way that only they have access to.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by hidden (135234)

      Umm ...What?
      Shaw and Telus may be entangled somewhere way up on the upstream side, but the local wiring in the city is completely different. Telus is a DSL provider, and Shaw is a Cable provider.

      Perhaps you're thinking of Bell and Telus?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        From your physical house, yes, Shaw will handle the cable, Telus will handle the DSL. As soon as it hits a Shaw building - and it needs to hop outside of the city, it sure ain't over a Shaw Cable, and when it needs to hit a different server inside the city to get outside the city, they go through Telus wiring.

        Similarily Shaw offers Phone services. Telus offers Television services. They both provide the EXACT same services, whatever you want (if you wanted dialup you could still go through Shaw) because the

      • Shaw and Telus may be entangled somewhere way up on the upstream side, but the local wiring in the city is completely different. Telus is a DSL provider, and Shaw is a Cable provider.

        I'm using Telus, and Internet access they offer (along with phone landline and TV) comes to me in form of an Ethernet socket on the wall of my apartment. I've also yet to see any "random faults of downtime" that GP mentioned - so far it's been working 24/7 for all I know (and yes, I do leave long-running torrents overnight etc). This is in Vancouver.

        That said, it's a new building (they've finished building it last year, so far as I know), and I've heard that Telus had fiber wired to it from the get go, so i

    • Re:Bigger picture! (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Beardo the Bearded (321478) on Friday September 25, 2009 @01:54PM (#29541773)

      Shaw uses the cable lines.

      Telus uses phone.

      Where does the cable start going through the phone?

  • by spammeister (586331) <fantasmoofrcc@hotma i l . c om> on Friday September 25, 2009 @01:28PM (#29541455)
    I had a passing interest of the issues at large and I find this decision disturbing, considering our tax dollars paid for this service in the first place!

    I consider myself lucky that in my area, the cableco isn't big and mean (Eastlink), and Telus is (AFAIK) the only telco for ADSL in my area, which I would never in a million years use.

    How many shenanigans and payola are Rogers and Bell throwing at the CRTC anyways?
    • sheesh we've already crashed the pathetic competitivebroadband.com server. either that or the ASP script sucks. HOW DO I MAKE A DIFFERENCE NOW?
    • by taylortbb (759869)

      There are still DSL wholesalers, that use Telus's or Bell's last-mile infrastructure, but have their own transit/DNS/e-mail/etc. I'm with TekSavvy, which I know services both Bell and Telus areas. Otherwise I'm not sure about Telus, I live in Bell-land so I mostly know Bell-area ISPs. I think TekSavvy is the only one that services both Bell and Telus areas (Yak does, but they just re-sell TekSavvy).

      • by hurfy (735314)

        I hope the 'competition' is better with those than it is here.

        I can use Qwest, the telco, as my ISP for $30/month. Or I can use a 3rd party ISP and only have to pay Qwest $28 for the line and pay the 3rd party $20+ for access......

        While i do have a 3rd party ISP, you can bet there are darn few people who wish to pay almost twice for no particular reason. Even cable is cheaper than 3rd party DSL here :(

        One of these days i need to get off my vintage DSL line i suppose. Still works great for gaming even at onl

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by taylortbb (759869)

          Right now the competition is better. The rate that Bell (Qwest in your example) can charge the competition is regulated by the CRTC to costs + 15% profit margin. This whole article is about the CRTC removing that regulation, creating a situation like you have with Qwest where the independent ISPs will cost significantly more.

    • by rs79 (71822)

      "How many shenanigans and payola are Rogers and Bell throwing at the CRTC anyways?"

      Like we'll ever know.

      Can I once again point out that if UUCP had kept evolving instead of being distracted by the dialup isp with pretty pictures then by now we'd have a robust mesh and big telco wouldn't be so nearly in the way.

      It's not too late to do this with wireless meshes, the wrt54 seems to be the weapon of choice here.

      Get to work. Nobody's gonne do this for you. Connect your router with any other routers you can see a

  • by dltaylor (7510) on Friday September 25, 2009 @01:38PM (#29541583)

    Signed, the USofA.

    Very few of us down here have any choice for broadband other than the duopoly of telco/cable, and both providers are usually some combination of pillaging our wallets and skimping on service.

    Just maybe, you can head this off.

    Good Luck!

  • I swear to you (Score:5, Interesting)

    by e-scetic (1003976) on Friday September 25, 2009 @01:49PM (#29541701)

    Seriously, you do NOT want to have to deal with Bell Canada customer service or support for any reason whatsoever. They are legendary for the atrocious level of customer care, for bilking their customers, for owing customers money but never giving it back, for simply getting every last little thing amazingly wrong, for the amounts of pain inflicted and for their sheer level of unfairness.

    I remember when I got my first telephone line back in the mid-80's, within months I had an unexplained and impossible charge, and I simply couldn't contest the charge - it was either pay it plus (growing) interest or have no phone.

    My god, recently I moved to an apartment and had to endure two months of support calls to get my line moved too, and a Bell representative tried to sell me something called Line Insurance - basically, for an extra $20/mo it would guarantee that this sort of thing didn't happen. They wanted to charge me extra to ensure that I got what I already paid for! Can you imagine?!

    No, Bell Canada is evil incarnate and must die.

    • by Gramie2 (411713)

      I can vouch for this. When we moved our office, Bell neglected to enable the phones at the new place for a week (they only had about 2 months' notice), so we had to forward the public number to my boss's cellphone and do business like that. And that's one of the GOOD stories!

    • I had a cell phone through Bell, and when my contract was up, I decided to switch, only because I didn't like any of their phones and mine was outdated (3 year contract right).

      Anyways, so for whatever reason, Bell simply could not let me go. I told them, the contract is up next month, I'm cancelling my plan at the end of the contract. And the customer service rep was unable to understand that I was giving him advanced notice, and he was like, "You can pay the 200 dollars to buy out of your contract now.. Or

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Cassini2 (956052)

      Bell employees call it: "Bell Hell."

      My horror stories are endless. They somehow messed up my move, and after 1 year and many many lengthy and repeated phone calls, still were not billing me at the correct address. I finally canceled all my Bell services. It was the only way I could get them to stop billing the wrong address.

      Once, someone hacked Bell's backbone routers. All the tech support people would do is go: "We do not support trace route. We do not support trace route. Trace route is not install

      • by TheSpoom (715771) *

        I'm pretty sure Bell outsources most of their tech support to India and/or the Philippines nowadays, so, y'know, progress.

        • by sarhjinian (94086)

          Not all of it. If you pay an astronomical amount of money, you can subscribe to a Bell Nexxia** provided service (T1, T3, etc). Then you have the privilege of being shat on by Bell Nexxia Technical Support, which is just as bad as the outsourced support, except that they've an extra layer of arrogance to them and you get a double-helping of gall knowing that, despite your spending millions of dollars per year you're treated no better than the poor bastards who order Bell DSL Basic.

          Let me regale you with s

    • They wanted to charge me extra to ensure that I got what I already paid for! Can you imagine?!

      The nerve! However, did you consider that the "official" price for certain services might be regulated by the Canadian government at a rate that is too low to actually provide the service without losing money? Perhaps this "insurance" represents the difference between what it costs to actually provide that level of service and what Bell is allowed by the government to charge for it. You get what you pay for after all, even if regulators try to create "free lunches" by defying the forces of economics with im

  • Me fail English? That's unpossible!

    Seriously... it's "ISPs" not "ISP's".

    • Re: (Score:2, Offtopic)

      by canajin56 (660655)
      Using an apostrophe to pluralize a number, acronym, or capital letter is a style choice, and perfectly acceptable, even if some people dislike it. Using an apostrophe to pluralize a lower case letter is mandatory, as is using it to pluralize capital letters in certain situations. For example "As are the highest grade" is flat out wrong, because it's confusing and also stupid. I dislike using "As" instead of "A's" anywhere, because it still looks bad, even if the capitalization isn't really ambigious when
      • Using an apostrophe to pluralize a number, acronym, or capital letter is a style choice, and perfectly acceptable, even if some people dislike it.

        Language evolves blah blah blah ...

        Using a construct that doesn't involve numbers, acronyms, abbreviations, contractions, neologisms, or slang is also a style choice. Or is thinking and some extra typing really that difficult?

        Whatever your opinion of the current state of English usage, non-native speakers rarely make the mistakes that litter the pages of Slashdot

  • by Deadplant (212273) on Friday September 25, 2009 @02:23PM (#29542131)

    Gah, this crap is so tiring.

    Any new regulation can only be a band-aid solution.

    The correct solution is to break the monopolies by creating a free market.

    Municipal public fibre optic infrastructure.

    Layer 2 (maybe even layer 1) service to every building as a public service.
    Access to that infrastructure with the same access rules we use for the roads.
    (In other words, completely open for private and commercial use)

    with a fibre bundle to every home any service provider who wanted to provide Internet, TV, Telephone or any other innovative service could go to the municipal exchange and patch us in to their gear.

    This would set the stage for a vibrant competitive market for telecoms.
    It would allow private, non-commercial telecoms activities.
    It would be CHEAPER than running cable and copper to every building as we do now.
    It would be future-proof because the fibre has effectively unlimited capacity.

    There is already great competition for IP service, the Internet is a vibrant market place except for the last mile.
    Go to any public exchange and shop for IP transit and you will have dozens of providers competing for your business.
    Throttling, DNS hijacking, p2p filtering.... these are exclusively last-mile monopoly problems.

    We all know that last-mile telecoms infrastructure is a natural monopoly just like power lines, roads and sewers.
    So why don't we stop beating around the bush creating heavily regulated and subsidized private monopolies then constantly fighting with them and just run the last-mile ourselves?

  • Somewhere around here I have a letter of apology from the past president of Telus!

    They started to shut off my phone service. You see - I had to build a time division reflectometer and shoot the line that I wanted my DSL service on. This is pretty easy to do. We went to Radio shack and bought about $20 worth of stuff and a 1.5 volt battery and hooked up a dual channel oscilloscope. About 15 minutes later we knew where the line taps were. So I called in Telus and asked them to remove the line taps and tol

  • The WISP space ( microwave backhaul) is still very under-served in Canada. In Calgary, Terago has only two towers - one is too low (on a hotel) and the other one on the CPP hill is overloaded. Hopefully this will improve things. Cables are so 20th Century.
  • Am I the only one who thinks it's ironic that a bunch of small IPSs fighting the big monopolies are using a Microsoft server for their website?

  • > Competition in the ADSL market will be totally eliminated, and Canadians will
    > have only two choices for wired Internet access: the local Cableco or the
    > local Telco.

    Surely you don't want competition. That means a market, and all the evils of capitalism! You want good, old-fashioned regulated monopolies! Or better yet, just nationalize the telcos and cablecoms and everything will be just fine.

    • by dryeo (100693)

      Well when the telco's were crown corporations things were much better. This experiment with privatization has been a massive failure. The private companies have found that it is cheaper to lobby for laws/regulations that create profits that is much more profitable then giving better service.
      There are quite a few businesses that are better ran as nationalized businesses then private business.

  • What basically everyone so far has missed is that the CRTC decision only applies to broadband ethernet services. That is, new installs with stuff like fiber to the home.

    The existing cable plant and DSL services are still available to third-party ISPs at regulated prices.

    However, I've heard rumours that Bell is trying to claim that some of the new residential neighborhoods are connected via broadband ethernet even though it's still DSL on the local loop, and thus bypassing the intent of the DSL regulation.

    O

  • ... here: http://www.crtc.gc.ca/eng/archive/2008/dt2008-17.htm [crtc.gc.ca]

    and, well, blow me down, I'm almost proud to say that it is a damn reasonable decision. Based on what I read (an not what people are suggesting it means), all it really says is that....
    T1 lines will no longer be 'controlled' services in 5 years time.... (i.e. the govt will no longer regulate T1 access).... but, on the up side....

    for the forseeable future, ADSL service will be regulated, the price will continue to be 'fixed' using the same price s

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