Monday, April 20, 2009

CRTC feedback

Recently a local Internet service provider called TekSavvy e-mailed its clients about the fact that Bell was asking the CRTC to allow a to put a cap of 60 GB per month on its wholesale DSL.

Bell sells DSL services to Internet service providers. Essentially, it sells the link between your house and Internet service provider. The Internet service provider is responsible for linking you to the rest of the Internet. Bell is already throttling everyone claiming that it's trying to control congestion on the network. I am mighty suspicious of this claim.

This is what I sent to the CRTC:

It's important to foster competition between ISP in order to make sure that consumers can have a wide selection of billing plans / possibilities available so they can make the best decision for them. Bell should not be allowed to set monthly caps per user. The decision to do this should be up to the internet service provider. Mandating this destroys all sorts of potential pricing structures.

Pricing for wholesale DSL rate should be based on the scarcity of the resource in question. Capping bandwidth per user is an attempt to deal with bandwidth issues. If it's the number of megs per second causing the slowdown then it makes sense to bill wholesale DSL service based on that. It doesn't make sense to bill on that *and* some other thing, however.

If we are to have DSL service whole selling then it must be considered to be part of the spec that the DSL network be data neutral (no preferential throttling speedup or slowdown based on the data flying over the network; pretend it's encrypted) and user neutral (rate doesn't change based on which account I use or how much any account has used). This configuration sends the right supply/demand signals back to the ISP.

Consider that I don't use Sympatico or any other DSL ISP because they violate network neutrality by throttling certain specific protocols. If Sympatico continued to throttle certain protocols but other DSL ISPs did not I would have an alternative ISP to go to. This despite the fact that that other, none throttling ISP may have a badwidth cap in place at, say 30 or 40 gigs per month. The third party ISP in this example chose an different approach to dealing with their bandwidth issue.... The argument works for many other potential plans. Currently I'm on a plan with that limits maximum bandwidth speed to a relatively modest level but also provides a large download cap for a relatively high price. This sort of trade off is possible with the simple system mentioned above.

I would've kept going but there was a 2000 character limite and so I had to stop there. Here there was some of the stuff that was cut out.

Consider this:

By putting all of its throttling on the *DSL* half of the link it *guarantees* that ISPs won't be able to find innovative solutions to the bandwidth crunch. Given that there are many independent ISPs and only one Bell ISP (Sympatico) it's likely that if an innovative (and counter intuitive) approach to managing the bandwidth crunch were to be developed, it would be developed by a third party DSL ISP. This would essentially mean that sympatico would be vulnerable.

What bandwidth shortage?

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