Bell withdraws controversial billing proposal

Bell logoFollowing public outrage, a parliamentary hearing as well as heavy reprimands from the Federal Industry minister, BCE Inc. was forced to withdraw its controversial proposal to  impose usage-based billing on its wholesale Internet customers.

According to a statement, Bell Canada has decided to pull its plan to impose a scheme which would effectively allow them to charge wholesale Internet clients on the basis of how much data their customers download.

Instead, Bell has presented a new proposal to the CRTC (Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission) described as an aggregated volume pricing scheme or AVP.

Under the new proposal smaller ISPs would be charged for the amount of data downloaded by all their customers as a whole, instead of charging for each customer that exceeds set limits.

The new model would give more control back to wholesalers, who could in turn adapt their pricing structures accordingly but would still pay a monthly fee to Bell for access to the company’s network.

Wholesale ISPs will now have to buy blocks of data from Bell at a cost of $200 per terabyte, which amounts to roughly 19.5 cents per gigabyte.

ISPs on its “legacy” network would be granted 41 GB of data per user for free before the AVP pricing start to take effect, said BCE’s regulatory chief, Miko Bibic.

Under previous terms, Bell had proposed that ISPs impose a 25 GB cap on users before overage fees took effect.

Bell issued a statement on monday stating its AVP proposal would offers wholesale ISPs the “flexibility to develop their own pricing approaches, while supporting the fundamental principle that those who use less network capacity do not subsidize those that use the most.”

Although Bell has described the move as a compromise (which will enable them to invest billions of dollars in their broadband network), some critics of Bell’s original proposal consider their abdication a victory, whilst others remain unhappy with Bell’s new plan protesting that simply meeting public demand just doesn’t cut it anymore.

OpenMedia.ca, a national, non-profit organization that opposed the CRTC’s ruling and launched a general campaign to overthrow the decision, said Monday that Bell had “buckled” under public pressure .

Sources:

http://www.ottawacitizen.com/story_print.html?id=4521114&sponsor=
http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/business/bce-withdraws-proposal-for-usage-based-net-billing-118826259.html

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