Examination of differential pricing practices related to Internet data plans: Comments from Reddit

Canadians shared their views on the examination of differential pricing practices related to Internet data plans. The official Reddit thread was open between September 26 and September 30, 2016.

Violations of our User Submission Guidelines

3 comments were removed by the CRTC because they violated the User Submission Guidelines. These comments fell into the following categories: offensive language; threats; and/or insensitive comments.

27 comments contained a small amount of offensive language; in these comments, the offensive terms have been replaced by asterisks (*). Comments that contain these changes are marked with [note: offensive term(s) have been replaced by asterisks].

1,800 points (99% upvoted) I’m from the CRTC and we want to know what you think about differential pricing (or ‘zero-rating’)? | Je suis du CRTC. Nous voulons savoir ce que vous pensez de la différenciation des prix (ou le « taux zéro »)

this post was submitted on 26 Sep 2016

UPDATE (29-Sept-2016): We’re getting close to the end of the consultation and we’d love to hear your feedback on your experience. Please take a minute to fill out our quick questionnaire. It will help us figure out if/how we might use reddit in the future.

UPDATE (30-Sept-2016, 7:56pm): The thread is now closed. Thank you to everyone who participated. It’s been great reading the comments! A special thank you to the mods of reddit who have been really supportive throughout this whole process.


tl;dr: Influence public policy: tell the CRTC what you think about service providers exempting customers from data charges for certain data you download or upload (like music or TV shows) (what we call differential pricing).

Proof!

How does this work?

What’s differential pricing?

Questions: We need your opinion about differential pricing:

  1. What do you think are the benefits of differential pricing?
  2. Do you have any concerns about differential pricing?
  3. Do these concerns outweigh the benefits and, if so, are they significant enough to justify us stepping in and regulating the practices? Or should we let the home (wireline), and mobile (wireless) service providers decide?
  4. If we should step in, how should we regulate it?

I’m here to field questions, if you need it, about the process but nothing else. We will not express views or provide comments on the matters being considered by the CRTC – so expect responses to be structured that way.

What’s Next? The thread will be locked September 30, 2016 (8pm EDT). Once that happens, every comment and every upvote will become part of the official public record. (This is our way of saying that your participation is not confidential. But there’s no need to worry – no one (including the CRTC) will see anything more than what normally shows up in your reddit posts.)

Just a reminder, your comments still need to follow the online discussion rules. We’ll be reviewing all moderated comments after the fact and anything removed by mistake will still become part of the record. Stay classy, reddit!

EDIT (26-Sept-2016, 6:04pm EDT): We are experiencing technical difficulties with our website, so some links might not work for now. We will keep you posted. However, please continue to post your comments!

EDIT (26-Sept-2016, 10:01pm EDT): Everything is back up now!



RÉVISÉ (29-sept-2016): La fin de la consultation approche. Nous aimerions avoir votre rétroaction à propos de votre expérience. Veuillez prendre quelques minutes afin de remplir notre questionnaire. Cela nous aidera à décider si et comment nous pourrions utiliser reddit à nouveau à l’avenir.

MISE À JOUR (30-sept-2016, 19 h 56) : Cette discussion est maintenant fermée. Merci à tous ceux qui ont participé. Ce fut un plaisir de lire les observations! Un merci tout spécial aux modérateurs de reddit qui ont fourni leur soutien tout au long du processus.


tl;dr : Influencez la politique publique : dites au CRTC ce que vous pensez du fait que les fournisseurs de services dispensent leurs clients de certains frais de traitement de données pour certaines données téléchargées ou téléversées, comme la musique et les émissions de télé? (Ce qu’on appelle la différenciation des prix).

La preuve!

Comment ça marche?

Qu’est-ce que la différenciation des prix?

Questions : Nous sollicitons votre avis au sujet de la différenciation des prix :

  1. Quels avantages y a-t-il, selon vous, à avoir une différenciation des prix?
  2. Avez-vous des préoccupations au sujet de la différenciation des prix?

  3. Ces préoccupations l’emportent-elles sur les avantages et, le cas échéant, sont-elles suffisamment importantes pour justifier notre intervention et la réglementation des pratiques? Ou devrions-nous laisser les fournisseurs de services résidentiels (filaires) et de services mobiles (sans fil) décider?
  4. Si nous devions intervenir, de quelle manière devrions-nous réglementer les pratiques?

Je suis ici pour répondre aux questions, au besoin, au sujet du processus, mais rien d’autre. Nous n’énoncerons aucune opinion et nous ne ferons aucun commentaire au sujet des enjeux qui sont examinés par le CRTC– veuillez donc vous attendre à ce que les réponses soient structurées à cette fin.

Et ensuite? Le fil sera verrouillé le 30 septembre 2016 (20 h HAE). Toute observation et tout appui feront alors partie du dossier officiel. (Ceci est notre façon de vous dire que votre participation n’est pas confidentielle. Mais n’ayez crainte, personne (y compris le CRTC) ne verra rien d’autre à part l’information qui est habituellement affichée lors de vos discussions sur reddit.)

Petit rappel, vos commentaires doivent respecter les Lignes directrices de nos forums de discussion en ligne habituelles. Faites preuve de classe gens de reddit!

RÉVISÉ (26-sept-2016, 18 h 05 HAE) : Nous éprouvons des difficultés techniques avec note site web en ce moment, alors certains liens pourraient ne pas fonctionner. Nous vous tiendrons au courant. Mais en attendant, vous pouvez continuer à afficher vos commentaires!

RÉVISÉ (26-sept-2016, 22 h 02 HAE) : Tout fonctionne maintenant!

Reddit Comments

medym Lest We Forget [M] [score hidden] Mon Sep 26 15:04:54 2016 UTC * stickied comment (11 children)

edit- the submission period has come to an end. As a result this post has been locked. Contest mode has been turned off. I encourage you all to send feedback on the CRTC'S questionnaire if you have feedback on this consultation process

Hi all,

We are really excited about this opportunity so we encourage you all you all to participate. If you commented in any of the previous announcement threads, please ensure to copy those posts and comments here if you want them to be counted.

If you have off-topic discussions, please try to isolate them to the child comments under this comment. This includes and "meta" comments or questions.

For new users, welcome! This thread will be moderated so you are all encouraged to review the rules on the sidebar. All comments will be provided to CRTC regardless. If you have questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to ask.

September272016 14 points Tue Sep 27 17:42:04 2016 UTC  (1 child)

While I do commend this attempt to seek feedback from Canadians, and I do understand the need for open discourse and the balancing of competing concerns, I do also find this consultation somewhat odd.

Shouldn't the answers to those particular questions already be obvious to the CRTC?

Will the hundreds and hundreds of comments here repeatedly pointing out the many serious and well-known problems with "differential pricing" actually have an impact on whatever is (or isn't) eventually done about this issue?

nxtman123 Canada 7 points Tue Sep 27 23:04:49 2016 UTC  (0 children)

I don't really know how this all works, but if I were to guess, I'd say that the CRTC is going to exactly the right place to get an overwhelming response in support of net neutrality (reddit) so that they have something to stand up against the ISPs with when the hearing comes (because we all know they won't show up without a bunch of nice-sounding reasons why the CRTC should let them do this).

concernedtelecomuser 10 points Tue Sep 27 22:17:35 2016 UTC  (0 children)

What do you think are the benefits of differential pricing? There are no consumer benefits. Any form will just open up game playing and complexities that will only confuse and irritate consumers. It would provide too many openings for service pricing which will make already difficult to understand internet billings even more confusing, resulting in a lot of heat being put onto ISP's and regulators as consumers are hurt by not understanding complex rules. We don't need regulators continually distracted by such instances. Stop the additional confusion before it starts.

Do you have any concerns about differential pricing? My concerns are expressed in the previous response.

Do these concerns outweigh the benefits and, if so, are they significant enough to justify us stepping in and regulating the practices? Or should we let the home (wireline), and mobile (wireless) service providers decide? Please do not let the suppliers decide. We don't have enough competition in Canada to force suppliers to take a customer viewpoint. In the absence of effective competition, they will naturally maximize profits at the expense of customer satisfaction.

If we should step in, how should we regulate it? Make it illegal to differentiate data streams. Do not entertain any form of data caps. If you allow anything, regulation will become another nightmare.

-crtc- Canada [S] 4 points Mon Sep 26 22:09:22 2016 UTC  (1 child)

Just everyone sees it, please check the edit in the post: we're experiencing some technical difficulties at our head office.

PorkSquared 11 points Tue Sep 27 19:38:15 2016 UTC  (0 children)

I've reviewed the comments, and feel that my opinions are in line with those of others, and well stated below: Differential pricing should not be permitted.

That said, I wanted to comment on order to thank the CRTC for initiating this conversation here.

So, thank you.

roh8880 3 points Wed Sep 28 18:01:56 2016 UTC  (0 children)

Bonjour à tous

Nous sommes vraiment excités par cette opportunité, alors nous vous encourageons tous vous tous de participer. Si vous avez dit dans l’un des threads annonce précédente, veuillez vérifier que vous copiez ces postes et les commentaires ici si vous voulez qu’ils être comptés.

Si vous avez des discussions hors-sujet, s’il vous plaît essayer d’isoler les observations de l’enfant au titre de ce commentaire. Cela inclut et des questions ou des commentaires de « meta ».

Pour les nouveaux utilisateurs, Bienvenue ! Ce fil sera modéré donc vous êtes tous invités à consulter les règles sur la barre latérale. Tous les commentaires seront fournis au CRTC indépendamment. Si vous avez des questions ou des préoccupations, n’hésitez pas à demander.

Lucky75 Canada [M] 2 points Wed Sep 28 19:27:12 2016 UTC  (0 children)

Also just to reiterate, we will be locking this thread at the end of Sept 30th and sharing the FULL raw data dumps with the CRTC.

Thanks, everyone, for sharing your thoughts and participating in this exciting opportunity.

DubbuhDubbuh 1 point Wed Sep 28 22:28:02 2016 UTC  (0 children)

you all you all

DSJustice British Columbia 1 point Thu Sep 29 17:49:17 2016 UTC  (1 child)

Meta: After you close the thread to comments, can you please expose the vote scores? The power of Reddit is really in the user-moderation, and I am particularly interested in reading the comments that float to the top.

medym Lest We Forget 2 points Thu Sep 29 17:58:24 2016 UTC  (0 children)

Yes. When the feedback period is over we will be turning off contest mode, locking the thread, and working with /u/-crtc- to provide them with the full breakdown of the comments made. From what I have seen only 2 comments have been removed from this entire thread. One made comments regarding the CRTC picture they provided as proof, and the other looks to be a spammer trying to promote an unrelated website.

Canadianman22 Ontario 172 points Mon Sep 26 18:54:36 2016 UTC * (gilded) (3 children)

Differential pricing should be banned completely. All traffic needs to be treated equally and no company should be able to abuse something like differential pricing to drive out competition and drive people towards their services.

The CRTC should create regulation forcing telcos to ensure all traffic is treated equally and not allowing for companies to pay for better access to the network that Canadian taxpayers have funded.


The CRTC should also look into banning the practice of regional pricing, which allows for telcos to offer special pricing based on the level of competition in a region. It should instead be that telcos require national pricing, preventing companies from offering different rates in each area. This will create competition and lower prices for Canadians.


The CRTC should block the sale of MTS to Bell as it is designed to reduce competition and ensure a cartel like monopoly in Canada which rips Canadians off.


EDIT: Thanks for the gold kind stranger

echolocat10n 2 points Thu Sep 29 01:24:57 2016 UTC  (2 children)

I like this point, but I disagree about regional prices. I do think that the cost of providing service can vary drastically from region to region. However, I don't think that companies that, due to the difficult barrier of entry, are essentially monopolies, should have the unrestricted ability to set these prices.

We're no longer in an age where data services are a luxury. There are many things for which you are required to have internet, job applications, government resources, bill payments, etc. Communication is vital to life in this day and age, if people can't communicate with you it hurts your job prospects, and certainly your personal life. Using public access points such as the library is about as viable of an option as telling someone to go to grocery store every time they want a drink of water. IMO, this utility should be treated like every other utility, but if we can't have that, then at the very least, then the oligopoly should be far more restricted. They shouldn't be able to charge a ridiculous price because the market allows for it. Of course he market allows for it. People will always pay whatever costs for necessities in life.

And for the record, no, I'm not poor and saying this because I feel entitled. The price of any of my bills dropping would not affect me in the least. However, the majority of Canadians are not as fortunate, and even a $100/month could be substantial.

Canadianman22 Ontario 5 points Thu Sep 29 01:48:00 2016 UTC  (1 child)

People in the Territories get better phone plan prices than people in Ontario do. So I am not sure I buy the "Different Areas cost more to service".

Ontario is the most populated province and yet we have the highest prices. Manitoba and Saskatchewan have a lot less population yet they get plans that are more realistic in both price and features. The reason is that in those places, you have competition which forces the major telcos to actually offer competitive rates.

echolocat10n 1 point Thu Sep 29 03:53:19 2016 UTC  (0 children)

Ontario's prices are certainly inflated beyond reason. With respect to different regions costing more, that has no reflection on the state of the current prices, but is more a reflection of the fact that it is more cost effective to have one tower service 100 people, then it is to have a tower service 10 people, and I could understand different regions having reasonably different prices.

killerrin Ontario 154 points Tue Sep 27 02:31:58 2016 UTC *  (2 children)

What do you think are the benefits of differential pricing?

Absolutely nothing. We need to be upholding Net Neutrality, not tearing it away and inch ourselves back towards the Cable TV Model that Robellus salivates about

Do you have any concerns about differential pricing?

By allowing differential pricing (also known as Zero Rating) we would be effectively giving Robellus the ability to decide who wins and loses in the marketplace, ultimately giving Canadians less choice overall.

Do you think Robellus likes the fact that Netflix is legally operating in Canada? Hell no! They want to be able to control 100% of the content market so they can charge us whatever they want and bring us back to the model of Cable TV which the majority of Canadians HATE.

Do these concerns outweigh the benefits and, if so, are they significant enough to justify us stepping in and regulating the practices? Or should we let the home (wireline), and mobile (wireless) service providers decide?

Yes they do. If we want the Internet to succeed and allow us to remain competitive in the Economy of the 21st century, we need to ensure that the Internet is as Neutral as possible. We need regulations in this matter or we will continue to fall even further behind the rest of the world.

Going by Statistics, we are currently lagging behind some developing countries in internet service because we don't regulate and punish Robellus enough when they screw over consumers.

Just one look at how often CBC does articles on Robellus screwing over Canadians is all it should take to know that we have a problem here.

If we should step in, how should we regulate it?

If providers are going to cap something it should be only a single element of "Speed" or "Bandwidth". No double dipping, one or the other.

Ultimately however if we want to compete in the economy of the 21st Century then we will need to remove the concept of Data Caps altogether. Your internet Speed has an inherent cap anyhow.

For broadband service (aka, a cable to your home) congestion as service providers like to argue is a non-issue due to the amount of infrastructure in place, and the amount that will continuously be put in place due to the requirements of tech going forward.

When it comes to Mobile service, we should have never sold off the spectrum, but we did and we can't solve that without spending billions of dollars. Going forward we should move to a model of leasing spectrum to providers for anybody to use while forcing cariers to share their towers at a near wholesale rate with anybody who wants to use them. That is how we introduce competition back into the market.

In addition, it would be wise to set a maximum price ISP's can charge for Data... because it only costs fractions of a penny to provide bandwidth, while ISPs are upselling that for tens of dollars

WabidWogerWabbit 27 points Tue Sep 27 13:51:15 2016 UTC  (0 children)

Welp, /thread. I wonder if the incumbents have sent their employees to downvote comments.

Not trying to derail things but this is tied in with UBB. With Rogers looking to get IPTV out to its customers, I have to wonder how traffic will be prioritized and billed should they be allowed to succeed here. This applies to all three.

Differential pricing and net neutrality are inversely related. If you want small business and entrepreneurship to succeed, you'll stop differential billing at the thought stage. If you want people's usage to be directed and controlled by the big three, you'll go ahead with differential pricing. I know this may sound Orwellian but imagine the day when a kid might be told, "hey, stop watching that YouTube video on physics by a credible source. Garbage physics show on Robellus.weownallcontent is free to watch. The internet, whether you care to agree or not, is a utility. Utilities should never suffer from differential pricing.

Thanks CRTC, for listening!

Rashaverak 3 points Wed Sep 28 19:43:13 2016 UTC  (0 children)

This, this, a thousand times this.

skeptic11 New Brunswick 139 points Mon Sep 26 16:25:13 2016 UTC  (0 children)

What do you think are the benefits of differential pricing?

None.

Do you have any concerns about differential pricing?

They entrench existing monopolies. They stifle innovation. The run contrary to concept of an open Internet.

Do these concerns outweigh the benefits and, if so, are they significant enough to justify us stepping in and regulating the practices?

Yes and yes.

Or should we let the home (wireline), and mobile (wireless) service providers decide?

Never. Corporations will always have their best interest in mind.

If we should step in, how should we regulate it?

Everything that goes through the pipe (connection) should be charged equally.

Further, if you can watch TV shows 24/7 via a cable subscription, then you should be able to download 24/7 via that same subscription at at least the same data rate. If you can talk for unlimited minutes on a cell plan, then you should be able to download at at least the same data rate for unlimited time.

NWmba 124 points Mon Sep 26 16:34:37 2016 UTC  (4 children)

Thank you for taking the time to ask.

What do you think are the benefits of differential pricing?

Well the big boys get to ensure a lock-in effect for their content and services. It's a benefit to them I suppose. I know if I had a near monopoly on what should be a public utility I'd certainly like to be able to ensure that I could edge newcomers out of the market.

Do you have any concerns about differential pricing?

Absolutely. Any perceived benefit to the public is only surface level. Differential pricing allows the public to see "oh, now I have unlimited data if I'm playing pokemon or watching Bell-approved media channels". What they don't see is that competition gets strangled out of the market by data fees, and the public then has less choice resulting in higher fees.

Do these concerns outweigh the benefits and, if so, are they significant enough to justify us stepping in and regulating the practices? Or should we let the home (wireline), and mobile (wireless) service providers decide?

Absoluely the CRTC should step in. The internet needs to be treated similarly to other public utilities, not as something that large corporations can control. If a company has a monopoly or near monopoly on the phone lines through which the internet operates, that is because it's in the public interest to disallow hundreds of competitors to constantly be digging up the roads. In exchange for allowing that monopoly, the service has to be treated as a public utility. Imagine the electric company getting privatized, then raising prices, and putting caps on the amount of electricity you use, but allowing unlimited electricity for appliances branded by the electric company and its partners. They would have a monopoly and use it to further cement their hold on the economy, all while the Canadian public breathes a sigh of relief that there is a way to avoid the electricity cap... Then they see the cost of the branded appliances rise, and there would be nothing they could do because of the monopoly. This is the situation facing the internet with net neutrality.

If we should step in, how should we regulate it?

The internet should be treated like electricity with regards to regulation. Rates should be set for internet access by the CRTC based on cost to provide, fair profit, and cost to improve infrastructure. No capping, no throttling, no preferential data.

jingerninja 35 points Mon Sep 26 22:02:02 2016 UTC  (0 children)

Imagine the electric company getting privatized, then raising prices, and putting caps on the amount of electricity you use, but allowing unlimited electricity for appliances branded by the electric company and its partners.

This is beautiful. Fridgidaire brand fridge? $0.21 per kW/h. GE brand fridge? Free!

Under a system like that how long until it's nearly impossible for Fridgidaire to sell a fridge in this country? And once that glimmer of competition is snuffed out how long before a GE fridge has a suspiciously coincidental rise in price?

icoup Ontario 2 points Wed Sep 28 12:58:01 2016 UTC  (2 children)

I completely agree with most of your comment and do really like your use of the electricity as a hypothetical. However I don't beleive that regulating prices in the way you suggest is the best way to address the issue. I do beleive that the CRTC should step in and regulate pricing to the extent that it doesn't allow ISPs to violate net neutrality with differential pricing. I think controlling pricing to the extent you suggest would remove any shred of completion from the market. Preventing caps and throttling I do agree with, just not regulating pricing that heavily.

ninetentacles 4 points Thu Sep 29 01:02:45 2016 UTC  (1 child)

There is no competition already, else they'd be lowering rates, not raising them constantly.

icoup Ontario 1 point Thu Sep 29 13:02:13 2016 UTC  (0 children)

Yes you are right - there is almost no competition in the market today. However introducing regulated pricing to that level would simply provide another reason for potential new competition not to get into the market.

The CRTC should be putting in place policies that incentivise new competition - not stifle it completely.

Vorter_Jackson Canada 110 points Mon Sep 26 18:02:14 2016 UTC *  (1 child)

What you call differential pricing is what I call violating network neutrality. It's clearly a violation of the Telecommunications and CRTC Act no matter what you want to call it. If a service provider is allowed to promote their own content and exempt it from usage charges, it's not just a result of vertical integration; that company is violating the law and the spirit of the law governing the Internet in Canada and attempting to use their control of the Internet to their own unfair advantage.

can_dry 29 points Tue Sep 27 17:50:19 2016 UTC  (0 children)

Completely agree!

The only reason we keep having this same bloody conversation over and over is that service providers are incessantly lobbying gov't to give them the same sweet deal they have with delivering cable television. They won't stop until they are allowed to get fees directly from content providers (e.g. facebook, youtube, etc, etc.) for not throttling or blocking their content. Of course, then will come bundling content and injecting their own never ending layers of advertisements.

hanexar 103 points Mon Sep 26 21:32:07 2016 UTC  (7 children)

1. What do you think are the benefits of differential pricing?

ISP will be able to ask money from content provider in exchange of being in a zero-rating package. They will be able to kill some content provider (let's say, those that compete from their own products for example) by not including them in any zero-rating. ISP will be happy.

2. Do you have any concerns about differential pricing?

When the big telco are happy, it's bad news for customers.

If zero-rating package goes unregulated, we will have a cable-like internet in a few years. Here's what we will get as offer:

Here's your base package : 50gb data for 40$. In short, you get base internet without multimedia content.

Buy our zero-rating base-video package for 15$ : free youtube data, free ISP's content plateforms.

Add-on music for 10$ : free spotify and google music. (We hate rdio, so let it die on the base plan).

Add-on big movie watcher 20$ : GooglePlay, Cineplex and 3-competitors-i've-never-heard-of-that-produce-poor-content-that-I'll-need-to-pay-for-even-if-I-never-watch-it included.

Oh yea, we also have our "we hate Netflix unlimited package" for 35$.

Finally, for the big Linux distro downloader, here's your torrent package : 15$ for unlimited-50gb of transfer, add 1$ per gb after.

If you doubt this would happen, check out how much cable cost. I'm a cord cutter for those reason. Often, I've check how much it would cost me to watch Game of Thrones on HBO. For a single show, It's over 50$/months because of those packaging practice.

My concerns with this approach are the follow :

1- It would kill any new player.
2- It would kill my wallet. Let's no forget that we already pay to the content provider. I don't want to pay extra because I choose one content over the other.
3- It would give too much power to ISP.
4- It would kill a neutral internet where there's opportunity for everyone, and where customer are free to get the content they want at a neutral price (pay for speed, not for content).

  1. Do these concerns outweigh the benefits and, if so, are they significant enough to justify us stepping in and regulating the practices? Or should we let the home (wireline), and mobile (wireless) service providers decide?

Yes, please, step in.

  1. If we should step in, how should we regulate it?

ISP are internet provider. Internet should be considered as an utility like electricity is. Electricity provider doesn't care if I power a light bulb or my electric car with their service They don't discriminate.

At the very least, it should be the same with Internet. It's not a luxury anymore. It has revolutionize knowledge and the way we communicate today, let's not let this revolution be controlled by a few corporation.

At best, you should also kill data cap, and let them charge only on speed. This is the real bottleneck for them, not the data. Data cap is only there to charge more money. There's no cost for them for more data, just for more speed.

Thanks for doing this.

dwild 0 points Wed Sep 28 17:43:59 2016 UTC  (6 children)

I haven't read all your comment, I stopped at your second point because I feel you misunderstood (or I did). When I will be on a computer I will read your comment again.

It's not about blocking a service, it's about allowing the service to be charged for you for the data. If there's no agreement, it will still be open and will only be charged to you directly.

They could still abuse and charge you even more for the data, but I guess that's why regulations are needed. It's just moving the charge over to the service. It's should still be the same cost and indirectly you will still pay it.

It won't allow blocking any service.

What it will allow though is service that work through advertising or any other revenue stream to be even more accessibl and grow bigger. Youtube for free seems great isn't it? Or even some donations based service like Wikipedia to be accessible to all (it's just some KB per page, won't cost much and often people wouldn't pay for data because other apps could use it and be way more expensive). Or anything sponsored by an external funding, like content from Film Canada. Theses could all be paid by someone else and allow everyone to access it.

MrChombo Ontario 3 points Wed Sep 28 20:52:34 2016 UTC  (5 children)

I believe you misunderstand OP's comment. They are not saying that content is blocked, but if you get 50gb and service A is zero-rated but service B isn't, service B is at a severe disadvantage as people will actively avoid it to not push their data usage ever closer to the cap.

dwild 0 points Wed Sep 28 21:22:11 2016 UTC  (4 children)

Here's your base package : 50gb data for 40$. In short, you get base internet without multimedia content. Buy our zero-rating base-video package for 15$ : free youtube data, free ISP's content plateforms. Add-on music for 10$ : free spotify and google music. (We hate rdio, so let it die on the base plan).

What? Can you explain me this please? That's where I stopped reading his comment and that's exactly what I understood. To get access to some service you require to choose a package. That's not what differential pricing allow and all the content will be accessible.

service A is zero-rated but service B isn't, service B is at a severe disadvantage as people will actively avoid it to not push their data usage ever closer to the cap.

Well if service A cost the same as service B, than without differential pricing service A will be cheaper than service B and if data is that expensive for theses services, it would be substantially less expensive.

In my mind, data cost for differential pricing will have to be regulated. It would also have to be global and not have any exclusivity.

hanexar 3 points Wed Sep 28 21:55:01 2016 UTC  (3 children)

Here's your base package : 50gb data for 40$. In short, you get base internet without multimedia content. Buy our zero-rating base-video package for 15$ : free youtube data, free ISP's content plateforms. Add-on music for 10$ : free spotify and google music. (We hate rdio, so let it die on the base plan).

What? Can you explain me this please? That's where I stopped reading his comment and that's exactly what I understood. To get access to some service you require to choose a package. That's not what differential pricing allow and all the content will be accessible.

Sorry if this wasn't clear to you, I'll try to break it down.

50GB is the cap in your base package before you get over charge (5$/GB). Compare it to base cable.

Light use of any multimedia service like Netflix will blow this 3 times over in a month.

Thus, watching my 150GB montly Netflix fix would cost me 550$ per month on this package. I think we can agree that this is not an acceptable price.

Right now, they sell the extra data (let's say 15$/month extra), but there's no reason they will keep the same pricing model, and price will probably go up if they can afford unlimited an alternate approach.

So if you can get, for a "small" 15$ unlimited access to certain service (their own), but not Netflix, for example, it would be the same as blocking Netflix out, and choosing which content I can access, and which one I cannot (60$ vs 550$). Also, keep in mind that we are already billed by content provider.

Telco have lost lots of control (and money) when people switch from cable to internet, they want it back. It's as simple as that.

Also, your vision of the thing is completely off :

Youtube for free seems great isn't it?

It will not be free, either you will be paying extra somewhere else for the "free" youtube, or you will be getting more ads.

Or even some donations based service like Wikipedia to be accessible to all (it's just some KB per page

Wikipedia on unlimited data plan is just plain nonsense, you said it yourself, it's just a couple of KB. But you are right, they will probably try to get another 5$ per month from grandma for unlimited access to Wikipedia.

dwild 0 points Wed Sep 28 22:19:50 2016 UTC *  (2 children)

Edit: Sorry I ignored "zero-rating" in my comment. I hope you haven't read it yet. I'm against "zero-rating". There shouldn't be a different cost based on the type of data.

If data for differential pricing is less expensive, than I will be happy to offer a VPN over it and charge you that cheap price directly.

That's where regulation is required. Any service should be able to get differential pricing (and if you do, you do it for any provider). You never see toll free number that only work on a partial list of phone provider. The price should be standard for the amount of data and that's what Netflix, or Illico on demands will pay, wether you do it on Videotron, Bell or whatever network that support differential pricing.

So what I get more ads? I would be happy to watch more believe me. Video hosting is older than Youtube but before that more often than not you had to pay for it. They made it mainstream by not only allowing it for free, but also because later they started rewarding people who posted videos. That allowed a huge market that simply didn't want to pay or simply couldn't (weren't you on the internet before you were able to get a credit card? How did you pay?... ). Ads are great and allow access to a market that can't pay. Pay if you want but not everyone can and you block them access.

Get another 5$ for access to Wikipedia? For god sake did you understand? Wikipedia will always be accessible. That won't change a thing.

You eon't pay to access diffenrital pricing and I sure hope the regulation won't allow provider to choose which service is allowed to use it or not and in which situation. You either do or don't and that should be the same for all provider.

MrChombo Ontario 3 points Thu Sep 29 00:03:07 2016 UTC  (1 child)

I'm not sure you fully grasp the hypothetical that /u/hanexar is proposing. I'm also not sure how or inclined to try and explain it further.

Suffice it to say, "zero rating bad, net neutrality good".

dwild 0 points Thu Sep 29 00:16:44 2016 UTC  (0 children)

I'm not for "zero-rating", I'm for sponsored content.

Letting them choose service that shouldn't be charged is nearly impossible to regulate correctly.

radapex New Brunswick 98 points Mon Sep 26 15:57:09 2016 UTC  (2 children)

Regarding online usage/pricing as a whole, the notion of charging for both bandwidth (speed) and throughput (data transferred) is ridiculous. We should not be charging people based on how much they're using their service.

To illustrate, let's suppose I've written a script that downloads 1 MB file every second of every day of September over a 150Mbps fibre connection. Treating this in a vacuum (absolutely no other usage) I'll have only ever used 5% of the bandwidth sold to me (8Mbps / 150Mbps), but I'd have transferred 2.47TB of data -- almost 10x the usage cap on the 150Mbps connection Bell offers in Ontario. This usage will have absolutely no negative impact on the quality of service to other users because it's never putting any significant strain on the network.

I understand that some ISPs have a history of overselling their infrastructure, causing quality of service problems for their consumers, but this doesn't get mitigated by the ridiculous throughput caps -- it's because they've oversold the bandwidth, and it's time for those ISPs to either adjust their infrastructure or adjust their plans to accommodate.

I also appreciate that there is a difference between ISPs and mobile providers. Mobile tower congestion is a very real issue, we've even experienced it in a small city like Fredericton. A model like Wind's, where users get throttled instead of billed for high usage, has always struck me as a very fair compromise.


Of course, the above rant is my long way of saying that zero-rating shouldn't be a topic because we shouldn't be charged for throughput to begin with.

moeburn Ontario 11 points Mon Sep 26 17:28:05 2016 UTC  (0 children)

This usage will have absolutely no negative impact on the quality of service to other users because it's never putting any significant strain on the network.

Well you make an excellent point there - if we are to believe that data caps are a cost reflective of the strain that high-consumption customers put on the network, then there should at least be some logic behind that.

A model like Wind's, where users get throttled instead of billed for high usage, has always struck me as a very fair compromise.

That's what Bell was doing for a while, throttling the torrent protocol between 4PM and midnight to 60kB/s, but they stopped doing that after class action lawsuits were filed. Probably because they didn't mention it anywhere in the contract.

TheBlueFalcon816 5 points Wed Sep 28 15:57:27 2016 UTC  (0 children)

ISP's should provision their network to be robust enough that each individual customer should be able to use the full bandwidth of their line without compromising the experience of other users. The 1MB download once a second point is a very good one. Internet is not a finite resource, so it shouldn't be capped. Simple.

mikoul 94 points Mon Sep 26 18:15:27 2016 UTC  (0 children)

There is NO benefit for the customer only for the companies.

Ban it completely, it's unfair for every customer.

N-Bombb 92 points Mon Sep 26 18:48:18 2016 UTC  (1 child)

-1. What do you think are the benefits of differential pricing?

I think the only benefits are provider-facing. It's like if McDonalds charged for refills except Coke. I should also note that the entire existence of zero-rating makes a mockery of any claimed need for data caps. ESPECIALLY when the service being zero-rated is video, arguably the heaviest user of bandwidth.

-2. Do you have any concerns about differential pricing?

I am concerned that it will lead to different classes of applications and services, with one class being more favoured than the other, and putting up barriers to the success of newcomers.

-3. Do these concerns outweigh the benefits and, if so, are they significant enough to justify us stepping in and regulating the practices? Or should we let the home (wireline), and mobile (wireless) service providers decide?

In my opinion yes. Service providers should be service-agnostic. They shouldn't be curators or gatekeepers. Basically, it's not our responsibility to subsidize their business model.

-4. If we should step in, how should we regulate it?

Ban the practice. There really is no middle ground.

Thank you.

Kirshy81 2 points Fri Sep 30 21:03:52 2016 UTC  (0 children)

I can't believe this is even a question you need to be asking consumers. You should ban the practice and move onto more important use of the CRTC's time like fixing the telecom price gouging that has been going on in Canada for the last 15 years.

TheEdster 95 points Mon Sep 26 22:23:41 2016 UTC  (5 children)

  • What do you think are the benefits of differential pricing?

Incumbents: get to ensure a lock-in effect for their content and services.

Public/Consumers: None

  • Do you have any concerns about differential pricing?

Absolutely, violation of net neutrality, any perceived benefit to the public is only surface level. What they don't see is that competition gets strangled out of the market by data fees, and the public then has less choice resulting in higher fees.

  • Do these concerns outweigh the benefits and, if so, are they significant enough to justify us stepping in and regulating the practices? Or should we let the home (wireline), and mobile (wireless) service providers decide?

Clearly, the CRTC should step in. The internet needs to be open and all traffic treated the same. If a company has a monopoly or near monopoly on the phone lines through which the internet operates, that is because it's in the public interest to disallow hundreds of competitors to constantly be digging up the roads. In exchange for allowing that monopoly, the service has to be treated as a public utility. Imagine the electric company getting privatized, then raising prices, and putting caps on the amount of electricity you use, but allowing unlimited electricity for appliances branded by the electric company and its partners. They would have a monopoly and use it to further cement their hold on the economy, all while the Canadian public breathes a sigh of relief that there is a way to avoid the electricity cap... Then they see the cost of the branded appliances rise, and there would be nothing they could do because of the monopoly. This is the situation facing the internet with net neutrality.

  • If we should step in, how should we regulate it?

Rates should be set for internet access by the CRTC based on cost to provide, fair profit, and cost to improve infrastructure. No capping, no throttling, no preferential data.

the*****rake Ontario 4 points Wed Sep 28 00:03:41 2016 UTC  (0 children)
(note: offensive term(s) have been replaced by asterisks)

I have upvoted many comments here, and this comment spells out my thoughts very succinctly. Let the public record stand that /u/TheEdster 's comment exactly echos my sentiments on the matter. If necessary, I will quote the comment in my own post.

TCL987 Canada 4 points Thu Sep 29 00:19:04 2016 UTC  (0 children)

One solution I've seen is that ISP profits should be capped at a percentage return on infrastructure investment. That way the ISPs will be forced to continue to invest in new infrastructure which should lead to a continuous improvement in the quality of service while still allowing the ISPs to receive a reasonable profit.

The cap should be high enough to provide an attractive enough return on investment but low enough to prevent price gouging.

cayle 2 points Wed Sep 28 18:28:14 2016 UTC  (0 children)

A good example to the monopoly situation is Ontario hydro. Terrible and unforgivable situation the Wynn government has put us in.

nguindon 2 points Wed Sep 28 20:10:48 2016 UTC  (0 children)

I am a Canadian living in BC (grew up in ON) and I completely agree with this comment. It encapsulates my position perfectly. Il a complètement raison.

Brutal_Peacemaker 2 points Thu Sep 29 00:38:32 2016 UTC  (0 children)

This is exactly what I came here to say.

varsil 90 points Tue Sep 27 08:05:43 2016 UTC  (3 children)

Questions: We need your opinion about differential pricing: What do you think are the benefits of differential pricing?

Well, I don't own a telecommunications company, so I don't see any benefit to me. It would benefit the telecoms companies greatly because they can charge me for access to the internet, and then also turn around and limit what I can access based on whether or not other companies pay a fee. The notion that something being zero-rated is a benefit to me is false--I'm paying for the zero rating either way, it just greatly limits competition (which is always to the detriment of the consumer).

Do you have any concerns about differential pricing?

Oh my yes. I am concerned that differential pricing will:

  • Lock in incumbents by making new entrants to various markets unable to compete due to various exclusive agreements.

  • Allow internet providers to charge me to access the internet, and then turn around and extort companies to pay them for what I have essentially already paid for--the connection between me and the outside world.

  • Allow internet providers to effect massive vertical integration--whether the consumers want it or not.

  • Essentially require ISPs to snoop on traffic, greatly reducing privacy of the average citizen.

Do these concerns outweigh the benefits and, if so, are they significant enough to justify us stepping in and regulating the practices? Or should we let the home (wireline), and mobile (wireless) service providers decide?

Absolutely the concerns outweigh the benefits, and they not only justify your stepping in, they practically demand it.

If we should step in, how should we regulate it?

Regulate is the wrong word. Ban is the correct word. It should be banned clearly, and unequivocally, and broadly. Internet service providers should not be allowed to discriminate between types of communication for the same reason that telephone companies are not allowed to degrade your call if you contact a competitor, courier/mail companies are not allowed to give you worse service depending on the contents of your mail (or to inspect it to discover these things), and so forth. This is essential if there is to be any competition in the market for internet sites/services, and if consumers are to have any real choice.

canuckleballer 6 points Wed Sep 28 03:30:48 2016 UTC  (0 children)

This sums up my feelings as well. Well said.

ICEFARMER 3 points Wed Sep 28 04:38:37 2016 UTC  (0 children)

Good post.

crackinfoxy 2 points Thu Sep 29 17:22:40 2016 UTC  (0 children)

Ban is absolutely the correct term, thank you for stating it!

moeburn Ontario 88 points Mon Sep 26 17:24:11 2016 UTC  (0 children)

The idea that an internet service provider themselves could ever decide which internet services get lower data costs than others, that is a very dangerous idea. Any ISP with a mind for profits would be quick to make deals with competitors seeking to find an advantage against Netflix and Youtube and the like. The internet would quickly become a game of "Who can pay the most ISPs for the most access". Please don't let Canada become the first grounds for this type of experiment.

Really, what we should be talking about is an end to data caps altogether, not more creative ways to charge them. My television provider never charged me based on how many hours I spent watching TV per week.

Ideally, what we really need is a publicly owned ISP. The internet has proven too valuable of a service to leave in the hands of a handful of conglomerates making little effort to appear to be in competition.

BittyNumNum 88 points Mon Sep 26 16:34:34 2016 UTC  (2 children)

I would like to see differential pricing banned. It will create a scenario where the user may not know if they are being charged or not for something. It could also result in too much consolidation of content providers if they can afford to arrange deals for their data to be free.

Data is too important to Canadian citizens at this point to be subject to the whims of corporate policy.

I'd like to see things go in another direction entirely, access to the internet and data is too important to leave to corporate interests, I'd like to see internet access made a right and provided by the government through tax revenue just as we have access to highways and isp's can charge for added value they bring beyond the data usage itself.

moeburn Ontario 24 points Mon Sep 26 17:30:47 2016 UTC  (1 child)

It will create a scenario where the user may not know if they are being charged or not for something.

Hey, now there's a good point too. It's already too easy to accidentally go over your data cap limit and get charged money, the last thing we need is a situation where accidentally having the wrong URL in your browser leads to data charges. I can only imagine having a data exemption set up on your Bell account for Netflix, only to be charged anyway because Netflix set up a new CDN server that wasn't registered with Bell.

tdot7 11 points Tue Sep 27 13:37:36 2016 UTC  (0 children)

And what about third party ad networks? Just because website.com doesn't count against my traffic doesn't mean a majority of the traffic when visiting that website originates from it.

We measured the mix of advertising and editorial on the mobile home pages of the top 50 news websites – including ours – and found that more than half of all data came from ads and other content filtered by ad blockers.

josh_the_misanthrope New Brunswick 84 points Mon Sep 26 19:51:29 2016 UTC  (1 child)

As a staunch supporter of absolute network neutrality, please don't allow differential pricing.

  1. The benifit to the consumer is clear. It allows them to use certain services without worrying about bandwitdth. At face value, it seems like a good thing, however...

  2. My concerns are that it fosters an environment of exclusivity deals, removes incentives for larger data caps for regular "non differentiated" data and creates an uneven playing field where an incumbent service would have a major advantage over an emergent competing service. And we can't forget that one of the reasons that the internet functions so well is that all data is treated equally. It's a principle so fundemental to the internet we all know and love, and allowing telecommunication companies to interfere with this would be a net loss for modern society.

  3. Therefore, the concerns far outweight the benefits. The solution is clear, telecoms need to be improving their infrastructure to support higher bandwidth to allow people to use data as they see fit, rather than selling that right to the highest corporate bidder. This should very much be regulated by the CRTC.

  4. Don't let them do it. Be like Tom Wheeler of the FCC, and defend net neutrality. Something similar to Title II would be ok, althought it would need to be enforced. T-Mobile is essentially violating net neutrality in the US as it stands.

meanenoughworld 2 points Fri Sep 30 04:42:04 2016 UTC  (0 children)

Thank you for eloquently expressing my opinion on the subject.

alexwilson 83 points Mon Sep 26 23:28:57 2016 UTC  (0 children)

What do you think are the benefits of differential pricing?

I can't think of any.

Do you have any concerns about differential pricing?

This is just an attempt to undermine Net Neutrality with a different name. The end result is no different than blocking or slowing down certain traffic, which the CRTC already made a lovely decision about with its Internet traffic management practices. Differential pricing is just another attempt to go around those rules.

Furthermore, any internet or phone provider that also produces or partners with the source(s) of this potentially differential data has a potentially huge and unfair advantage, or at the very least, a giant conflict of interest. It is not unreasonable that other providers will attempt to price competitors' data as high as possible. Consumers only lose.

Do these concerns outweigh the benefits and, if so, are they significant enough to justify us stepping in and regulating the practices? Or should we let the home (wireline), and mobile (wireless) service providers decide?

Absolutely. The telcos have shown time an again they on pretend to compete on pricing (unless you live in Saskatchewan or Manitoba and can actually get some real competition, then surprise, they actually have lower rates for cell phone packages). I doubt there is Canadian who thinks any of the big telcos should be allowed to set their own rates for anything, especially internet data.

If we should step in, how should we regulate it?

Don't allow differential pricing. Set a fair rate for all Canadians for all data, and hold the telcos to it. Nationalising the telcos would actually be my preference, but that might be beyond the scope of this consultation.

xhiggy 82 points Mon Sep 26 18:06:50 2016 UTC  (1 child)

1) I don't see any benefits for the end user, that couldn't be implemented in a cheaper way by the service providers.

2) This forces service providers to determine what information sources are privileged, and which are not. Basically this will amount to large companies determining what the poor can afford to read/watch.

3) this practice will push access to information further into the hands of a few companies. I do not see how giving up a free internet is ever worth it.

4) ban it completely

RaindropsxRoses 3 points Mon Sep 26 19:37:13 2016 UTC  (0 children)

I couldn't have said it better. I completely agree, differential pricing harms the

_Ev4l 79 points Mon Sep 26 18:41:34 2016 UTC *  (2 children)

Before I start, I will say I think this is the wrong route. Jump to the last 3 paragraphs of my post. Otherwise, CRTC i'll play your game and try to be constructive.


1.What do you think are the benefits of differential pricing?

The only benefit I can think of is; it allows certain services to be exuded from caps. This is great for certain specific things like streaming or rtvc. Would be a win all around for canadians in our current situation if implemented properly.

2.Do you have any concerns about differential pricing?

I do. I'll break them down into smaller points & questions.

1. Who decides what services are valuable enough to be considered essential?

Self regulated providers would have the means to stiffle and prevent entire markets from ever becoming a thing. In reverse it could propel certain services creating monopolies on services, something our telecommunication companies love and already do. Netflix is a prime example in the states of a service that was forced to pay up to comcasts demands. The model of self regulation would prevent an open internet and do Canadians a disservice.

2. What qualifies a service or certain uses of data for being part of the differential model?

Is something that is commonly used up for becoming a "Zero-rating" service? Or just what the providers want (or will give up)? Does a business or household get preferential treatment to various "Zero-rating" actions? (EG streaming would be more beneficial to individuals and households, but things like backing up data and uploading matter to businesses).

Say we pick streaming as something to exclude from data caps. Does streaming solely mean "youtube" or prefered channels? Can I stream content from HBO, crunchy roll, vemo, what about new services that are not recognized yet without having to worry about it consuming my data cap? Is it solely video, audio ? does stream chat along side count towards the streaming experience?

3. Canadians First.

Additionally there are so many other types of things I could think of that would benefit Canadians as a whole being excluded from data caps. Things like government services(which is almost mandatory to have a internet connection now a days given how much various services have moved to online portals/applications), uploading created content, hosting, etc that really benefit Canadians across the board and propel us forward on the net. I'm afraid these kinds of basic yet essential things will be swept under the rug.

4. Privacy.

Obviously if they were to go down that route, that would mean screening and digging into peoples usage to differentiate between data cap consumption & "zero rated use". This raises some questions as it could potentially allow all kinds of data and privacy breaches.

3.Do these concerns outweigh the benefits and, if so, are they significant enough to justify us stepping in and regulating the practices? Or should we let the home (wireline), and mobile (wireless) service providers decide?

I think the concerns very much do out weigh the benefits if left unregulated. I do not think our providers are competent in regulating anything other than their bottom line. Time and time again they prove that money above all else is all that matters with Canadian internet. You can see this across the board by looking at our plans compared to third world countries. Which eludes me to this example in our own country:

Sadly, you don't even have to go that far either, you could sign up with a rogers smart phone right now in ontario. Call in a day later say your moving to Alberta, they switch you to the alberta standard rate, then the next day call in saying your unsure if your moving. This will allow you to keep your original ontario phone number, and keep your plan from Alberta which has a $50/month difference. Then just never call back. The sad thing is they don't even pick up on it and frankly they don't care because they are still making money off you.

4.If we should step in, how should we regulate it?

Please if you do step in, clearly define what types of data use are and are not part of the "Zero-rating" model. Do not use service names such as skype. Even if the market is named after such service.


In contrast to everything thing above. Which I'll admit I gave my dearest to be constructive. I think the whole differential pricing is a bandaid to a much bigger problem. I feel that data caps and their cost are utter garbage. I already pay to use the service, now I have to pay for usage as well? This whole differential pricing model with data caps is about the same as letting television charge for watch time on top of the users package, and then asking if we'd be "ok" with them excluding the advertisements from the watch time premiums.

Data caps are just the gravy on top of everything, they get to charge you for using a service you already pay for that costs them next to nothing to use. It costs roughly 0.6 of a cent to send me that extra gb at the end of the month yet they have absolutely no problem charging $5 for it. The whole existence of data caps creates a range of confusion and problems which is why we are here in the first place. Teleco's not to long ago didn't have data caps, we payed for the access to the web and speeds. They worked just fine before and were still very much profitable.

So I implore you CRTC end data caps, and the whole issue of differential pricing becomes non existent. The whole reason the issue even exists is because the CRTC has already failed Canadians and allows Teleco's to extort Canadians for their usage on top of paying for a service.

badcallday 19 points Mon Sep 26 19:49:25 2016 UTC  (0 children)

  1. What qualifies a service or certain uses of data for being part of the differential model?

Say we pick streaming as something to exclude from data caps. Does streaming solely mean "youtube" or prefer channels? Can I stream content from HBO, crunchy roll, vemo, what about new services that are not recognized yet without having to worry about it consuming my data cap? Is it solely video, audio ? does stream chat along side count towards the streaming experience?

Don't forget to add the fact that some of these streaming apps may require a fee or subscription to use regardless if the data itself it use it is free:
ie: Nexflix still requires a monthly fee, HBO requires you to subscribe to HBO with specific providers to view online. Spotify can require a premium account as well
Also several other services will still make you sign up with an account that you manage, not your cellular provider (google acct, facebook, snapchat, ect

megaw 3 points Wed Sep 28 17:29:31 2016 UTC  (0 children)

I completely agree with your last 3 paragraphs. Data caps are the problem.

MorningwoodGlory 79 points Mon Sep 26 17:49:10 2016 UTC  (0 children)

To keep with the popular metaphor of comparing internet service to highways:

We currently pay our ISP's for bandwidth. We liken this to the width of the highway - the more lanes you have, the higher potential to travel faster and more efficiently.

Data usage (packets) in this case would be the cars on the highway. If we want to stream an HD movie, that'll take a lot more cars than sending an email. We'll need quite a few lanes if we want that movie to come through efficiently. We need decent bandwidth to push that much data through the pipe. So, most of us pay for a reasonable bandwidth to allow those cars to travel.

We all pay taxes (in real life now) which go into our roads systems. And we certainly aren't told that we can't drive our cars anymore once we've driven a certain distance. We don't prevent new cars from travelling to a place once an arbitrary number of them have already arrived. The ISP's have a reasonable point in that the SmartCar travelling twice a week and the cross-country fleet of 18-wheelers burden the system differently. But the fleet is paying for the lanes that everyone else gets to use - is it really fair to stop them halfway through their journey or hit them with a toll fee if they've paid for the road themselves? We all support the infrastructure of the roads, we help pay for lanes to be built. Just like how we pay our ISP for bandwidth.

And we have the freedom to use those publicly funded roads to travel wherever we'd like to go.

So what if we were allowed to move as many cars as we wanted, but we were told we can only take roads to certain places. Places we don't have any interest in going to. I want to drive to Tim Hortons, but the road company is making me drive to Dunkin'. Maybe that doesn't sound so bad for some, lots of people might even prefer Dunkin'. But the roads are taking away the freedom of choice I had before. Maybe now, because Dunkin' is guaranteed all these new customers, the quality of their product will go way down. And Darryl's Donuts and all the other small donut shops are going out of business because the roads that lead to them are closed. This is non-neutral differential pricing, and it is a terrible idea in both philosophy and practice from the customer's standpoint.

Data caps and differential pricing are both detrimental to the end user. To the average Canadian. At best, the practice is a creative way for ISP's to make more money. But if that's going to come at the cost of our fundamental right to a neutral internet and freedom of choice, then something needs to be done.

TossIt_12345 77 points Mon Sep 26 16:53:41 2016 UTC  (0 children)

Hello, and thank you for allowing this discussion to take place. The process of this kind of conversation can be very difficult for the average citizen to access, and I appreciate that efforts are being made to engage with us in an accessible way. I will attempt to answer the questions you've posed to the best of my ability.

1. What do you think are the benefits of differential pricing?

I don't see many benefits at all, at least from the information I have on the issue. I could see it being an advantage to consumers if they can choose a plan that allows them to have unlimited bandwidth for their most frequently used services (e.g. entertainment streaming services).

2. Do you have any concerns about differential pricing?

Yes, I have many. I am concerned about how it will allow ISPs to create complicated and confusing pricing structures that are intentionally vague, distorted, or make it difficult to compare to their competitors. I am concerned that this will be used to sell people services that they don't need, such as implying that they need to pay for a zero-rated “Netflix” addon just to be able to use Netflix at all. I think it is important to note that many, if not most, consumers are not necessarily well-versed in how the internet works and how pricing is determined, and that this allows for manipulative sales practices from the providers.

A larger concern that I have is that differential pricing could allow ISPs to take bribes from and/or make favourable deals with the services that want priority network access. This would give a massive advantage to the most established companies out there (think Netflix, Spotify, etc.) who could create deals that effectively shut out their competition. This also allows ISPs to favour their own services. For example, Bell and Rogers both have streaming services with Crave TV and Shomi that could be zero-rated while something like Netflix is not. This gives a massive advantage, and feels monopolistic to me.

3. Do these concerns outweigh the benefits and, if so, are they significant enough to justify us stepping in and regulating the practices? Or should we let the home (wireline), and mobile (wireless) service providers decide?

I believe the concerns greatly outweigh the benefits. Regulation is going to be essential in creating a fair system of internet access in Canada (which is already on a very unfair playing field, but that's another conversation). I believe that fair and equal opportunity internet access is a basic right. I also believe that the major service providers in this country have other business interests that conflict with that right, in that an equal opportunity system of internet access also gives their users equal opportunity to use their competitor's services. For example, a Bell internet user wanting access to Shomi (a Rogers service) is not in Bell's interest, and without regulation they would have all the incentive in the world to attempt to restrict that access and push their own service instead.

4. If we should step in, how should we regulate it?

This is a very difficult question to answer, but I will try. It seems to me that if differential pricing is banned, that ISPs will simply up their prices to compensate, and everyone will suffer. That's what happens every time the CRTC has stepped in so far (a la carte cable, 2-year cell phone contracts, etc.). So I think there needs to be a more holistic approach to the issue of internet/data access in Canada as a whole in order to create a sustainable long-term solution.

I think the biggest step to take is to define what fair and equal opportunity internet access should look like. Set a standard definition that states that the speed that is advertised is what needs to be delivered across all traffic, from all applications and devices and enforce it. I believe there should also be a legal price limit, either per GB, or perhaps up to a defined bandwidth limit (say, 50 or 100 GB). This price and limit would have to be revisited frequently, as the nature of internet traffic changes over time. Perhaps a percentage increase could be allotted each year, similar to the way rent increases are fixed on housing. Other than that, I don't know of a way to enforce fair access other than constant diligence to keep checking the service providers on the policies they attempt to slip past us.

ayjee 77 points Mon Sep 26 20:44:39 2016 UTC  (0 children)

To echo many of the comments here:

1) I see very little benefit to consumers, aside from perhaps a few dollars saved on a monthly bill for certain users' usage patterns.

2) Zero-pricing is in direct violation of net neutrality. It stifles competition by making it possible for ISPs to make access to websites that pay said ISP cheaper and/or easier for the consumer

3) The concerns overwhelmingly outweigh the benefits. Net neutrality, once violated, would be extremely difficult to recover without drastic measures. The CRTC must step in and ban zero-rating.

4) Step in by banning it. Please do not do half measures, this is too important.

Staticn0ise Alberta 77 points Tue Sep 27 08:21:37 2016 UTC  (1 child)

Do not allow differential pricing. It is the worst thing that could happen to our internet. Instead remove the overly restrictive data caps.

Differential pricing will only allow our ISP's to double dip on pricing. (Allowing ISP's to collect money from websites to become part of the program and then from consumers to access the same website.) It hurts smaller, innovative and new websites by making it harder to compete and directs potential traffic away from these sites.

PROTECT NET NUTRIALITY IN CANADA!

Jellyka 23 points Tue Sep 27 12:40:27 2016 UTC  (0 children)

This. This is different from TV. This is different from radios. The internet is unique. On the internet you can start your own video service, music service, or news service. And you don't need as much money, experience or connections to be successful, as you would usually need to start your own TV channel or radio station.

Giving ISPs the power to pick and choose services like that has the potentiel to ruin that. Nobody is going to visit your new video sharing service if they have 100mb datacaps, yet unlimited youtube and facebook. So you're doomed from the start.

eartburm British Columbia 76 points Mon Sep 26 17:32:58 2016 UTC  (0 children)

  1. Benefits to consumers are negligible. And perceived benefits are artificial, as a relief of reduced monthly data caps.
  2. Yes, differential pricing is very concerning. The practice provides perverse incentives to the ISPs to both control content (on behalf of paying content producers), and to lower monthly caps to drive adoption of sponsored services, especially when those services are directly owned by the internet service provider.
  3. Yes, since benefits to consumers are minimal, and could be better served by simply increasing data caps if providers are finding that the caps are limiting uptake of their preferred content services. Zero-rating and differential pricing should not be permitted.
  4. Forbidding differential pricing on services delivered over IP is the most simple solution. There should be no grey areas where it's unclear whether a given anticompetitive practice is permitted or not.

BloodyIron 74 points Mon Sep 26 22:36:46 2016 UTC *  (2 children)

Tiered, or second class data, based on content, is a terrible idea. It makes it too subjective as to which data is acceptable and which isnt, when the whole internet has been built upon equality of data.

I DO NOT want tiered internet based on traffic content, be it cellular or ISP served. EQUAL TREATMENT FOR ALL DATA.

I run gaming events, and at times this involves internet services. Why should we be treated as a second class internet citizen simply because we aren't Music or Video? To put it another way, just because some arbitrary other person deemed our content not interesting to them?

Terrh 3 points Wed Sep 28 22:38:58 2016 UTC  (0 children)

A thousand times this.

All data must be equal data.

I do not want to have to pay more to do what I've already been doing on the Internet for over 20 years just because I'm not streaming TV.

cultural_dissenter Canada 1 point Wed Sep 28 01:47:07 2016 UTC  (0 children)

EQUAL TREATMENT FOR ALL DATA.

There is a logic in some genuine network prioritization. For example, it's reasonable to give the highest priority to all known VOIP and video conferencing traffic (regardless of source, destination, or service). It's real-time nature makes it more latency-sensitive.

Another legitimate use of management would be to allocate bandwidth when there is more demand than available capacity. In that case, it would (for example) to guarantee everyone a certain amount of bandwidth, then divide up the remainder based on inverse usage. That way, people who use a little bit of data get a faster experience, while those downloading a lot of data still get their data, but they are a bit slower.

jclemy 75 points Mon Sep 26 19:05:24 2016 UTC  (2 children)

Net neutrality is important. The company shouldn't decide what websites I can use.

You should be ending data caps and opening the internet further. Data caps are simply a cash grab.

Planner_Hammish 4 points Mon Sep 26 19:23:29 2016 UTC  (1 child)

Just imagine how bad it will be for Robelus if I could tether my phone to access the internet at home! They would lose $75/mo at least from me, since I wouldn't need to have two different internet subscriptions! Where will all those pensioners get their fat dividend income stream from then??? THINK OF THE ADULT CHILDREN!

in-a-far-off-land 1 point Thu Sep 29 01:55:32 2016 UTC  (0 children)

What phone do you have?

TheFallingStar 75 points Tue Sep 27 15:46:18 2016 UTC  (1 child)

1) What do you think are the benefits of differential pricing?

There are no benefits

2) Do you have any concerns about differential pricing?

Yes, differential pricing goes against internet neutrality. Many of our ISP are also content producers. This gives the establish ISP tremendous unfair advantage. It limits competition in the industry

3) Do these concerns outweigh the benefits and, if so, are they significant enough to justify us stepping in and regulating the practices? Or should we let the home (wireline), and mobile (wireless) service providers decide?

Yes, the concerns outweigh the benefits. CRTC should step in and forbid differential pricing

4) If we should step in, how should we regulate it?

CRTC should forbid differential pricing immediately. In the long term, internet neutrality should be applied to all ISP in Canada. We also need to forbid companies from being both ISP and content producers

LeX420 Canada 2 points Wed Sep 28 21:51:02 2016 UTC  (0 children)

CRTC should forbid differential pricing immediately. In the long term, internet neutrality should be applied to all ISP in Canada. We also need to forbid companies from being both ISP and content producers

If differential pricing becomes illegal, then why would it matter if a company is both a content producer AND an ISP?

AssignedUsername 75 points Tue Sep 27 00:18:13 2016 UTC  (1 child)

On enforcement: fines don't work. When you fine them, they simply offset it by increasing the price to subscribers.

I think the CRTC needs to think outside of the box in terms of consequences. I'd like to see more punishments similar to removing the ability to bid on a spectrum, only take it further and remove existing spectrums. Maybe remove their ability to offer discounted/retention/promotional rates, Or even crazier releasing all customers from contracts; literally all regardless of the age of the contract.

Don't wait for major violations either. Put them on egg shells.

September272016 6 points Tue Sep 27 18:15:12 2016 UTC  (0 children)

Your comment is one of the most important that I've seen here so far.

Any regulation that allows punishment to be passed on to the customers will be more harmful than good.

I find the idea of confiscating spectrum/infrastructure, for instance, to be very unappealing, but there may be no choice left.

Spindr1ft 71 points Mon Sep 26 17:35:00 2016 UTC  (0 children)

The benefits are designed to appear to be for the consumer when the reality is that it would be used to make deals with content providers to the benefit of the ISP.

It violates the spirit of net neutrality. Data caps are an artificial limit put in place to coerce consumers to use services offered by the ISP over those offered by new media.

There are no benefits. It is simply there to create a disincentive to use services that the provider doesn't have a monetary deal with.

I think regulation should be simple. Zero rating should not be allowed. Or if it is for video content, all video content should be zero rated. Not just the content provider they have a multi-million dollar deal with. Anything other than that violates net neutrality.

Drakon519 New Brunswick 68 points Mon Sep 26 16:18:02 2016 UTC  (0 children)

By allowing certain services to not count towards your data cap, you are putting net neutrality in Danger. Make it count toward you data usage, but ban data caps. They have no place in Canada.

dpsi 70 points Mon Sep 26 16:45:26 2016 UTC  (1 child)

  1. What do you think are the benefits of differential pricing?

There are no benefits to the consumer with differential pricing, only corporations benefit.

  1. Do you have any concerns about differential pricing?

Differential pricing gives corporations greater control on what media consumers can consume and inhibits innovation and dialogue.

  1. Do these concerns outweigh the benefits and, if so, are they significant enough to justify us stepping in and regulating the practices? Or should we let the home (wireline), and mobile (wireless) service providers decide?

Yes the concerns outweigh the benefits, yes there is a justification to increased regulation.

  1. If we should step in, how should we regulate it?

Enforce section 27(2) of the Telecommunications Act.

Planner_Hammish 19 points Mon Sep 26 19:26:49 2016 UTC  (0 children)

Enforce section 27(2) of the Telecommunications Act.

27

Just and reasonable rates

(1) Every rate charged by a Canadian carrier for a telecommunications service shall be just and reasonable.

Unjust discrimination

(2) No Canadian carrier shall, in relation to the provision of a telecommunications service or the charging of a rate for it, unjustly discriminate or give an undue or unreasonable preference toward any person, including itself, or subject any person to an undue or unreasonable disadvantage.

Questions of fact

(3) The Commission may determine in any case, as a question of fact, whether a Canadian carrier has complied with this section or section 25 or 29, or with any decision made under section 24, 25, 29, 34 or 40.

Burden of proof

(4) The burden of establishing before the Commission that any discrimination is not unjust or that any preference or disadvantage is not undue or unreasonable is on the Canadian carrier that discriminates, gives the preference or subjects the person to the disadvantage.

Method

(5) In determining whether a rate is just and reasonable, the Commission may adopt any method or technique that it considers appropriate, whether based on a carrier's return on its rate base or otherwise.

Exception

(6) Notwithstanding subsections (1) and (2), a Canadian carrier may provide telecommunications services at no charge or at a reduced rate

(a) to the carrier's directors, officers, employees or former employees; or

(b) with the approval of the Commission, to any charitable organization or disadvantaged person or other person.

1993, c. 38, s. 27; 2014, c. 20, s. 239. Previous Version

DWKnight 68 points Mon Sep 26 18:52:59 2016 UTC  (0 children)

1> There are no benefits to ANYONE outside of the internet providers for differential pricing. Differential pricing is anti-competitive at the best of times given the vertically integrated nature of current internet providers. 2> Yes. It means that I get charged multiple times for the same service. 3> Price gouging by the internet providers should not be permitted 4> Ban 2 things: Differential pricing and usage based billing. Neither of which offer anything other than additional revenue streams to companies that don't actually need them.

praytocthulu 67 points Mon Sep 26 23:37:20 2016 UTC  (1 child)

Differential pricing goes against net neutrality and is inherently anti-consumer. It benefits the Telco's as well as their arranged partners but puts additional limits on consumers as well as fledgling start-ups.

CRTC should step in and remove data caps.

coifox 1 point Fri Sep 30 16:53:21 2016 UTC  (0 children)

It would be the best step to thwart these types of underhanded deals that really just proves that caps are a money grab.

amazingmrbrock 141 points Mon Sep 26 15:44:35 2016 UTC  (8 children)

I will echo the thoughts of nearly every other person who has commented. Uphold net neutrality, end data caps.

resare007 34 points Mon Sep 26 15:51:34 2016 UTC  (7 children)

I second this argument. All Internet trafic should be equal.

ISP's should not be allowed to do differential pricing.

Unlimited Monthly bandwidth ( and no ITMP allowed) should be the norm.

forsayken 13 points Mon Sep 26 17:52:36 2016 UTC  (1 child)

Yes. And don't sugarcoat it by offering us a free pass on, say, Pokemon or some music streaming service. It's dressing up the same pig in a different costume. All data should be neutral because if this starts (and continues) on phones, it'll bleed over to our regular ISPs.

Geno- 1 point Mon Sep 26 16:14:41 2016 UTC  (4 children)

There are areas where this isn't feasible ... rural communities for example. Would be nice though :(

_Ev4l 3 points Mon Sep 26 20:48:07 2016 UTC *  (2 children)
(note: offensive term(s) have been replaced by asterisks)

********. Bell provided service for years in my community, and its as rural as it gets (northern Ontario). It wasen't until smart phones became the status quo that we got data caps. You can't say that for the six years prior that they weren't making a profit or they would never offered services in the area.

Geno- 1 point Tue Sep 27 12:31:21 2016 UTC  (1 child)

Relax, bro. That's your town, there are many others who barely can receive 5mbps, some are satellite only, making internet a scare commodity. Has the speed increased in your town since then? Are more people subscribing? So many factors.

Jeremiah164 2 points Tue Sep 27 16:36:54 2016 UTC  (0 children)

Numerous grants have been given to providers to provide service to rural areas. Only really remote areas require satellite, fixed wireless is spreading nearly everywhere with speeds over 5mbps (usually 25mbps). All of this is paid for by either the federal or provincial government through grants.

Usernamewar 70 points Mon Sep 26 23:53:07 2016 UTC  (0 children)

Internet access should be like roads. We all have equal access. I know some people use the roads more than me and some make money using the roads but that is ok because I am free to do the same if I choose. This is net neutrality. The only solution to this issue is to nationalize the isp's. it might be different if there were real competition in this sector but there is not. Far too much wealth is being syphoned off the Canadian economy by the big three players and too much of the country is under serviced as a result of their profit motive.

3VP 69 points Mon Sep 26 16:17:58 2016 UTC  (5 children)

/r

Do you have any concerns about differential pricing?

It should be fairly obvious to everyone that when a corporation wants to do anything, their interest is purely profit motivated.

Watching companies like Bell Shaw buy up all of the tv channels that they have been buying, it is not that difficult to see their end game. They will eventually offer us differential pricing on their content, so we watch their advertisers. You see where this is going. Reduction in viewership for alternate content creators, or those content creators who don't pay the ISP to get on their list for differential pricing.

The CRTC's mandate should be "What is in the best interest of the Canadian people." If that was indeed the CRTC's true mandate this would not even be up for discussion; it would be tossed in the trash with the majority of ideas from the greedy predators at Bell/Rogers/Shaw/Telus.

IcarusOnReddit 2 points Mon Sep 26 19:43:25 2016 UTC  (0 children)

The CRTC's mandate should be "What is in the best interest of the Canadian people." If that was indeed the CRTC's true mandate this would not even be up for discussion; it would be tossed in the trash with the majority of ideas from the greedy predators at Bell/Rogers/Shaw/Telus.

Until the oligarchy sues saying the CRTC is acting without the support of Canadians.

RazingAll 66 points Mon Sep 26 16:42:53 2016 UTC  (0 children)

  1. Service providers have a new avenue to extract profit from their already underserved and overcharged client base. Netflix, YouTube and other video streaming services wouldn't push clients over their bandwidth limits - assuming such web services are willing to enter into a contractual agreement with a service provider, and clients are willing to pay for a "premium package".

  2. So. Many. Where to start? It makes it difficult for new internet services to get visibility as they're unlikely to get a contract with an ISP unless the ISP's subsidiaries created it it in the first place; It makes it easier for ISPs to excuse charging exorbitant rates for data that isn't "part of the package"; It makes it harder for new ISPs to enter the market because, being new, when they want to make packaging arrangements with content creators, they won't have the strong negotiating position of a company like Bell or Rogers; It will work to the detriment of free and educational content creators who won't have the bargaining power or financial means to to be included in these "premium packages"; It will impose soft restrictions on the intellectual development of Canada's hyper-connected youth, artificially limiting them to "profitable content" and provide financial disincentive to acquiring actually useful information and partaking in free and open communication; It gives the means to ISPs to limit Canadians' ability to use the Internet as a communication device in whatever way they see fit, pushing us to use the platforms that can make enough money (probably through questionable means, such as selling personal information to entities unknown to the users or the government) to pay a service provider's ransom. I could go on for days. Those are just a few of the important ones.

  3. Yes, yes, YES, a thousand, nay, a MILLION times, YES! Nevermind that most of the benefits are hardly beneficial except to a few shareholders, the long-term erosion of freedom of speech and equal opportunity could have absolutely devastating effects on Canadian culture and our youth. This kind of corporate profit-mongering at the expense of our communications MUST be stopped.

  4. Ban any kind of differentiation between 0s and 1s going through the wires. If it is data, it should cost the same as other data. There's much more to be done when it comes to regulating our out-of-control ISPs, but that is a bare minimum that MUST be done as soon as possible.

brokeahontis 68 points Tue Sep 27 01:05:27 2016 UTC  (0 children)

Uphold net neutrality.

heyhelloheyhey Ontario 62 points Mon Sep 26 16:14:07 2016 UTC *  (0 children)

It sounds like a great thing because you get to watch something (which is usually what this is used for) without worrying about data. But the negatives far outweigh the positives. As someone said earlier, it lets ISPs become the gatekeepers of the internet and it will shaft smaller companies that cannot afford to come into agreements with these ISPs. It is a very dangerous idea.

The better solution is for the CRTC to ban the caps while also banning any kind of zero-rating. This will eliminate the need for a zero-rating while still allowing customers to not worry about their data. With fiber and LTE, are data caps even really necessary anymore? You can still allow a fair use policy to prevent huge abuse.

handshape 66 points Tue Sep 27 03:20:11 2016 UTC  (1 child)

  1. Permitting differential pricing is a horrendous idea; there are effectively no benefits to consumers. Those that do exist are artificially created by data caps.

  2. My concern is that it weakens consumer choice by effectively coupling services. Given a choice between consuming from a zero-rated content provider and a content provider whose content counts toward a cap, the latter faces an artificial barrier.

  3. The benefits absolutely do not warrant the damage that the practice of zero-rating will do to the Canadian Internet carrier market. The whole concept opens the door to broad classes of abuse.

  4. Internet packets should be carried unmolested from source to destination at the transmission rate for which the consumer has paid, period. Per-route throttling, per-service throttling, reduced priority for certain classes of packets and so on should all be prohibited practices. I believe that the CRTC should be in the business of actively monitoring compliance by providers through periodic spot checks. Where providers are found to be degrading service below the rates for which consumers have paid, they should be subject to sanction.

ieatspam 7 points Wed Sep 28 02:09:51 2016 UTC  (0 children)

I agree with what is written here. Data and content need to be separated. It's like having a highway that only ford can use, so gm needs to build another. Then if I buy a newer smaller-company Canadian car I can't drive anywhere.

IntrigingPerson 62 points Mon Sep 26 17:52:09 2016 UTC *  (0 children)

1.What do you think are the benefits of differential pricing?

There isn't any. It's quite clear that prices are lower in provinces where there is competition. The only benefit is the ISP's are able to make a bigger profit.

2.Do you have any concerns about differential pricing?

It stifles competition and allows overcharging users for services that are considered necessary in the present market.

3.Do these concerns outweigh the benefits and, if so, are they significant enough to justify us stepping in and regulating the practices? Or should we let the home (wireline), and mobile (wireless) service providers decide?

They do outweigh the benefits since you have a corporation that is concerned about profits giving out a service that is extremely important for people to the point where it has become synonymous with utilities. This is a service that many people use for their livelihood but they are being charged extremely high prices for basic services.

4.If we should step in, how should we regulate it

Disallow differential pricing unless there is a very good reason it exists that has been reviewed by a committee of qualified personnel who approve the price difference for a specific area.

Additionally, allow the ability for start-ups to provide their own services without being hindered by any of the larger service providers.

simion3 65 points Mon Sep 26 20:21:25 2016 UTC *  (0 children)

1) What do you think are the benefits of differential pricing?

 

If a consumer is a heavy user of a service that is exempted from data charges, then they could potentially use a less expensive plan with a lower data cap. But it's not really a solid advantage in the long term and not that great in the short term.

 

2) Do you have any concerns about differential pricing?

 

I think this just gives ISP's more power over consumers. It feeds into major providers need to keep the market as uncompetitive as possible so they can keep prices higher. It keeps the market uncompetitive. Why should ISP's be the ones who have the power to give a service, like Netflix for instance, a competitive advantage over other services? Especially since ISP's like Rogers or Bell are motivated by their own financial self-interest and not what is best for consumers, which is a competitive market that is driven to keep prices low and quality of service high.

 

3) Do these concerns outweigh the benefits and, if so, are they significant enough to justify us stepping in and regulating the practices? Or should we let the home (wireline), and mobile (wireless) service providers decide?

 

I think the concerns outweigh the benefits enough that the CRTC needs to step in and really regulate ISP's.

 

4) If we should step in, how should we regulate it?

 

Differential pricing should just not be allowed in any form. I don't even think it's a good idea to let Rogers let Shomi be exempt from counting against data caps because that again gives them an unfair advantage against competitors like, again, Netflix for example. The CRTC and Government should be trying to create an environment that fosters fair competition. That's really the only way that it's going to give consumers a real choice at a reasonable price. Large corporations like Rogers and Bell are motivated by money before anything else and they can't be trusted to govern themselves because they have too much to gain at the expense of consumers.

Bottom line is Rogers, Bell, and Telus have too much power in the market. Differential pricing is only giving them a stronger hold over consumers.

jmlsteele 63 points Tue Sep 27 05:52:12 2016 UTC  (7 children)

As a citizen, I appreciate the CRTC is making use of forums such as Reddit in order to speak with people about this issue. Keep it up :)

Questions: We need your opinion about differential pricing: What do you think are the benefits of differential pricing?

I think the primary benefits of differential pricing are for the providers. By allowing this to happen, you would make an additional revenue stream available to them by allowing them to have agreements with content producers (Netflix, youtube etc). This could, in turn, drive business up with certain providers if they have exclusivity agreements with certain content Producers ("Sign with Bell because Netflix data doesn't count towards your monthly cap").

Do you have any concerns about differential pricing?

Yes. I'm concerned that most content producers will feel the need to sign into the above agreements in order to attract more users, and then they will pass the costs of this onto their users, which will then be paying more to receive the same service, albeit without data cap restrictions.

Do these concerns outweigh the benefits and, if so, are they significant enough to justify us stepping in and regulating the practices? Or should we let the home (wireline), and mobile (wireless) service providers decide?

I think they do, but then again, I've ALWAYS thought that home internet service, and possibly even Wireless, should be treated more like a utility. Pay a certain fee for being allowed to use the network, and then pay some rate for every byte that you use, and no more. I think the overage charges that most ISPs currently have in place are frankly ludicrous (it costs $1.50/GB to transfer above cap data, but by paying $5/month more you get an extra 100GB AND a higher base speed (in this case a 50% increase)? How does that make any sense?).

If we should step in, how should we regulate it?

Again, I personally think that broadband internet needs to be treated similarly to a utility. This will be more difficult than the other utilities where there is usually only one option (Hydro One or your municipal provider). This could simply mean abolishing unrealistic overage costs (in the above example clearly the price/GB is closer to $0.05/GB, and even less when you take into account you are also getting BETTER service and not just those additional GB). Or it could mean forcing ISP to restructure their packages entirely, but I'm not a policy maker so I'll leave that up to you.

While I realise that there is a minority of Canadians in this subreddit (subscription says just over 220k, so well under 1%), I think these are some of the people that would be most affected by the decisions made as part of this policy. I really appreciate that someone at the CRTC had the idea of coming to /r/canada to probe our thoughts, and I think it is a great indication of things to come.

Cheers :)

gonna_overreact 6 points Tue Sep 27 13:07:31 2016 UTC  (0 children)

It may seem like a benefit to a consumer who has very little disposable income. They can use all the data they want from certain sources. But then these source can manipulate what they are providing, and the consumer is stuck with those sources, since they don't have the money to use anything else.

The cornerstone of a democracy is an educated electorate. This scheme provides a way for content providers to shape public opinion and hold on to it. I do not see how this could benefit Canada as a whole.

BonerwoodSalad 2 points Thu Sep 29 14:16:03 2016 UTC  (0 children)

We shouldn't be charged for bandwidth usage period. Only for connection speeds. Data is not a finite resource.

dwild 1 point Wed Sep 28 17:34:30 2016 UTC  (4 children)

You say it should be treated as an utility, yet 1800 numbers exist and are really useful. Shouldn't the same exist over the internet?

vohk 2 points Wed Sep 28 20:44:06 2016 UTC  (2 children)

I think toll free numbers have largely become an anachronism. The marginal cost of a of airtime is essentially nil, much like that of a text message or the bandwidth required to carry a voice call. Per minute and long distance fees stopped making sense with the passing of analog networking and switchboards. The main difference is that the cost of phone service has become so low as not to generate discontent but that isn't a good justification to preserve the business model.

Most of the negative effects of 'differential pricing' (lovely euphemism that) are amplified by the increasing demand for bandwidth (and associated infrastructure investments). The sort of bandwidth required for streaming video and such is far more costly to your typical consumer and small business or startup than operating a toll free number.

dwild 1 point Wed Sep 28 21:02:59 2016 UTC  (1 child)

Are you saying toll free numbers didn't made sense in the past? I'm pretty sure I used them on public phone for fun when I was younger and I certainly did too over Skype when it came up. My used weren't essential but the concept is alright and doesn't have any downside.

Theses costs are there and will always be there. It's a constant, differential pricing or not, the cost exist and ultimately, the user will pay for it, directly or indirectly. Except if any business start to work unprofitably, someone will still pay for it.

In my minds, it would be great to see a standard price for that differential pricing bandwidth. A price that any provider will need to require and indirectly that could be the maximum any provider could charge its users (or else any service could offer a VPN over differential pricing and it would be a direct profit). No exclusivity rights, you offer differential pricing or not and a service offer differential pricing or not. The same way you can't refuse access to a service, you wouldn't be able to refuse differential pricing to any service. You support it or not, that's it, the same way toll free numbers works.

vohk 2 points Wed Sep 28 22:28:25 2016 UTC  (0 children)

Are you saying toll free numbers didn't made sense in the past?

No, I said that they no longer make sense. In the era when adding another line literally required another physical line there was an argument to be made for it. Now that everything goes digital once it hits the first hub the marginal cost is negligible and that removes most of the justification.

My used weren't essential but the concept is alright and doesn't have any downside.

It absolutely has downsides, the difference is that toll-free lines were never (or at least no longer are) expensive or important enough to seriously distort the market. The downsides just never really impacted you.

Toll-free phone lines worked in a large part because the telcos never really competed with their clients but now HD content has changed the game. Netflix spends more on bandwidth than anybody other than a telco ever spent on phone lines, toll-free or otherwise, and now the ISPs providing the connection to the consumer are attempting to compete directly (Shomi, Crave, etc) in a way that the old telcos never did.

jmlsteele 2 points Thu Sep 29 00:29:11 2016 UTC  (0 children)

I will admit, I hadn't thought about that. When I was thinking of a utility I was mostly thinking about things like electricity and water as opposed to the telephony system. I really don't consider telephony a utility, but I can see how it could be considered this way.

I do believe you have a point with the 1-800 number comparison, but it's not quite the same thing as the question being asked. The toll-free system is managed by Somos (formerly SMS/800), which is not itself a telephony provider. When a toll-free call is routed, the telephony providers have all agreed (via regulations presumably) to forward any costs of the call onto the owner of the toll-free number, instead of the consumer, and do so.

The internet version of this would be a list of IP Addresses, or more likely domains, that is maintained by an equivalent to Somos. ISPs would then be regulated to track against this list, and if the end point of the data was on the list, the ISP would then know to attribute the data transfer costs to the content provider and not the consumer.

The plan as it is being put forward would require Netflix (or whoever) to enter into agreements with every ISP and be at the mercy of them to negotiate a fair deal.

I don't think either potential solution ends up being good overall, but at least as a utility the prices would be "fair".

Disclaimer: My understanding of how the telephony system works isn't the best, but I believe this is the toll-free system works more or less (removing a few layers like RespOrgs).

Lanhdanan Canada 61 points Tue Sep 27 11:34:35 2016 UTC *  (1 child)

There is no justification for creating a price difference in using internet connection. Data is data. It uses all the same lines. The internet is far too useful to our society, country and planet to allow a 'profit only' mindset to fixate and become codified.

We've allowed our country to fall behind with regards to our internet capabilities. Only allowing a few companies to decide who and where gets a connection, and what type of connection, is limiting what we can do.

Make the internet a utility. Increase spending towards creating more infrastructure. Many many places in Canada are lacking way behind the curve. Creating a bright future for internet capabilities can be a beacon. To mention only a few; investment, immigration, universities, and existing business. Society at large can benefit from increased access, and our democracy will improve the more we can offer.

Creating tiered pricing limits our potential and stagnates progress. It over complicates the system and distracts from what we could be doing with the full range of internet connections. (Moncton NB is sitting on and wasting the potential of offering a terabyte connection. Olds Alberta have created their own internet infrastructure which is as fast as Google Fibre. Created without assistance from any internet providers.) Think bigger than simply money in pockets and consider what being able to offer true high speed to all Canadians could do.

Edit: Spelling

Rachelattack 2 points Wed Sep 28 22:57:48 2016 UTC  (0 children)

Absolutely I see the internet as a utility, very good point.

Lucz1848 64 points Tue Sep 27 15:04:52 2016 UTC *  (2 children)

1. What do you think are the benefits of differential pricing?

It provides marketing leverage to data providers.

2. Do you have any concerns about differential pricing?

Yes. Data providers should have little to no influence over what content users choose to consume with it. This is particularly insidious in a market where the providers tend to cap data, and charge a premium price for it.

3. Do these concerns outweigh the benefits and, if so, are they significant enough to justify us stepping in and regulating the practices? Or should we let the home (wireline), and mobile (wireless) service providers decide?

Yes, the concerns do outweigh the benefits, and it does justify the CRTC stepping in. The service providers should not be allowed to decide.

4. If we should step in, how should we regulate it?

I'm going to stick with mobile data for these suggestions. The CRTC should mandate the following for data providers:

  1. Establish a basic data plan that all service providers must offer. The plan should include 5 gigabytes of data, and have a price maximum of $50 per month. These numbers should be reviewed annually, to ensure the data minimum allows consumers to have reasonable access to the internet.

  2. There should be no additional charges for data overages. Throttling would be a reasonable response to overages.

  3. Set a price maximum on unlimited data plans for all providers.

Within the limits identified above, there should be plenty of ways for data providers to compete for consumers. Speed, reliability, amount of data at each price point, and so on.

In general, I reject the premise that data is exceedingly expensive to provide to consumers, and therefore, pricing, and quantity of data provided should reflect that.

Edit: Formatting.

ieGod 6 points Tue Sep 27 19:31:41 2016 UTC  (0 children)

You've basically said exactly how I feel on this. I'm going to toss in an upvote here in full support.

SadMage 2 points Fri Sep 30 23:28:32 2016 UTC  (0 children)

I think your maximum price is too high. There are many low income Canadians who would struggle to pay that. There's no reason 5gigs of data should cost anywhere near $50. $10 a month would be far more reasonable, although still somewhat excessive. It would also put mobile internet usage into a range that more lower income/disabled Canadians could access.

IntrepidusX 65 points Mon Sep 26 20:04:18 2016 UTC  (0 children)

Differential pricing flies in the face of net neutrality and will hurt Canada's ability to compete in the IT sectors.

Dwlphone 61 points Tue Sep 27 04:09:14 2016 UTC  (1 child)

Differential pricing is horrid. Imagine your utility company charges you more for using a Phillips light bulb than for using a GE light bulb. How ridiculous would that be?

I really hope there are no Horizon execs reading this.

sickofallofyou 2 points Thu Sep 29 05:31:05 2016 UTC  (0 children)

or worse, GE.

MrMiyamoto 60 points Tue Sep 27 06:59:50 2016 UTC *  (0 children)

I think the CRTC should be championing net neutrality instead of considering such backward handling of a necessary utility. I don't think that ISPs should be allowed to differentiate bits from one another any more than joules are differentiated by the power companies or droplets are differentiated by water companies.

And while we're on the subject, giving someone more bits does not cost any more than giving them less bits to the service providers, so phones and home connections should not be allowed to have their total monthly "amounts" of data capped since what really differentiates ISPs from other utilities is that the product they provide does not cost them more with volume the same way other utilities do.

You can argue about speed and network congestion, but that comes from mass simultaneous usage, not whether a user has downloaded 10GB or 7000GB that month. Just for starters unlimited data plans should have regulations in place that prevent soft caps that then lower speeds to demonstrably unusable speeds.

RainHappens 61 points Mon Sep 26 16:08:21 2016 UTC  (0 children)

What do you think are the benefits of differential pricing?

Opportunities for pre-existing internet providers to further lock-down their services.

Do you have any concerns about differential pricing?

Yes.

Specifically: one of the major appeals of the internet is the (extremely) low barrier to entry. "Differential pricing" enables locking down things such that good luck for a new player to get started - it effectively turns it into a whitelist-based service. Take a look at Netflix, for instance. You think it would have taken off if every internet provider had plans that were "X cost gives you <these> websites - oh, and because we have to you can access other websites but at XXX/GB"?

Do these concerns outweigh the benefits and, if so, are they significant enough to justify us stepping in and regulating the practices?

Given the high start-up costs and regulations that prevent free market economics from coming into play, yes, very much so. That being said: that is an implication. Personally, I think this is a band-aid patch. What should be looked at are the factors that prevent true competition. However, if we are not going to deal with said factors, then yes.

N-athan 62 points Mon Sep 26 23:13:34 2016 UTC  (0 children)

-What do you think are the benefits of differential pricing?

It will benefit the major telcoms.

-Do you have any concerns about differential pricing? Do these concerns outweigh the benefits and, if so, are they significant enough to justify us stepping in and regulating the practices? Or should we let the home (wireline), and mobile (wireless) service providers decide?

The internet has been a great equalizer. It gives voice to those who wouldn't have one otherwise. Anything that goes against complete net neutrality will stifle progress. Regardless of whether I'm loading a government website or viewing a blog my experience shouldn't differ. It's clear from current pricing issues from major telecoms they have to be regulated, we have to demand net neutrality. The only justification for stepping in however is in the name of net neutrality.

-If we should step in, how should we regulate it?

Anything that encourages net neutrality should be the focus. My generation grew up online, I'd be a very different and less informed member of society without it. No where else does a 13 year olds and a 30 year olds opinions get judged equally and on the merits of their argument, this is a hill to die on. This is bigger than porn and Netflix.

Baconfat Canada 59 points Tue Sep 27 05:43:21 2016 UTC  (0 children)

Data caps are bad for consumers. It does not matter whether we're talking about cellular data or wireline data. Since our telecom regulators have allowed for the creation of a cooperatively priced oligopoly in Canada. We the consumer need some leadership on pricing regulation. The oligopoly of a telecom industry has too much pricing power and too little competition, coupled with control over the infrastructure.

They should be able to differentiate price solely on speed. Data caps and giving free data for their own services is anti-competitive. This is made even worse by the fact that most of our huge telecoms are vertically integrated into content production, television, radio, media, telecom, Internet, and satellite. If allowed to continue we will have pricing that charges more for outside of company content (similar to the bundling for phone, internet etc, is now).

It is time the CRTC started regulating, not pandering to the oligopoly.

iLLNiSS 58 points Tue Sep 27 11:57:16 2016 UTC  (1 child)

Just like pretty well everyone here says, DO NOT allow any sort of prioritization of traffic, discount in price on types of traffic, or increases in price of types of traffic.

As it stands, almost all ISPs in Canada in one way or another are either sourcing their connections from, or are themselves media companies who have large stakes in services that have competition on the Internet.

Allowing them to offer their services at a discount creates a significant disadvantage for competing services. This is not an open internet, and it creates the ability for them to form monopolies.

SoloWing1 Alberta 2 points Thu Sep 29 02:51:41 2016 UTC  (0 children)

Also Data Limits should be made illegal as well. ISP's use it as a way to punish Cable Cutters. I have heard stories of people who use the same ISP and one of them does not have cable. Whenever they go over their monthly limit they get a call from the ISP while the person with cable is left alone when they go over the limit.

infiniteswarm 59 points Tue Sep 27 17:36:24 2016 UTC  (0 children)

Uphold net neutrality and ban data caps. Make the internet a utility, and give no special permissions to anybody. Imagine if we said that LG TV's got access to unlimited electricity, but Samsung TV's had to pay full price.

Differential pricing is absurd, and this shouldn't even be entertained. Now please do your jobs and allow more competition, and get rid of data caps once and for all.

PaulieG 58 points Mon Sep 26 23:42:28 2016 UTC  (4 children)

As a citizen of Canada, I expect to be able to browse the Internet equally well natively as well as through any of the privacy/anonymity upholding solutions such as Tor and its alternatives/successors. What you're talking about here is fundamentally incompatible with that premise, so I absolutely object to any preferential treatment for any packets for any reason. Encryption is thankfully becoming more prevalent on the web and soon enough there will be no way for the ISP to deep inspect the packets to determine the content, its type or source. I implore you not to be so short-sighted. Enforce the fullest extent of net neutrality. This is the only way to ensure the thriving freedom that the Internet was meant to foster. Set an example for the world that Canadian ISPs uphold our freedom above all else by not discriminating information based on its source, destination or content. There are too many straws on the camel's back already.

heysoundude 2 points Wed Sep 28 03:18:18 2016 UTC  (0 children)

This. Oh yes indeed, this. Especially the short-sighted comment. In a free society, ideas are permitted to be exchanged freely. We already pay too much for access to information available on the internet. Do not allow another barrier.

staticwave_ace 3 points Tue Sep 27 02:25:11 2016 UTC  (2 children)

I think traffic shaping is okay if I mark those packets for different priorities. My bulk data upload doesn't need the same priority as my VoIP call.

PaulieG 3 points Tue Sep 27 07:07:29 2016 UTC  (1 child)

Agreed. Also, emphasis well placed Implementation details aside, conceptually, I would imagine having the ability to subdivide the net connection into several virtual channels, each with configurable latency, bandwidth and other parameters. Having the ability to bind my VoIP call to a virtual channel with a max latency of x ms, min bandwidth of y Mbps, and restricted to only pass through hardware wholly located in Canada (and optionally other countries in list z) would be great, if I got to pick x, y, z.

staticwave_ace 2 points Tue Sep 27 10:08:21 2016 UTC  (0 children)

That's an awesome idea. With the coming IPv6 that should totally be possible by binding different IPs

ismelldeath 57 points Tue Sep 27 05:40:48 2016 UTC *  (2 children)

What do you think are the benefits of differential pricing?

I honestly don't think there are any that aren't severely outweighed by the downsides. Sure it's nice to save a few gigs here or there because some service is zero-rated, but for every service that is zero-rated i use 10 others that aren't. It's too much of a hassle to keep track of which ones are so I just assume none are.

Do you have any concerns about differential pricing?

ISPs use it way too much to give services they have deals with or own an unfair advantage. It's the scenario where ISPs are penalizing you for not using them or their friends. It could in theory also be used to allow larger companies to team up with isps to make it harder for new companies to enter the market, for example if Netflix were to create a contract with all isps for zero rating, plus have a clause that prevents the isps from making the same contract with other streaming services, then it would make it that much harder for a new entrant in the market.

There's also the privacy implications, ISPs should not have any say in what content I see or the speed at which it gets delivered beyond the overall speed of the package I've purchased. I don't want my isp knowing that i spend x hours a night on netflix or that I spend several hours a week on voip calls. ISPs need to be big dumb pipes and nothing more. No filtering, no priority traffic shaping, no browsing monitoring, just straight data. Every bit more also adds latency that I don't want.

Do these concerns outweigh the benefits and, if so, are they significant enough to justify us stepping in and regulating the practices? Or should we let the home (wireline), and mobile (wireless) service providers decide?

Absolutely the concerns outweigh the benefits. The average consumer doesn't understand net neutrality or zero-rating, all they care about is that if they use service A over service B then they can browse more cat pictures on their phone at the end of the month. They do this without knowing that they're being manipulated. It's a sad state when going over our data caps is a decent concern because of the associated costs. Instead I would like to see ISPs competing based on customer service, increasing or eliminating caps, improving network reliability , or decreasing prices. Customers would gladly let an ISP install adware on their pc if it would save them $5 at the end of the month, and we know that ISPs would gladly do it too (see bell trying to inject ads) so i don't trust the market in general to decide.

If we should step in, how should we regulate it?

Ban zero-rating.

Create some laws around data caps, i.e. they must increase x% each year. (obviously there needs to be some way to prevent isps from getting around this by just creating new plans and retiring the old ones each year)

Ban preferential treatment of internet traffic.

Ban isps from deep packet inspection. Anything beyond looking at the IP headers shouldn't be allowed imo.

Edit: Adding to question 1: It's also an illusion that you're not being charged for data through zero-rated services, those services sign contracts and pay the isps to be zero rated, the money for that payment comes from somewhere. In this case it's from the paying customers of the service. So all of the customers of the service are subsidizing the few customers that use the specific isp.

BrandX55 3 points Tue Sep 27 22:32:09 2016 UTC  (1 child)

  1. What do you think are the benefits of differential pricing?

The benefits are for the ISP, not the consumer. An ISP can attract users who think that they will "get a good deal" on the zero-rated content. Most users will not consider that the zero-rating has a cost to all services competing in the same sector. The ISP attracts users with perceived value, but I believe that the true value of zero-rating is quite low, in fact negative from the consumer viewpoint.

2.Do you have any concerns about differential pricing?

I can't imagine that the services offered are provided without a cost of increased surveillance. I believe that zero rating has a negative impact on competing businesses. The fact of zero rating suggests that the ISP must monitor all traffic to determine what to charge, when they should monitor none.

  1. Do these concerns outweigh the benefits and, if so, are they significant enough to justify us stepping in and regulating the practices? Or should we let the home (wireline), and mobile (wireless) service providers decide?

Yes, the concerns outweigh the benefits. We do not have enough competition in the wired or wireless providers to allow them to decide, so the government must get involved. I'm reluctant to say that, but I don't see another way.

  1. If we should step in, how should we regulate it?

No data caps, no zero rating.

MrRGnome 57 points Tue Sep 27 15:59:50 2016 UTC *  (1 child)

Until the CRTC is prepared to hold ISPs responsible for the absurd price fixing and gouging behavior they engage in this entire discussion is moot. The premise of the ISPs argument is that they want to cut costs for consumers, but all evidence is that if such were the case they could easily afford to compete with each other to reduce prices.

Thanks to the work of people like Michael Geist Canadians have a very fair understanding of what "overage fees" for example actually cost ISPs (a conservative estimate being eight cents per gigabyte for major ISPs after accounting for all the new expansions), meaning overage fees have a profit margin not dissimilar to that placed on popcorn at movie theaters, with at least hundreds of percent mark up. Suggesting that we must violate equal and fair access to the web so that consumers can get a better price is a manipulative argument designed to put additional dollars in our telecoms pockets. If telecoms genuinely wish to reduce prices their service costs would begin to reflect the actual cost of providing the service as they compete with each other. Thanks to the gross neglect of the CRTC in stopping anti-competitive behavior and entertaining absurd concepts such as the one you've brought to reddit today these telecom companies continue to make the Canadian telecom landscape one of the least consumer friendly in the world.

Please, Canadians need you to get tough on the industry. If you can't do that what do we need the CRTC for? If you continue acting the way you have for the last several decades you exist solely for the function of placating angry telecom customers and handing individual cases - which may create the illusion of consumer protection and consultation but isn't at all. You shouldn't be bringing issues like this to a public forum, you should innately understand that the argument put forth by the telecoms to violate net neutrality is simply going to pad their own pockets further through their new relationships with the companies they provide preferred web access to. I don't want to see you here talking about an issue which should be open and shut, I want to read headlines saying you're investigating every major telecom in Canada for anti-competitive practices.

escspoof 6 points Tue Sep 27 18:26:52 2016 UTC  (0 children)

I agree. This should be open and shut, I don't understand why the CRTC is entertaining the big telcos with these discussions. I would love to see the CRTC do some more investigation into the price gauging and anti-competitive practices instead of trying to figure out what the benefits/concerns are of differential pricing...

ajadedman 55 points Tue Sep 27 02:44:02 2016 UTC  (0 children)

It appears the overwhelming majority of posts are against the idea of differential pricing. I, personally, am also against differential pricing. I doubt I can contribute anything new that hasn't already been stated here, other than add my voice to those opposing zero-rating.

  1. There are no benefits for to differential pricing for consumers that could not be achieved by simply removing data caps entirely.

  2. Differential pricing only serves to allow ISPs the ability to corral customers into usage that serves or promotes the ISPs bottom line. It also gives ISPs a new tool to limit competition and derive additional revenue from any organisation looking to do business online with customers of the ISP.

  3. These concerns absolutely outweigh any perceived benefit and needs to be prohibited.

  4. My opinion is that internet plans should only be allowed to be sold based on speed. Data limits should be prohibited entirely, effectively zero-rating all data.

szar_ez_a 117 points Mon Sep 26 16:13:46 2016 UTC  (2 children)

Uphold net neutrality. End data caps.

largelies 3 points Tue Sep 27 18:52:04 2016 UTC  (0 children)

Perfectly said.

CasualDips 2 points Wed Sep 28 19:40:19 2016 UTC  (0 children)

This is exactly what we need.

DamagedFreight 55 points Tue Sep 27 20:17:55 2016 UTC  (1 child)

What do you think are the benefits of differential pricing?

  • Providers can harden their monopolies by locking customers into the services they choose or already own (ie. Bell can make sure you get Bell TV for free while Netflix/YouTube traffic will cost you more)
  • There are no consumer benefits except for a few families who already only use services that those corporations own for watching video content (ie. Telus Optic TV).

Do you have any concerns about differential pricing?

  • Data caps already do this and should be removed. Differential pricing should be renamed to "preferential pricing" because that's what it is.
  • I don't want my provider to choose what services I consume
  • How will this affect me while I use my Internet connection for work full time. Are they going to give me a deal for exchanging data with my employer's network? I doubt it. I'll get charged a premium because my employer won't have deals with providers to reduce the cost of my traffic.

Do these concerns outweigh the benefits and, if so, are they significant enough to justify us stepping in and regulating the practices? Or should we let the home (wireline), and mobile (wireless) service providers decide?

  • No. What services people use on the Internet is none of anyone's business.
  • Creating an environment where some large corporation that either owns or makes a deal with another is going to limit innovation, stifle competition and society as a whole will suffer both intellectually and morally as a result.

If we should step in, how should we regulate it?*

  • Do Not regulate what customer's connect to and how it affects their bill
  • Do regulate how much providers charge vs. the speed of the connection
  • Do work to remove data caps on users so that the Internet is a competitive place and Television providers cannot tax users if they choose to use the Internet to consume media.
  • Do enforce complete net-neutrality
  • Do encourage innovation, invention and unfiltered Internet access

Freakin_Fresh 2 points Thu Sep 29 19:31:06 2016 UTC  (0 children)

I couldn't agree more. The Internet is a fantastic thing a we shouldn't hinder it.

yyz_gringo Ontario 54 points Mon Sep 26 18:09:59 2016 UTC  (0 children)

  1. Benefits: none for consumers (even when you get cheaper data for some content you pay through your nose in other ways, from reduced variety of content to lack of connectivity options). However there are huge benefits for the companies, which can promote their own content and make a ton of money.

  2. Concerns: reduce variety of content by pushing creators not affiliated with the companies (providers) out of business; increase the cost of accessing non-promoted content for everyone; create "prisons" of content where consumers are chained to one provider by fear of losing data privileges to some content; and so forth.

  3. Yes, the concerns beat the benefits handily. The businesses should not be allowed to "regulate themselves".

  4. The providers should be classed as utilities, the service providing part separated from the content building business, and forced to open the infrastructure to competition.

AnotherDriver Québec 109 points Mon Sep 26 15:01:45 2016 UTC (gilded) (6 children)

Thank you for taking the time to consult here on this medium. It should definitely provide you with more fringe opinions rather than the regular discourse. I have studied economics and currently work in economic research.

That being said, I wrote a paper on the regulatory framework of telecommunications in Canada with emphasis on the CRTC and Industry Canada (now called Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada). While researching mobile cellular (phone and data service) historical pricing, the trend appeared to show oligopolistic price leadership between the service providers in Canada. To clarify, price leadership is a form of implied but not stated collusion to achieve monopoly like conditions. That is not to say that our providers are colluding, simply that their pricing schemes followed a price leader in each respective province.

This segues to my current observations regarding internet data plans. While mobile service had clear pricing structures with comparable quality/quantity allowing for easy parallels between providers, the same could not be said for internet data pricing. Data plans are structured in a way to make comparison very difficult between providers. The latter make use of bundles, promotional pricing for set time limits (ie: 12 months @ x $) and slight alterations to speed and data caps to make it appear that they offer competitive pricing vs. their competition. However, for the average consumer shopping for internet, the task of learning and parsing through the various options can prove to be an insurmountable task. I would argue that pricing structures should adhere to a common standard. In other words, offer clear and simple options for consumers to choose.

The market has been unwilling to foster a competitive environment in the telecommunications sector. The regulatory framework must account for these inefficiencies and start regulating data as a public good. I have yet to see an alternative that provides more benefits for consumers as a whole.

This all ties into the debate on zero-rating and net neutrality. From an economics standpoint, the creation of artificial scarcity by choosing who will be the winners and losers of service throughput is abhorrent. It creates further confusion from a pricing standpoint and questionably perpetuates the practice of capping data. Data is data, price discrimination is unfair for Canadians.

SilentIntrusion 1 point Wed Sep 28 21:04:28 2016 UTC  (2 children)

I'd really like to read your paper. This is an issue I've been looking into lately and wasn't sure where to really begin past following the pricing schemes as they change as a symptom of collusion.

wanmoar Canada 1 point Wed Sep 28 22:21:45 2016 UTC  (1 child)

AnotherDriver Québec 1 point Thu Sep 29 01:57:50 2016 UTC  (0 children)

Sadly not, the IEDM went much further than I did on this subject. I will abstain from posting the paper on Reddit for the time being, I would prefer to keep this account separate from my professional life!

rehabilitated_4chanr 1 point Wed Sep 28 21:53:22 2016 UTC  (0 children)

/endthread

Kirshy81 1 point Fri Sep 30 21:07:00 2016 UTC  (0 children)

Maybe you should be working at the CRTC.

E399vg4z Alberta 52 points Mon Sep 26 19:31:29 2016 UTC *  (2 children)

What do you think are the benefits of differential pricing?

The benefits of differential pricing is that companies or developers who want to encourage or accelerate the adoption of a service or product can reduce the end users cost to use that service or product on the internet. E.g. a large social media site may pay for the users data on their app, thus encouraging the user to watch videos on that platform.

Do you have any concerns about differential pricing?

I think that differential pricing will make the internet in Canada become a pay-to-play environment. If I were to create a great new social media site that is heavily based in VR and video lets say, but I, as the developer cannot afford to pay the data cost for all the users I am hoping to attract, those users will not stay, or will go to another similar offering (of perhaps lesser quality) that will allow them access it for free.

Any ISP, whether wired or wireless do not have the consumer in mind when offering things for free. They are a business, looking to make a profit. If a ISP is offering free data access to a selected app it is because the ISP is being compensated another way. Wireless data may be free for 'that' app because the developer is paying for the users data to encourage it's use and adoption. A wired ISP may offer no data consumption charges for its video streaming service if you subscribe to it, but will activity promote the fact that if you use the 'other' video streaming service you might get hit with an overage data fee. It is not in my best interest as a consumer to be told what internet services I can use for free, and what ones I might have to pay extra for to use.

Do these concerns outweigh the benefits and, if so, are they significant enough to justify us stepping in and regulating the practices? Or should we let the home (wireline), and mobile (wireless) service providers decide?

My concern is that differential pricing will just increase the cost of internet in Canada and unfairly influence consumers. Either I as the consumer am paying more for my internet service with overage fees or increased service costs, or I as a developer am now paying the ISP to allow the end user to access my server for free. Differential pricing will drown out competition and promote access to the services the ISP deems in their best intrests.

Yes, Canadian consumers need protection from being taken advantage of in an age where the internet is not a essential service, but a required one, and where competition is very low and the current ISP's have shown time and time again that they are anti-competitive and want to keep the strangle hold on their consumers. The CRTC forbid differential pricing.

If we should step in, how should we regulate it?

The CRTC should

*Set a minimum level of internet access that all consumers can access for a set maximum cost that is not subsidized by the Canadian Government and free of usage limits. (E.g. 5Mbps internet access for $15/month with no data cap)

*Stipulate that plans above the minimum level of internet access, overage fees are capped per month, or access speeds are reduced to the minimum level of internet access at no additional cost.

*Forbid the use of paying for preferential access to partner services by the ISP. (E.g. Using the ISP video streaming service that does not count against the monthly data usage)

Edit:Formatting

Navi_Here 5 points Thu Sep 29 00:17:51 2016 UTC  (0 children)

It is not in my best interest as a consumer to be told what internet services I can use for free, and what ones I might have to pay extra for to use.

Could we like, bold this point. There is no benefit if we start hacking the internet into sections and potentially blacklisting sites based on which ISP you use.

As it stands now, there is no confidence that current ISPs will place consumer interest first.

Staticn0ise Alberta 3 points Tue Sep 27 08:25:15 2016 UTC  (0 children)

Dont forget that our shady isp will likely lower data caps if this comes into play.

Zakizdaman 55 points Mon Sep 26 22:44:02 2016 UTC  (0 children)

How about: Remove data caps, keep the plans the same.

Now that they've given us data caps for 2 years and have been giving it to us on our cellphones for as long as they've existed, we the consumers now feel like data caps are a normal thing, and are perfectly okay when they're not.

Guys come on, they changed everything to make it worse and now they're trying to make it seem like it's okay and are making it "a little bit better" for some people. What a load

Staticn0ise Alberta 53 points Tue Sep 27 09:18:56 2016 UTC *  (5 children)

  1. There are no real benefits over our current system. In fact this would allow our ISP's to lower data caps and tell us to just use the free sites more.

  2. I have a great many concerns regarding this issue.

a) As stated above I belive that our ISP's would lower our data caps and tell us to go to their free sites, that I also belive that they would own (shomi, craveTv) thus killing a competitive market in Canada.

b) Our ISp's would profiteer off of this like crazy only partnering with large companies that could afford it such as Facebook, google, ect.. This is a huge issue as it would kill any startup and some small businesses in Canada making us a very hostile and closed space to new businesses allowing for monopolies. (Not that the CRTC seems to take any issue with monopolies based on how they allow our telecommunication companies to walk all over the Canadian people.)

c) This kills net neutrality and in some ways freedom of speach in Canada and allows corporations to dictate what you get to see and for how long you get to see it. If you don't agree with their political or social view points then fully expect to suffer for it. Can you really imagine a internet where liberal media is free but conservative media is not, that could fully happen under this system. (this is an example it could easily go the other way)

d) Privacy. The ISP's will now need to monitor my web traffic even more than they already do to see what is free and what isn't. They will use this to target select groups and sell this information to third parties. But I already suspect that they do this.

4.If you are going to actually do your job then this needs to be shut down and never given a second thought. You need to protect the citizens of this glorious country from the predators that are our ISP's. The best solution to the problem that the ISP's have created to raise data caps or even better yet ELIMINATE DATA CAPS, and tell the ISP's and Telecommunication industry to set some reasonable prices for goodness sake.

We live in one of the worst countries in the world for Cellular and internet prices vs. service. We actually need this to find jobs, and do our jobs. We need it to do our school work, to live in the modern era. The government needs us working and educated to create the taxes that are needed to run this country. I just fail to see how a government agency like the CRTC fails the people so constantly. Did no one there pay attention to the USA and the FTC when that all went down last year?! How can you even be considering this?

TLDR: THIS IS A TERRIBLE IDEA AND NEEDS TO BE SHUT DOWN IMMEDIATELY!

Edit: if you agree with this please don't just upvote. We need comments. If you don't have time to leave your own thoughts just copy and paste this or someone else's that represents your feelings. Just make sure to leave a disclaimer at the end stating that you did so.

too_clever_username Ontario 4 points Tue Sep 27 20:35:01 2016 UTC  (2 children)

where liberal media is free but conservative media is not

*looks at our taxpayer-funded "news" service*

I got news for you.

Staticn0ise Alberta 2 points Tue Sep 27 20:45:32 2016 UTC  (1 child)

Hey its just an example that can be applied to any social or political agenda.

too_clever_username Ontario 4 points Tue Sep 27 20:54:51 2016 UTC  (0 children)

Oh, I agree that it would happen. I can certainly see large media companies paying for their news service to be "free" with an agreement with the ISP, making engaging with alternative news sources more expensive.

Personn 1 point Thu Sep 29 02:03:29 2016 UTC  (0 children)

There are no real benefits over our current system. In fact, this would allow our ISP's to lower data caps and tell us to just use the free sites more. I have a great many concerns regarding this issue.

a) As stated above I belive, that our ISP's would lower our data caps and tell us to go to their free sites, that I also belive that they would own (shomi, craveTv) thus killing a competitive market in Canada.

b) Our ISp's would profiteer off of this like crazy only partnering with large companies that could afford it such as Facebook, google, ect.. This is a huge issue as it would kill any startup and some small businesses in Canada making us a very hostile and closed space to new businesses allowing for monopolies. (Not that the CRTC seems to take any issue with monopolies based on how they allow our telecommunication companies to walk all over the Canadian people.)

c) This kills net neutrality and in some ways freedom of speach in Canada and allows corporations to dictate what you get to see and for how long you get to see it. If you don't agree with their political or social view points then fully expect to suffer for it. Can you really imagine a internet where liberal media is free but conservative media is not, that could fully happen under this system. (this is an example it could easily go the other way)

d) Privacy. The ISP's will now need to monitor my web traffic even more than they already do to see what is free and what isn't. They will use this to target select groups and sell this information to third parties. But I already suspect that they do this.

4.If you are going to actually do your job then this needs to be shut down and never given a second thought. You need to protect the citizens of this glorious country from the predators that are our ISP's. The best solution to the problem that the ISP's have created to raise data caps or even better yet ELIMINATE DATA CAPS, and tell the ISP's and Telecommunication industry to set some reasonable prices for goodness sake.

We live in one of the worst countries in the world for Cellular and internet prices vs. service. We actually need this to find jobs, and do our jobs. We need it to do our school work, to live in the modern era. The government needs us working and educated to create the taxes that are needed to run this country. I just fail to see how a government agency like the CRTC fails the people so constantly. Did no one there pay attention to the USA and the FTC when that all went down last year?! How can you even be considering this?

TLDR: THIS IS A TERRIBLE IDEA AND NEEDS TO BE SHUT DOWN IMMEDIATELY!

Edit: if you agree with this please don't just upvote. We need comments. If you don't have time to leave your own thoughts just copy and paste this or someone else's that represents your feelings. Just make sure to leave a disclaimer at the end stating that you did so.

well put!

Challak 1 point Thu Sep 29 22:01:19 2016 UTC  (0 children)

Very well said, and frighteningly accurate.

Rezrov_ 52 points Tue Sep 27 18:18:13 2016 UTC  (0 children)

Canada already has some of the worst ISPs on the planet. You at the CRTC know as well as we do that data (bandwidth) costs ISPs *effectively nothing, yet we're charged an absurd rate per gigabyte.

Differential pricing would further ISPs goals of keeping bandwidth prohibitively expensive while also pushing their "bandwidth exempt" services.

Differential pricing is the antithesis of the free market and net neutrality, and would allow large monopolistic ISPs to control the content of the internet.

randomkidlol 51 points Mon Sep 26 19:58:09 2016 UTC  (0 children)

This entire discussion has already happened in the states with the FCC. It is objectively a terrible idea for the people of Canada and it only benefits service providers.

darren700 50 points Tue Sep 27 16:22:17 2016 UTC  (0 children)

  1. There are no benifits other than those for the ISP. the customers lose out with differential pricing. This whole idea needs to be scrapped!
  2. Yes I have many concerns, it will eliminate net neutrality and make it even more unfair for the customer. We need to eliminate Data caps, not divide them into sections based on content provider.
  3. There are no benefits for the average Canadian, only for the ISP company.
  4. Internet should be treated as a utility without any usage caps. Net neutrality should be the first and foremost concern.

Also there needs to be more competition for ISP's. there is too much of a monopoly right now. I live in a rural area 5 minutes out of the city, I only have the option of 2 ISP's, which offer identical pricing. I am forced to use Wavedirect as my ISP who charge $100 a month for 10mpbs down and 1mbps up with a 175gb Usage cap.

In Windsor only 5 minutes away I can get 60mbps down and 10mpbs up with NO CAP for only $44. How is it fair I am charged more than double and giving a cap just because I am 5 minutes outside the city?

Raging_Dragon 49 points Tue Sep 27 16:26:40 2016 UTC  (1 child)

What do you think are the benefits of differential pricing?

I think it's a scam to gouge the consumer, and any potential benefit is outweighed by massive drawbacks.

Do you have any concerns about differential pricing?

It is blatant disregard for net-neutrality which is important to me. The already arbitrary data caps will be used to dissuade consumers from using their competitors platforms. I want to lease access to the internet as a service and do not want the utility provider to have any influence over which content I consume with that access.

Do these concerns outweigh the benefits and, if so, are they significant enough to justify us stepping in and regulating the practices? Or should we let the home (wireline), and mobile (wireless) service providers decide?

Differential pricing goes against the principles under which the internet was built. The ISPs do not contribute in a meaningful way and simply want to force their way into a new market. The CRTC should step in to prevent this from happening.

If we should step in, how should we regulate it?

The CRTC should enforce net-neutrality and make "differential pricing" illegal.

ProudNortherner British Columbia 6 points Wed Sep 28 19:04:58 2016 UTC  (0 children)

While they're at it they should scrap data caps entirely for both home and mobile. It's a scam. I had better internet service ten years ago ffs.

PhreakedCanuck Ontario 152 points Mon Sep 26 15:27:51 2016 UTC  (1 child)

What do you think are the benefits of differential pricing?

None what so ever

Do you have any concerns about differential pricing?

I only have the choice of one highspeed internet provider, this means that i would be forced to watch what they want me to watch, or by what agreements they made, without incurring charges.

This is why i dropped cable.

This allows ISPs to be gate keepers of internet content and allows them to extort content providers.

Hey NETFLIX you want zero rating well you need to pay us, you dont want to, oh well it looks like your bandwidth is now capped much lower than this other service which does pay us

We have already seen this happen in the USA with Netflix and Comcast.

Do these concerns outweigh the benefits

Absolutely, there is no benefit to the consumer, there is only less choice.

are they significant enough to justify us stepping in and regulating the practices?

Yes, outlawed 100%, do not allow at all. And along with that practice ban data caps which are about a money grab, not network congestion mitigation in wireline services.

If we should step in, how should we regulate it?

Ban the practice and put in place fines up to the ENTIRE gross profit the company made that year if they break it. Also make the CEO's personally responsible for it so that they are fined 2-3x their annual compensation.

The above may be a slight exaggeration but if the company, and especially the CEOs, feels no pain they just build it into the cost of doing business.

V471 40 points Mon Sep 26 17:19:34 2016 UTC  (0 children)
(note: offensive term(s) have been replaced by asterisks)

And along with that practice ban data caps which are about a money grab, not network congestion mitigation in wireline services.

THIS 100%

I used to work for Bell and I can tell you what the congestion is; too many households set up on the same neighborhood hub(whatever they're called), and not improving services until enough people switch providers.

We had one guy call in because his internet speeds were 0.5Mb/dl and he was paying for 15mb/dl. So I called my advanced support who told me there were about 50 households plugged into one hub that was suitable for 20, meaning everyone in that neighbourhood was receiving terrible speeds.

Their solution? Send the guy a new modem so that he thinks his speeds are faster. A ******* placebo.

In another case a women wanted Highspeed because her neighbours have it, but she only has dial-up. I was told we wouldn't run the lines to her house because as long as she was paying the same price anyway there was no increase in revenue and thus no incentive to provide her with decent service.

Why are these kinds of practices not illegal, where customers either pay for terrible service, or pay to get good service that's simply not given to them?

stewer69 50 points Tue Sep 27 11:57:08 2016 UTC  (1 child)

sounds to me like a violation of net neutrality. besides, data caps are artificially imposed by carriers in an attempt improve profits, which are high enough. internet should be made to be as cheap and unlimited as possible, as a means of encouraging both small scale economic and cultural growth.

zampson Saskatchewan 3 points Tue Sep 27 14:11:32 2016 UTC  (0 children)

I agree wholeheartedly. I have no cap on my copper service in my house, why cap my wireless that works basically the same, and often poorer? With the advancement in the speed of wireless signals and fiber, the only reason for a data cap is to make more money.

TritonM 105 points Mon Sep 26 16:33:36 2016 UTC  (3 children)

This is just a horrible idea all together. End data caps, uphold net neutrality. And since someone is finally listening, how about you work on why Canadians pay ~100 dollars a month for a cell phone, unless of course you work for the government..

V471 18 points Mon Sep 26 17:12:16 2016 UTC  (2 children)

I pay $115/month for 6G on my cellphone. I can cut that price to $100/month if I go down to 1G, but would then pay a ton in overdata usages charges.

lederwrangler 18 points Mon Sep 26 19:39:30 2016 UTC *  (0 children)

I'm currently visiting Europe for September and spent 15 EU on a German PAYG cellphone sim card that's comparable to my $100/mo cell plan back home. Canada's cell prices are beyond absurd.

rydare Alberta 106 points Mon Sep 26 16:54:59 2016 UTC  (0 children)

What do you think are the benefits of differential pricing?

None at all, just more price gouging by the big three.

Do you have any concerns about differential pricing?

Yes, it heavily favours incumbents and prevents upstarts from reaching consumers until they can bribe the telecom companies. They already make enough profit from gouging us, why do they need the extra revenue from bribes?

Do these concerns outweigh the benefits and, if so, are they significant enough to justify us stepping in and regulating the practices? Or should we let the home (wireline), and mobile (wireless) service providers decide?

Absolutely step in. Uphold Net Neutrality rules and end data caps. Customers should pay for speed, not for amount. Data scarcity is just a profiteering scheme by telecom companies.

If we should step in, how should we regulate it?

Again, end data caps and uphold net neutrality. Crack down on "zero-rating" and end data caps.

Also, you guys should force the big three to lease their towers to MVNOs at a standardized rate so we actually get competition instead of being gouged like we are right now. Compare our market to Europe and see just how much Canadians are getting ripped off.

nanaimo 50 points Tue Sep 27 02:53:18 2016 UTC  (0 children)

Short and sweet: totally against differential pricing.

drewfx 48 points Tue Sep 27 05:36:54 2016 UTC  (1 child)

The public owns the airwaves and the bandwidth as far as I'm concerned. I also believe that it is the role of the CRTC to manage these shared resources responsibly on behalf of the public.

  1. Does this have a benefit? In the short term yes. So does feeding your child large amounts of candy. But as we know to keep our society and the child healthy we need to look at the long term reality of this proposed system. The short answer is no, this policy will create more harm then good for the public.

  2. My concerns are that if the telecommunication companies are allowed to give preferential treatment and costing towards certain bandwidths/data types, it starts applying pressure on what the public has access to. This should not be the role of the people who manage the internet lines. This should be decided by the public , or policy, not corporations. This is a slippery slope and I the consequences are massive.

  3. Yes I believe this requires intervention from the CRTC to stop or prevent this type of activity. This isn't about YouTube or Spotify or watching hockey, I believe this is about how our democracy operates. Communication and free access to information is the cornerstone of democracy and when companies get to decide what information the public should access we historically get censorship.

  4. I believe that a simple rule as you cannot discriminate, specify, encourage or discourage certain types of data or its connections as a telecommunication provider. The provider negotiates with the customer a set rate, for certain data limits, how and who that data is used by the customer is of no consequence to the provider unless instructed to do so by law.

ohzopant 2 points Tue Sep 27 18:32:39 2016 UTC  (0 children)

The public owns the airwaves and the bandwidth as far as I'm concerned. I also believe that it is the role of the CRTC to manage these shared resources responsibly on behalf of the public.

You make some good points, but you should know that the CRTC is looking into this for all internet services and modes of access, as far as I understand it; cable/DSL included, so it's not exclusively a matter of airwaves.

seriouspretender 48 points Tue Sep 27 15:45:56 2016 UTC  (0 children)
(note: offensive term(s) have been replaced by asterisks)

Net neutrality MUST be maintained.

The big three ISPs hamper innovation with data caps and usage throttling on both mobile and home services. Canadians only pay as much as we do because we have no other choice. I guarantee if there were other cheaper options that offer the same level of service (Like Beanfield in Toronto) EVERYONE would abandon bell rogers and shaw that same day. Canada needs to encourage innovation and become a leader in what's now becoming the information revolution.

Basically I'm against anything that makes it easier for the big 3 to **** us, since that's all they do.

BobbyCondarco 49 points Tue Sep 27 18:41:39 2016 UTC  (0 children)

I am very concerned by differential pricing. It benefits the vertically integrated incumbents that not only sell Internet access but also produce content. And it works against independent content providers.

It also speaks volumes about the bandwidth caps that the same incumbents say are necessary. The impact is the locking out of newcomers or market disrupters unless they make a deal with the incumbents. I fail to see how consumers benefit from such an arrangement. The negatives outweigh the positives, especially if you look to the long term. In the long term choice goes down and pricing goes up.

This also goes against Net neutrality principles and I am irked that the Crtc is going against net neutrality.

Do your job as a steward for Canadians by prohibiting this practice and enact regulation that will benefit citizens and not corporations. We have had several waves of consolidation in the industry and as for choice we essentially have a small number of companies controlling the media and now the Internet in Canada.

What is needed to foster innovation and speed up Canada's digital transformation is uncapped, affordable, reliable Internet access for all. We are very far from that ideal state.

Yes, please intervene, and please regulate the vertically integrated incumbents. Maybe then, we Canadians will cease to be the laughingstock of the world with the exorbitant prices we pay for Internet access.

Protecting a business model should not trump protecting citizens, particularly citizens of limited financial means.

Trucidar 101 points Mon Sep 26 16:22:12 2016 UTC *  (2 children)

Differential pricing is intolerable because these companies will zero rate their own inferior products, like shomi in an attempt to drive out competition like Netflix. When Netflix is gone, they will gouge the prices. Internet and television and mobile are all hundreds of dollars a month, yet Shomi and the like are all dirt cheap thanks to the competition set by netflix. Once external players are driven out of the market, our telecoms will simply do as they always do and collude to grossly inflate prices. Just look at how costs vary throughout the country depending on whether a publicly owned competitor exists.

Instead of offering value, or a superior product, our telecoms will drive out competition through differential pricing. This might be OK if we had alternatives, but even massive metropolitan areas exist under dual monopolies. You have two choices for Internet and if they are both implementing harsh, unnecessary data caps you are out of luck. Mobile data should follow the rules of net neutrality, just as internet should.

Quantos 9 points Mon Sep 26 17:06:47 2016 UTC  (0 children)

Hear hear. This is definitely a long term issue. It's obvious that at equal cost to the consumer and a similar offering, the consumer will opt for the service without an impact on their data usage. That's great in the short term, but will in the long term prevent external players from entering the market. This then becomes the good old story where there no incentive to improve services exists for the incumbents, and the consumer is penalized.

phrotozoa 4 points Tue Sep 27 00:20:57 2016 UTC  (0 children)

Even if they don't drive out competitors they could be forced into partnerships with ISP's in order to get free data for their services and then pass the cost of the partnership on to the consumer so we wind up paying for it anyway.

mightygecko 49 points Mon Sep 26 21:41:12 2016 UTC *  (2 children)

  • What do you think are the benefits of differential pricing?
    • From a consumer standpoint there are none, this only benefits the service providers pushing their proprietary services and discourages/prevents innovation and competition in the market.
  • Do you have any concerns about differential pricing?
    • Many, as 100% of the feedback here confirms this is a violation of Net Neutrality to start. It is a anti-consumer practice to force/push them towards service provider services they may not want in a open market. This also serves to effectively block any new services from being introduced into the market as they will have to compete unfairly with the service providers offerings. There is no legitimate justification for this to become a practice other then to further cement the oligarchy of ISPs we have today.
  • Do these concerns outweigh the benefits and, if so, are they significant enough to justify us stepping in and regulating the practices? Or should we let the home (wireline), and mobile (wireless) service providers decide?
    • CRTC should absolutely step in and ban this practice.
  • If we should step in, how should we regulate it?

EDIT: Cleaned up for readability.

pygmy 1 point Wed Sep 28 21:41:49 2016 UTC  (1 child)

Lovely, succinct & agree completely. Any chance of some paragraphs / dot points?

mightygecko 2 points Wed Sep 28 22:23:40 2016 UTC  (0 children)

You got it! Thanks for reading :)

thedangler 47 points Tue Sep 27 03:07:04 2016 UTC  (2 children)

No this is a terrible idea!!!! Next thing you know Rogers will start only allowing you to download music from certain providers for cheaper rates. Internet should not be capped at all, end of story.

Did any of the higher up executives at CRTC work for bell and rogers at some point?

NotSoLoneWolf Canada 3 points Tue Sep 27 04:57:44 2016 UTC  (0 children)

Until recently, when the leadership was cleaned out. Now we're getting awesome stuff like this public consultation.

grbvmw 1 point Wed Sep 28 21:00:33 2016 UTC  (0 children)

Almost all of the CRTC top brass is ex-bell/rogers/cogeco/telus.

QaaQer 48 points Tue Sep 27 16:13:31 2016 UTC  (2 children)

The fact that the means of transmission are in the hands of a few giant corporations is bad for Canada. We lag behind most first world nations and pay high prices. Oligopolies should be destroyed and internet treated like other utilities, e.g. electricity and water.

damnedangel 2 points Wed Sep 28 20:27:04 2016 UTC  (1 child)

You realize that a lot of cities have privatized their utilities. And almost none of it has been good for Comsumers. This is exactly why MTS is about to be purchased by Bell .

Coincidentally, MTS was the end result of the Manitoba Government purchase of Bell's Manitoba operations in 1908.

QaaQer 1 point Thu Sep 29 18:55:39 2016 UTC  (0 children)

I was thinking along the lines of electricity, water, sewage, and gas; i.e., things where competion is impossible because you cannot have multiple lines going to a house. In these cases, govt run or extreme transparent regulations are the only answers. The telephone system is different because of wirelesss alternatives.

ReAn1985 95 points Mon Sep 26 18:52:37 2016 UTC *  (1 child)

I'm on my phone so I will be brief.

Zero-rating or whatever other name it goes by is textbook anti-competative behavior. , The ISPs are using their market power in one sector (internet delivery) to give them an unfair advantage in another (entertainment / news / media / telephony).

This would be similar to google fibre charging for emails unless sent from Gmail.

This practice let's them influence customers to push out the competition, imposing a "tax" on their competitors.

Data caps are really the big issue here. The way they are applied is anti-consumer. A music stream has a relatively small impact on a network. 0.016MBps for a 128kbit stream roughly. However this amounts to about 41 gb of data. On a phone plan the telcos would have us belive that costs them $1000s of dollars that they need to extort out of our pockets.

Big data centers charge less than a dollar for this kind of bandwidth.

Edit: I would like to add that this notion that the telcos aren't charging a premium for other services but "zero-rating" Thiers is hogwash.

That's like saying I'm not stealing from you, in just NOT stealing from everyone else. It doesn't change the fact that there's an implicit cost to competitors services that you have imposed.


Now that I am at a computer I'll play your question game:

What do you think are the benefits of differential pricing?

The benefit is: There will be a small portion of the internet we're not getting double dipped on.

Do you have any concerns about differential pricing?

By making the "cheap lane" controlled entirely by the entities that stand to make the most money this is a recipe for predatory anti-competitive behavior. The people making the rules have every incentive to abuse them and the consumers have nowhere to turn other than not participating in the internet (which isn't really an option these days).

The internet changes rapidly and what's considered essential usage changes based on consumer trends, how companies choose to do business, by letting ISPs be the gatekeeper you're setting up 2-3 companies around the country to control user behavior.

As stated above this is a textbook anti-competitive example, the ISPs are using their influence & market in one sector (delivery/access to the internet) to gain an unfair advantage in many other sectors. (Media & Entertainment, Email, Messaging, Telephony, Etc...)

Do these concerns outweigh the benefits and, if so, are they significant enough to justify us stepping in and regulating the practices? Or should we let the home (wireline), and mobile (wireless) service providers decide?

Absolutely, these are HUGE concerns with very little benefit to the consumer. It's not really a gain because it's a patch to a problem that the telcos created. Data caps aren't being fairly or honestly applied in this situation. The fundamental dissonance between bandwidth and usage is at odds here. They want pay-for-use billing, except if you're conservative... because they feel that no matter how little service you use they deserve exceedingly high flat rate fees. A granny who only emails and looks up chesterfields on the internet should only be getting charged $5-10 (at most) for the complete pittance of usage they use.

If we should step in, how should we regulate it?

Refocus your attention to data caps, they're dishonest and the root of this problem. Zero-Rating is a pretty colored bandaid to the gaping wound data cap policies have introduced. They're meant to distract the consumer into thinking they're getting a better service instead they're just selectively sucking less where i can make them more money.

Data caps are also stupid because they claim it's about reducing congestion, congestion isn't measured by total cars (bytes), it's measured by cars at once (bytes/sec). This is why big datacenters use 95th percentile to bill their customers. This is because their customers only cause a congestion problem when they've saturated 95% of their pipe (low bandwith spikes over 95% for very small breif periods too, but when you're consistently there, that's the problem). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burstable_billing

This is also evident by the fact that if I'm willing to voluntarily pay $5/$10/$30 more (depending on the service) they'll often wave the usage component of the thing all together. How can they honestly say that my 100gb overage costs $90 but if I had paid $30 up front i could go 1000's of GB over their arbitrarily low limits?

Velze 1 point Thu Sep 29 01:13:52 2016 UTC  (0 children)

You clearly have no idea what brief means.

Also.. good work.

NotYetAZombie 47 points Mon Sep 26 16:27:34 2016 UTC  (2 children)

  1. I might save money, but I'm doubtful in that. Most of my regular activities are either low enough usage that it doesn't matter, or so high that it would never be covered.

  2. Yes, I would fear that advertising would invade my life more, that plans would be literally impossible to compare, and that it could be used to punish certain types of usage.

I fear that only the tech savvy will be able to properly interpret these plans, and that companies will use them to unfairly influence people who are not very knowledgeable. I do not believe that providers will present information in a way that is not deceptive or realistic.

I also fear privacy invasion, as I would feel uncomfortable with my ISP or cell provider analyzing my usage in any depth or detail. I also feel that this information, once mined, would be sold off to marketing actors in exchange for the service (ie: facebook pays for the marketing data, at a premium, to allow free access to facebook on a service).

I also fear that it would be used to further push bundling plans, or that it would create unwanted partnerships. I fear that it would bring undue influence from foreign companies seeking unfair competition in Canadian markets (ie: one clothing store gains preferential bandwidth for their websites on all carriers, leaving all others to have slower bandwidth/not free bandwidth, discouraging competition).

I fear all this because all carriers and ISPs have historically not acted anywhere close to the best interest of the customer, and have driven cost up along with their hatred for competition to the point where many Canadians suffer with some of the worst costs for internet in the developed world. Freedom to act on this would not, given history, work out for the customer.

  1. Yes, they most certainly do. Yes, neutrality should be strongly enforced. Every ISP and Cell Phone company has a long history of screwing Canadian customers out of their money, and this will be yet another tool in their toolbox of misery. Especially in markets with little competition.

  2. If a company is found to be violating the concept of net neutrality, they should be denied the first round of bidding in cell spectrum auctions, and for physical lines, should be forced at that point to allow other companies to operate on their lines at a reduced rate, both coupled with large fines. I might be wrong on this part, but the bottom line is that strong enforcement with teeth is needed to protect this.

whatsdata 11 points Mon Sep 26 17:46:32 2016 UTC  (1 child)

I fear that only the tech savvy will be able to properly interpret these plans, and that companies will use them to unfairly influence people who are not very knowledgeable. I do not believe that providers will present information in a way that is not deceptive or realistic.

and this will happen

Mimical 2 points Wed Sep 28 21:43:18 2016 UTC  (0 children)

This should be a massive reason on its own. Telecommunication companies prey on peoples inability to understand how all of this works. They actively push and bully around Canadians who don't know better already so this is not going to be any different.

chrismcgdude 47 points Mon Sep 26 19:24:28 2016 UTC  (0 children)

What do you think are the benefits of differential pricing?

Benefit is defined as advantage or profit gained from something. Benefits can only be determined if there is transparency placed on this process (i.e. all costs/conditions detailed up front in concise and informative fashion). This goes against what we're currently being sold.

Do you have any concerns about differential pricing?

I am very concerned that this proposal is tied somewhat indirectly to the unbundling of TV channels that will ultimately impact provider bottom lines, and the loss will be made up by packaging data in overpriced "bundles." This is also an attack on net-neutrality - which, in layman's terms, states (among other things) that data is data and shouldn't be discriminated by it's type. Once again, I feel as though this is "big cable" trying to influence the market by putting companies like Netflix into a compromised position through additional fees or speciality service to be used properly.

Do these concerns outweigh the benefits and, if so, are they significant enough to justify us stepping in and regulating the practices? Or should we let the home (wireline), and mobile (wireless) service providers decide?

Serious question: When has letting the providers decide ever done anything for the consumer? (See skinny packages, and the debacle that ensued) These companies are interested in their bottom lines, and while it's a reasonable way to operate a business, it doesn't work properly when there are so few providers at the table. It's much like the deregulation of government utilities - a good practice in theory, but until you have more choice then you'll likely end up paying more money. The issue isn't with the idea, it's a good idea in principle, but we need more options to get prices down. Here's something else to consider: Cable companies are taking hundreds of dollars out of the local economy per household per year, and most of their infrastructure has been in place for years. How many different ways are we going to let them sell the same old lemon to us?

If we should step in, how should we regulate it?

Allow more providers into Canada. Regulate a maximum rate and eliminate data caps.

EDIT: Formatting

DrMungkee 46 points Tue Sep 27 01:24:24 2016 UTC  (0 children)

What do you think are the benefits of differential pricing?

I believe it is harmful to the consumer. The only benefit is to the provider trying to push their content platforms.

Do you have any concerns about differential pricing?

It is blatant disregard for net-neutrality which is important to me. The already arbitrary data caps will be used to dissuade consumers from using their competitors platforms. I want to lease access to the internet as a service and do not want the utility provider to have any influence over which content I consume with that access.

Do these concerns outweigh the benefits and, if so, are they significant enough to justify us stepping in and regulating the practices? Or should we let the home (wireline), and mobile (wireless) service providers decide?

Differential pricing goes against the principles under which the internet was built. The ISPs do not contribute in a meaningful way and simply want to force their way into a new market. The CRTC should step in to prevent this from happening.

If we should step in, how should we regulate it?

The CRTC should enforce net-neutrality and make "differential pricing" illegal.

cynthb 47 points Tue Sep 27 19:54:49 2016 UTC  (0 children)

1. What do you think are the benefits of differential pricing? The benefits are solely to the commercial entities that receive the better pricing, e.g. Shomi traffic for free over Rogers networks.

2. Do you have any concerns about differential pricing? Yes, they stifle innovation, and put new entrants in a competitive area to a great disadvantage. They show a blatant disregard for a carrier's responsibility to carry all "packages" with equal care.

3. Do these concerns outweigh the benefits and, if so, are they significant enough to justify us stepping in and regulating the practices? Or should we let the home (wireline), and mobile (wireless) service providers decide? Yes they do, in my opinion. It is equivalent to a telephone carrier charging more if you call one pizza delivery place rather than the other one. If you let the service providers decide, they will always choose what benefits themselves financially rather than what benefits their customers.

4. If we should step in, how should we regulate it? Put forth an amendment to the Telecommunications Act that states that carriers will treat all data packets equally and not favour one source or destination over another.

ABLawyer 93 points Tue Sep 27 00:54:33 2016 UTC (gilded) (6 children)

Hi, thank you for setting this up. As disclosure, I created this account to respond to this thread. I am a lawyer in Alberta outside of the telecommunications field.

What do you think are the benefits of differential pricing?

Differential pricing has some face-value benefit. Given the existence of data caps, differential pricing allows consumers to access popular apps at a reduced cost. This allows those same consumers to use their limited data access on lesser-used sources. Effectively, it has the opportunity to improve overall access to data for consumers, if implemented well.

Differential pricing can also introduce a new realm for competition. Content providers are asked to compete for access to the differential pricing scheme. Assuming an otherwise-even playing field, this competition would result in better businesses accessing the differential pricing scheme and worse businesses falling out of favour.

Differential pricing can also increase competition among telecommunications companies. Rather than arguing for the fastest wires, the biggest data caps, or the cheapest service, this adds a new value proposition: the best access to free data. I might prefer one company because it gives free access to Netflix, Shomi, and Crave, while its competitor only provides access to Shomi.

Finally, differential pricing has the potential to reduce costs for consumers with respect to access to content. Differential pricing creates a new source of income for telecommunications companies. This income can defray some of the cost of providing telecom services. Assuming strong telecommunications competition, this provides a new avenue for the companies to reduce reliance on consumer fees.

Do you have any concerns about differential pricing?

Absolutely. Most of the benefits described above rely on assumptions about the telecom industry. As mentioned, differential pricing introduces an opportunity for competition in access to the differential pricing scheme. However, this competition must be viewed through the lens of the landscape of the industry. At the moment, content providers would be vying for favour with a small number of telecommunications entities. This creates a large amount of consumer power in the hands of the telecom giants. There is similarly little supplier power, given the substantial number of content creators who would wish to access the service. This lopsided competitive atmosphere encourages abuse by the telecom entities, rather than access to a new and interesting competitive market.

The competition between content providers is also superficial. A reasonable telecom company, when selecting who should access its differential pricing regime, would be concerned about two features. First, who can pay the most money? Second, who would be the most interesting to our customer base? This means that the competition between content providers would be tainted by a huge barrier to entry. Namely, the content provider with the most money or the most well-established consumer base is the one who gets access. It would be nearly impossible for a new start-up video streaming service to compete with the likes of Netflix, Shomi, and YouTube.

The balance of competitive power is shifted in favour of heavy-hitters like YouTube if zero-rating is available. If YouTube were to pay for access to this regime, it would also have the incentive to encourage the telecom company to charge more for competitors' services (e.g., Vimeo). Although zero-rating does not allow for increased cost to other services on a targeted basis, it certainly allows for increasing cost to access data generally. This encourages an end-game of a true consolidation of power among service providers. If consumers can access Netflix, YouTube, Facebook, Reddit, Twitter, and other major content provider platforms for free, it encourages collusion between that content provider group and the telecommunications group to increase cost of access to other data. This consolidates power, reduces competition, encourages oligopolies, and edges new content providers out of the market. Even if consumers currently would benefit from access to their most-used sites, this encourages the status quo and reduces incentive to develop new content delivery platforms.

The new value proposition is also superficial. A consumer may differentiate between telecom companies based on who offers the most interesting free data, but the telecommunications industry is subject to oligopolistic pressures. In my market (Calgary, a major city), I only have realistic access to two telecom providers. I don't have the ability to make real decisions, and the providers know this. With a small number of major players, there is great incentive to "work together" even while not working together. There is no race-to-the-bottom on price or race-to-the-top on quality. There is only an incentive to maintain status quo. I have no confidence that these providers will use this new opportunity to create a strong competitive advantage.

Finally, the notion that end-consumer prices could be reduced is, quite frankly, unlikely. Once again, oligopolistic pressures cannot be ignored. If the telecommunications industry were relatively inexpensive to enter and if the market were full of competitors of every size, this would be a reasonable end result. Instead, we are faced with the selection of only a couple of large, important players.

As stated above, the end-game of zero-rating is for the large content providers and the large telecom providers to group up and restrict access to non-preferred data. This group becomes a gatekeeper for access to content. Content providers that cannot pay the fee or that compete directly with an important business partner of Bell or Rogers or Shaw or Telus could be priced out of the market through no fault of their own. Simply by having the audacity to dare compete with a large content provider, they can be pushed onto the non-zero-rated path. The easiest way for telecom giants to encourage content providers to purchase access to the zero-rated path is to make non-zero-rated content especially expensive.

This leads to my biggest concern. Telecommunications giants can use the zero-rated scheme as a weapon. By increasing the cost of access to data and simultaneously zero-rating major content providers, the telecom giants discourage access to non-zero-rated data. This gives telecom giants a powerful tool in their negotiations with content providers: pay us, or get into the expensive-data line. This does not increase competition. This does not serve consumers. All this does is give telecom yet another tool to increase barriers to entry. If your content company can't afford the toll to become zero-rated, a telecom company can effectively sentence your data to death, pricing you out of the market.

This puts too much power in the hands of telecommunications giants. They are already an oligopoly. Allowing zero-rating would give them a new weapon, restricting competition in an ancillary field.

Do these concerns outweigh the benefits and, if so, are they significant enough to justify us stepping in and regulating the practices? Or should we let the home (wireline), and mobile (wireless) service providers decide?

I argue the CRTC needs to take a role in regulating. Not just a role, but an intrusive and highly-active role. The telecommunications industry is controlled by a small group of players, and the CRTC represents the only shield Canadian consumers have. If the CRTC does not stand up for consumers' interests, nobody will. Internet and data access are mandatory in modern-day society, making consumers slaves to the rules created by the telecommunications industry.

The opportunities for abuse are clear. The free market does not operate in a field with such high barriers to entry and such strong, consolidated powers. If the CRTC does not regulate fiercely and actively, consumers will suffer. A quiet or passive regulation will be ineffective, given the creativity and resources of the large telecommunications companies. If tax lawyers can find ways around the Income Tax Act, telecommunications lawyers will have no issues circumventing passive CRTC policy.

If we should step in, how should we regulate it?

A blanket ban on zero-rating is the easy and cheap solution. But if the CRTC is of the view that zero-rating and differential pricing has value to Canadian consumers, I urge you to take an aggressive and active role in regulating, acting solely in the interests of Canadian consumers. I encourage you to take an aggressive stance to prevent further steps towards the erosion of net neutrality.

In my view, an adversarial process is the only solution. If an adversarial stance is not taken, regulatory capture is inevitable. Consumers only speak to the CRTC through divided voices and occasional public opinion processes, while the industry players get frequent opportunities to advocate. Collaboration cannot exist when one group has greater access. The CRTC must stand up for the voiceless consumer group. There must be a presumption that telecom companies want to take advantage of consumers, and those companies should bear the burden of rebutting that presumption.

The specifics on regulation ought to fall to the CRTC. But I urge you to take steps to become a regulatory body to be respected. Securities commissions, for example, are strong, policy-driven, consumer-focused groups. But the CRTC does not have the reputation it should from the perspective of consumer protection. While I acknowledge that Europe, Japan, and Korea do not have our geographical issues in telecom, the state of Canada's telecommunications industry is embarrassing on a global scale. The CRTC has the power and the opportunity to solve this.

Please, on behalf of all Canadian consumers, have the courage and the strength to regulate actively, aggressively, and in the favour of consumers. Because if you don't, nobody will.

mcchubby 8 points Wed Sep 28 17:48:52 2016 UTC  (0 children)

Dear CRTC;

Please accept /u/ABlawyer 's response as my own. Thank you.

Dualintrinsic 3 points Wed Sep 28 04:34:10 2016 UTC  (0 children)

Nothing to say but fantastic write-up.

MWD_Dave 3 points Wed Sep 28 17:23:03 2016 UTC  (0 children)

Well said good sir!

2Savvy 3 points Wed Sep 28 23:28:50 2016 UTC  (0 children)
(note: offensive term(s) have been replaced by asterisks)

******* awesomely said buddy. CRTC, please print this out and pin it to a wall if you haven't already.

ninetentacles 1 point Thu Sep 29 01:01:32 2016 UTC  (0 children)

Agreed,! Excellent, well thought out response, which I think echoes everyone with internet access and likely many without.

Lyeiir 1 point Fri Sep 30 13:44:26 2016 UTC  (0 children)

Well said!

hoser89 Ontario 47 points Mon Sep 26 20:20:36 2016 UTC  (0 children)

What do you think are the benefits of differential pricing?

I do not think there is any advantage to differential pricing. It is giving certain companies priority over other. Larger companies could have agreements with the teleco's and force the smaller companies out of buisness. All data should be treated equally.

Do you have any concerns about differential pricing?

Larger companies getting prority over smaller companies. If there was an agreement between an advertiser and the providers, it could cause even more unwanted ads. As I stated before, all data should be treated equally, if not it give an unfair advantage to the companies that can afford to come to an agreement with the providers.

Do these concerns outweigh the benefits and, if so, are they significant enough to justify us stepping in and regulating the practices? Or should we let the home (wireline), and mobile (wireless) service providers decide?

Yes they outweigh any advantage the CRTC belive's differential pricing might have. The CRTC is supposed to be a voice for Canadians and I belive it hasn't done enough to address out concerns. When ever you let these giant companies do as the want, Canadians are getting screwed. It's a known fact we pay some of the highest prices for telecommunication services and the CRTC has done nothing to fix this. Leaving anything up to the telecommunication companies would just ensure we continue to pay astronomically high prices.

If we should step in, how should we regulate it?

If differential pricing were to happen, the CRTC would need to make sure some companies aren't given an unfair advantage over others. We need a free market, free of any foul play, or favoritism over others because of wealth.

jcs1 47 points Mon Sep 26 21:31:39 2016 UTC  (0 children)

Differential pricing is a symptom of a bigger problem: vertical integration. When the gatekeepers are also the producers you have the incentive to block competition.

TGiFallen Ontario 47 points Tue Sep 27 13:34:08 2016 UTC  (0 children)

Differential pricing should be illegal, it is the start to the slippery slope of losing net neutrality.

Next off, after differential pricing, the ISPs will be charging us EXTRA for data that they frown upon. (Use a competing streaming service? well, that's going to cost you $10 per gigabyte.)

Seventyseven7s 45 points Mon Sep 26 20:07:42 2016 UTC  (0 children)

First, thank you for hearing our opinions. I think Reddit is a positive medium for having these types of discussions, however preliminary they are.

(1) What do you think are the benefits of differential pricing?

(I'm just going to refer to mobile providers as ISPs here for simplicity). The "benefit" is that it will allow ISPs to differentiate from their, far too scarce, competition without actually getting any more competitive from a price perspective.

(2) Do you have any concerns about differential pricing?

a) this mirrors limitations to net neutrality, which I think most agree is bad for consumers in the long run. b) allowing IPSs to compete in a way other than price in an environment that desperately needs more competition in the first place will just further reduce the already tiny incentive for these companies to price competitively.

(3) Do these concerns outweigh the benefits and, if so, are they significant enough to justify us stepping in and regulating the practices? Or should we let the home (wireline), and mobile (wireless) service providers decide?

My concerns do outweigh the benefits. I think you should regulate by not allowing the practice at all.

(4) If we should step in, how should we regulate it?

You should not allow companies to offer differential pricing.

rxbudian 47 points Mon Sep 26 20:18:59 2016 UTC  (0 children)

Differential pricing by Service Providers reduces competition and innovation. Startups who want to provide new technologies and techniques to improve the delivery method of similar services by the Service Providers will not be able to compete if customers experience degraded performance, have to pay more for the new technology, or the Startup have to pay more to operate without the differential pricing. The startup then either have to close or be absorbed by the service provider to survive. Example: Canada's budget phone companies, Netflix.

Differential pricing on a specific types of data, can manipulated through technical means rendering it useless. For example, if the differential pricing is applied to all video/streaming type of data, regardless of its source, like from competitor, startup or other companies from abroad. An entrepreneurial startup can build an application that downloads large statistical data sets by streaming it or making it look like it is a video instead of downloading it in a compressed zip file.

MixSaffron 45 points Mon Sep 26 23:28:51 2016 UTC  (0 children)

1)Nothing for me as a consumer, I see no benefits.

2) Companies will raise prices (people will use more data, woe is us) and companies will compete with who has the best 'package' of differential pricing. Consumers will NOT be getting the better end of this deal.

Companies should compete with service and prices not with which package comes with the most lube for your wallet.

3) Yes it should be regulated, I see more harm from good if this is allowed.

caliopy 48 points Tue Sep 27 00:44:00 2016 UTC *  (0 children)

Unfortunately I will be working but I would like my say.

  1. There are no benefits of differential pricing for the consumer. Differential pricing is actually providing proof that Data Caps are completely unnecessary and in my opinion are there to just funnel traffic to their own products. Allowing this practice could lead farther away from Net Neutrality than we are.

an example:

With my service through Telus Optik I was originally told it was an unlimited service. 2 years later I was called by a telus representative and told that my current plan had a 500GB monthly cap and that it was causing my account to have overage charges of about 15 dollars per month because of the amount of people in the home streaming netflix. They pointed out that If I so chose I could avoid these charges by applying that money to an account upgrade. (it worked out to 15 dollars extra per month). This bugged me because I was unaware they had limited my plan. Their reason was "...we never cared about overages but with optik we are able to monitor the data more closely."

(here is were differential pricing kicks in for me)

The other option was to avoid using the internet to stream the browser version of netflix and only stream it through the provided telus set top clientbox/dvr used for accessing the television service. Forcing client to use their products to access streaming services instead of using computers smart tv's or appletv's as an alternative (more user friendly) streaming environment.

All that streamed data no matter how it reaches the client is using the same fibre line. It does not affect the amount of data reaching the consumer. Which is the start of why I have come to the conclusion there is no need for caps or differential pricing.

Within the last couple months I was again contacted by a telus representative letting me know that my bill would be decreased by 13 dollars per month if I chose to "upgrade my current service from 100 mbit down and 17Mbit up to 150 megabit up and down with unlimited service."

I grilled that poor kid until he told me this was a competing price due to Shaw offering the same service numbers for a reasonable and introductory (meaning temporary 6 month) pricing plan. I also grilled him asking if this was permanent and not a 6 month agreement. He assured me this was the actual permanent (or until telus raises general rates) plan. There was no extra cost. My bill was reduced. I was happy. The technician told me that our lines are capable of Gbit and better and that some of the tech employees are working on testing it right now. This unlimited service allows me the privilege of not having to use telus set top boxes for extra services like netflix and I would like it to stay that way. It is however the TOP tier plan

I know that its different in larger metropolitan areas but in my small Alberta town of 7k people the service has been outstanding in reliability and service. But I am paying through the teeth for it even with my 13 dollar reduction. It seems to me that regulation would be the logical step. Provided its simplified an not made more convoluted. I honestly feel this consumer friendly reaction by telus I have had is all about competing with shaw and only shaw. It will only last until some executive or board member decides a vote that favours the investor and the bonus structure causes this consumer friendly atmosphere to just go away.

Wireless plans are still outrageous, intentionally convoluted and over priced. Flat rate that BS! I want a phone with data and or texting. One price, one speed, One Plan all inclusive unlimited across the board. yes its that simple.

tru_power22 Alberta 45 points Tue Sep 27 03:33:09 2016 UTC  (0 children)

Don't do it. For the love of god. Sure it's 'get free internet while watching adds' and the next thing it's going to be 20$ for the 'netflix package' on top of what you pay for netflix. This will be one of the largest mistakes you can make with our closed-door-oligopoly internet services.

Zahne1977 Ontario 91 points Mon Sep 26 20:23:41 2016 UTC  (0 children)

"Hey guys, can we destroy net neutrality?"

The CRTC needs to start fighting for the people of Canada instead of helping the major companies screw us.

--MrsNesbitt- Ontario 47 points Tue Sep 27 14:42:28 2016 UTC  (1 child)

Thanks again for taking the time to consult us here on Reddit. We always enjoy being able to interface and consult with decision-making bodies throughout government!

What do you think are the benefits of differential pricing?

To me, the benefits of differential pricing are restricted to the service provider, in that it incentivizes the consumer to use the content which is exempted from the data cap, which tends to be services which will benefit the provider for more consumers to use. The consumer is not benefited by differential pricing, or if they are, only marginally so; the benefits accrue disproportionately to the provider.

Do you have any concerns about differential pricing?

Absolutely. By allowing service providers to exempt certain services from a data cap, differential pricing effects an unequal playing field in terms of Internet services, thereby threatening net neutrality and the basic principles of a fair, open, equal market for Internet and telecommunications services in Canada. Net neutrality is important and ought to be cherished for the environment of high-quality, competitive services it provides; differential pricing, by threatening it, serves to entrench the interests and successes of existing, larger service providers (such as the "Big Three" of Rogers, Bell, and Telus) at the expense of smaller players in the wireless market.

Do these concerns outweigh the benefits and, if so, are they significant enough to justify us stepping in and regulating the practices? Or should we let the home (wireline), and mobile (wireless) service providers decide?

Without question, the concerns outweigh the benefits. As the drawbacks of differential pricing are felt by the wireless market as a whole (including the consumers, which the CRTC should represent first and foremost), while the benefits are marginal and accrue primarily to existing, established content and service providers, it is my view that they are significant enough that the CRTC has an obligation to step in and regulate differential pricing. Canadians look to the CRTC to maintain a fair and level playing field in the wireless sector, and differential pricing threatens that environment of neutrality.

If we should step in, how should we regulate it?

The simplest solution for the CRTC to regulate differential pricing, as well as the one which would provide the most positive benefits to Canadians and the Canadian economy as a whole, is to ban data caps of any sort. In the modern age, when data is extremely inexpensive for service providers to transmit, data caps no longer have any place or purpose beyond maximizing the profits of private service providers. Data caps restrict and snuff out innovation, entrepreneurship, and the sort of digital economy to which Canada is moving and could be a leader, and I believe that it is time for the CRTC to step up to the plate and regulate a telecommunications and wireless market wherein service providers may no longer artificially restrict the innovation of Canadians through data caps or targeted slow-downs ("throttling").

Thank you again for consulting Reddit in this matter! All the best.

Pedropeller 1 point Wed Sep 28 17:39:42 2016 UTC  (0 children)

Thanks for speaking up for the consumer!

Reliant Québec 41 points Mon Sep 26 23:54:58 2016 UTC  (1 child)

I do agree with most of the other posters here on the dangers of differential prices on data. Everything I say in this post can apply equally to wireline and wireless internet.

For me, data caps are a huge issue. It is an extreme headache keeping track of it, and when there's a cap, it puts this cloud over everything I do online. The worst of it is when the cap is reached, it becomes a situation of "don't use it at all, or it's going to cost an absolute fortune".

When I switched from my classic cell phone to a smart phone with internet, I chose a provider that offered unlimited. Not because I wanted to do lots of downloads, but because I wanted that to be something I never have to think about or worry about. My provider was bought out, and the new company discontinued it on all existing plans. I now have a cap, but I'm glad that my provider also stops data when the cap is reached, rather than throwing new charges at me. I would rather have no internet on my smart phone than be charging an absolute fortune for every tiny thing the phone does.

And it's the same with my wireline internet. I don't want to think about caps. I don't want to have to decide if I'm going to download this game from Steam this month or have to wait a month, or worry about auto-downloaded patches. I pay an absurdly high price for unlimited data just so I don't have to deal with this. What's sad about data caps is how easy it is for someone with a cap to end up paying more than I am because of how overpriced those rates are.

Most new video games on Steam average around 20 GB on the low end. A brand new game is going to cost $80 to buy, and if you were paying Bell's rate, $60 to download. That's a 75% bandwidth tax. And yet, Steam is able to provide this service to me for free, allowing me to download it an unlimited number of times (Steam makes about $30 in revenue from my $80 purchase). It is completely absurd. I could rent a car to drive to the store and back for less than that.

What do you think are the benefits of differential pricing?

In theory, the reasoning behind it is a caching service. For popular media, if Bell keeps a cache locally in Montreal, they can serve it to multiple people and save on the uplink cost. This is a way for them to save money, and pass on the savings to customers. That is why I believe that it should be mandatory that this applies equally to all customers, and why they should never charge extra for customers to get access to these benefits. ISPs are already benefiting from it. Customers shouldn't have to pay extra because ISPs are spending less money. That makes no sense.

Do you have any concerns about differential pricing?

The biggest concern is that this could lead to ISPs lowering their caps in order to raise their profits, and put pressure on 3rd party websites to pay a fee to participate in this program, or to otherwise provide funding to help create the infrastructure to host the data locally.

With the move towards streaming and digital distribution, data caps are already far behind what customers need. While it would be nice if large sites like Youtube and Steam got exempted from data caps, if it comes with ISPs lowering their caps or raising the cost of their bandwidth charges, I feel like customers will come out behind. ISPs will be saving money, while customers will be paying more.

Do these concerns outweigh the benefits and, if so, are they significant enough to justify us stepping in and regulating the practices?

If it were to be permitted, the practice must absolutely be regulated. All of the benefits of this program are to the ISP and all the concerns are to the customer. I feel like it is for exactly these situations that the CRTC exists.

If we should step in, how should we regulate it?

I think if the CRTC were to allow it, you should make it mandatory that all exemptions must apply equally to all customers, regardless of what package they have. This means no possibility of ISPs selling add-ons to customers for an added monthly fee to get youtube exempted from the data cap.

It should also be forbidden for ISPs to benefit, solicit, or enrich themselves from trying to get 3rd parties to "join a program". That would create a situation too prone to abuse, where the risks vastly outweigh any benefits to consumers.

Yes, it would be expensive if Bell setup caching servers in all major cities large enough to hold the data of the most popular Youtube videos of the week, but it is already to their benefit to do so because they would be reducing their expenses by doing that. They should want to do this to save money, not as a way to charge for an additional service.

If they want to have this, let the ISPs use this as a way of competing with each other, but not as a way to milk more cash out of the pockets of customers.

As for the Bell resellers, any data that Bell is not charging customers for should also be data that is not charged to resellers.

Snipechan 2 points Fri Sep 30 20:07:34 2016 UTC  (0 children)

I agree with Reliant. Ensuring the same experience between all customers regardless of package, as well as eliminating data caps, are what is essential to improving our internet services.

In addition, internet services should be considered a utility. It is essential to modern society now, just like having running water or electricity. Another person compared internet services to your water bill. The water company doesn't put a cap on how much water you use, and doesn't charge you extra because you have gone over an arbitrary amount. Internet services should function the same way.

highstead Lest We Forget 41 points Mon Sep 26 19:25:16 2016 UTC  (1 child)

Zero-rating is a bother primarily because it differentiates traffic and effectively encourages traffic shaping at a psychological(socio-economic?) level as opposed to at the network layer.

Additionally though this traffic is 'free' this traffic is paid for by everyone else. Any traffic that is charged differently be it less or more is stifling competition and should be avoided at all costs.

There are no benefits that i can see to zero-rating any app/stream/site. The regulation of this should simply be 'you can't do it'.

Additionally i would like to see things like 'nhl game centre' being free on rogers be disallowed. This is allowing rogers to compete with others using something other than their cable/fibre/wireless networks.

Additionally this effectively costs rogers nothing as they hold the exclusive rights to game centre and as they are your provider they don't suffer the data transfer fees that they would have otherwise beyond the physical hardware.

Farren246 4 points Wed Sep 28 20:28:12 2016 UTC  (0 children)

effectively encourages traffic shaping at a psychological(socio-economic?) level

Well that's one way to say "changes people's behaviour because they know they're being watched."

CoffeeAddict76 Ontario 44 points Tue Sep 27 14:48:46 2016 UTC  (1 child)

What do you think are the benefits of differential pricing? The only way this benefits the consumer is if they are able to pick the services (from your telco AND from third parties) that matter to how they use the internet. Otherwise, it gives telcos too much power and further limits market competitiveness.

Do you have any concerns about differential pricing? Allowing telcos to dictate what services are exempt from data caps gives them too much control over a customers usage. It also signals to me that bandwidth caps are more about creating payment tiers and less about limitations on the infrastructure to support cheap bandwidth for Canadian.

Do these concerns outweigh the benefits and, if so, are they significant enough to justify us stepping in and regulating the practices? Or should we let the home (wireline), and mobile (wireless) service providers decide? I would say that yes, any benefits are outweighed. The CRTC should be reviewing access to the internet as a basic human right as other countries have. Making it a fundamental right of Canadians changes the conversation to raise the level of conversation to one that is consistent with the onus the internet has on the life of the average Canadian.

If we should step in, how should we regulate it? Idealistically, Canada's infrastructure around internet should be made into a public service managed by the federal government that telcos can subscribe to. Guaranteeing that there is equal access for all telcos, and supporting the prime minister's goal of creating infrastructure projects that benefit all Canadians.

hahapoop 1 point Thu Sep 29 03:41:45 2016 UTC  (0 children)

Those regulation recommendations are spot on.

hero21b 40 points Tue Sep 27 08:29:12 2016 UTC *  (0 children)

No telecom should be able to put a cap on data usage and charge for the 'privilege' of unlimited data. Data caps are being used against consumers and are great money makers - but service would never be adversely affected whether a person uses 400 GB or 800 GB in a given month. Differential pricing concerns me because it can so easily be abused, and in turn harm Canada's already small telecom market.

Regarding telecoms in general, it frustrates me that big name providers in a given Canadian city can raise their prices all at the same time and face no repercussions. There is likely collusion or any current legal wrongdoing; however it is a clear sign that Bell, Rogers, Telus, and Shaw are not in competition so much as they try their best to stay in line with each other.

Hunter_of_Dune 40 points Tue Sep 27 04:28:12 2016 UTC  (0 children)

  1. Differential pricing benefits isp providers, advertising and consumer product firms. It harms the users.
  2. Yes. Keep the net neutral!
  3. Absolutely. And you should regulate.
  4. Can't help you one this one.

EB4gger 40 points Tue Sep 27 16:01:10 2016 UTC *  (0 children)

What do you think are the benefits of differential pricing?

There are benefits for the telecoms to control what users have access to and give opportubities to other big companies who have money to line the telecom's pockets. In no way does it benefit users and in no way does it help with innovation, it does the opposite by making it harder for startups to break into the market while large companies with deep pockets can keep control.

Do you have any concerns about differential pricing?

Yes, as stated above. Reinforce net-neutrality. Users and companies should all have equal access and equal opportunity. Canada already has some of the worst options for quality Internet access of many first world countries and allowing zero-price/differential pricing would only serve to degrade those already poor options.

Do these concerns outweigh the benefits and, if so, are they significant enough to justify us stepping in and regulating the practices? Or should we let the home (wireline), and mobile (wireless) service providers decide?

The telecom companies have never shown in any way that they care about or treat their customers fairly and should never be allowed to regulate themselves. The CRTC should absolutely step in and give power back to the consumers in this country by allowing for more choice and a nore open internet.

If we should step in, how should we regulate it?

Everyone has the same access and opportunities when it comes to data and internet usage, reinforce net neutrality.

Increase minimum data usage. The internet is a requirment of our society in this day and age and bandwidth usage will only increase. Larger bandwidth and data caps are not a problem for telecoms to provide but they keep these as low as possible to nickel and dime users any way they can.

Telecoms do not need more profits, users need better access to the internet with more choices and better competition. Allowing differential pricing will only increase the control the telecom monopolies in this country have and hurt consumers.

cfraenkel 38 points Tue Sep 27 20:08:11 2016 UTC  (0 children)

Netcaps and differential pricing are just big company tools to make walled gardens and push customers into passive consumers of their preferred content.
Please preserve Net Neutrality and our freedom to select the content we chose, and not become passive consumers of whatever pays the ISP the most.

liquidfirex 75 points Mon Sep 26 16:44:19 2016 UTC  (0 children)

What do you think are the benefits of differential pricing?

I don't believe long term or wholistically there are any to the consumer (clearly there are some for the service provider however) .

Do you have any concerns about differential pricing?

Yes, it's fundamentally at odds with Net Neutrality.

Do these concerns outweigh the benefits and, if so, are they significant enough to justify us stepping in and regulating the practices? Or should we let the home (wireline), and mobile (wireless) service providers decide?

Yes the CRTC should step in, and I believe their mandate clearly covers this situation. The service providers should not be able to decide any terms or conditions that violate Net Neutrality.

If we should step in, how should we regulate it?

Data is data, and it should all be treated equally.

Bujiraso 37 points Tue Sep 27 13:22:45 2016 UTC  (0 children)

The internet was formed on a couple technical and social invariants which have been best formulated under the name "Net Neutrality". In short, the hardware doesn't see bits differently, so the people running it tried their best not to see a difference either, by writing like-minded software and policies around it.

This infrastructure is quickly becoming indispensable, with many people fighting for it to be a human right. It is significantly undermined by policies like differential pricing, or "zero-rating".

Not only should the CRTC turn away such policies, it should research the validity of solutions that are proposed by many other experts who say that the cables of the internet should be regulated the same way as the public road system. As the internet gains in popularity and usefulness, the power that a single company or collection of companies holds by owning most of the infrastructure becomes so large that we are foolish not to act to reduce it in expectation of an eventual mistake or negligent action by these powers.

survivalsnake 35 points Tue Sep 27 14:56:59 2016 UTC  (0 children)

1) What do you think are the benefits of differential pricing?

2) Do you have any concerns about differential pricing?

I'm going to answer the first two questions together. I'm being repetitive to most other commenters, but I believe there are no benefits.

The bigger telecom companies, who also own content providers, will argue that differential pricing is no different than when you sign up for a magazine subscription and get a bonus, like a gift card or a toaster. The difference is that getting bandwidth-unlimited Shomi or CraveTV with your Internet/wireless service is that it shapes how we use those services. I want to pay for a communications service, but the practice that differential pricing enables is Canadians paying for a service to access mainly content that they own or licence. I should be making free choices of what types of online content to use.

3) Do these concerns outweigh the benefits and, if so, are they significant enough to justify us stepping in and regulating the practices? Or should we let the home (wireline), and mobile (wireless) service providers decide?

I don't think consumer behaviour alone is enough to combat negative practices in the telecom industry. Net neutrality is important. That said, I believe that the CRTC at present may have higher priorities with respect to telecommunications than differential pricing.

The only thing that the telecoms could do that would obviate the need for action on the CRTC is remove data caps on all Internet plans.

4) If we should step in, how should we regulate it?

Make the practice illegal. Fine the companies that do it.

jonny_b02 33 points Wed Sep 28 00:20:52 2016 UTC  (1 child)

Hi there, I am an IT guy and I know the cost of the bandwidth for which we are being gouged. The cost of the connections from the ISP more than covers any cost that is incurred by the ISPs. The bandwidth in Canada is the most restrictive and we are made to pay through the nose for access to internet connectivity that should be WAY lower!! In the US, there are ISPs that are providing 1000 Mbps symetrical connections for under $100 with no badwidth caps (as far as I can see). Granted that is US dollars, but seriously, is there that big a difference. I may be way off base but how much money did the Canadian government contribute to these companies in way of tax breaks etc to wire Canada - do you not think we should reap the benefits?

My stance is do away with these silly caps for bandwidth and open up the connections. Do not traffic shape and for the love of all things, give us Canadians valid connections at real prices with no bandwidth restrictions. The ISPs are sitting on kilometres of "dark fibre" for "future use". Well, light it up, the future is NOW!!!!

Just my 4 cents worth, opps, forgot, round that up to 5 cents since we no longer have pennies, unless you pay with plastic (another topic totally!!!)

erbaker 2 points Wed Sep 28 23:27:53 2016 UTC  (0 children)

American chiming in; I had 100MBps down for $40/month with a 1TB cap. Over that and it was something like $5/GB. Data caps are inescapable now, we've just been cornered into it, despite it being an absurd and unethical business practice.

skeptic11 New Brunswick 34 points Wed Sep 28 14:47:51 2016 UTC  (2 children)

Please include a copy of https://www.reddit.com/r/canada/comments/54vddu/data_caps_are_moving_our_country_backwards/?st=itn0w79k&sh=e3e79c12 as public record.

We should be promoting open Internet to support our IT sector and Help small business create new jobs while we compete on a global market. With the current economic downturn, this is the last thing Canada needs.

I would argue that Differential Pricing is an admission by service providers that current data limits are unreasonable. As such please ban Differential Pricing and move to mandate unlimited data caps. Thank you /u/skeptic11 .

Mastermaze Manitoba 4 points Wed Sep 28 20:01:59 2016 UTC  (0 children)

I would argue that Differential Pricing is an admission by service providers that current data limits are unreasonable. As such please ban Differential Pricing and move to mandate unlimited data caps

EXACTLY. Couldn't agree more

-crtc- Canada [S] 4 points Wed Sep 28 20:42:27 2016 UTC  (0 children)

Please include a copy of https://www.reddit.com/r/canada/comments/54vddu/data_caps_are_moving_our_country_backwards/?st=itn0w79k&sh=e3e79c12 as public record.

Because those comments are not in this thread (official thread), we can't include them on the official record. The people commenting in this thread were able to read our messaging and be informed of how their comments were being used whereas the people in the other thread haven't agreed to that.

badtimesfriendahead 100 points Mon Sep 26 15:50:11 2016 UTC  (1 child)

Do you have any concerns about differential pricing?

Absolutely. Put very simply, ANY level of priority or advantage given to one subset of services (even by type!) over another is anticompetitive and kills off any chance the internet had of being "a great equalizer" for businesses.

Say tomorrow, Amazon is zero-rated and starts taking a bigger cut, killing off smaller businesses which try to grow/expand into handling their own sales. Or the next up-and-coming entertainment service is hamstrung by "zero rates" the big distributors get thanks to some handshakes behind closed doors.

These affects might seem small, but (a) they open the doors for the wrong approach to this problem and (b) their effects on businesses is very real, especially when you're trying to compete with big fish on already thin margins.

The last thing those big fish need are more competitive advantages over us.

engineered16 3 points Mon Sep 26 18:10:18 2016 UTC  (0 children)

+1 very much this.

niklev 178 points Mon Sep 26 15:34:58 2016 UTC  (5 children)

  • Uphold Net Neutrality
  • Kill data caps
  • End of discussion

fagapple 52 points Mon Sep 26 16:24:04 2016 UTC  (1 child)

I agree with this. Net neutrality and no data caps. You pay for speed. The speed itself inherently caps the data, since it is a rate.

phoney_bologna 31 points Mon Sep 26 20:55:21 2016 UTC  (0 children)

Exactly. ISPs are double dipping. It feels very unfair to the consumer to have an arbitrary number given on the amount of monthly bits I can use when I already pay for the speed.

Can we at least put a limit on the data cap prices that are tied to the actual cost of upgrading their infrastructure? Not just a number that ISP's feel will maximise their profit margins.

V471 19 points Mon Sep 26 17:22:45 2016 UTC  (1 child)

And make sure that by killing the data caps, they don't simply switch to charging for data usage. Got to be careful with that.

Wonderbeastt 3 points Wed Sep 28 02:19:01 2016 UTC  (0 children)

Yeah agreed. Every time something is put in place to stunt these greedy bastards they always reconfigure to get more and more money for lrss service

badtimesfriendahead 6 points Mon Sep 26 15:45:12 2016 UTC  (0 children)
(note: offensive term(s) have been replaced by asterisks)

The problem being that ISPs will continue to try and reframe it as "new discussions" so people keep have to point out their ******** to officials who might not know better.

The officials (mostly) (probably) aren't our enemy in this, being brusque with them won't accomplish anything.

loercase British Columbia 69 points Tue Sep 27 04:17:52 2016 UTC  (1 child)

The jury is in, differential pricing is a scam. The internet is the next big utility in the modern age, we have to start treating it like what it is. Essential.

Talicmar 1 point Thu Sep 29 02:05:18 2016 UTC  (0 children)

I would consider voting for a candidate that makes a clear distinction to that effect. Regardless of party

ParappaTheRaptor 36 points Tue Sep 27 15:32:19 2016 UTC  (0 children)

What do you think are the benefits of differential pricing?

They are very few. It will allow some users access to data they could not typically afford.

Do you have any concerns about differential pricing?

Yes I do. As long as the telecom companies are allowed to own and operate media companies, they can use selective zeroing to push their content, media, news, etc on users. This is not fair.

Do these concerns outweigh the benefits and, if so, are they significant enough to justify us stepping in and regulating the practices? Or should we let the home (wireline), and mobile (wireless) service providers decide?

The concerns outweigh the benefits by a wide margin. This is yet another attempt by major corporations to circumvent net neutrality, which is absolutely essential to the operation of the internet and the free distribution of information.

If we should step in, how should we regulate it?

The practice should be banned entirely.

Planner_Hammish 69 points Mon Sep 26 22:02:14 2016 UTC  (0 children)

Lots of people answered with great responses already. But here it is in my own words:

What do you think are the benefits of differential pricing?

For consumers under the current regime where data is artificially capped (whether actually, through being cost-prohibitive, or through being throttled to be effectively useless), differential pricing would mean that I could potentially consume some media without having to worry about going over my limit. Mobile data is especially expensive.

However, this is a bandaid solution that avoids the real issue of having a cap in the first place. If the ISP can provide "free" data for select services, then that points to the cap being artificial "profit construct". However, if there is actually an issue with bandwith congestion, then the speeds should be affected, not the overall monthly cap.

Do you have any concerns about differential pricing?

I am fundamentally opposed to "differential pricing", as it is squarely opposed to net neutrality. I am paying ISPs to send or deliver packets of data, not to prioritize, change, inspect or analyze each one and filter it accordingly. ISPs should not be involved in content at all. Being blind to content improves security and preserves privacy.

Do these concerns outweigh the benefits and, if so, are they significant enough to justify us stepping in and regulating the practices? Or should we let the home (wireline), and mobile (wireless) service providers decide?

Yes, the concerns outweigh the benefits. There is no comparison. The CRTC needs to set out a basic statement in support of net neutrality and enforce it. That's all.

If we should step in, how should we regulate it?

Clear, concise update to the Telecommunications Act to the effect of:

Internet Service Providers shall enable access to all content and applications regardless of the source, and without favoring or blocking particular products or websites. All packets shall be sent or received equally.

desthc Ontario 30 points Tue Sep 27 15:21:08 2016 UTC  (0 children)

Service providers should have no facility to zero rate their bundled services. This allows large incumbent providers to use their quasi-natural monopoly on infrastructure build out (i.e. Towers are expensive, and the market can only bear so many competitors because of it) to quash competition in markets outside of their normal market power. If incumbents wish to compete they should do so by providing competitive services and allowing consumers to choose. Allowing this zero rating means in the end all Canadians will lose.

OpenMediaOrg 33 points Wed Sep 28 18:25:23 2016 UTC *  (0 children)

Hi Redditors! OpenMedia here.

This is an issue near and dear to our hearts, as we think the outcome of this hearing could determine what the future of the Internet looks like in Canada.

Some of our work can be found in the two interventions we've submitted to the CRTC: TL;DR versions here: June 28, and here: Sept. 21. (For the very committed, submissions from all parties can be found here.)

We're asking the commission to respect Net Neutrality and ban differential pricing " a.k.a. "zero-rating," the practice where telcos strike high-level deals to make certain apps data free but not others, while using ridiculously low data caps to force you into their "preferred" services.

We've also gone for the Big Ask and want the CRTC to abolish data caps - without restrictive caps there is no incentive for Internet providers to price content differently in the first place - and 42,000 Canadians have gone on the public record supporting us by endorsing our stance, and adding their own comments to the public record through OpenMedia's tool (check out what the more than 5,000 have told the commission).

On behalf of these supporters, OpenMedia is making the following arguments to the CRTC:

  • Differential pricing (or zero-rating) seriously limits choice and stifles competition on the Internet: The next Reddit or Twitter would likely never get off the ground in a world with zero-rating. Our community believes the Internet should be a level playing field for innovative new ideas.

  • Canadians are trapped by data caps: On wired Internet, data caps in most of the world are unheard of. For wireless, caps in other nations are far more reasonable than those in Canada. Too many of us are struggling with data caps every month.

  • There is no such thing as “too much Internet,” given how essential online access has become to our everyday lives. If we don't tackle this now, Canada will fall even further behind.

  • Users, not telecom companies, should decide which services we use online: Telecom giants should not be permitted to zero-rate data, and make websites they don't like more expensive to access.

  • We need transparency and strong enforcement to ensure telcos stick by the rules, and face penalties when those rules are broken. We believe that data plans should be easy to understand, and that when telecom providers break the rules there should be consequences.

We also think it's encouraging the commission has started this thread - we think it points to a more open CRTC which is not only willing, but actively trying, to engage real Canadians where they are: The Internet!

We encourage you to go beyond lurking and post what you think should be the future of differential pricing. Your voice, and getting it onto the public record like this, matters.

If you're looking for more ways to get involved, you can also endorse our letter to the CRTC here.

Yours in Internet-ing,

Katy Anderson

ICYC I'm the “Access” campaigner here at OpenMedia. I work on issues around digital connectivity and telecommunications around the world, which includes running campaigns to educate and engage netizens, as well as doing policy work around issues like Net Neutrality, Internet affordability, zero-rating, and access to the Internet as a human right.

NonOpinionated 65 points Mon Sep 26 22:37:09 2016 UTC  (0 children)

End data caps, uphold net neutrality.

Darkb4Dawn 67 points Mon Sep 26 15:29:31 2016 UTC  (0 children)

Do you have any concerns about differential pricing?

IMO It provides a door-way to edit the information people have access to. People who do not have the money have less access to the all the information the internet provides. I believe a provider can/should offer free access to help and service inquiries for their products but that it where the line should be drawn.

trollsalot1234 Manitoba 32 points Tue Sep 27 18:11:26 2016 UTC  (0 children)
(note: offensive term(s) have been replaced by asterisks)

  1. None to me because its just another way the providers get to **** me around by trying to kill competition

  2. yes its ********

  3. yup as there really is no benefit.

  4. Upholding net neutrality in a way that wont get loopholed around would be a super good way of regulating it.

scruffy69 66 points Mon Sep 26 21:32:33 2016 UTC  (4 children)

No differential pricing. Unlimited affordable internet access is the only answer. Internet needs to be treated as and regulated like gas and electricity.

astronautsaurus Alberta 9 points Tue Sep 27 14:15:00 2016 UTC  (1 child)

More like a tolled highway, where you pay more to drive faster, and can drive as much of the road as you want.

scruffy69 1 point Tue Sep 27 16:03:43 2016 UTC  (0 children)

I like that, but I still feel regulations need to be made dictating what the slower speed limit and width of that highway is.

Wonderbeastt 2 points Wed Sep 28 02:28:10 2016 UTC  (1 child)

Then theyll charge ridiculous amounts for usage rates

xamotorp 1 point Thu Sep 29 02:49:43 2016 UTC  (0 children)

I have more faith that Canada can find a way to implement utility Internet at affordable prices, even if it involves some sort of slightly noticeable increase in taxes. Other cities have found ways to make affordable, fast Internet a possibility. The biggest barrier is bureaucracy and personal interest in benefitting a few at the expense of the rest if the population.

RedJack99 63 points Tue Sep 27 20:16:40 2016 UTC  (2 children)

The CRTC needs to allow services like Ting and Google Fiber to operate in Canada. Give us a real choice and crush these monopolies once and for all.

Awkin-Sopwith Ontario 7 points Wed Sep 28 21:59:49 2016 UTC  (0 children)

I fully agree with this. The CRTC is failing Canadians by not allowing these services in Canada. Ting is a Canadian company, but can't operate in Canada. That the CRTC decided previously that these services would not help change the playing field and be a benefit to Canadian consumers is difficult to understand.

Twisted_Knight 1 point Tue Sep 27 20:57:24 2016 UTC  (0 children)

This!!

swabfalling 31 points Tue Sep 27 12:42:08 2016 UTC  (0 children)

  1. The benefits lie mostly with the the providers. It may seem counterintuitive, because the customer is receiving something for "free", but the provider is able to lock a customer down to a certain media provider. Regardless of incentive, this is bad for net neutrality and the internet as a whole. Incentivizes for a provider should ALWAYS be price based in the case of plans. Providers partnering with media providers is a dangerous path, and takes away from providers incentives to lower their prices as well.

  2. As addressed in 1, I am concerned about providers partnering with content providers. This may start as a customer "add" but it could lead to cases of exclusivity deals. This is a dangerous path, and exactly what providers would love to have to lock down customers, while, once again, taking away from their incentive to lower prices to maintain customer loyalty. Net neutrality dictates that I shouldn't have to be an X customer to get Y service. This isn't the case with "zero rating" but it is definitely a path that leads to this case. No exclusivity in ANY way is appropriate, and because it needs to be repeated, pricing based incentives ONLY.

  3. Same situation, very concerned as this is a slippery slope that leads to exclusivity agreements. The customer may get a small win, in the case of no data, but customers as a whole lose out in the long run. Once again, pricing from providers is too expensive in our country, pricing incentives ONLY. I do not, repeat do not, trust the providers to make any regulations regarding their industry. They have enough anti-competitive practices and industry price fixing to prove that they are not trust worthy enough to self regulate. The CRTC needs to step in as soon as possible to take away some of their already existing loopholes.

  4. Net neutrality rules have to be followed by providers. Mobile, home internet even locally provided Wifi should all be regulated to the rules of net neutrality. No exclusives, no incentives to use one service or website over another, just data provided. That's it. Data and the service needed for maximum uptime for their customers and that's it. Any and all incentives for one customer between the companies will be ONLY price based.

BrentBeach 31 points Tue Sep 27 21:01:09 2016 UTC  (0 children)

The internet today exists in spite of the telcos. They have hindered its development from day, delaying ADSL to favour their much more expensive ISDN service. The telcos should have no more right to decide anything about traffic down their pipes than a construction company does about who drives on a road it builds and maintains. 1. bandwidth is so cheap now, there are no benefits to reducing the cost of any part of the content space. telcos are converting to fibre to reduce maintenance costs, so speed and bandwidth as well as reliability on the last mile is no longer an issue. in any case, should there be differential pricing, the telcos should not get to pick what goes free. the regulator guided by consultation with Canadians should decide. 2. differential pricing administered as a profit centre of the telcos will bias content on purely commercial lines rather than on its value to Canadians. 3. again, decisions related to content cannot be left to the telcos. their analysis is bottom line centric and always will be. markets work when markets are competitive. differential pricing reduces competition, reduces the content space. the CRTC has been babying the telcos for 70 years - ensuring the health of the industry. that industry is making outrageous profits now and has been for decades. no babying needed now, and certainly not at the expense of the content available to Canadian citizens. 4. regulation is simple - the telcos cannot base any pricing on content. not through this mechanism or any other mechanism that favours one content pool over another. telcos are in the delivery business. canada post cannot charge one person more than another to mail the same letter. telcos should not even be looking at the source when deciding how to charge for or route packets. all packets between A and B should flow along the best currently available route at exactly the same cost.

The CRTC should make it clear to the telcos that differential pricing is off the table. If they come back with a black-with-white-stripes version of differential pricing (as opposed to the current white-with-black-stripes version) they should be subject to penalties.

werethless12 Alberta 31 points Tue Sep 27 21:22:02 2016 UTC  (0 children)

  1. I don't really see any benefit to the consumer. It just helps the big telecoms
  2. Yes. Having different data cost different amount of money is horrible idea and goes directly against net neutrality.
  3. I think my concerns as well as many others' on this thread far outweigh the benefits and I very strongly think you should step in and deal with them.
  4. Simple, all data is the same data and you should be able to have unlimted of it no matter where you are in the country. Another issue I have is the roaming charges when you're out of your cell carriers coverage and have to "piggy back" off when of the big 3 telecoms and you get charged a WHOLE lot. I think the towers and lines should be considered public utilities and let any telecom, big or small use them and let the customers from any telecom use those towers/lines.

kowaku 31 points Wed Sep 28 01:20:33 2016 UTC  (0 children)

Differential pricing is bad from the get go, and I'm not sure why it's even a debate. Either meter, everything the same, or meter nothing. (It should be nothing).

  1. What do you think are the benefits of differential pricing?

The customer may feel like they are getting a 'deal', but really there is no benefit as a whole.

  1. Do you have any concerns about differential pricing?

Yes. Rogers used to have Shomi to compete with Netflix. They could stop metering data when using shomi, but continuting to with Netflix. This is a complete conflict of interest and can not be allowed.

  1. Do these concerns outweigh the benefits and, if so, are they significant enough to justify us stepping in and regulating the practices? Or should we let the home (wireline), and mobile (wireless) service providers decide?

No they do not outweigh the benefits. The internet providers have already proven to us that they can't be trusted with fair practices, so yes they need to be heavily regulated and potentially broken up (but that's a different debate). Data caps suck, but giving some services different treatment than others is even worse. It gives the benefit to larger companies that have the resources to strike a deal with a company like rogers, whereas smaller websites and content providers can't. Data caps already stifle business, innovation and the economy, but let's not let the oligopoly have even more power with how we consume content.

Boss_Otter 31 points Mon Sep 26 16:46:11 2016 UTC  (0 children)

I think zero rating a powerful tool service providers will use to guide customers onto their own platforms. I feel like it will be a toe in the door especially if data caps continue to be reduced despite the decreased cost of providing the data. It will eventually lead to a two tier system in which the groomed list of services from your provider become the preferred choice as consumers will not want to spend additional money for data if they have a choice between the free data offered by the zero rating for a service and the "premium" data that's needed for services external to their own.

wizardged Ontario 110 points Mon Sep 26 15:26:25 2016 UTC  (31 children)

Let's cut out the formalities and get down to what your question is actually asking. This is about net neutrality and even more so about zero rating, something that puts Net neutrality at risk. To clarify zero rating is when internet providers (which is what cell phone providers are in addition to cellular providers whether the CRTC views it that way or not) exempt certain internet applications from data caps. At first this seems great ie. Consumer immediately thinking "Wow I'm not getting charged for data I use. Thanks BelRogTelWin (The name of a fictitious cell phone provider that we will assume operates in Canada)". This is howeverno saving grace from BelRogTelWin. BelRogTelWin has a plan. To illustrate this let's use an example of the Recently popular release of the game "Gokemon PO" which BelRogTelWin has decided to zero rate to see why this plan is not in the interest of Canadians.

Lets pretend, BelRogTelWin is offering to exempt Gokemon Po from its data caps for a year. That goes with some of its other zero rating offers, including the exemption of a number of video and music streaming services.

That's great, right? Who wouldn't want to play as much Gokemon Po as they want, without worrying about using up their monthly data allotment?

That's certainly how wireless carriers are selling zero rating – as a boon to consumers.

But it doesn't take much effort to see the downside. What about all the other games out there? Why should those continue to count against data caps? In the case of BelRogTelWin, which is happily exempting all kinds of services, why are there caps in the first place?

Suppose you're a person who plays a lot of mobile games on your phone, some of which use up data. You've tried Gokemon Po and decided it isn't for you. Suddenly, it isn't a case of Gokemon Po players getting a bonus – it's a case of you getting penalized for your preferences.

Why does BelRogTelWin get to choose which games cost you data?

It's worse for the creators. While the people at Ciantin, the company behind Gokemon Po, are probably happy that BelRogTelWin has voluntarily given their product a boost, there are likely many other game developers now quietly grumbling about why their games aren't exempted from caps.

It's an unfair advantage that Gokemon Po doesn't need, considering its runaway popularity.

By offering “free” data, BelRogTelWin is underlining the big problem with zero rating. It's a bonus for the chosen few – often the big and successful who don't need it – but a penalty for everyone else.

(Modified from the Article http://alphabeatic.com/pokemon-go-zero-rating/)

So What should the CRTC do?

Uphold Net Neutrality and make it a policy across Canadian ISP's and Cell Phone providers to Uphold the Free and open internet that helped make them successful and not put the internet behind paywalls. The Free Market can't work if business's can punish you for not using there product or worse stop you from using others.

Geno- 1 point Mon Sep 26 15:42:50 2016 UTC  (26 children)

Your example is specific to one game. What about in the case of unlimited music? As long as a service is able to meet certain technical requirements (e.g. low data usage) they can be part of this service and customers can enjoy you without having to worry about data usage.

Is zero-rating OK if it is open to everyone?

wizardged Ontario 7 points Mon Sep 26 15:44:40 2016 UTC  (21 children)

It is the same multiple companies provide streaming music. Why should I be penalized for using apple music over google play music?

AJollyCyborg 0 points Mon Sep 26 15:56:01 2016 UTC  (9 children)

You wouldn't have to select, they'd all be zero-rated. That's the OPs point.

telecom_brian 7 points Mon Sep 26 16:29:14 2016 UTC  (0 children)

How should service providers identify "music streaming?" What if I start my own music streaming service; how do I get the big service providers to recognize mine?

What if an existing content provider (e.g. Facebook, Netflix, etc.) starts streaming music, and encrypts it as they do with their legacy traffic? How can service providers identify and isolate the "music streaming traffic."

I don't think categorical "zero-rating" is possible without service providers picking winners and losers, and most often it's the established players that need the least help as the winners, and smaller startups who need the most help as the losers.

Full disclosure: I work for a service provider (Rogers), although I am expressing my personal opinion.

wizardged Ontario 4 points Mon Sep 26 15:59:08 2016 UTC  (4 children)

Canada has been part of the trend. Bell and Videotron were both zero-rating chosen mobile video services until a decision by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) earlier this year ordered them to stop. Those mobile services were there competitors to netflix etc. they try to lock in consumers to there service by using illegal anti competitive tactics.

AJollyCyborg 1 point Mon Sep 26 16:20:10 2016 UTC  (3 children)

They were zero-rating their own services though. Makes sense the CRTC stopped the practice... I think you are comparing apple to oranges in this case.

wizardged Ontario 3 points Mon Sep 26 16:33:57 2016 UTC  (2 children)

The problem is you can't guarantee they won't do it again. On top of that there is no difference in cost in what data you consume. music video email and everything else all look the same to a computer/router. Please see this conversation I had with somone else on this: https://www.reddit.com/r/canada/comments/54kz6g/im_from_the_crtc_and_we_want_to_know_what_you/d82sgwm

AJollyCyborg 1 point Mon Sep 26 18:34:28 2016 UTC  (1 child)

That's a common misconception. Bytes have different costs depending on where they are coming from, where they are going and by what way they travel. For example, a byte that goes from the core of a network to an end-user (intra-network) will cost less to transport than a byte that goes through multiple transporters such as Level3 and Akamai to reach an end-user. One could then argue it makes sense to bill them differently. Statement on which I have no opinion as my legal knowledge is not adequate.

wizardged Ontario 2 points Mon Sep 26 18:41:52 2016 UTC  (0 children)

Tier 3 ISP's only pay transit to endpoints of networks they don't own and it is a pittance. You're not wrong but the transit costs Tier 3 pays are minimal. also transit is based on agreements with other ISP providers. most pay next to nothing except what it costs to lay new fiber or light up dark fiber. Source I work in a datacentre that is part of Torix.

ragout Québec 2 points Mon Sep 26 20:01:38 2016 UTC  (2 children)

they'd all be zero-rated

Which brings us to ask us : why have caps on data at all ?

AJollyCyborg 1 point Mon Sep 26 20:30:01 2016 UTC  (1 child)

Because no network can support all of its end-users streaming 4k atm. The caps and zero-rating prevent this from happening.

TCL987 Canada 2 points Thu Sep 29 02:01:30 2016 UTC  (0 children)

Then maybe they shouldn't be selling more services than their networks can handle. They're a utility if their customers all want to stream Netflix at 4K and they are paying for connections fast enough to stream 4K then they should be able to handle it. If they can't handle it then they shouldn't be selling connections capable of streaming 4K.

ISPs want to charge people for fast connections but don't want people to actually use them.

Geno- 0 points Mon Sep 26 15:56:19 2016 UTC  (10 children)

All music providing services would be treated the same, if a music streaming provider can meet the technical requirements it would be included in the zero-rated service offered by an ISP, if not, it will not be included.

As a customer you could use apple music, google play, spotify, whatever else.

Check out binge-on in the states :http://www.t-mobile.com/offer/binge-on-streaming-video.html

PhreakedCanuck Ontario 3 points Mon Sep 26 15:59:25 2016 UTC  (0 children)

Check out binge-on in the states

Thats not exactly zero rating, thats paying more for select services to be zero rated

wizardged Ontario 3 points Mon Sep 26 16:00:14 2016 UTC  (5 children)

You can't guarantee that. Canada has been part of the trend. Bell and Videotron were both zero-rating chosen mobile video services until a decision by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) earlier this year ordered them to stop.

Geno- 0 points Mon Sep 26 16:08:00 2016 UTC  (4 children)

That's because there was discriminatory practices taking place since they were zero rating their own services. My example is zero-rating third party applications. I can't guarantee ISPs will play by the rules, however that is why the CRTC and the Telecommunications act exist, they will be able to tell if something is "unjust".

wizardged Ontario 3 points Mon Sep 26 16:14:07 2016 UTC  (3 children)

Okay, so what if I don't listen to music on my phone I stream videos or use lots of email or something else. there is no difference in cost in serving different types of data. making an artificial cap on certain types of data punishes people for NO reason. If you want I can explain why.

Geno- 1 point Mon Sep 26 16:22:08 2016 UTC  (2 children)

Hmm, I can see what you're saying but the way I was looking at it like this for example: I have a 1Gb plan and it costs me $45 dollars a month ... now my carrier gave me unlimited music on my plan. For that same $45 I still have 1GB of data AND now have unlimited music streaming as well.

wizardged Ontario 3 points Mon Sep 26 16:25:01 2016 UTC  (1 child)

Your not wrong. It's just if bell can afford to give you a 320KBPS audio stream possibly non stop why won't they let me use 320KBPS of a video game non stop. It's none of there business what data I use or why they need to stay neutral.

Geno- 1 point Mon Sep 26 16:28:31 2016 UTC  (0 children)

I like that point. I haven't really formulated my opinion on the matter yet, nice to hear other opinions :)

badcallday 3 points Mon Sep 26 19:55:35 2016 UTC  (1 child)

What happens when you use a music streaming service that isn't major and then rack up overages because "you didn't know"

"oh, I was streaming off internet radio off the phone's browser, why did I go over my data, why was it not covered"

Geno- 0 points Tue Sep 27 12:32:30 2016 UTC  (0 children)

Well in the case of binge-on they let you know what services are available on their service and allow you to "turn-off" bingeon if you don't want to use it. If you make the mistake of using a different provider you would be SOL.

forsayken 2 points Mon Sep 26 17:55:38 2016 UTC  (0 children)
(note: offensive term(s) have been replaced by asterisks)

Why not just treat everything equal and raise these ****** caps that mobile providers push to us for little reason other than to make a ****pile of money for providing as little infrastructure as possible? This sounds worse than back in the day (and yes not very long ago...) when you got a mobile phone and some parts of the day were free but not the most important parts even though you were paying $75/month.

ffwiffo 6 points Mon Sep 26 15:56:06 2016 UTC  (2 children)

As long as a service is able to meet certain technical requirements (e.g. low data usage)

Who needs to zero-rate a service with low data usage? Just uphold net-neutrality. Stop letting the large ISPs pick winners and losers. All internet or no internet, those are the options.

Geno- 1 point Mon Sep 26 16:03:03 2016 UTC  (1 child)

What about other differential pricing practices, teksavvy allowing for unlimited internet between the hours of 2am and 8am (or whatever it is). ISPs allowing subscribers to check on their data usage and other admin stuff on their websites without it counting against their data (checking bills, changing plans, etc..)

Should those not be allowed either?

ffwiffo 3 points Mon Sep 26 16:24:28 2016 UTC  (0 children)

What about other differential pricing practices, teksavvy allowing for unlimited internet between the hours of 2am and 8am (or whatever it is).

This is absolutely neutral. Not sure why you bring it up.

ISPs allowing subscribers to check on their data usage and other admin stuff on their websites without it counting against their data (checking bills, changing plans, etc..)

This technically violates net neutrality but it an absolute pittance in terms of bandwidth that the user is hardly impacted. The practice exists because the user has to use bandwidth to check bandwidth - a catch 22 that shouldn't exist in the first place.

speedtouch 3 points Tue Sep 27 13:58:05 2016 UTC  (0 children)

What if I decide to try to start a music streaming service? Do I just automatically get unlimited music if it's low data? Will there be some vetting process? What if I only have a few people use my service? Does it become unlimited once I get big enough? If so, how big? Will I have to run around to each ISP to tell them that I'm a music streaming service and hope I receive their blessing to offer my streaming music unlimited data?

I for one wouldn't want to be reliant on ISPs to determine whether a business I'm starting will be successful. That gives them power and it gives them a say in things that they should have no say in.

AcidShAwk Canada 0 points Mon Sep 26 15:43:09 2016 UTC  (3 children)

Looking forward to this not receiving a response.

alpain 4 points Mon Sep 26 16:29:43 2016 UTC  (0 children)

I'm here to field questions, if you need it, about the process but nothing else. We will not express views or provide comments on the matters being considered by the CRTC – so expect responses to be structured that way.

If you had read that isn't the purpose here.

wizardged Ontario 1 point Mon Sep 26 15:47:08 2016 UTC  (1 child)

:( can't tell if your Pro-Net neutrality or against.

AcidShAwk Canada 1 point Mon Sep 26 19:23:37 2016 UTC  (0 children)

My bad. Very much pro net neutrality.

Awkward_Archer 59 points Mon Sep 26 18:56:36 2016 UTC  (1 child)

Differential pricing may seem like "free data for that App I like" to the uninformed consumer. In reality I believe it will open the door to almost immediate abuse by providers. I trully feel that we need to be discussing an end to unnecessary data caps. Step in and do not allow differential pricing. Thank you for taking the time to consult us!

Velze 1 point Thu Sep 29 01:06:36 2016 UTC  (0 children)
(note: offensive term(s) have been replaced by asterisks)

Agreed. Were I an ISP I would abuse the ever living **** out of this make tons of money for no effort or additional expense. This is not fair to consumers. I love cats.

Coziestpigeon2 Manitoba 59 points Mon Sep 26 20:01:59 2016 UTC *  (1 child)
(note: offensive term(s) have been replaced by asterisks)

1. What do you think are the benefits of differential pricing?

I can't really see any, especially because we can be certain that the ISPs would pick and choose what counts in a really ******, untrustworthy, "f***-the-consumer" way.

2. Do you have any concerns about differential pricing?

The Internet Gatekeeper problem, used as an example on the government website.

3. Do these concerns outweigh the benefits and, if so, are they significant enough to justify us stepping in and regulating the practices? Or should we let the home (wireline), and mobile (wireless) service providers decide?

The concerns certainly outweigh whatever assumed benefits there are. However, I also don't really trust the CRTC to step in with consumer's best interests at heart. But if we have no better option, I suppose that yes, the CRTC should be in charge. Just please don't be anti-consumer about it, like the organization is with many other services.

4. If we should step in, how should we regulate it?

This is a very hard question to answer. Differential pricing is just a bad idea all-around. We can't trust the CRTC to handle it well, and we definitely can't trust providers to handle it well. It's just a bad idea from every angle because it puts far too much power in the hands of those who have shown they don't give a-f***-and-a-half about consumers.

For example - it's pretty obvious, knowing the history of these companies, that a provider like Rogers would let Shomi be used without affecting data limits, but Netflix would be blocked. Anything to force inferior products down our throats while making us pay more is something that the Big Three would love.

princeedwardislander 4 points Wed Sep 28 18:27:08 2016 UTC  (0 children)

Bravo on the Shomi example. I second that exact sentiment.

FinalCactus 60 points Tue Sep 27 06:09:26 2016 UTC  (0 children)

I absolutely oppose differential pricing. This has been said before in the thread, however:

i. There are no benefits to differential pricing that could not be achieved by removing caps, and,

ii. Differential pricing allows predatory practices by ISPs, disproportionately favouring larger ones, who can corral customers into usage that promotes the ISP or business partners.

untrustab1e 59 points Mon Sep 26 19:57:45 2016 UTC  (0 children)

  1. From a consumer standpoint, the benefits of differential pricing are minimal. Having a few of the websites being available for free might alleviate data cap issues, but the real solution is to either raise data caps or remove them entirely. These services are also only of benefit to me if I am a customer of the services receiving preferential treatment. Also, consumers receive extra incentive to increase their usage of these services, often at the expense of others.
  2. There are numerous concerns, they generally fall into three categories: making decisions for consumers, reducing market competitiveness, and potential for abuse.
    Making Decisions for Consumers:
    One of the best parts of the internet is having the freedom to visit any part of it that I choose. Having one of my websites become free seems like a boon, until I realise that it only represents 10% of my network usage. If I am near my data cap, suddenly I am incentivised to only use zero-rated websites. I dislike the idea of my service provider dictating how I use the internet.
    Here on Reddit, the front page links to about 15 different websites, only three or four of which I would consider large enough to be able to afford a zero-rating agreement. Content here gets up-voted mostly based on how informative and/or funny it is. Videos already tend not to be very popular among mobile users because they use up so much bandwidth. Making Youtube zero-rated would increase their prevalence on reddit, but only from Youtube. The same effect would occur if data caps were raised, except without the bias towards Youtube.
    Reducing Market Competitiveness:
    Video Streaming currently uses the most bandwidth, and many websites use this form of media either as their primary product, or as a supplement to their existing offerings. News, education, social media, entertainment and advertising businesses all use video as part of their online products. Entrenched members of a market can afford to enter into zero-rating agreements, but new sites don't have this luxury. Some markets only became feasible because the cost of running a website is so low. There are dozens of educational websites that offer the equivalent of college-level courses for free. Wikipedia, one of the largest websites in the world, is able to be run entirely on donations from users. This business model only works because Wikipedia doesn't have to pay for preferential treatment on the internet.
    Potential for Abuse:
    After large websites such as Youtube and Netflix have entered into zero-rating agreements, the demand for larger data caps would decrease. This allows service providers to offer inferior deals to consumers, and delay upgrading their infrastructure. The average size of web pages is constantly increasing, meaning that keeping data caps the same reduces the amount of media a consumer can view. In the extreme scenario, data caps for non-free services face constant downward pressure from service providers, in order to strong-arm sites into accepting zero-rating agreements.
    Many service providers own media companies that they would like to promote. Rogers owns SportsNet and in order to increase viewership, would likely give free access to this service as part of their internet packages. This forces competitors to pay in order to compete, except with higher costs. Free services would be hard-pressed to come up with money to pay for these agreements; limiting the competition to subscription sites. Service providers may also enter into exclusivity agreements with large websites, giving these services a massive competitive edge.

  3. Overall, the benefits of differential pricing are few, and the concerns are numerous. The positives of this program can be replicated by raising or removing data caps. The spirit of the program goes against the foundations of the internet, and attempts to regulate differential pricing would likely be ineffective. Wireline and wireless should be treated the same in this matter, and the power should definitely be kept out of the hands of service providers.

  4. The CRTC should step in, and the best practise would be to ban differential pricing entirely.

charachaos 57 points Tue Sep 27 00:25:58 2016 UTC  (3 children)

  1. What do you think are the benefits of differential pricing?

There are no benefits for the consumer, though the ISPs can freely push whatever they choose. Differential pricing might as well be called preferential treatment or agenda pushing, the people that are on the receiving end have no real choice even if they are led to believe otherwise and the ISPs have more power over what is "allowed" (zero-rating agreements) vs "not allowed" (no zero-rating and possibly increased pricing) thus influencing not only the amount of usage per site but the type of information that is digested as well.

  1. Do you have any concerns about differential pricing?

Many concerns, just a few of them being the lack of competition (effectively catering to capitalism), the possible obstruction of certain freedoms (freedom of the press as example with canadian online media being heavily affected), and low-income households having an increased difficulty with proper access to their bills, banking, mail, contact with family members across/outside the country, etc.

  1. Do these concerns outweigh the benefits and, if so, are they significant enough to justify us stepping in and regulating the practices? Or should we let the home (wireline), and mobile (wireless) service providers decide?

The concerns far outweigh the benefits and certainly justify the CRTC to step in and regulate the providers heavily. If they were left to regulate themselves it would quickly become a treacherous slope of fewer and fewer options with higher and higher pricing involved.

  1. If we should step in, how should we regulate it?

Make the internet an essential service. We all pay for the maintenance of roads even though not everyone chooses to obtain a drivers license or might not be able to get it either, we all pay toward childrens benefits yet not everyone chooses to have children. There are more people who connect to the internet than those who drive or have children yet even after the UN declares the internet a human right we are still debating whether or not to put it in the hands of corporations or in the hands of the people.

TravelBug87 Ontario 27 points Tue Sep 27 14:01:22 2016 UTC  (0 children)

Make the internet an essential service. We all pay for the maintenance of roads even though not everyone chooses to obtain a drivers license or might not be able to get it either, we all pay toward childrens benefits yet not everyone chooses to have children. There are more people who connect to the internet than those who drive or have children yet even after the UN declares the internet a human right we are still debating whether or not to put it in the hands of corporations or in the hands of the people.

Could not have said it better myself. The internet needs to be able to be accessed at all times, by all people.

updn 4 points Tue Sep 27 19:28:28 2016 UTC  (0 children)

the UN declares the internet a human right we are still debating whether or not to put it in the hands of corporations or in the hands of the people.

This is it in a nutshell.

Flaktrack Québec 4 points Wed Sep 28 16:38:11 2016 UTC  (0 children)

Make the internet an essential service.

Virtually every single business and person in Canada makes use of the internet for their daily needs. Some people are even working from home over the internet. The internet has changed everything and is absolutely essential to our lives.

There is no reason why the telecoms - who have very serious conflicts of interest with internet service and other services they provide/control - could ever be trusted to regulate themselves. The government must step in and guarantee our freedom.

perfidydudeguy 59 points Mon Sep 26 16:18:14 2016 UTC *  (1 child)

What do you think are the benefits of differential pricing?

By not counting data from certain sources towards my data cap, I am free to use other services more without having to pay for a higher end internet service. However, this leads me to ask the question: why are the data caps so low in the first place? Isn't data caps being low what differential pricing is trying to "address"?

Do you have any concerns about differential pricing?

Two.

The first is that it will kill competition. How is a startup supposed to build a user base if it has to either charge the customers or make them watch ads to fund itself as well as somehow convince said users to pay extra for their internet connection because the used data counts towards caps? The big corp alternative would obviously not, so how would they compete?

Second, if differential pricing grows, what incentive is there for the big guys to improve either their internet service or their content services if there is no competition? Why do you need a higher data cap so long as everything you read, watch and listen to comes from your internet service provider itself? If you don't "need" the data, then why would they ever grow the caps at all (and forget about removing them)?

Do these concerns outweigh the benefits and, if so, are they significant enough to justify us stepping in and regulating the practices? Or should we let the home (wireline), and mobile (wireless) service providers decide?

Yes. The cons outweigh the pros by a landslide. I want to be able to hand pick my services, which I cannot do if the internet gets bundled up. I want my ISP to give me a connection to the entire world, not just their corporate network. I want to see opinions and content from sources my ISP may disagree with or think irrelevant.

If we should step in, how should we regulate it?

My preferred solution would be to forbid ISPs from even handing out "free" data, or rather data that doesn't count towards caps. If they want to do that, then "no caps" should be the service they offer.

I suppose a much more complicated and significantly less effective solution would be to force any ISP that offer differential pricing to one content provider to be forced to offer the exact same service to the entire corresponding industry. However, what will end up happening is that ISPs will start using new terms to endlessly recategorize services and sources and regulating bodies will simply not be able to keep up. It's unsustainable because it will get extremely complex extremely quickly just so that the major ISPs and content providers can keep a stranglehold on their markets.

After all, let's be clear. They don't want to make certain types of data be excluded from caps. They only want data that comes from themselves or their partners to be excluded from caps. Are you a friend of big corps? No? Tough luck.

Planner_Hammish 4 points Mon Sep 26 17:00:04 2016 UTC  (0 children)

However, what will end up happening is that ISPs will start using new terms to endlessly recategorize services and sources and regulating bodies will simply not be able to keep up. It's unsustainable because it will get extremely complex extremely quickly just so that the major ISPs and content providers can keep a stranglehold on their markets.

This sounds like the current content licensing paradigm. You buy a subscription to sportx, and you can watch that on TV, and if you have the TV subscription, you can watch it on the internet. But you can't watch it on your mobile internet, because the sports are not licensed by the subsidiary that handles mobile sportx app. Want to just watch it on the internet? Nope, can't watch it on your desktop unless you also buy the cable package...

canada_boy 57 points Mon Sep 26 23:42:31 2016 UTC *  (0 children)

zero-rating is a really bad horrible scam against the public.

What the public wants and deserves is for service providers to fairly compete for their business. In zero-rating the telcos allow selected digital service providers to access consumers for free, whereas users of the 'not selected' providers have to pay full freight for access. The service providers that are most often the subject of this "free access" are the types of services that use a lot of bandwidth, which is costly for consumers.

To get an idea of how wonky this is let's cast the situation onto a different industry. Imagine that Esso gas stations were offering free fuel, but only from a particular refinery and only for the heaviest users of fuel. Immediately the insanity of the situation is clear. The very first question is "How can they afford that?", unlimited fuel for their heaviest users?

But this is precisely the situation that internet/cell service providers are in. How can they afford to give away huge amounts of a costly resource for free? The simple answer is that they can't, so either one of two possibilities obtain, they won't give it away or it's not costly (for them).

It could be that someone else is paying for it, much as say advertisers pay for TV channels. More likely though is that the actual cost to provide the service is much cheaper than the revenue it produces. The whole point of competitive markets is to drive prices down to the point where the sales price is close to the product cost plus an acceptable profit.

There is no clearer sign that internet/cell providers have been making windfall profits, on a cost base that declines by about 30% per year and is now very close to zero, than the existence of zero-rating. The providers want to distort the competition for who wins and who loses on the internet by giving away an effectively free resource to their favourites all while charging consumers way above cost.

Can't we just have real competition for providing data services that benefit the public rather than money bag corporations with armies of lobbyists gaming the system for their own personal enrichment?

EDIT: a few typos.

mangage 54 points Tue Sep 27 01:19:16 2016 UTC  (0 children)

There are no benefits at all for differential pricing for the end user, it is only another way for large corporations to increase profit margins.

Internet and Mobile access should have only a single price point for unlimited access. We should not be limited in any way to information or digital services. There are no technical limitations preventing this, only corporations that want to make more money.

geedamoose 26 points Tue Sep 27 09:30:32 2016 UTC  (0 children)

There are no consumer/user level benefits that I can imagine. Differential pricing is just another way for very large corporations to ensure that their message is heard above all others; no matter that the corporation is an ISP, a car manufacturer, a sports team, a financial institution or a media organization.

As for regulation, yes, please. Sounds like net neutrality to me.

Rampaging_Rhino 26 points Mon Sep 26 19:04:36 2016 UTC  (0 children)

  1. The main benefits would be that select services would be cheaper, but in the long run I don;t think it's worth it.

  2. My concern is that it would restrict my choices and restrict small businesses from being able to provide services

  3. Yes, the concerns outweigh the benefits! I would rather have unlimited internet/ no data caps. Like someone lese said on this thread, internet should be considered a utility like hydro, gas, and water.

  4. Not sure how regulation should work, but making the companies show their available plans in a straight forward way would be a start. When it takes 5 steps to access the information about plans, thats about 4 steps too many. Having more transparency about what services are available would be helpful.

hypnoderp 48 points Tue Sep 27 16:27:13 2016 UTC *  (1 child)

1) The benefits are only beneficial when framed as such, by marketers. They are by and large empty gestures. Saying that a customer is getting "more" of something, rather than less of something else is simply a convenient marketing tool in an industry where consumer trust is at an all time low. There is literally nothing to convince paying customers that businesses won't do what they are designed to do here, and turn a profit while turning a blind eye to the best interests of the customer. If ISPs can truly offer more for less, then let them do it in healthy competition with each other, not by bowing to the highest bidder with content to sell.

2) My concern is much greater than the pricing issue, it is the issue of net-neutrality. The world over, internet access is rapidly being deemed a utility. To regulate a utility at the source by evaluating its intended end-use would be unprecedented. Water and electricy aren't witheld or supplied cheaper depending on what the customer does with them. Access to free information, unfiltered, uncensored, and indeed unprivileged by the source should be a basic human right. ISPs should not be concerned with content or source, only the delivery of data. The provision of service, as is their namesake.

3) These concerns massively outweigh the nonexistent benefits, and are more than significant enough to justify regulation. Canada will be setting a precedent with its actions here. As a world leader, other jurisdictions will look to us to frame their outlook on this. Since the internet is very difficult to police across borders, what one nation decides on cyber policies affects other nations, and critical masses are reached where it becomes a moot point whether or not you follow a certain policy if your neighbours do not. To prevent this becoming the thin end of a net-neutrality wedge issue, the CRTC must take a strong and unflinching stance here to protect the freedom of the citizens it represents. This goes way beyond customers.

4) Differential pricing should be banned outright in all its forms. The ISP is there to supply the end user with the data he/she seeks. The ISP does not pay more or less for data from one region or any other. Any differences in pricing are a sole result of kickbacks from companies buying their way into one or another ISPs and, and thus corporately influencing the user's preference, and access to, data. Moreover it's exclusionary to services which don't have the same kind of purchasing power. Any instances of this type of collusion should be investigated, exposed, and fined. The control of freedom of information is a dystopian nightmare that is easily avoided, if the threats are recognized for what they are. This is one such threat.

VagabondingCanada 2 points Fri Sep 30 14:06:26 2016 UTC  (0 children)

I can't say it better than this so just know I support everything they've said. Net neutrality is paramount.

Gunstling Newfoundland and Labrador 50 points Tue Sep 27 18:59:00 2016 UTC  (2 children)

Differential pricing (or zero-rating) seriously limits choice and stifles competition on the Internet: the next Reddit or Twitter could never get off the ground in a world with zero-rating.

Canadians are trapped by data caps: For wired Internet, data caps in most of the world are unheard of. For wireless, caps in other nations are far more reasonable than those in Canada.

There is no such thing as “too much Internet,” given how essential online access has become to our everyday lives. If we don't tackle this now, Canada will fall even further behind.

Users, not telecom companies, should decide which services we use online: Telecom giants should not be permitted to zero-rate data, and make websites they don't like more expensive to access.

We need transparency and strong enforcement to ensure telcos stick by the rules, and face penalties when those rules are broken.

FallenWyvern 5 points Wed Sep 28 19:16:20 2016 UTC  (1 child)

Hey look, this is the best/most sane argument anyone could make. I was going to write a whole thing on my thoughts but this user gets it!

Gunstling Newfoundland and Labrador 1 point Wed Sep 28 19:45:43 2016 UTC  (0 children)

I try :p

tehserial Québec 69 points Mon Sep 26 20:49:45 2016 UTC  (0 children)

Please abolish data caps, we're in 2016! And while you are at it, could you forces content providers (Bell, Videotron and others) to not offer rebate when you take more services with them.

It make no sense that I can take a TV, home phone, and internet package for 80$/month, but if I only need Internet, well, it's now 120$/month

aintitashame 47 points Tue Sep 27 05:33:55 2016 UTC  (0 children)

Do not allow companies to employ data caps or tiered pricing, the internet is meant to be free, open and neutral. Differential pricing is just destruction of the internet for profit in a new package. Data caps must be regulated to immediate non-existence!

alltherobots 22 points Tue Sep 27 13:10:15 2016 UTC  (1 child)

In addition to the good points against differential pricing that others have raised, it also penalizes privacy.

Currently, Canadians' net usage is pretty vulnerable. Those who take prudent steps to safeguard their privacy such as encryption would forfit their unrestricted bandwidth even if they were using the listed services.

As encryption becomes more common, ISPs will just say, "Well, that's not our problem. Here's five plans that all cost more because of the free services you can't use, and no other choice."

We will get billed more for something that will be unusable as internet users become more responsible, but since it will still be "optional", ISPs will pretend that's not happening.

teddyr93 1 point Wed Sep 28 23:26:36 2016 UTC  (0 children)

This is a vastly underrated comment.

Thunderz_Canadia 24 points Tue Sep 27 16:04:18 2016 UTC  (0 children)

  1. The benefits go to large corps who can pay the fee the ISP are charging for unlimited usage of data
  2. Yes, I do. This practice will end up destroying any start-up company in Canada
  3. I believe the CRTC should step in and regulate this practice. We should follow the principle of Net Neutrality
  4. I believe we should disallow differential pricing

straightcur 68 points Mon Sep 26 19:08:12 2016 UTC  (0 children)

Please do not make the same mistake you made with cable. Do not allow vertical integration of the internet. Keep the internet open. The fact that you are even entertaining this is extremely disturbing.

Letscurlbrah 49 points Tue Sep 27 04:38:47 2016 UTC  (0 children)

What do you think are the benefits of differential pricing?

In general I think the benfits are only for the ISPs. I think it will provide short term gains in very specific use cases. ie. If a user only watches videos via Shaw's video service, it will be helpful.

Do you have any concerns about differential pricing?

I think it will negatively impact innovation on the internet. ISPs will likely only allow their own content to be free, which will further dissuade people from using alternate services. I also anticipate it will drive the cost of data not on their specific sites to be more expensive than it is now.

Do these concerns outweigh the benefits and, if so, are they significant enough to justify us stepping in and regulating the practices? Or should we let the home (wireline), and mobile (wireless) service providers decide?

I do not think the benefits outweigh the concerns.

If we should step in, how should we regulate it?

I would like a government run carrier to be formed, as this has shown to increase competition in markets where it exists, such as Sask, and encourage more consumer friendly practices where they operate.

freebase1ca 45 points Tue Sep 27 15:27:23 2016 UTC  (1 child)

Some incredible, well thought out responses in this thread. I'm sure my opinions have already been expressed, but I can't read all of this. I will just post my own...

1.What do you think are the benefits of differential pricing?

I am so overwhelmed by the negatives I can envision, I can't think of any concrete benefit that wouldn't be overcome by a hidden negative.

2.Do you have any concerns about differential pricing?

So many concerns. Differential pricing would just provide more levers that companies could pull to leverage their position and obfuscate the true costs to the consumers.

How often have we tried to be smart consumers by carefully comparing pricing only to be blind-sided by some unexpected or hidden cost. "You've been saving on your electricity use? - We have a new delivery charge for you." "You found a way to consume TV broadcasts without subscribing to our cable package? - Turns out your cable package was subsidizing your internet package - we need to double that now to reflect the true cost." Examples are endless.

How often will we be subjected to a bait and switch? "Yes, our internet costs are double our competitors, but that's because we maintain very low latencies and high bandwidth. The price is actually cheaper because your video streaming from x and y are free!" How much free streaming will we get before the streaming is no longer free but our internet fee with ridiculous caps remains the same? What kind of iron-clad contracts would we require to ensure that the service remains as good as what we signed up for. You can guarantee that the service provider will not provide any such thing for us to sign.

Others have covered the concerns of the content providers who might have difficulty reaching their intended customers. Service providers will be able to hold their customers hostage for the highest bidder.

3.Do these concerns outweigh the benefits and, if so, are they significant enough to justify us stepping in and regulating the practices? Or should we let the home (wireline), and mobile (wireless) service providers decide?

The concerns far outweigh any perceived benefit. There is no free lunch. Any free service offering will be recovered somewhere. Might as well keep things simple and honest. Let's know what we're paying for up front and be confident it won't change.

4.If we should step in, how should we regulate it?

I leave that to you. Like our healthcare, don't allow multi-tier internet access. Treat all content and all routes the same.

Vyper28 7 points Wed Sep 28 20:48:26 2016 UTC  (0 children)

Great points!

I also believe these changes strongly encourage ISP's to reduce data caps. Because the lower the cap, the more content providers will have to pay them for "Sponsored Access".

You can't ditch T.V. for Netflix when your package was reduced to 100GB/month! But you could sign up for our IPTV netflix clone for only $29.99 a month! It's sponsored so it doesn't use your data!

I can already see the ads popping up.. "100gb bandwith, more than enough for your email and web browsing!! And for only $29.99 more you can enjoy unlimited SomethingOtherThanShomi streaming T.V. service!!" available on select 2 year contracts, Price increases to $500/mo after 6 months.

ThereIsNoRedditOnlyZ 45 points Mon Sep 26 23:57:40 2016 UTC  (0 children)

This creates an unfair playing field for other providers of content on the internet. The internet is supposed to be fair and equal. Since it is a service that is virtually essential to populace it should be publicly run by the taxpayers. But since it isn't, this inherent tax should be applied equally.

Beat_My_Kids 42 points Tue Sep 27 16:33:24 2016 UTC  (0 children)

What do you think are the benefits of differential pricing? To corporations, there are many. Look at Shaw/Rogers and shomi. Unfortunately this project/product has failed and will be shutting down in November. But they exempted shomi's data from Shaw internet usage. Thus, for low income people making their product appear more preferable/attractive. Fortunately, competitors such as Netflix have been vocal about these issues in the united states and it made many of us aware of how unethical it is. I see connections to the internet as a utility. It would be the same thing to say that my electricity would be cheaper if I was using Samsung electronics. See how that could become a problem?

For consumers, there is the chance that they could save some money. As long as you do what you're told, you may save on data caps but it now means that more of your money is going to the large telecom/isp instead of the content provider you'd really like to access.

Do you have any concerns about differential pricing? Yes. Yes. Yes. Think about it this way. Theoretically. I'm a mobile carrier such as Bell. I also invest in a messaging app like.. Telegram for example. Now, to increase Telegram's success (and my profits) it would likely be in my best interests to exempt all Telegram traffic on my network from data charges and at the same time I'm going to increase the costs of data on the network. This means for everyone to keep the status quo for their monthly bills, they will need to switch to Telegram. That's fine right?

No. That's not fine. I pay $80 a month with the expectation that I can use my phone for whatever I'd like within limits. (5GB Data). I have been using Google Play music on my device, but what if they make my plan $120 a month when I renew and then allow Spotify on their network without data charges. I would definitely a) switch my plan to a lower data limit and try to get my same price. b) switch to spotify to make the most out of my data. Is this ethical? Need more convincing? What if they increased fees for a service? What if Google Play was priced higher per megabyte? They might as well switch plans from "Data" to "Credit" and give you $80 a month worth of credit. You use that to purchase services like Google Play. $1 a megabyte. Etc. ?

Do these concerns outweigh the benefits and, if so, are they significant enough to justify us stepping in and regulating the practices? Or should we let the home (wireline), and mobile (wireless) service providers decide?

You should without a doubt step in. If Canada's citizens have ever needed you, it's on this topic. There are nearly no benefits to the consumer.

If we should step in, how should we regulate it? It should be completely prohibited to control and manipulate customers into using any services. This should not be allowed at all.

RagnarokDel 63 points Mon Sep 26 22:21:15 2016 UTC  (1 child)

Data is freedom and access to the internet should be a public utility just like tap water.

oDionysius British Columbia 9 points Tue Sep 27 16:14:34 2016 UTC  (0 children)

Especially in the way that we are moving forward. Schools are heavily relying in internet, students need internet for work and school.

Someone nowadays, who doesn't have access to the internet, is going to miss out on a lot of things

Phoenix2000 46 points Tue Sep 27 00:10:27 2016 UTC  (1 child)

They are trying to go against Net Neutrality by naming it something different. Data is data is data. It all cost the same to transmit and should all have the same pricing. I don't mind paying more to have an unlimited connection. I understand the costs of network infrastructure. I also love how they implied music and TV shows would be in the exempt group...Yea sure,

Roranicus01 4 points Wed Sep 28 17:52:18 2016 UTC  (0 children)

I couldn't agree more. Protecting Net Neutrality should be one of the crtc's primary missions. What happens to those of us who do not with to use netflix, youtube, or other commercial streaming services that have reached a deal with ISPs?

RanmaCanada 44 points Tue Sep 27 02:09:11 2016 UTC  (0 children)

What do you think are the benefits of differential pricing?

The only benefits are the for big 3. Consumers will continue to be raped. We currently have some of the most expensive plans on the planet, with craptacular coverage. Where were you when Rogers sold us to Tbaytel, and they left Northwestern Ontario? Where were you when Shomi and Crave were proven to be nothing more than shills to stop Netflix from getting content. Where were you when Shaw and Bell decided to almost double their internet plan pricing because "the dollar is low" They didn't lower them when we were on parity.

Do you have any concerns about differential pricing?

My concern is that the big 3 will continue to do what they do. Have the CRTC in their back pocket and rape and pillage our wallets for less and less service. The majority of the network was paid for with tax dollars. It's seriously time for a nationalized carrier.

Do these concerns outweigh the benefits and, if so, are they significant enough to justify us stepping in and regulating the practices? Or should we let the home (wireline), and mobile (wireless) service providers decide?

Isn't this like giving your 5 year old child a choice between candy for breakfast and cereal?

If we should step in, how should we regulate it?

You should regulate it by creating a government run carrier that will compete with the big 3 monopoly. We have already seen that they will compete in provinces with government run carriers, which you damn well better make sure NEVER are allowed to be sold. Make a national carrier, and service the parts of Canada that are "not profitable" If I can get LTE service in the middle of the desert in the Middle East, why can't I get at least 3G service in my basement?

JoseCansecoMilkshake 61 points Mon Sep 26 20:18:20 2016 UTC  (1 child)

What do you think are the benefits of differential pricing?

It is possible that some light use internet users could see lower prices.

Do you have any concerns about differential pricing?

I feel that looking at what kind of services I'm using violates my privacy. There is also room to violate net neutrality, which has shown to be done (Bell and Telus have already done this on which you judged they did nothing wrong http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/telus-cuts-subscriber-access-to-pro-union-website-1.531166, http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2011/12/bell-canada-drops-traffic-shaping-in-favor-of-an-economic-approach/). It is the job of the ISP to provide a connection, nothing more. It is not the business of the ISP if I watch Netflix 16 hours a day, or watch a certain type of pornography or am looking at other ISP options because I'm dissatisfied with their service.

Do these concerns outweigh the benefits and, if so, are they significant enough to justify us stepping in and regulating the practices? Or should we let the home (wireline), and mobile (wireless) service providers decide? If we should step in, how should we regulate it?

The concerns grossly outweight the benefits if you are at all concerned about privacy, security, and stopping the surveillance state before it gets out of hand. If you let the providers decide (since telecom has high barriers to entry and is a life essential for 99%+ of the population), they are unlikely to make decisions that benefit the consumers at their detriment. This information is valuable both to the telecom companies and to sell on to other companies, for advertising or research purposes.

The CRTC should regulate this by enforcing net neutrality. It is the job of the ISP to provide internet service. Nothing more. If I pay for a certain speed and a certain data cap (which is another issue entirely), I should get all of that data at that speed (up and down). No "traffic shaping", no censorship, no throttling, no IP blocking. This is a free and democratic country and society. Because of the high reliance on the internet to consume media and keep us informed, we absolutely cannot have large corporations shaping the information, restricting our knowledge consumption and restricting our right to privacy.

mvirard 4 points Wed Sep 28 05:01:46 2016 UTC  (0 children)

That pretty well sums it up: "we absolutely cannot have large corporations shaping the information, restricting our knowledge consumption and restricting our right to privacy."

rxbudian 21 points Mon Sep 26 20:23:41 2016 UTC  (5 children)

Are we supposed to vote up or down on the post to show that we have positive/negative views on the question?

-crtc- Canada [S] 16 points Mon Sep 26 21:15:38 2016 UTC  (1 child)

Feel free to vote but we are primarily looking for comments.

V471 5 points Tue Sep 27 13:42:13 2016 UTC  (0 children)

Which is stupid in my opinion. Reddit works in a true democratic process, allowing the comments with the most information or popular opinion to rise to the top, and those that are offensive or hard to read to go to the bottom.

charachaos 2 points Mon Sep 26 22:48:18 2016 UTC  (0 children)

Vote up for positive, and down for negative. The further into tthe negative something is, the further it gets buried in the positive ones.

As well, add your thoughts in a comment. I'm currently reading and up/down voting as many as possible before adding my own.

anythingffs 1 point Wed Sep 28 03:10:42 2016 UTC  (1 child)

OP said this:

every comment and every upvote will become part of the official public record.

allistoner 60 points Tue Sep 27 02:50:15 2016 UTC  (2 children)

Net neutrality, no data caps and more unlimited data packages is what Canada needs

burnSMACKER 21 points Tue Sep 27 04:16:35 2016 UTC  (1 child)

We need more competition. Invite Google here and let Verizon stay this time.

MisteryKnight 2 points Wed Sep 28 22:35:28 2016 UTC  (0 children)

This! The fact that Google can't compete in Canada as a provider is seriously hurting our internet growth. It seems like everyone is getting faster and faster speeds while our speeds are just staying the same

eMaddeningCrowd 98 points Mon Sep 26 15:16:40 2016 UTC *  (3 children)

  • What do you think are the benefits of differential pricing?

Most of my data usage comes from music streaming and internet browsing. Having data exemptions for various services would keep me under my monthly limits.

  • Do you have any concerns about differential pricing?

It locks me into my cell providers "preferred" streaming service and takes away the freedom of choice I would have had otherwise. I use Google Music. Rogers supports Spotify. Rogers is heavily financially invested in Shomi which is a direct competitor to Netflix. The only people differential pricing helps are Rogers and Spotify while discriminating against users of competing services (Netflix, Apple Music, Google Music, etc.). There have been rulings for net neutrality in canada for internet to the home. We need net neutrality on our mobile networks as well.

  • Do these concerns outweigh the benefits and, if so, are they significant enough to justify us stepping in and regulating the practices? Or should we let the home (wireline), and mobile (wireless) service providers decide?

Use the Rogers partnered service for free or pay double (the subscription fee AND your data usage) to use the competition. That is incredibly unfair to the users and serves only to benefit the service providers. The internet was built on a foundation of free choice - don't like one platform, go to another. By creating rules that allow providers to play this game, you take away our choices

  • If we should step in, how should we regulate it?

Every time the CRTC tries to impose regulations and rules, our internet and mobile prices go up. If you block the providers from doing differential pricing, they will raise our data prices. If you allow them to do it. They will raise our data prices. See also: affordable cable packages, a la carte pricing, 2 year contracts with the option to back out at any time. Every thing you've done has cost the users more at some level. Usually at the wallet. My cell plan is 6 years old and costs $85/mo - If I want the same plan today, I'd be paying $115 at the bare minimum for less data and voice services than I get on my grandfathered plan - which will probably be taken away from me in the next year or two at the rate that Rogers is going. Edit: I WANT rules. However, I want these rules to be less short sighted. I want there to be fewer loopholes for the providers and stiffer penalties that you actually follow through on for bad-faith practices. I want there to be fairness. You're playing a cat and mouse game with them - every time you do something for us, they find another way to turn it against us.

Edit: Various edits to clear up vagueness.

Yoshimo123 6 points Mon Sep 26 15:23:49 2016 UTC  (0 children)

eMaddeningCrowd articulated my views on this issue well. Upvote.

pragmacube 2 points Wed Sep 28 10:50:39 2016 UTC  (0 children)

Well said, I agree completely!

maqtewek New Brunswick 42 points Mon Sep 26 21:48:45 2016 UTC *  (1 child)

1) The only obvious benefit I can see is that it allows people to use 'popular' telecommunications services at a discount or for free.

2) It gives service providers, who are, generally speaking, not accountable to the public or the government so long as they obey established laws, excessive control over what Canadians use their services for. Given that telecommunications are, at this point, a piece of infrastructure that rivals highways, railways and the electricity grid in national, economic, and social importance, this is a serious concern.

In this day and age, Canadians use wired and wireless internet services to access virtually every aspect of their lives; keeping up with current events, banking, shopping, entertainment, work, scholarship, social interaction -- the list goes on and on. To allow a handful of private companies control over what products and services are given preferential treatment is a very scary prospect indeed.

In addition to these points, differential pricing will make life difficult for smaller internet-based businesses and organizations. Small content creators will have a hard time negotiating for preferential pricing when they're up against the giants like Facebook and Youtube, which will make it harder to market their content and services to Canadians. At the same time, smaller internet service providers and mobile companies may find they have financial difficulties in offering popular services for free if they lack the strong financial position enjoyed by Bell, Telus, and Rogers -- especially since many small service providers rely on buying network access, for a fee, from those same established companies.

All in all, I fear that differential pricing would lead to an internet dominated by a handful of strong, established service providers and content creators. This environment would make it difficult for newcomers to get off the ground, and allow near-total control of an important utility to fall to a relatively small group of companies.

3) These concerns absolutely outweigh the advantages. A particularly displeasing thought to me is the idea that an ISP might give preferential access to certain news and information outlets, and charge higher rates for others -- allowing it effective control over what viewpoints on political and social issues are easily available to its customers. To give that sort of power to a business that exists to serve its own interest, is not directly accountable to the public, and makes no claim to be an impartial judge of current events is honestly a terrifying thought.

The disadvantages that differential pricing imposes on smaller and newer internet-based businesses and service providers is also quite concerning. In the absense of very strict pricing regulations or outright nationalization of our telecommunications network (which, I think, should be at least considered, given the national importance of telecommunications), fair and equitable competition is the only way to ensure that Canadians can take advantage of the internet to its fullest extent. Differential pricing would allow established service providers control over what content is readily-available over their networks and make it harder for new internet and mobile service providers to enter the market -- the exact opposite of what is needed.

Differential pricing is akin to applying a toll to a public highway, but then waiving the toll for anyone who drives up in a Ford. It effectively serves no purpose but to promote certain products or services chosen by the service provider, to the detriment of all others.

4) In case it wasn't obivous, I think the CRTC should step in by outlawing any form of differential or preferential pricing. The wired and mobile internet is far and away the most important communications medium of our time. The least the CRTC can do is create and enforce regulations to ensure Canadians have fair and open access to it at a reasonable price.

Thanks for listening!

1337ingDisorder 4 points Wed Sep 28 02:37:43 2016 UTC  (0 children)

I think a very important point that seems to be glossed over here is this:

telecommunications are, at this point, a piece of infrastructure that rivals highways, railways and the electricity grid in national, economic, and social importance

I think we can pretty much all agree that this is the case, and on that basis, it seems to make sense for the telecom infrastructure to be outright nationalised, or at the very least socialised.

Rather than trying to regulate free-market ISPs, why not just have basic high-speed internet service as a federal social program?

Then the free-market ISPs can dance around whatever convoluted profiteering schemes they want, but Canadians will be assured the same basic level of connectivity through their tax contributions that are afforded us for physical travel on roads.

mostlypissed 74 points Mon Sep 26 16:19:44 2016 UTC *  (3 children)

Privatisation of telecommunications in Canada has gone and continues to go absolutely nowhere. Increased competition is not the answer, as the existing corporations effectively block all efforts towards that while continuing to flout even the current directives and orders of the CRTC, such as the ongoing refusal by these same corporations to allow competitive access to their fibre networks. Therefore, I maintain that their assets should be expropriated outright and converted immediately into publicly-funded national infrastructure intended to serve the interests of _all_ Canadians freely and equally without any burden nor prejudice, in the same manner as public roads and highways already do.

V471 32 points Mon Sep 26 17:21:06 2016 UTC  (2 children)

Nationalize the Telecommunication Utilities!

mostlypissed 23 points Mon Sep 26 17:59:25 2016 UTC  (1 child)

Yes. They are no longer an expensive luxury for the privileged few, but by now have become an essential service to our nation instead. As our need has progressed and changed over time, so too should their operations be changed accordingly.

cjbest 6 points Wed Sep 28 19:13:30 2016 UTC  (0 children)

Agreed. The internet is an essential utility. It must be neutral and it should be nationalized. For profit corporations should not control such a critical resource.

Scoopable 78 points Mon Sep 26 16:21:34 2016 UTC  (6 children)

Make internet, and smart phones a need, not a want. If I want to apply for a job the good old days of walking in and asking for a manager are gone. Everything in the job hunt field seems to require an internet connection.

We need plans that better reflect what a student or a single person on minimum wage makes. The price gauging is becoming ridiculous.

moeburn Ontario 24 points Mon Sep 26 17:25:49 2016 UTC  (1 child)

If I want to apply for a job the good old days of walking in and asking for a manager are gone.

Can confirm. Took my nephew to the plaza to hand in resumes at all the big box stores like the old days, a grand total of 1 store, out of 8, was actually willing to accept the resume. The rest all said "Oh you have to go online and fill out a form to do that".

kalleina British Columbia 23 points Mon Sep 26 18:05:13 2016 UTC *  (0 children)

In addition to this, its hard to even track down if someone is even hiring without searching and applying online now. Internet should probably be classified under a human right or as an utility for how much is is required day to day.

Coziestpigeon2 Manitoba 1 point Mon Sep 26 20:03:14 2016 UTC  (0 children)

This is completely irrelevant to the questions being asked.

Please read the topic of the thread before contributing.

whatsdata -1 points Tue Sep 27 17:00:49 2016 UTC  (2 children)

Im not sure its truely a "need", you can live without it. It's also available for free use at public libraries, goverment job centers and by wifi at almost ever coffee shop.
Water is a need, without it you die. Heat is a need in the winter, without it you freeze.
Internet is not a need as someone might "omg its literally killing me" because they can't facebook, they don't actually die and it is an available public resource.

SchrodingersSpoon 3 points Wed Sep 28 20:46:30 2016 UTC  (1 child)

Needs are situational. You won't freeze to death in the Caribbean. You might starve because you can't get a job because you have no Internet to apply online.

Lakhjhajj 41 points Mon Sep 26 22:06:38 2016 UTC  (0 children)

I am totally against Zero Pricing. Yeah I enjoy free shomi with my Rogers cable that is just bec I can't get Crave TV with Rogers cause Bell won't offer it to me unless I switch ships. That is wrong. It should be a fair play ground. We should be allowed to buy channels n services individually not cause we r force to buy some bundle to get one service.

Also pls do something about these sky rocketing DATA PRICES. Wireless should include unlimited DATA at least as an option. Prices are LOWER in Manitoba and Saskatchewan for cellular plans as compared to rest of Canada. Why ? Just because of strong regional competition. CANADISN DOLLAR HAS SAME VALUE THROUGHOUT CANADA. IF BIG 3 CAN OFFER CHEAPER PLANS THERE THEY CAN CERTAINLY OFFER THEM IN ON BC OR ALL OVER CANADA. PLS DONT LET BELL SWALLOW MTS. IT WILL KILL COMPETITION.

sturmey 40 points Tue Sep 27 11:31:27 2016 UTC  (2 children)

The questions you've asked have already been answered more eloquently then I would have done, so I really only have questions and comments for you.

I happen to live in a part of Canada that doesn't really have internet competition. While my part of town does have reasonable internet at 7mbs down, my friend lives where 2mbs down is a dream and doesn't really have the ability to access all these services you area asking about. The sticking point is that we are paying the same rate that people in large centres do for their 20mbs service, and upload speed is non-existent.

Considering the intense hate that Canadians have for the CRTC and the isolationist content limiting practices that keep us from the shows and services that exist in other parts of the world, what makes you think we trust you to get anything related to new technology right?

In my location, the phone company owns the cable company. This was allowed or possibly encouraged by the CRTC. Now I don't have options. The next closest town that does have separate providers is blanketed with options up to 100mbs down for the same rate I'm paying.

In my location, I live more than 50 miles from the closest TV transmitter, so I can't use an antenna to pick up any TV channels because the switch to digital allowed stations to cut their transmitting power, so TV was turned off.

None of the digital satellite signals that are free come from Canada as the CRTC has allowed basic Canadian channels to all be encrypted, and the online services to be locked down to Cable subscribers.

What this means for me and many people I know is that we don't even look at Canadian content because we have limited access to it. Other than radio, we have no Canadian media coming into our house. You can bet though that we have a ton of US and UK media coming in.

So by allowing the practices that the CRTC is asking about extending, you have essentially cut me off from Canadian content and pushed me to get my entertainment elsewhere.

The rules you posted prevent me from stating my true opinion, but suffice it to say I would rather see internet regulation removed from the CRTC and given to a new body that doesn't have the legacy of poor choices and biased decision making that benefits the large service providers, and actually allows for better services and competition.

I am disappointed in your performance.

usernamehell4ever 6 points Wed Sep 28 16:30:10 2016 UTC  (0 children)

I strongly agree. My trust in the CRTC was destroyed in 2011 with the Truth in Media ruling change ;https://www.thestar.com/opinion/editorialopinion/2011/01/24/truth_lies_and_broadcasting_in_canada.html . It does seem apparent that the CRTC has little interest in citizens of Canada, and I would consider a complete overhaul of the CRTC to be a very strong voting motivator.

captaindodi 3 points Thu Sep 29 00:40:07 2016 UTC  (0 children)

Well said. The CRTC is a huge disappointment and the fact they even had to ask this on reddit is outrageous. I have zero confidence in them.

Dreviore 38 points Mon Sep 26 17:52:44 2016 UTC  (0 children)

What do you think are the benefits of differential pricing?

The benefits? Oh yes! Having carrier preferred services would be beneficial to the consumer because right now data caps are brutal.

Do you have any concerns about differential pricing?

I do. Why is it that when I use my carriers provided app it doesn't count towards my cap, but when a better version of the app comes out, it does? What about utilizing websites that are competing for my views? What if there's a video streaming service that doesn't count towards my cap, but a similar (Arguably better) service pops up, and counts towards my cap, so I'm forced to utilize the first service?

Do these concerns outweigh the benefits and, if so, are they significant enough to justify us stepping in and regulating the practices? Or should we let the home (wireline), and mobile (wireless) service providers decide?

All traffic should be treated equally. And honestly, I, and many other Canadians don't trust our carriers to provide these services without expecting more financial gain, at the end of the day a companies goal is to make money. If they have an agreement with Facebook, who's to say they won't be providing their own ads, completely overriding the websites provided ads?

If we should step in, how should we regulate it?

Enforce net neutrality. All traffic should be treated the same. 100MB of data is 100MB of data. Big Telecom #1 should not be allowed to make their 100MB of data on Spotify not count towards my data caps. Nor should Big Telecom #2 be allowed to make their 100MB of data on video streaming not count towards my cap while a competitors product does. - If you allow this it needs to allow for competitors products to stand a chance. If Company #1 decides it wants to compete with Big Telecom #1 it should be granted the same preferential treatment Big Telecom #1 gets.

Perhaps we should look into splitting up these giant companies. Not only are they providing one source of media (Home internet), but they also provide a direct competitor in the form of Television, cellphones, etc. Companies like these don't need to 'diversify' in order to stay alive, they're prospering on the backs of Canadians through price gouging.

TheInverseKey 39 points Tue Sep 27 03:13:15 2016 UTC  (0 children)

  1. There is no benefits for differential pricing.

  2. Just because one company has a service doesn't mean that I want to use that service. Also, because of this that mean I get charged for not using their service? How is that fair? Well it is not. This goes against Net Neutrality. ISP's and Cell Companies will just take advantage of their customers by hiking prices and not being competitive pricing on the same playing field.

  3. The CRTC has to step in. The Internet should be free and there is no benefits. The only way that there would be benefits is if the telcos offer all internet and mobile plan with unlimited data for any type of use of the Internet. The CRTC should force all telcos to have unlimited plans just at different speeds. The amount of data that is transferred across their fiber networks has not reach a peak in the last thirty years. Also, the amount of money that the telcos collect off of just charging to have access to the internet is enough to keep up with customer base expanding and the customer demand.

  4. Very simply don't let the telcos implement this at all. If you do all you are doing is hurting consumers and the people of Canada. The Internet should be open and free. This mean that there is no special rules that people can get more internet because they with a certain company. All the telcos want to do is to rack in more money and not spend it on updating and expanding their network. We have seen the disaster that has happened in the US with their telcos don't let the same thing repeat itself here.

PurinaHallOfFame 35 points Tue Sep 27 15:26:11 2016 UTC  (0 children)

What do you think are the benefits of differential pricing?

None exist, there are only disadvantages to consumers and industries dependant on the infrastructure to conduct business or entertainment. The only tangible benefit would be higher prices to accomplish the same tasks, and the yield to shareholders of the companies as a result.

Do you have any concerns about differential pricing?

Yes, mainly that I or my company will have to pay "protection" to ensure delivery of our services and content. Also, I pay for a certain amount for a certain usage.

Do these concerns outweigh the benefits and, if so, are they significant enough to justify us stepping in and regulating the practices? Or should we let the home (wireline), and mobile (wireless) service providers decide?

If you let the service delivery companies decide, they will elect to maximize their profit at the expense of the consumer, and all industries that rely on the internet. Internet as a utility should be a model considered.

If we should step in, how should we regulate it?

No preferential treatment of tiering of internet data. If it's unrelated to internet (MPLS) or otherwise, SLAs provided by companies are enough to ensure proper delivery of services. What my internet traffic consists of should be of absolutely no interest to my provider. They are a dumb pipe to get to the services I rely on. If they want to deliver TV to me, they have the ability of doing so using non internet routable methods as they control their own infrastructure .

yannthegod 66 points Mon Sep 26 15:54:19 2016 UTC  (15 children)

why does bell charge me 90-100 for the same plan that cost 55 in manitoba/saskatchewan

currently the big 3 are making money and hiking price up, we need more competition to the market to keep the price at a reasonnable level like it is show in saskatchewan with sasktel....

badcallday 8 points Mon Sep 26 22:54:04 2016 UTC  (10 children)

Bell SK - 10 GB data + Unlimited calling - $75
Sasktel Sk - 10 GB Data + unlimited calling - $75

It costs less in SK, nots not just their local company

yannthegod 3 points Wed Sep 28 20:53:14 2016 UTC  (0 children)

yeah bell match sasktel, but if there's no competition they just jack price up

Intentt Alberta 3 points Tue Sep 27 01:29:49 2016 UTC  (0 children)

For comparison sake:

Bell Alberta plan: 10Gb and unlimited minutes - $145/mo.

Wonderbeastt 2 points Wed Sep 28 02:14:09 2016 UTC  (0 children)

I can confirm this to be true. But its still crazy overpriced even for here.

elimi 1 point Tue Sep 27 10:44:59 2016 UTC  (6 children)

QC Bell 8g data unlimited call 90$ and that's good vs some other provinces.

Kosmenko 3 points Wed Sep 28 18:48:25 2016 UTC  (5 children)
(note: offensive term(s) have been replaced by asterisks)

Girlfriend has unlimited calling and 2gb for $112 in Ontario.

******* joke here.

elimi 1 point Wed Sep 28 21:07:25 2016 UTC  (4 children)

Just saw Bell and they offer even better deals right now like 7g for 77$, videotron has a 6g for 66 right now. All plans include unlimited Canada wide minute. In France I had a 50g data once cap was reached they lowered speed and unlimited minutes to most countries. If you travel you get 3g of data and unlimited minutes for 35 days every year in most countries (so you go to UK you get 3g data, you then go to Italy you get another 3g etc) all that for around 30$ cad. For a 50mb with unlimited minutes it costs 2 euro and the telcos have free Wi-Fi in most cities to go along.

Kosmenko 2 points Thu Sep 29 02:48:26 2016 UTC  (1 child)

Europe is pretty lucky when it comes to their telcos. I wish we had those dates and options.

Unfortunately she's locked to Rogers ATM but have told her to shop around and get a non contract plan so she can switch when a better plan comes along.

Where were those plans for? ON?

elimi 1 point Thu Sep 29 03:07:52 2016 UTC  (0 children)

Well check how much of the balance is left on the phone and if it's low pay it off and you are free. Then check how much you'll save overall if you switch.

These are quebec plans.

Kosmenko 0 points Thu Sep 29 02:48:16 2016 UTC  (0 children)

Europe is pretty lucky when it comes to their telcos. I wish we had those dates and options.

Unfortunately she's locked to Rogers ATM but have told her to shop around and get a non contract plan so she can switch when a better plan comes along.

Where were those plans for? ON?

Kosmenko 0 points Thu Sep 29 02:48:22 2016 UTC  (0 children)

Europe is pretty lucky when it comes to their telcos. I wish we had those dates and options.

Unfortunately she's locked to Rogers ATM but have told her to shop around and get a non contract plan so she can switch when a better plan comes along.

Where were those plans for? ON?

lederwrangler 7 points Mon Sep 26 19:34:04 2016 UTC  (0 children)
(note: offensive term(s) have been replaced by asterisks)

Canadian cable/phone/internet pricing: "Because **** you, that's why."

ungratefulanimal 3 points Wed Sep 28 19:45:44 2016 UTC  (0 children)

They need to be enforced. We had a verbal plan that wasn't being enforced. Fortunately I had a recording of the verbal contract we made as well. The thing is, we don't have options to choose and they were charging us an extra $400 a month. Without competition, we can't do anything else and pay absurd pricing. Currently, we found a small isp just for Internet, which isn't much better but is slightly better.

Rodwe 50 points Tue Sep 27 00:12:22 2016 UTC  (2 children)

1.) There's no real benefit to the practice. 2.) It violates net neutrality by treating one byte different than another. Telecoms are merely delivery people for the contents of the internet, not the gatekeepers or profiteers. 3.) These concerns outweigh the benefits to the public as it corrupts the whole internet by allowing extortionate fees for basically everything these oligopolies wish. 4.) The CRTC should regulate it. It should be telling every telecom in Canada that they are only delivering the internet to customers, not charging for its contents. They are a public utility and should not be allowed to sell different speeds to different people for different prices. It only costs $0.09/GB to deliver, so they should be capped at $20.00/month for UNLIMITED DATA AT THE HIGHEST SPEED AVAILABLE TO THEIR HARDWARE to all customers. They should only be able to increase the cost in 30 years by a dollar as the newer technology is cheaper for them to purchase and implement, especially with fibre optics. Also, WIRELESS DATA IS THE SAME AS WIRED INTERNET DATA so there should be no data caps on it either effective immediately! Wireless data costs were just increased this year by reducing the quantity of data offered. Their data costs need to be regulated to $10.00 or less for unlimited data. Cell phone data use is so much less than landline use. We don't use both at the same time during the day while at work so there are no traffic issues caused by unlimited data for all internet access points. Korea and Japan have 1000Mb/second already, we should too! Latvia has a faster nationwide service than we do and that SHOULD be a shame for telecoms, but it isn't. They prefer to profiteer from Canada.

EmperorOfCanada 6 points Wed Sep 28 05:26:23 2016 UTC  (0 children)

I disagree with your $0.09 per GB it would be closer to $0.01 per GB. This number is for a large business buying bandwidth. It would be even cheaper for a giant telco buying at beyond wholesale.

The wholesale cost of bandwidth is negligible. The cost of their infrastructure on a bandwidth basis is negligible. Also once they start wiring up fiber to a neighbourhood the cost between one plan and another (in bandwidth costs) is a tiny fraction of what they charge.

A simple counter to their BS prices is that they typically don't offer much bandwidth (or any) to rural areas. Then they charge close to $100 per month for a vaguely good plan.

Yet a quick bit of research can find places all over the world where vastly superior bandwidth is offered for tiny fractions of the price. This defeats their "billions in infrastructure" argument because how do these foreign telcos do it without "billions"? Do they somehow use two cans and a string yet end up with gigabit connections? If so then where is my string?

Deyln 48 points Mon Sep 26 19:46:39 2016 UTC * (gilded) (0 children)

1. What do you think are the benefits of differential pricing?

There really isn't a benefit to differential pricing of the internet in regards to how consumers use data and in regards to how the technology works. There is however a benefit to discuss a couple key definitions to how internet is described in regards to the differences between net neutrality and the current iteration of what we purchase to access data.

Originally we purchased a specific speed allocation to access data. There are a few key factors here that we should first make an amendment to. The first is that the definition of speed was badly worded. As such, let's go with the current definition of "up to a specific" speed; but with the caveat that we should receive at least a reasonable comparable amount. Basically, I think our average speeds for each tier shouldn't be lower then about 15% the optimal value. So a nice low-end speed at 15mbps should give you roughly 1.875MB/s speeds on an ideal day; and it really shouldn't end up lower then about 1.5MB/s or ~12mbps on a bad day. This is excluding problems with the network like downed lines and the like. The difference cited above should be inclusive of normal congestion loads for most everyday of the year with possible exclusion of special things like the Olympics happening.

With the wording of speed adjusted to something reasonable; we have one of the key origins of the introduction of data caps. There was essentially 3; two of which mattered. Starting with the 56k modem One was how much it cost to use the phone line. The second was how the technology worked itself. A 56kbps modem would really only off 40-50kbps speeds due to specific reasons of the technology. The first time I heard about data caps myself was argued from these two perspectives sometime after they started rolling out broadband services. This was when the government paid the companies to give everybody high speed internet. They unfortunately underestimated what the technology could do and at that time they decided to introduce the ideology of data limitations. They reduced the offered speeds citing these two technical aspects as to why data caps were being introduced. The fist was simply so they could cover the area of consumers they wanted to cover. Early broadband technology could deliver greater distances if they had each node with less customers; or they could have more customers with less distance consecutively connected to each other. (cell towers had the same difficulty.)

With the data limitation in place, this evolved into the ideology of a data cap in time. They did some maths and said "people only use this much data on average" and then made a data cap definition from this perspective in lieu of the obvious "we have this technology that can do this much.". The definition of differential pricing has been with us for a long time. Simply not really recognized as such. Namely that the definition was making adjustments to the quantities available - the access connections - were adjusted to allow different consumer segments availability to the technology.

http://businessjargons.com/differential-pricing.html

Argumentatively; we can't claim net neutrality as a factual argument against our fair usage system simply because we have data caps. As each company has different caps; each consumer in Canada has a different billing cost per data segment.

2. Do you have any concerns about differential pricing?

One of the biggest concerns to differential pricing is how we are actually letting the term zero rating supercede the already given arguments against two-tier pricing. We segmented into price differential already; as per the previous question. Then we argued, we can segment it in different ways. This was originally called a multi-tier system. Basically designed similar to how business/consumer usage is already divided. This was already thrown out. Afterwards they decided on a different definition to do the same thing.

https://www.thestar.com/business/tech_news/2014/01/10/internet_providers_push_for_twotier_internet_based_on_data_caps_geist.html

During this time one of the arguments presented was that there was no benefit to the consumer. Zero-rating however implies a benefit to the consumer. While it is somewhat true; it's basic argument for process is simply re-iterating the same argument using a different variable. While focused on Who pays what previously in the simple cost = usageXrate; two-tier systems were thrown out for obvious reasons. Basically a simple variant would be: cost = usage1 x rate1 + usage2 x rate2 and so on.

The short of it is that even if the rate is zero; we are still segmenting usage billing into a multi-tier system. We do however have to note what they are arguing for is a different identifying characteristic. And now we have to go to an analagy.

Take a basic database. There are numerous types of identifiers. Group identifiers (GID), Unique identifiers, etc. etc. Nominally, net neutrality has definition references for GID; but what it doesn't have is a real definition for Organizationally unique identifier(OUI). This is what zero-rating is based from moreso then the aforementioned two-tier system.

All our data sets in regards to internet quality and standards however is GID based. As such; we can actually request the information from the OUI division and not see any aberration in the data of a GID referenced statistical data-sheet. A request of Noumena for phenomena. A system developed without a sense-perception. That's basically what zero-rating is conceived as of this moment. Send 1000kbps. If 1000kbps is "facebook" (ie. common name brand usage.) then no charge. else: charge.

It doesn't refer to usage or rate; which in itself is what and how we perceive an ISP cost to be.

3.

a)Do these concerns outweigh the benefits and, if so, are they significant enough to justify us stepping in and regulating the practices?

The do not provide benefit. They are significant simply because they have no reference to the system. Other companies have already begun to use the "bill them outside" the standards and regulations already present within the law; by using different methods.

b) Or should we let the home (wireline), and mobile (wireless) service providers decide?

Gods no. The very re-iteration of zero rating is an attempt to supersede regulations already in place for fair use.

I will make a small deference to technological capabilities; and affordability of available technology that would cover a consumer base. (ie. 100k for that cell tower with a data cap, or 10million over lifetime costs that won't pay for itself.)

c) If we should step in, how should we regulate it?

V471 79 points Mon Sep 26 17:08:23 2016 UTC *  (0 children)

Can you fix Canada's retarded internet pricing and make data caps and/or data charging illegal?

Hell, why not simply Nationalize the Telecommunication Utilities!, because that's what they have become, Utilities. The Internet is the Library of our era, used to educate and research topics that would have traditionally been the Libraries responsibility.

The internet is our new Postal Service, our Banks, our telephone, our recreation, our radio, our television, our cinema, our store, our job bank, even our career in many cases, and a host of other things we need on a daily bases.

Hell, I would argue that the majority of people who go to Libraries and Provincial services (like job finding), are simply going there to use the computers to access the internet.

Jellyfishsteve 32 points Tue Sep 27 16:09:29 2016 UTC  (1 child)

All data should be treated the same on the internet. It's how the internet grew into what it is today.

DrSnikerFreak Ontario 1 point Wed Sep 28 13:52:34 2016 UTC  (0 children)

Data lives matter

Avantine 53 points Mon Sep 26 15:30:53 2016 UTC  (18 children)

So I think the primary issue I have with "differential pricing" is how the CRTC has framed the issue in the first place. Not all kinds of differential pricing are the same. (Note that this will only talk about "zero rating" on wireline; I may post something else later about wireless or ITMP).

S.27(2) of the Telecommunications Act reads:

No Canadian carrier shall, in relation to the provision of a telecommunications service or the charging of a rate for it, unjustly discriminate or give an undue or unreasonable preference toward any person, including itself, or subject any person to an undue or unreasonable disadvantage.

That's pretty straightforward, but I think the devil, as always, is in the details.

Let me give a couple of examples that I think highlight the issues at play.

Suppose that you have Rogers internet and Rogers provides you with an internal website to check your internet usage. Let's also say that visiting this website - which is hosted entirely internal to Rogers - doesn't contribute to your data cap. I think that's prima facie acceptable. While there may be 'differential pricing' going on, the zero-rating is fundamentally related to the delivery of the service for which you have paid.

Suppose instead that you have Bell internet, and Bell Canada is also a TV provider. Bell therefore exempts its video-over-IP products from your data cap. This, I think, is also acceptable, but it's a little more tricky. The zero-rated product is not directly within the same line of business, and so there is potentially anti-competitive effect. After all, Netflix and Bell's Video-over-IP products are being treated differently, and to the detriment of Netflix. However, because Bell can reasonably argue that it is not incurring the same costs to deliver its own video - because its video is within its network, and not across the broader internet - I think this behavior is probably acceptable. It is not, in the words of the Act, "unjust" discrimination - the parties are sufficiently differently situated.

Third example. You have Telus internet. Telus has its own music-over-IP product, which it zero-rates. Spotify comes along and asks Telus if it can place its own rack, and pay for the maintenance, within Telus's network and have that traffic zero-rated. Telus refuses; it doesn't have the space, it wants to be able to manage the traffic, whatever, you name the reason. I think this is also probably acceptable, because - while there is discrimination, and there is specific discrimination - Telus can make a reasonable argument that end-to-end control over the distribution network is quantitatively different than allowing another provider to enter your network. It would not have control or management over Spotify's equipment. I think that differential pricing is justified.

Fourth example. You have... I'm running out of companies so let's go back to Rogers. You have Rogers internet. Rogers allows Netflix to place its equipment in Rogers' datacenter, but when Hulu comes along, Rogers refuses. In my mind, this is where the line is crossed into unacceptable behavior. If Rogers is allowing one entity access to its network, it needs to allow access on reasonable and non-discriminatory terms to all participants. Of course there may be specific qualifications as to the equipment used, response times to failure of that equipment and whatnot, but those need to "just", as the act says: reasonable and necessary.

The real concern here, for me, is that this unreasonably discriminates in favor of larger providers, who can afford to place their equipment in an ISP's network. If I start up a new company - Videos'R'Us - and I don't have the capital to put my equipment in Rogers' datacenter, Netflix is getting a definite advantage over me. Unfortunately, I'm not sure that's necessarily something that can be fixed. Preventing Netflix from having access because not everyone can meet RAND terms seems like making the perfect the enemy of the good. There are clear advantages to placing distribution equipment close to the end user, and allowing the end-user to take advantage of that is good for the end-user. It may not be ideal for all market participants, but I don't think there is a way to accomplish all of those goals.

Fifth example. You have Bell internet. Netflix pays Bell some extra cash on the side to exempt itself from data caps for Bell's users. I think this is unacceptably anti-competitive behavior. Even if those payments are allowed on RAND terms - i.e., any market participant can pay to get the exemption, perhaps based on the amount of data transferred - this is not a "benefit" of making your network more efficient, like in #4; this is simply the ability of a market participant to pay to go to the front of the line. Certainly, you could allow consumers to make these payments. I would have no objection to allowing ISPs to sign a deal with various providers where they say to their consumers, "Pay us an extra $2 per month and you can exempt [service] from data caps!". I think that's acceptable, because it puts the burden of choice on the consumer, and it does not prejudice any service at the expense of any other service. I think that this would be a prima facie "unjust discrimination" because there is not any internet traffic management benefit to the differential pricing; it's strictly a cash grab by the ISP, and the incentives are bad for all parties. It doesn't encourage ISPs to compete on datacaps (because online service providers can pay to get around them), and it encourages increased prices (because OSPs will pay more to get around data caps and ISPs have no incentive to reduce their rates).

In short, I think that 27(2) is violated by generating "unjust discrimination" or "undue or unreasonable preference" where there is no valid traffic management reason - defined by a reduction in volume outside of the ISP's network - for allowing the differential pricing regime. Even where there is a valid traffic management reason, differential pricing should only be allowed if it is available to any participant on reasonable and non-discriminatory terms.

kennedon 13 points Mon Sep 26 16:19:07 2016 UTC  (3 children)

Thanks for this comment. It unpacks a few interesting cases, and while I think I differ in how much leeway I'd give the company at hand, it helps to illustrate the devils and nuances.

So, I'm with you on one. Being able to check your own usage, deal with preferences, and similar seems completely reasonable. On my cell plan, I can call my voice mail service without eating into minutes to check messages. These seem intrinsic to the service enough to be valuable to maintain.

I also agree with the outcome on (2), but perhaps for a different reason. If you're paying for both Bell internet and Bell TV, you're paying for two services. You shouldn't be double charged for data volume coming into your house to watch TV, given that you're paying for the TV provision as well. But, a key difference (I think) for me: Bell shouldn't be able to exempt certain online content (e.g., watching the same TV show on your laptop) from the data cap, because this does create preferential treatment for their own programming and services over alternatives. Simply put, you shouldn't face double jeopardy for traffic coming into your house (e.g., being billed for data when watching TV, just because the TV signal is arriving via the ethernet cable rather than a coax cable), but Bell also shouldn't be able to undercut other online TV producers by giving its own online traffic non-neutral treatment.

I also think (3) is a pretty blatant violation of the principle of net neutrality (e.g., giving their own music service preferential treatment over any competition), which I'd be opposed to. The crux here is Telus zero-rating their own product, which I'm generally opposed to.

This also applies to "exclusive" arrangements. So, for (hypothetical) instance, if Rogers offers a zero-rated Spotify Family package, and Spotify decides to let Rogers be the "exclusive" provider of Family packages, it's fairly clear that this exclusive partnership reduces available customer choice (e.g., in this hypothetical, consumers now /have/ to use Rogers if they want to use Spotify Family, or get family benefits from sharing Spotify subscriptions).

I agree on (4) and (5).

Again, even though I disagree somewhat on your assessments of (2) and (3), I really appreciate how many different situations you spelled out here. This was a really productive and helpful comment.

syntacticanomaly 1 point Wed Sep 28 16:27:52 2016 UTC  (2 children)

I also think (3) is a pretty blatant violation of the principle of net neutrality (e.g., giving their own music service preferential treatment over any competition), which I'd be opposed to. The crux here is Telus zero-rating their own product, which I'm generally opposed to.

You're missing the point on this one. The traffic from the Telus service originates inside their network. That is, there's no paid transport on the peered networks (the internet). How can it be a violation of net neutrality if there's no net involved? It's similar to arguing that my home media server violates net neutrality, since I get data from that for free but Netflix is throttled by the size of the upstream connection.

I think you could argue that it's anti-competitive, but net neutrality doesn't really apply.

kennedon 3 points Wed Sep 28 17:34:12 2016 UTC  (1 child)

It seems like we just have different views on what's a preferable arrangement. As best I understand your argument, your point is that the principle of neutrality doesn't apply within a company's own services because they don't traverse the internet beyond your provider (e.g., it's fine for a company to zero-rate their own services). My point is that neutrality is fundamentally about allowing competition and /not/ being able to give your own services (or services that have paid you) priority. See here for a similar contrast in views: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Net_neutrality#Favoring_private_networks

Your analogy isn't terribly applicable. Of course you can run your own home server, because you're not using any data flowing into your house. You're providing the router to circulate that data, so no one else is involved. When it starts involving cables and infrastructure and things you're paying an ISP for, that's when CRTC has regulatory authority.

Bottom line: My view is that companies should not be able to zero-rate or give preferable treatment to any data or services, whether their own or another service they're being paid to prioritize, with the exception of very specific cases which need to be granted individual exemption (e.g., being able to check your usage page without being billed data; being able to configure settings without being billed data; being able to call for support without being billed phone service; etc). It's important because it's anti-competitive. I also believe regulations should be simple when possible: It's not about technical pathway (e.g., where servers are racked, or something similarly asinine); it's about the impact on consumers (i.e., some services getting preferential treatment). You're welcome to disagree with your own view, but that's the view I'm trying to articulate to the CRTC here.

syntacticanomaly 1 point Thu Sep 29 08:03:09 2016 UTC  (0 children)

My point is that neutrality is fundamentally about allowing competition and /not/ being able to give your own services (or services that have paid you) priority.

Your parenthesis describe a completely different thing. They shouldn't be lumped together.

Anyways, it's perfectly fine to be against companies zero rating their own products and services. But the argument gas nothing to do with net neutrality. It's simply about anti-competitive behaviors. You say it yourself.

Bottom line: My view is that companies should not be able to zero-rate or give preferable treatment to any data or services, whether their own or another service they're being paid to prioritize, with the exception of very specific cases which need to be granted individual exemption (e.g., being able to check your usage page without being billed data; being able to configure settings without being billed data; being able to call for support without being billed phone service; etc). It's important because it's anti-competitive.

I think it's important to be honest in what you're asking for. Neutrality neutrality is about ensuring peered networks don't become pay-for-play, which would potentially limit new players delivering services over the internet. IMO, it has little to do with product offerings vis private networks.

perfidydudeguy 4 points Mon Sep 26 18:13:56 2016 UTC *  (3 children)

Fourth example. You have... I'm running out of companies so let's go back to Rogers. You have Rogers internet. Rogers allows Netflix to place its equipment in Rogers' datacenter, but when Hulu comes along, Rogers refuses. In my mind, this is where the line is crossed into unacceptable behavior. If Rogers is allowing one entity access to its network, it needs to allow access on reasonable and non-discriminatory terms to all participants. Of course there may be specific qualifications as to the equipment used, response times to failure of that equipment and whatnot, but those need to "just", as the act says: reasonable and necessary.

I don't know that it needs to go as far as Hulu to be a problem. Say Netflix has equipment in Telus' network, but not in Bell. That gives a competitive edge to Telus over Bell for Netflix clients. This is terrible for consumers and content providers. What if Bell has Youtube, Telus has Netflix, Rogers has Dropbox... what do you do as data consumption ramps up due to larger and larger files? Get a subscription on multiple internet service providers? Which ISP consumers go with will depend on which ones give you free data for which service, and for content providers it means having to send equipment to various ISPs instead of housing their own hardware where it makes geographical sense. In a world where you can get free data if you pay to get your equipment in one or several networks, how is a startup who can't afford to do that supposed to compete? The most powerful aspect of the internet is that so long as you're connected to it, you in theory don't have to worry about how the rest of the network is configured. Data goes through one way or another.

I would even argue that Bell TV over IP not going towards Bell internet subscriber data caps is also a problem on the same grounds. It gives Bell TV a competitive advantage over Netflix and what should happen is Bell the telecom should perhaps not be able to also own a content distribution company. Split them up.

Avantine 4 points Mon Sep 26 18:21:35 2016 UTC  (2 children)

Say Netflix has equipment in Telus' network, but not in Bell. That gives a competitive edge to Telus over Bell for Netflix clients.

That's true, but it's not in Netflix's best interest for this to happen. In that particular scenario, it's in Netflix's best interests to place its equipment in every ISP it can get its hands on because that will reduce its own costs.

That is, in fact, basically what Netflix is doing now.

You do, however, highlight the problem here:

In a world where you can get free data if you pay to get your equipment in one or several networks, how is a startup who can't afford to do that supposed to compete?

That's a problem. But as I say, I'm not sure I want to let the perfect be the enemy of the good. There are definite advantages for both the ISP and the OSP to letting OSPs colocate with ISPs, and in turn there are benefits to the subscriber of both services. It's not necessarily good for competing OSPs, but it's not, in my mind, inherently anti-consumer.

The most powerful aspect of the internet is that so long as you're connected to it, you in theory don't have to worry about how the rest of the network is configured. Data goes through one way or another.

That's never been true, though. It's true that consumers were not experiencing this differential treatment most of the time, but unfair peering arrangements (where ISPs with different traffic patterns trade traffic) have never been cost-free. As certain modern services have become vastly more bandwidth intensive but also highly unidirectional, it was probably inevitable that this model would collapse somehow.

perfidydudeguy 3 points Mon Sep 26 18:37:53 2016 UTC  (1 child)

That's true, but it's not in Netflix's best interest for this to happen. In that particular scenario, it's in Netflix's best interests to place its equipment in every ISP it can get its hands on because that will reduce its own costs. That is, in fact, basically what Netflix is doing now.

Netflix is doing that because Comcast has a stranglehold on its customers.

That's never been true, though. It's true that consumers were not experiencing this differential treatment most of the time, but unfair peering arrangements (where ISPs with different traffic patterns trade traffic) have never been cost-free. As certain modern services have become vastly more bandwidth intensive but also highly unidirectional, it was probably inevitable that this model would collapse somehow.

Is there evidence of this? I've never read that the internet isn't fast enough for anything, but rather than certain networks in certain areas with no competition are attempting to bill extra fees for access.

Avantine 2 points Mon Sep 26 20:09:25 2016 UTC  (0 children)

Netflix is doing that because Comcast has a stranglehold on its customers.

I'm not sure what you mean - Netflix began its Open Connect CDN program independently of the dispute with Comcast. The Open Connect CDN program is absolutely in Netflix's best interests; that's why they provide the appliance for free, and though I can't find a detailed list on Netflix's site, ISPs around the world use it.

Is there evidence of this? I've never read that the internet isn't fast enough for anything, but rather than certain networks in certain areas with no competition are attempting to bill extra fees for access.

I'm again not sure what you mean. What does "isn't fast enough for anything" mean in this context, precisely?

"The internet" isn't some specific independent thing. It's a variety of different privately and publicly owned networks linked together. Rogers builds out one network, and Telus builds out one network, and Comcast builds out one network. Because a network's primary value comes in how many other networks its connected to, it's in all of these networks interests to connect to each other.

But maintaining and operating a network costs money. You can absolutely dispute the marginal cost of bandwidth and transfer, but the idea that the network isn't free to build or operate isn't a controversial one. When two networks connect - peering - if the traffic flow in each direction is about equal, networks usually agree that this peering will be 'free'. They are charging their customers to maintain the network, and they both gain in equal proportion to the traffic flowing backward and forward across the network.

The Netflix dispute turns on what happens when peering isn't equal. In the case of Netflix for example, there is a great deal of traffic flowing out of Netflix and very little traffic flowing into Netflix. In a traditional unequal relationship - for example, a relationship between a small regional ISP and a much larger national ISP - the smaller ISP would buy transit on the larger network, to compensate them for the inequality (the smaller network is using the larger network much more than the larger network is using the smaller network).

The comparison isn't precisely apropos when it comes to Netflix. It's true that the peering relationship between Netflix and ISPs isn't precisely equal. More traffic flows from Netflix to consumers across the consumers ISP, and very little travels the other way, but Netflix says this is precisely what consumers want and that they shouldn't be penalized for this unfair relationship.

It's not really that clear cut. Imagine it the other way around. Suppose that you decided to run Netflix out of your basement, instead. You install ultrafast networking equipment in your basement, stock up a couple thousand movies on a fast server, and decide to make it available to the public. You buy a regular internet connection to Rogers and Bell and Telus, hook each one up to a port on your ultrafast router, and call up each ISP with an offer. You say to them "Hey, I've got this great service and you shouldn't charge me anything to let your customers access it." In a microcosm, this is what's happening with Netflix. The ISP is going "Wait a minute - you can't just hook up to my network and send a huge wave of traffic over it. I didn't agree to that. I only trade traffic whose networks I also want to access, and the only person on your network is you."

In fact, to simplify the scenario even further, you can strip out the whole part about running Netflix out of your basement. Why do you pay your ISP at all? After all, you pay to maintain your network, and they pay to maintain their network. That's fair, right? Well no: your ISP has a much bigger network they pay more to maintain, and you need access to it a lot more than they need access to your network. So your connection involves paying them some money to let your traffic use their network.

Transient77 2 points Mon Sep 26 20:10:11 2016 UTC  (9 children)

I'd like to see a much more strict approach. I feel history has proven that the rules need to be specific and solid, otherwise they will be circumvented, even in cases where the intent behind certain rules is obvious and well understood.

I agree with example (1), but I'd specifically limit this exemption to administrative/bookkeeping purposes only.

I disagree with examples (2), (3) and (4) because in all cases I feel there should not be a distinction between internal and external traffic. Allowing such a distinction discourages providers from building up their external connections and instead provides a strong financial incentive to restrict it. This would move us towards an isolated internet and away from the open internet we know today.

I cautiously agree with example (5), but only to the extent that we're talking about a particular class of service and not limiting to one company's service. For example, I would consider acceptable a $2 consumer charge for zero-rating all video streaming, regardless of the source: Netflix, Crave, Shomi, Hulu, Amazon, or any of the numerous small and upcoming services.

Avantine 2 points Mon Sep 26 20:18:58 2016 UTC  (8 children)

I disagree with examples (2), (3) and (4) because in all cases I feel there should not be a distinction between internal and external traffic.

But internal and external traffic aren't the same, and treating them the same is both weird and really problematic if something goes wrong, or if traffic flows change substantially.

Consider a pretty straightforward example. You are Rogers and you have a Video On Demand service. It gets extremely popular and traffic flows increase by a factor of ten. You get together with the VOD team and stick some VOD appliances in some high-volume central offices or adjust your datacenter. The cost for these upgrades is part of your internal accounting. Now you are Rogers and you're connected with Netflix. It gets extremely popular and traffic flows increase by a factor of ten. Who handles the interconnect? How do you agree on peering costs? How do you agree on appliances? What if they won't give you any appliances? How do you manage that network traffic?

You talk about how zero-rating encourages providers to stop building up their external connections, but I'm not sure that's true of all external connections. I think it's true of certain external connections which are high-volume, basically unidirectional connections, and I don't think that's a bad thing. That's precisely the situation in which a distributed CDN is most appropriate, which is why nearly everyone builds them out under those circumstances anyway.

Transient77 3 points Mon Sep 26 21:23:08 2016 UTC  (7 children)

Yes, well all is overly broad and I'm not actually against reasonable traffic management. CDNs to offload external traffic is generally a win for everybody.

If Rogers was solely focused on providing internet services, then certainly this would be a non-issue. They'd contact Netflix, who in turn would also have an interest in improving the experience for its users. Everyone, including the consumer, is benefiting in this scenario.

The problem is when Rogers treats its high-volume VOD service differently than Netflix, etc. As a consumer, I don't want to be saddled with additional charges because Rogers wants me to subscribe to their VOD service.

Avantine 2 points Tue Sep 27 00:09:39 2016 UTC  (6 children)

The problem is when Rogers treats its high-volume VOD service differently than Netflix, etc. As a consumer, I don't want to be saddled with additional charges because Rogers wants me to subscribe to their VOD service.

This is only an issue, imho, when Rogers denies Netflix the ability to place an appliance in their network. And that's something I think can be handled by a RAND requirement. The fact that rogers may or may not be bundling their VOD service with their internet service is a different issue, but the fact that rogers zero-rates their service because they can colo them is not in and of itself an issue unless it's done in an unreasonably prejudicial fashion.

Transient77 3 points Tue Sep 27 18:38:34 2016 UTC  (5 children)

Let's image the rules allowed for Netflix to operate servers on Rogers network and benefit from zero-rating. And now imagine you're a new start up streaming company. Wouldn't it be fair to say you're severely disadvantaged by this situation as your customers have to pay for traffic to view your content, but they would get a free pass on viewing Rogers VOD and Netflix?

In that situation, I think we've created an atmosphere that stifles innovation. We can't reasonably expect new startups to roll out hardware in order to benefit from zero-rating, nor can we reasonably require Rogers to support such a scheme.

If the system we're creating favours only those with financial means, then I think we're heading in the wrong direction.

If we got rid of data caps, then all of this becomes a moot point.

Avantine 2 points Tue Sep 27 19:06:34 2016 UTC  (4 children)

Again, I think it's a matter of trade-offs. Does a policy that requires RAND access for zero-rated appliances disadvantage smaller OSPs who can't afford appliances?

The answer is - yes, it does.

But that's not the end of the story. A policy which encourages RAND access for zero-rated appliances is beneficial for the internet as a whole. It's a faster, more efficient use of finite network bandwidth which we should encourage.

Moreover, the idea that if we regulated data caps out of existence this issue would become moot is simply false. We know this because it's already happened. Even in a network environment where there were no data caps, the OSP able to place its appliances inside the ISP's networks has a real and substantial advantage, and the ISP has a variety of tools by which it can benefit one OSP over another. That's precisely what happened in the Comcast/Netflix brouhaha, which had nothing to do with end-user data caps.

Transient77 1 point Tue Sep 27 19:19:17 2016 UTC  (3 children)

That's not what I meant by the issue being moot. If we eliminated data caps, new startups wouldn't be unfairly disadvantaged by not having hardware on the ISP's networks. Consumers wouldn't choose Netflix over the new company solely because of a zero-rating scheme.

Avantine 2 points Tue Sep 27 19:27:09 2016 UTC  (2 children)

If we eliminated data caps, new startups wouldn't be unfairly disadvantaged by not having hardware on the ISP's networks.

That's not true, though. They would absolutely be disadvantaged, and as I say, the Comcast/Netflix situation is an excellent example of why. An OSP which has an appliance in the ISP's network doesn't have to pay for transit. (well, as much transit.)

Transient77 1 point Tue Sep 27 20:52:59 2016 UTC  (1 child)

But that wouldn't be a significant barrier to new startups, whereas consumers choosing a competing service because it is zero-rated would be.

Spyrulfyre 43 points Tue Sep 27 18:49:10 2016 UTC  (3 children)

The internet is and should be treated as a basic utility. The electric and water companies do not tell you that there is a limit to how much you can use, and certainly do not try to charge you more if you 'use to much'.

The Canadian consumer should not be subject to this and the whole internet system should be federally regulated as a basic right.

Step up and end data caps.

Kerrigore 2 points Tue Sep 27 21:33:01 2016 UTC  (1 child)

The internet is and should be treated as a basic utility. The electric and water companies do not tell you that there is a limit to how much you can use, and certainly do not try to charge you more if you 'use to much'.

Um, that's exactly how those services work. I don't know about where you live, but where I am both water and power are billed based on how much I use them, not a flat rate for unlimited usage. In fact, once I exceed a certain limit for electricity in a month I pay more per kW. Though of course the power company tries to present it as saving money per kW if I am good ab conserving energy.

Spyrulfyre 2 points Tue Sep 27 22:02:47 2016 UTC  (0 children)

In Alberta. We pay a flat rate per month on all utilities, and that may fluctuate from month to month. In the summer when I use twice as much water in the winter, my bill doesn't get an extra fee tacked on in July once I start exceeding the amount I used in December.

Plus it's an actual physical thing. If I pull 1TB of data vs 500GB the actual operational costs to the ISP are virtually indistinguishable.

techyvrguy 1 point Thu Sep 29 02:11:46 2016 UTC  (0 children)

your example isn't very good. Electric companies do have "Tiered Pricing" it just doesn't affect you but doesn't mean it isn't real. see http://www.hydroone.com/MyHome/MyAccount/UnderstandMyBill/Pages/ElectricityRates.aspx

cerberii 13 points Tue Sep 27 19:46:16 2016 UTC  (0 children)

Diffrtential pricing doesnt work and contributes to data caps. End data caps. I had bell tv and they kept charging data for the tv which was not supposed to be data. Please end data caps theres no reason to cap our data except greed. The crtc allows the monopolization of the internet in data caps

whatsdata 27 points Mon Sep 26 17:27:43 2016 UTC  (0 children)

Do you have any concerns about differential pricing?

One issue with differential pricing is the usage of data, when a customer switches providers or comes off this promotion they may not understand that now how they use data has changed as they are no longer getting partial data use for free.

It is surprising how many users do not understand how data works or what uses data and how much some apps use

prestonatwork 42 points Mon Sep 26 16:47:13 2016 UTC  (1 child)

Can someone explain to me how this is not a moot issue at this stage?

With the MTS sale and the WIND mobile sale it seems like there is nothing stopping the monopoly from gauging all provinces equally. Why are we talking about differential pricing instead of actual solutions to the issue of our telecommunications companies operating on the highest profit margins the industry has globally?

xinit Ontario 13 points Tue Sep 27 17:51:45 2016 UTC  (0 children)

Perhaps because differential pricing seems like low-hanging fruit to the CRTC. They're unwilling to, or incapable of, helping the Canadian consumer out with regard to mobile prices (Oh yay, two year plans. Really? That was their big idea?) or with basic cable and a la carte channel selection or with service bundling etc etc.

They make a ruling on differential pricing being unlawful and then the telcos just laugh and charge usurious data rates. The CRTC looks to be involved in policy and the Telcos make more money. Win-win. The rest of us still lose, though.

jdtabish 22 points Mon Sep 26 22:58:04 2016 UTC  (0 children)

'nuff said:

https://twitter.com/jdtabish/status/778747049030201344

.@TELUS agrees w/ @OpenMediaOrg that if we #EndDataCaps we can end zero rating and preserve #NetNeutrality? #CRTC pic.twitter.com/KvplH6hpgY
— Joshua D. Tabish (@jdtabish) September 22, 2016

dennisbryant 8 points Tue Sep 27 19:01:32 2016 UTC  (0 children)

Keep the internet open without restrictions so that innovation and freedom can flourish. I say no to differential pricing and data caps.

havasc 8 points Tue Sep 27 19:29:11 2016 UTC  (0 children)

Internet is no longer a luxury service meant solely for entertainment. Indeed, television fits that description much better. No, internet is now a vital utility on par with water and electricity. Banking, communication, and many other daily tasks which are basically mandatory in our modern society, are now heavily internet dependent, and in some cases are possible only with an internet connection. Applying for jobs, and hearing back from employers, applying for university or college, and much of the communication and coursework in post-secondary (and increasingly, secondary and primary) education requires ready access to the internet.

So why is it still being treated as a luxury service? Why are there data caps on this essential utility? Why do ISPs continue to charge exorbitant amounts for low-speed, truncated services? Not only do such practices keep an essential service out of the hands of many who need it, but it stifles innovation and technological progress.

1) There are no benefits to differential pricing. It stifles competition and limits consumer choice. This is nearly as bad an idea as the vaunted "internet fast lanes."

2) Yes, see above. rather than cherry-picking some content that can or cannot be exempted, we should be moving towards doing away with data caps entirely. For wired connections, it is almost unheard of in many other parts of the world to have data caps on wired connections. For mobile connections, other countries have much more generous data allotments, so much so that some countries do everything via data connection on their mobile phones, including calling and messaging. This would simply not be feasible in Canada currently due to the very restrictive mobile data limits and exorbitant prices required to secure even a gigabyte or two of data per month.

3) Yes, absolutely the concerns outweigh the benefits. Should you step in and regulate? Good lord, yes! You are the CRTC, this is literally your job. When I type "CRTC" into Google, this is the description I get below the first hit, which is a link to your website: "The CRTC is an independent public authority in charge of regulating and supervising Canadian broadcasting and telecommunications." Letting the telecommunications companies regulate themselves is what got us into this mess.

4) Look, I don't want to tell you how to do your jobs... Ok, yes I do. You should really just do away with this whole "differential pricing" nonsense for starters. It should be down to the customer to choose what services they want to use online, not corporations. Telecom giants shouldn't be allowed to zero-rate data, and make websites they don't like more expensive to access. This is a slippery slope that is tantamount to censorship, and leaves the door wide open for abuses of power when it comes to free access to information. A HUGE problem today is that so many consumers are technologically illiterate, and many people have no idea what they are buying, why they are being charged or overcharged, and just accept it as the way it is. We need to push for a higher level of transparency and tech literacy, so that telecom companies stop taking advantage of customers who simply do not know any better. This is a larger issue but I believe the CRTC could do a world of good by expanding education about telecommunications, and introducing measures that would force telecoms companies to be more open and transparent about their services.

If you've made it this far, thanks for reading. I apologize if I got a little heated, but this is an issue very near and dear to me, and, I think, to many many of my fellow Canadians. I do not want to see Canada get lost in the last century because of antiquated, anti-consumer, and frankly greedy business practices.

bshell 7 points Tue Sep 27 23:32:41 2016 UTC  (0 children)

I am 65 years old and I've been involved in the Internet since before it even started. I also was on the board of the Canadian Internet Registration Authority for 4 years, so I do have some knowledge and strong opinions. Please listen.

What do you think are the benefits of differential pricing? None. In fact the Internet should be free. For many years, in the beginning of the Internet it was IN FACT free. The original inventors and implementors of the Internet and everything on it (e.g. email, the World Wide Web, and file sharing services) are ALL DESIGNED TO WORK FOR FREE. This should be the CRTC's number one mandate. The infrastructure of the Internet is a public resource, like air, water, and forests and should be managed for the public at a non-profit, lowest cost basis. Nobody should be allowed to profit from such free public resources. The current situation is totally out of hand, with a small number of companies (4 or 5) making obscene profits off this public resource, which was designed to be free for everyone. There are zero benefits to differential pricing, or ANY kind of pricing on the Internet. It should be free, like public health care.

Do you have any concerns about differential pricing? Yes. Imagine if we had this with health care in Canada. Do you remember in the 1960s when Medicare came into effect thanks to people like Tommy Douglas. Before that, we DID have differential pricing for health care in Canada. The rich were healthy and the poor were sick and dying. Do you think that is a good thing to strive for? I have concerns about us returning to that with health care, and the same is true with Internet. The Internet should be provided for free to all Canadians, same as health care. I call it Communicare. The CRTC ought to be the champions of Communicare for all Canadians. And you know what: it would not even cost that much. Probably 10,000 times cheaper than universal health care. There is nothing in the bible or anyplace that says corporations must profit off public resources such as the Internet. In fact they should be kicked out as far as I'm concerned. There's absolutely zero competition, so what's the point of making something that is naturally free into a marketplace?

Do these concerns outweigh the benefits and, if so, are they significant enough to justify us stepping in and regulating the practices? Or should we let the home (wireline), and mobile (wireless) service providers decide? Are you kidding me? The home (wireline), and mobile (wireless) service providers already have far too much power. They are ripping off Canadians left and right. All you have to do is look at their quarterly profit statements. Each one is profiting to the tune of a billion dollars every quarter. It's absolutely obscene. Please reign these guys in once and for all and whatever you do, please DON'T GIVE THEM EVEN MORE POWER. Don't you represent the public interest? Please help. Help us for god's sake!! We are drowning out here under corporate "care".

If we should step in, how should we regulate it? Number one: find out precisely how much it costs to deliver home (wireline), and mobile (wireless) service to Canadians. I believe these costs are surprisingly low. The few times that Internet professionals have told me the true costs, they have been in the tens of thousands of dollars. Cheap cheap. I mean true costs, without marketing, advertising, lobbying, CEO bonuses, etc. Just find out what is the raw cost of providing Internet to 95% of Canadians. Obviously, the last 5% living in the forest and up north are going to be expensive, but about 85% of us are in urban centres, where it's probably unbelievably cheap to provide Internet service. Please find out these numbers once and for all and publish it for everyone to see. If you cannot find out in Canada, find out how much it costs in Africa or Asia. Just find out and tell us. Then somehow regulate the 3 - 5 corporations that provide this service so that they only make a modest profit of a few percentage points, instead of 10,000 percent as they do today. Thanks for reading.

austinfavorite 8 points Wed Sep 28 00:34:16 2016 UTC *  (0 children)

Thanks for soliciting opinion from an alternative forum. It's encouraging. But I can't answer your questions.

Your questions imply that you've already decided that a handful of telecom companies get to limit how we use the 21st century's great tool for democracy, culture, commerce, sharing, prosperity, and innovation.

Face it, the real question you're asking is how much control should we give them?

Congratulations, CRTC. While the rest of the world builds next generation of rockets to go to Mars, you're asking Canadians what colour horse to put in front of the buggy with a missing wheel.

Why isn't the CRTC hold our telecom companies to task about building high-capacity, universal, ubiquitous, unencumbered, innovative, responsive telecom services that benefit 35 million Canadians instead of a handful of shareholders?

Let me know when you start asking real questions.

Can_I_Borrow_A_Feel 8 points Tue Sep 27 12:23:14 2016 UTC  (0 children)

What do you think are the benefits of differential pricing? The benefit here would be more to the telecom provider over the consumer. They would be able to increase their customer base by providing free access to certain apps while at the same time demonstrating that that access is being priced seemingly at random. If telecom providers can allow 2gb of Netflix per month free in addition to 2gb of regular use data, clearly data isn't as expensive for them to provide as they'd like the consumer to believe. Still, free or cheaper access to certain applications would be viewed as a gain for some consumers.

Do you have any concerns about differential pricing?

Absolutely. The concept undermines net neutrality and will make it significantly harder for new start-ups to compete in the same space. it places further burden on smaller developers and businesses to compete in already difficult spaces.

Do these concerns outweigh the benefits and, if so, are they significant enough to justify us stepping in and regulating the practices? Or should we let the home (wireline), and mobile (wireless) service providers decide?

Definitely. Allowing any kind of net neutrality breach could lead to disaster in how Canadians view information as a commodity and is exactly the sort of thing I believe the government should be monitoring when it comes to telecommunications. Furthermore, I don't believe anything except their own package offers should be left up to the service providers - they have proven they will chose anti-consumer options at every turn. Even their packages remain identical in most cases, which would suggest they are as low as they can be but we have some of the highest rates in the world.

If we should step in, how should we regulate it?

Clear, decisive, and most importantly, specific legislation. Make sure there are no loopholes for lousy service or workarounds like the basic cable packages.

beefandfoot 6 points Tue Sep 27 15:40:01 2016 UTC  (0 children)

I think differential pricing is a bad precedence to set. It means service provider could deviate themselves from a service provider to content provider. The benefits might be a short term gain for consumers until competitors are driven out of business.

A short term and simple solution is to not allow differential pricing. The longer term solution though is to split up the current cable companies into service provider company and content provider company. Having said that, the foreign ownership clause should completely be removed in my opinion. They hinder the competitiveness of the market.

ohzopant 7 points Tue Sep 27 16:30:40 2016 UTC  (0 children)

What do you think are the benefits of differential pricing?

The only benefits of differential pricing are for the network and content owners and their shareholders. Differential pricing is an inherently anti-competitive practice that can only have long-term negative effects on consumers through the elimination of competition.

Even the apparent "benefit" of "free" data for any given service is, in effect, forcing other users of that service to subsidize heavy users' streaming.

A bit is a bit is a bit and they should all be billed as such. Full stop.

Do you have any concerns about differential pricing?

Yes, unless a very strict framework whereby any and all content producers can purchase a "zero rating" for their video service on an incumbent's network for a reasonable, cost-based pricing, the incumbents will almost certainly preferentially treat their own offerings. (And, let's be honest Bell, Rogers, Telus et. al. have been flat out lying to you about their real costs for years now and you apparently lack the appetite to call them out for it.)

Even if such a framework were to be adopted, the cost of such an agreement would likely make it unaffordable for any new video streaming services thereby making it effectively anti-competitive.

Differential pricing also flies in the face of net neutrality because it is a system that explicitly treats different bits from different places in different ways

Do these concerns outweigh the benefits and, if so, are they significant enough to justify us stepping in and regulating the practices? Or should we let the home (wireline), and mobile (wireless) service providers decide?

To reiterate: there are no real benefits to users from differential pricing, only concerns.

In my opinion, a specific policy or regulation against differential pricing should not be required because a properly developed and implemented net neutrality policy would not allow for it.

If we should step in, how should we regulate it?

Develop a rigorous and legally binding net neutrality policy or recommend the creation of one to the government; net neutrality is sufficiently important to warrant that it be enshrined in law.

rjksn 8 points Tue Sep 27 17:54:38 2016 UTC  (0 children)

I don't trust any of the providers. It's not like they have the public's interest in mind-as exampled by the recent $25 cable package farce-so I think differential pricing is just opening up a way for the major players to promote their own services over the competition. Or, by taxing the competition to add them to a promoted "bandwidth free" service.

  1. There is no real consumer benefit. The only benefit is for carriers to promote or tax other services eroding the entire concept of a free open web. It would turn the internet into cable tv, which is great for the cable tv industry-who are our ISPs.

  2. I have concerns. I don't want to pay for "internet" when a change like this would start to blow the whole concept apart. The only reason the internet is what it is, is because we have the freedom to NOT use our carrier's services. Netflix is directly NOT cable, voip services are directly NOT Bell's telephony.

  3. Yes. Internet should be internet and we should be able to use it on anything we're interested in using it for just like our Hydro. It's imperative that we not let mobile providers lock is into their services in an anti-competitive way. Even if they were interested in offering a Shomi + Netflix package, we'd still be blocking out any new competitor on the market. If you can think back to the days before Netflix you'd know how limiting that could be.

  4. Net Neutrality across the board. As data get cheaper and cheaper, we'll be allowing providers to lock us in to low data plans with high perk packages making Canada a very sad place to be.

We need more true competition in the mobile space in Canada-which will never happen-so we should protect what little freedom we have.

DetectivePunch 7 points Tue Sep 27 18:17:54 2016 UTC  (0 children)

It seems anti-competitive and 100 percent in benefit of only the telcos. Please protect the consumer and ban this practice altogether.

MichaelHolloway111 7 points Tue Sep 27 19:10:12 2016 UTC  (0 children)

Q) What do you think are the benefits of differential pricing?

A) Good for the companies offering these confusing packages. Not good for users who are using their web phones in a real and evolving space.

Q) Do you have any concerns about differential pricing?

A) I think it a sneeky way to over-charge for the service provided - gouging.

Q) Do these concerns outweigh the benefits and, if so, are they significant enough to justify us stepping in and regulating the practices? Or should we let the home (wireline), and mobile (wireless) service providers decide?

A) Intervention is required - these companies are acting in chorus, the industry is behaving like a monopoly; dodging left and right to avoid the perception that they are acting as a cartel.

Q) If we should step in, how should we regulate it?

A) End data caps.

Michael Holloway Toronto

cypherslock 6 points Tue Sep 27 19:34:58 2016 UTC  (0 children)

Data caps should not exist, period. The internet is "not" a finite resource, and when you have Comcast admitting that other than profits there's no technical reason they should exists, why have them? Make the internet accessible to all AND have fast speeds. Time for Canada to come out of its time-warp and join the rest of the world. We are behind. Companies should "not" get to decides traffic priority or have the ability to charge more because you're not using their app or are a customer. Do not vertically integrate the net, keep it open.

[deleted] 8 points Tue Sep 27 19:51:13 2016 UTC  (0 children)

What do you think are the benefits of differential pricing?

As a consumer who actively uses his internet connection I can't think of any benefits that would come of it. Perhaps lower income families would be more geared towards having it but I would go so far to say that benefit would be negligible.

Do you have any concerns about differential pricing?

I do. It eliminates or heavily challenges competitors and prevents us as consumers from having the freedom to pick what internet services we want or need. On top of this it gives incentives to the Big Three to lower data caps and force us to use the services they've invested in or gain from us using in order to enjoy what we need. Such as Shomi and Shaw and how Shomi streaming didn't count against Shaw data caps. What if I want Netflix?. Why should I have to pick what services I use based on what my telecom company has agreements with?. Is that truly a free market?. This referendum has a lot of things riding on the decision.

Do these concerns outweigh the benefits and, if so, are they significant enough to justify us stepping in and regulating the practices? Or should we let the home (wireline), and mobile (wireless) service providers decide?

Yes. The concerns do outweigh the benefits. We pay some of the highest rates for our mobile phones and internet services in the world. While a good chunk of the world has gone to embrace the idea of the internet as an essential service(as it should be) and made changes to embody this belief with cheap internet rates and high speed and great mobile phone rates and done away with long term contracts, Canada, under the jackboots of the Big Three opted to go the opposite direction. Data caps, insanely overpriced phone plans and internet plans, hideously long contracts(that only got nixed RECENTLY) and now we're about to let the Big Three, who have done more to gouge the Canadian population for every cent when it comes to telecommunications, double dip in the industry?. Have services pay say....Rogers to allow their service to be considered "data free" to attract subscribers and then the subscribers also pay rogers for their internet or mobile phone service?. How is that even remotely fair. It will be abused by the people who have the most to gain and will make a market already excessively hostile and uncompetitive borderline impossible for smaller businesses to compete within, and restrict us, the consumer, to the right of free choice.

Is it simply this. The Big Three telecom companies do not care about the consumers. We are a cow waiting for a farmer to milk us. It is time to start digging ourselves out of the telecom hole the Big Three have dug for us and start fighting back against them. There are no benefits to the consumer that any of the Big Three offer that don't have ulterior motives that benefit them far more than they ever will us.

If we should step in, how should we regulate it?

  • End data caps. The Big Three have indoctrinated the Canadian public to believe the prices we pay are justified because it covers the cost of network congestion. This simply isn't the case. They have profit margins in the thousands of percentages as it costs them almost nothing per gigabye(8 cents per?)) -Declare the internet an essential service. - We all pay taxes that go into maintaining things we may never even use. Do the people paying taxes to maintain the roads all have licenses?. They do not. The internet has become so engrained in our society we do almost everything with it. It is the new library. It is the way we pay our bills, get our news and enjoy the various entertainment mediums from video games to movies.
  • Revamp phone contracts. - Look at Europe. Look at how their telecom companies handle their phone billing and take inspiration from there. The CRTC has admitted we pay some of the highest priced bills for our phone services in the industrialized world. We pay more for less.
    -Punishment - Whenever the CRTC has made a ruling, the cost of the outcome has been passed onto us, the consumer through increased bill prices and contracts. How is this fair?. Revamp the way punishments are dolled out.

We stand on the brink of making one of the largest decisions in Canada's telecom history. How we go from here will have resounding impacts not just for us but for the generations to come. We need to make the right choice for all of us. We need to start pulling the fist of the Big Telecom companies off from our wallets. Our national anthem says we're glorious and free but we've never been more oppressed with our options in the telecommunications industry.

It is time to change that.

DigitalCanuck 7 points Tue Sep 27 19:55:23 2016 UTC  (0 children)

I believe the CRTC should regulate a maximum price point for data services to ensure fair price point for service to all Canadians. This should be based on a reason a reasonable level of profit depending on actual cost to deliver service including costs to maintain and repair infrastructure. Service providers would be able to compete by offering discounts within the preset pricing structure or offering other incentives. Cost could be treated as other utilities with a base cost of delivery plus additional charge based on usage. Providers should be required to apply to CRTC for approval of rate changes based on cost and inflation. Data caps would be irrelevant based on fair usage based costing. Due to the current monopoly between the big three providers it is imperative that the CRTC limit pricing and price hikes.

Shurikane 8 points Tue Sep 27 21:53:26 2016 UTC  (0 children)

Data transferred over the Internet should be data, and nothing more.

Whether it is a text document, a picture, a known TV series, an advertisement, or anything else, should never matter in how quickly that data is delivered, and whether they are accounted for in one's data cap.

A few points:

  • Differential pricing is a way to soften the blow made by our abysmally low data caps. It does not catch the problem at the root, which is: abysmally low data caps. The whole idea behind the scheme is to make users accept a poor state of affairs by offering a partial work-around to a problem that the telecoms themselves have generated.

  • Differential pricing can be exploited. It can allow a telecom to conveniently prioritize data favorable to them, over data unfavorable to them - from the delivery of unfavorable content at unacceptably low speed, up to and including the censorship of data. One quick example: a TV/phone/Internet corporation introduces an extreme hike to their price rate along with lower data caps, but simultaneously declaring that Internet data used to view their TV channels online does not count, effectively rendering one's Internet connection into nothing more than a surrogate television link.

  • Differential pricing can be exploited - Part Two. It can allow a telecom to force users into choosing a plan they may have little use for, simply because the other plans are prohibitively unattractive: a plan including a partnership with some music service is made vastly cheaper than a plan without it, and/or the plan without partnership fails to include common features of a plan.

BONUS: There are many more ongoing problems in addition to the talks about Net Neutrality. Including but not limited to:

  • Paying extra just to download more data. This concept is virtually unheard of in other countries, especially European ones.

  • Having to haggle on the phone with a telecom every six months for a "deal". Right now, a user can navigate Bell Canada's phone menu to state they wish to cancel their subscription, get put on the phone with the "Loyalty Department", and say outright that they want to shop for this season's deals. The reps start answering with discounts, no further questions asked. Failure to do that means an instant doubling of one's telecom bill overnight when the deal comes to an end. Bell knows exactly how the game works and is not even trying to hide it. What does this tell you?

  • The big telecoms have, in the past, attempted to seek control over the plans and prices that third-party carriers can offer, in order to stifle the competition brought on by them.

Solving the differential pricing issue is only the tip of the iceberg. In my opinion, the CRTC has a lot of work ahead of themselves, and tight regulations on telecoms is an increasingly urgent need to fulfill. As of right now, Canada is sorely lagging behind other countries in terms of its telecom rules.

rb998 7 points Tue Sep 27 22:41:12 2016 UTC  (0 children)

Differential pricing should be banned. There are no benefits to the consumer in a differential pricing market. It allows for telecoms to charge the customer for service, and then charge companies to make their content more easily viewed. Telecoms effectively get to double-dip the market. Furthermore, many telecoms are content providers, and this system allows them to unfairly promote their own content over that of their competition. Like other people have said:

  • There needs to be legislation ensuring all internet traffic is treated equally, disallowing companies from paying telecom for preferential treatment (and disallowing telecom from offering/incentivising preferential treatment).

  • All data caps should be removed. With increasing amounts of content in 2k and 4k resolution, higher data requirements are needed to continue to view content over the internet. Raising the data cap doesn't solve the issue, only forces a repeat of this conversation in the future.

  • Telecom prices should be controlled cross-country, not regionally based on local competition.

The CRTC needs to start transparently and meaningfully enforcing all of its regulations. For companies that do not comply fines should be based on % of total earnings. Fines should be repeated and increased when companies fail to comply within a reasonable period of time. Fines collected should go back into the system of increasing internet infrastructure.

Garfield_M_Obama Canada 7 points Tue Sep 27 23:26:56 2016 UTC  (0 children)

What do you think are the benefits of differential pricing?

I have yet to hear of any convincing benefit for consumers or businesses. The only clear benefit is that it allows the telcos to better protect their profits and control network access to meet their business objectives (as opposed to technical requirements for managing their network).

There have been arguments made that this would allow end users to access some services at a subsidized or reduced cost and I feel I need to rebut this here. The only reason that this is even a concern is because in Canada the telcos have capped data at unreasonably low rates for 2016. The fact that they want to be able to provide high bandwidth data services of their own without removing the caps demonstrates clearly that it is not a technical limit for the network itself. This is a tacit acknowledgement that rich media services in 2016 are no longer possible on the network model in place today in Canada.

Do you have any concerns about differential pricing?

Because they have been allowed to consolidate in the supposed name of efficiency and reduced costs to Canadians they are also in a position to use their dominant position to limit Internet access in order to ensure the continued viability of their conventional digital media services. Even if we are to accept the argument that this is somehow a benefit for the consumer, it's very hard to ensure that the telcos don't abuse the rules unless there is much more rigorous monitoring in place. The risk of editorialization for political purposes by implicit network policies which favour one company's media outlet over another either because it is owned by the telco or because it has entered into a favourable business agreement is far too risky when the Internet is now a basic medium for the exchange of ideas and political messages across a wide swathe of the Canadian public.

Do these concerns outweigh the benefits and, if so, are they significant enough to justify us stepping in and regulating the practices? Or should we let the home (wireline), and mobile (wireless) service providers decide?

I really don't see this as a serious topic for debate. There has never been an argument to support differential pricing as a benefit for the customer other than the assumption that somehow there will savings for the users. Given that Canadian costs for network access are higher than many other developed nation and the major providers are so anti-competitive it's very hard to have confidence that the telcos will self-regulate in favour of the consumer. I strongly support much tighter regulation of basic network access for all Internet connected devices.

If we should step in, how should we regulate it?

Given their history of intransigence even when the CRTC has used a fairly light hand to try to guide the industry, at this stage I would urge the CRTC to consider using much stronger measures to ensure internationally competitive access to network services. My personal preference would be for a model where the basic provisioning of IP network services (mobile, wifi, wired) is essentially regulated at the cost for deploying and managing the network plus a fixed management fee as a profit. If they want to provide value added on top of this, that's fine, but bytes on a network should not be a commodity that we penalize users for consuming.

However...

Ubiquitous gigabit or faster services are not even really the future, we're already seeing companies like Google beginning to roll out these services at reasonable prices in major urban centres worldwide, this is only the first step. Meanwhile in Canada we're battling over data caps which are smaller than the size of a full length episode of a television programme in some cases.

If the CRTC feels that it is beyond the scope of its mandate to regulate the current providers to the degree required to ensure inexpensive and unlimited network access for Canadians, I would strongly recommend that the Commission consider recommending further deregulation in favour of allowing foreign competitors with deep pockets to enter the Canadian market in direct competition with the incumbents. This could, and most likely should, be framed in regulation as requiring certain guarantees of quality, network neutrality, and competitive pricing along with the opening of the market. But the specifics are less important than the creation of an environment which encourages dramatic investments in improving the infrastructure rather than investments in lobbying the regulator to open up new profit centres.

springer70 Canada 7 points Wed Sep 28 00:31:32 2016 UTC  (0 children)

What do you think are the benefits of differential pricing?

I think the only ones benefiting from differential pricing will be the cable companies and ISPs. They spin this as a savings to me, but I believe it to be wrong and anti-competitive. I don't believe control should be at the mercy of corporations.

Do you have any concerns about differential pricing?

Yes. I have huge concerns. I think differential pricing is anti-competitive. I think it promotes unfair pricing and gouging. It halts and stifles innovation.

Do these concerns outweigh the benefits and, if so, are they significant enough to justify us stepping in and regulating the practices? Or should we let the home (wireline), and mobile (wireless) service providers decide?

Yes. My concerns definitely outweigh the benefits. I don't fully know what the solution is, but the internet and the delivery of content must remain free and open.

If we should step in, how should we regulate it?

This, I'm not sure how, but controls and consumer safeguards must be in place to ensure content being delivered is kept equal and open.

chrisgerow 6 points Wed Sep 28 03:37:08 2016 UTC  (0 children)

Get rid of data caps and protect net neutrality. The media in this country is already too consolidated. The internet gives us the opportunity to do this right. Isp should not be in the content business. Period. Net neutrality spurs innovation and will grow Canada's tech sector.

Soldierblue211 13 points Tue Sep 27 20:31:00 2016 UTC  (0 children)

It doesn't matter what the crtc does. The cable companies have proved that time and again by circumventing any and all new rules or by at least making them completely ridiculous that no one would EVER choose what they've given us. Mean time they just keep raising prices. Costs of living keeps going higher and faster than income. It's no wonder people illegally download, buy android streaming boxes or circumvent Netflix to access us content. The first thing people have to cut when they can't afford everything in their lives are the things like entertainment and non-necessities. You're essentially telling a company what they are allowed to earn and no one. ..no one goes down with out a fight when you start going into their wallets. The imbalance is here and now! The rich want to keep getting richer and they don't care who's in the way. Good luck telling a monopoly what they can or cannot do. CRTC #joke

Onearmedlobster 8 points Tue Sep 27 13:14:57 2016 UTC  (0 children)

Data exemption to watch ads doesn't benefit me in the slightest. Why on earth would I want that? I already have ad blockers to keep that from happening; ads are already data exempt for me.

I would like to see the Internet treated more like a utility service that is owed to citizens who pay their taxes rather than a corporate shill-scape. Focus on making the Internet more accessible to rural communities and getting rid of data caps altogether.

mark-zach 5 points Tue Sep 27 16:21:21 2016 UTC  (0 children)

I'm not in favor of differential pricing.

mastjaso 5 points Tue Sep 27 17:09:39 2016 UTC  (0 children)

It's ludicrous that you need public comment on this at all.

Don't allow differential pricing at all. The benefits are entirely outweighed by the concerns.

Internet providers should be treated like dumb pipes. I request something, they send it to me at the speed I paid for. My ISP should have ZERO say on what I see, and I shouldn't get charged different amounts for seeing different things. Crave TV shouldn't cost less than Netflix because Bell won't charge data caps for Crave. It's a completely artificial barrier to competition.

datathe1st 5 points Tue Sep 27 18:48:35 2016 UTC  (0 children)

Not only should differential pricing be banned, but the government should take over providing internet service to its citizens. High speed internet access for personal use should be a basic right in this country. As more value gets transacted online the GDP multiplier from cheap broadband access cannot be overstated.

joelkesler 5 points Tue Sep 27 19:09:35 2016 UTC  (0 children)

(1) What do you think are the benefits of differential pricing?

The benefits are to ISPs who want to stand out and offer benefits that others do not. One example would be Bell or Rogers not counting their Netflix-like services (Showmi, Crave) against monthly Data Caps, while other online video services would still count against monthly data caps. This benefits consumers less than ISPs, who placed the data caps to begin with.

(2) Do you have any concerns about differential pricing?

I agree with another poster on this site where says "allowing IPSs to compete in a way other than price in an environment that desperately needs more competition in the first place will just further reduce the already tiny incentive for these companies to price competitively."

(3) Do these concerns outweigh the benefits and, if so, are they significant enough to justify us stepping in and regulating the practices? Or should we let the home (wireline), and mobile (wireless) service providers decide?

I think that the concerns outweigh the benefits and should not be allowed. A better idea would be to remove data caps.

(4) If we should step in, how should we regulate it?

You should not allow companies to offer differential pricing.

skomorokh 6 points Tue Sep 27 19:13:32 2016 UTC  (0 children)

I believe differential pricing would help large incumbents prevent small app developers from innovating in areas that use considerable bandwidth by requiring them to negotiate agreements with carriers before their software can compete on an even footing. I do not understand how there is any public good inherent in adding barriers to entry.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regulatory_capture

I would like to see the CRTC stipulate that all bandwidth be charged the same, a byte is a byte like any other. An ISP should move the bytes around not concern itself with their content. Unfortunately, we have a conflict of interest in which the companies moving our bytes have a historic interest in what they contain (eg. telephone calls or television programs) and wish to continue wheeling and dealing in relation to that. So we must rely on regulation to prevent their privileging their own content and services over those of our choosing (and our invention). Please help, we need you.

too_clever_username Ontario 3 points Tue Sep 27 20:52:23 2016 UTC *  (0 children)

What do you think are the benefits of differential pricing?

It allows large organisations (not just companies, theoretically foreign governments, or companies owned by foreign interests) to encourage the use of one platform over another.

There are no meaningful benefits to the end user, unless they are put in a position whereby they cannot afford to use the Internet outside of that route. Coincidentally, if an ISP is taking money for differential pricing, it incentivizes them to put their users in that position.

Do you have any concerns about differential pricing?

It will simply allow yet another vector by which organisations with capital can influence and manipulate the population.

As a hypothetical, Twitter is owned in large part by Saudi Prince Alwaleed, and this past month was found to be banning activists who were promoting the #StopEnslavingSaudiWomen hashtag. If a competing social media activist site or livestreaming app came along, it's success chances could be eroded by Twitter making Twitter & Periscope data "free" for the users, discouraging going outside of Twitter, and discouraging continuing the conversation.

It will virtually eliminate any chance an upstart application or technology has in Canada against enroached interests with access to large amounts of capital.

Do these concerns outweigh the benefits and, if so, are they significant enough to justify us stepping in and regulating the practices? Or should we let the home (wireline), and mobile (wireless) service providers decide?

There are zero meaningful benefits to the users. All the benefits are to the ISP and to the organisation paying for exclusive treatment. The users are just eyeballs being manipulated. An ISP should exist to offer the best service available to the user, not to offer a handicapped version of the service which is subsidised by other interests in order to manipulate what you do with your access.

Canadian consumers need protection from being taken advantage of in an age where the internet is not optional. We are at the point where it's virtually impossible to function without an unrestricted Internet access. The government should recognise that having unrestricted, unmanipulated access to the internet is essential.

If we should step in, how should we regulate it?

The CRTC should

  • Set a minimum set of functionality that is guaranteed to be available (e.g. like a 5M/800k connection at no more than like $20 a month), with no data cap.
  • Same with mobile, e.g. everyone has to offer a reasonable -- useful (no, your 100MB data plan is not useful) -- data plan at a reasonable price, like 2 gigs at $30 or something.
  • Any plans that do more than the minimum, if people go over the usage limits, should either cap the fees at something reasonable (e.g. double the usual price) or throttle the speed of the connection to the minimum
  • Not permit differential pricing.

jonny_b02 5 points Wed Sep 28 00:10:46 2016 UTC  (0 children)

Hi there, I am an IT guy and I know the cost of the bandwidth for which we are being gouged. The cost of the connections from the ISP more than covers any cost that is incurred by the ISPs. The bandwidth in Canada is the most restrictive and we are made to pay through the nose for access to internet connectivity that should be WAY lower!! In the US, there are ISPs that are providing 1000 Mbps symetrical connections for under $100 with no badwidth caps (as far as I can see). Granted that is US dollars, but seriously, is there that big a difference. I may be way off base but how much money did the Canadian government contribute to these companies in way of tax breaks etc to wire Canada - do you not think we should reap the benefits?

My stance is do away with these silly caps for bandwidth and open up the connections. Do not traffic shape and for the love of all things, give us Canadians valid connections at real prices with no bandwidth restrictions. The ISPs are sitting on kilometres of "dark fibre" for "future use". Well, light it up, the future is NOW!!!!

Just my 4 cents worth, opps, forgot, round that up to 5 cents since we no longer have pennies, unless you pay with plastic (another topic totally!!!)

mcskeezy Lest We Forget 5 points Wed Sep 28 16:50:58 2016 UTC  (0 children)

The internet should be treated as a public utility. To be a contributing member of society, having adequate internet access is just as vital as clean water or electricity.

Krutonium Ontario 5 points Wed Sep 28 17:06:04 2016 UTC  (0 children)

What do you think are the benefits of differential pricing?

There are none, at least in the long term. Allowing this will cause the internet as we know it to cease to exist.

Do you have any concerns about differential pricing?

Yes, it significantly damages the ability of the internet to function as intended.

Do these concerns outweigh the benefits and, if so, are they significant enough to justify us stepping in and regulating the practices? Or should we let the home (wireline), and mobile (wireless) service providers decide?

Yes, the concerns outweigh the benefits, and under NO circumstances should the ISP's be allowed to decide. They are in a massive conflict in interest, being Cable Companies for the most part as well. Bell and Rogers could make something like Netflix obscenely expensive, just because they want to stop cord cutters.

If we should step in, how should we regulate it?

Do not allow ISP's to create differential pricing, and at the same time, you should determine the actual cost to move data by the gigabyte, and force them to stop gouging us. In fact, I would love it if ISP's could be regulated as a public utility.

OctilleryLOL 6 points Wed Sep 28 20:43:47 2016 UTC  (0 children)

Treat Internet access as a basic utility, and legislate internet provisioning in a way similar to hydro/electrical provisioning.

Data caps are nonsensical scams, as admitted by multiple American telecommunications CEOs and should be illegal.

Open up the infrastructure legislation to allow competitors to develop useful infrastructure in the face of the Bell/Rogers effective monopoly. WIND mobile can barely offer service due to being locked out of most frequencies.

giantJim Québec 14 points Mon Sep 26 15:48:52 2016 UTC  (0 children)

  • Quels avantages y a-t-il, selon vous, à avoir une différenciation des prix?

Aucun.

  • Avez-vous des préoccupations au sujet de la différenciation des prix?

Oui, car cela contrevient au fondement de l'égalité de l'accès à l'Internet (net neutrality). Les autres services sont désavantagés par rapport aux services exempt de tarification, que ce soit au niveau économique ou publicitaire. De plus, le service est plus facilement accessible aux gens qui plus fortuné; les ententes sont profitables aux deux partis et incite donc le marché concerné à conserver ces prix qui ne sont pas accessibles ou égaux aux autres services.

  • Ces préoccupations l’emportent-elles sur les avantages et, le cas échéant, sont-elles suffisamment importantes pour justifier notre intervention et la réglementation des pratiques? Ou devrions-nous laisser les fournisseurs de services résidentiels (filaires) et de services mobiles (sans fil) décider?

Comme Internet est un outils très répandue et utilisé de façon régulière par une multitude d'usager, il est très important d'accorder un traitement égal à tout type de service utilisant Internet. Pour des raisons économiques, chaque service devrait avoir la chance d'avoir le même type de trafique au même coût.

  • Si nous devions intervenir, de quelle manière devrions-nous réglementer les pratiques?

Le CRTC devrait statuer sur le fait que l'Internet est un service essentiel et que de ce fait, chaque entité utilisant Internet doit être traité et opérer de façon égal: c'est-à-dire que le coût des donnés et la vitesse d'accès doit être la même pour tous afin que chacun puisse avoir l'occasion de faire affaire et de consommer un média.

chairitable 9 points Mon Sep 26 19:53:11 2016 UTC  (0 children)

Merci beaucoup d'être venus chez nous pour la consultation :)

  1. Quels avantages y a-t-il, selon vous, à avoir une différenciation des prix?

Certes, c'est plaisant d'être capable d'utiliser certaines applications ou sitewebs sans s'inquiéter d'utiliser tout son data. Le streaming de musique par exemple.

  1. Avez-vous des préoccupations au sujet de la différenciation des prix?

Absolument. Comme plusieurs l'ont indiqué, la différenciation des prix produit un champ compétitif qui est très difficile à pénétrer par des petites entreprise, soit du bord du fournisseur de services ou des créateurs de site webs ou applications. Netflix, par exemple, paie déjà son coût de réseaux, électrique etc pour ses services, pourquoi donc devraient-ils payer Rogers ou Bell pour qu'on puisse l'utiliser?

De même, qu'est-ce qui empêche les fournisseurs de réseaux sans-fil de choisir les coûts pour accéder le rang zéro? Sera-t-il possible qu'ils offrent des différent prix pour des services qu'ils pensent sont favorable pour leur propre bien? Il existe bien trop d'occasions pour l'abus et la corruption.

  1. Ces préoccupations l’emportent-elles sur les avantages et, le cas échéant, sont-elles suffisamment importantes pour justifier notre intervention et la réglementation des pratiques? Ou devrions-nous laisser les fournisseurs de services résidentiels (filaires) et de services mobiles (sans fil) décider?

Mes préoccupations l'emportent absolument sur les avantages. Je crois que la CRTC à l'obligation d'intervenir afin de prévenir la différenciation des prix, en tout cas, afin d'éviter le précédent d'abus des clients par les fournisseurs de services. Il est évident que la compétition en marché libre n'a pas fonctionné dans les dernières décennies, vu les haut prix de services au Canada comparé au reste du monde.

  1. Si nous devions intervenir, de quelle manière devrions-nous réglementer les pratiques?

Interdire absolument les pratiques de différenciation des prix et éliminer les caps d'utilisation de l'internet, soit sans fil ou filaires. Notre culture et notre développement comme peuple est arrêté par ces caps artificiels. Nous serions beaucoup plus engagés avec les avances technologique qui nous entoure sans ces encombrages.

Cyralea 8 points Tue Sep 27 15:34:31 2016 UTC  (0 children)

What do you think are the benefits of differential pricing?

Corporations, both ISP and vendors, will certainly benefit from the practice. There's little to stop them from setting prices in non-competitive ways, as with all problems with ISP's there's simply not enough competition for the consumer to see the benefit of market forces. There's the idea that some services will become cheaper, but what reason do we have to believe they will in the absence of proper competition?

Do you have any concerns about differential pricing?

Severe concerns about the state of the internet in general. There are many reasons to believe that the internet's true value lies in its accessibility; Joe from little-town Ontario can just as easily put up a website and have their content reached as easily anywhere. When you create differential pricing you give ISPs the incentive to not only limit bandwidth to these smaller players, you give ISPs perverse incentives to favour vendors who pay the most to have their material made most accessible. The internet becomes a less free space.

Do these concerns outweigh the benefits and, if so, are they significant enough to justify us stepping in and regulating the practices? Or should we let the home (wireline), and mobile (wireless) service providers decide?

To us end consumers, no, the benefits do not outweigh the costs. We do not see any direct benefit. No new jobs will be created as a result of favouring ISPs this way. No monetary savings will be seen, just increased costs.

If we should step in, how should we regulate it?

Prohibit the use of differential pricing, period. Accessing Facebook should not cost anymore than accessing JoesHomeBlog.com. Joe should not have his site bandwidth throttled because he can't pay extortionary rates that will inevitably be set by ISPs.

AgentSmithRadio Canada 19 points Mon Sep 26 19:45:11 2016 UTC  (2 children)

What do you think are the benefits of differential pricing?

I think the best benefit from differential pricing would be in sponsored content. Having sponsors pay for data usage to encourage people to view their advertising (which some people will want to see) isn't an option that consumers or advertisers have at the moment. For users using websites/apps such as YouTube on their mobile data plans, the ability to not use data to view an advertisement may discourage the use of mobile ad blockers. The ability to remove the obvious incentive to save on mobile data usage may be a useful option for online advertisers.

Do you have any concerns about differential pricing?

The "gatekeepers" argument personifies my concerns with differential pricing. Aside from influencing the businesses we discover and choose to purchase from, the ability to influence the news, media and entertainment we consume is a powerful ability to have.

Canada was lucky to have the internet develop in an environment where it wasn't controlled by corporations who may choose to use it for their own political, cultural or societal gain. We pay high rates for our data consumption in Canada and many consumers may be tempted to buy into plans with low data caps to save on money. If that plan chooses to prefer websites such as Amazon and Netflix, it reduces the chance of other competitors rising in the online marketplace. If the ISP chooses to give preference to left-wing or right-wing news sources, it influences the political landscape of the country where before all internet consumers had no economic incentive to choose a particular source to shape and influence their opinions.

Do these concerns outweigh the benefits and, if so, are they significant enough to justify us stepping in and regulating the practices? Or should we let the home (wireline), and mobile (wireless) service providers decide?

I really like the idea of sponsored content covering data usage for the sake of advertising. I think that's an idea worth pursing and letting the market decide if it is worthwhile or financially reasonable.

Otherwise, I don't like the idea of differential pricing. We were blessed to have net neutrality since its inception. Once we give it away, the harder it will be to get back should we decide that we don't like the consequences.

The internet is an incredibly powerful tool which has vastly improved the lives of many Canadians. Whether intentionally or inadvertently, the websites which are chosen to have preferable bandwidth (that's another discussion) or subsidized data usage will be given a great deal of power. That power will affect what we buy, how we think and who we vote for. I don't feel that that power should be given away lightly.

I feel that one of the reasons the concept of differential pricing is being brought up because the internet is relatively expensive to access in Canada compared to other Western countries. When you look at provinces such as Manitoba and Saskatchewan, you will find lower rates purely because of the existence of additional competition. Are service providers suffering in those provinces (which aren't densely populated), or are they making money? If they are making money, what markup should they have for providing their services? Should they be getting a 10% return from their services? 100%? 1000%? How much is too much money to charge for a service which is becoming increasingly important to Canada?

If we should step in, how should we regulate it?

If there is regulation, it should be over the cost of services relative to the expense required to provide them. If we can't get additional competition into the market, we should be correcting for this as this service becomes more and more essential for the daily life of Canadians.

I'd be curious to ask about how much capacity is being utilized during off-hours. If we aren't going to get rid of data caps, perhaps we should consider doing what telephone companies already do. Many phone plans with limited minutes offer unlimited call-time during off-hours and weekends. What are the off-hours for internet usage? Perhaps internet providers shouldn't track internet usage for their subscribers if they're using the internet during those off-hours? If data caps are linked to capacity, I can see them being used as an effective tool to deal with potential "congestion" or slowdown from "excessive" internet use. If data caps aren't linked to network capacity and are purely there for profitability, why should we allow them to exist? If Canada wants the internet to remain being the amazing tool that it is, why would we limit its usage if there's no purpose to do so while we are already paying high rates compared to our neighbors?

Thank you for reading, good luck in your search for a decision which will help all internet using Canadians.

EmperorOfCanada 2 points Wed Sep 28 05:14:19 2016 UTC  (1 child)

This is clearly a "talking point" written by a professional PR firm.

AgentSmithRadio Canada 0 points Wed Sep 28 14:19:17 2016 UTC  (0 children)

I'm confused because you didn't make your point clear. Is the talking point you're referring to my endorsement of sponsored advertising content, or a criticism of differential pricing as a whole?

I've worked in media and I have purchased online advertising. The one thing I've never done is work in PR. I believe that advertising is an effective tool, especially for allowing new brands and companies to emerge onto the marketplace and for assisting in making people aware of more local brands.

I don't believe that advertising is evil and I believe that the revenue from advertising is essential for content producers to continue existing. The longer we keep advertising viable, perhaps the longer news organizations stay away from "native advertising" for instance. A lot of citizens question the credibility of our news sources, native advertising is just going to make that trust degrade further the more it spreads. If we keep regular advertising alive, the less tempting it is for organizations to dip into native advertising.

That's just my thoughts, not those of a PR firm.

AmouTsukasa Ontario 3 points Tue Sep 27 11:21:50 2016 UTC *  (2 children)

First 3 questions is a moot point when the playing field is not even close to even.

Step in? Surely.

How about investing into a new network where each province/city can contribute to help get it going and then new business can purchase from those lines to stop what we are now calling "competitive" prices.

Edit: Grammar.

underdabridge 1 point Tue Sep 27 16:27:23 2016 UTC  (1 child)

AmouTsukasa Ontario 1 point Tue Sep 27 17:59:43 2016 UTC  (0 children)

Thanks. Brain died at that moment apparently.

Fixin_IT 5 points Tue Sep 27 15:39:24 2016 UTC  (0 children)

  • 1) There are none, This will break net neutrality. And is a very short sighted solution.
  • 2) Yes! The internet providers are loosing a battle here. The TV generation is slowly dying off. Less people are watching TV. The internet for the most part is the wild west. If the internet providers can get advertiser to sponsor certain data streams with guaranteed ads then they see that as a viable strategy. But that will end with having a sponsored ad ridden internet for a nominal cost, and then, another internet, which may not have as many ads, but as the same time will be super expensive.
  • 3)There are no benefits to this system.
  • 4) The telecom industry has changed over the last 100 years, But at it's core it still sending electrical signals down a wire(or light down a fiber strand). It's a utility. The utility should not control what kind of use you make of the provided product. even if they are trying to give it away for free. Imagine the water company giving away dish washing water, but charged 20 bucks to flush the toilet. As such the industry should be regulated like any of the other utilities, water, electricity, gas. They internet providers should not have any ability to favor or provide differential pricing, and it should be mandated that they do not impede/alter the flow of traffic for their content.

Edit: Formatting

redheadednomad 3 points Tue Sep 27 18:51:18 2016 UTC  (0 children)

Having grown-up outside of Canada (in Europe), setting-up a cellphone account here was something of a reality check: Unlike in Europe, Canadian Telco's appear to quite blatantly collaborate to match pricing tiers; cap data at impractical levels, and gouge the customer for overages. To say nothing of the anti-competitive practice of trying to limit the airwave access of new competitors, or swallowing them up in order to force their subscribers onto a lesser plan.

What action will the CRTC be taking to open up access to networks and infrastructure to entrepreneurial new entrants to the telecoms market, in order to level the playing field and unlock value for money for all Canadians?

Draemis 5 points Tue Sep 27 19:22:31 2016 UTC  (0 children)

1.What do you think are the benefits of differential pricing? I don't think that there are any benefits to consumers for differential pricing. The only benefits here are to the companies offering free data for certain apps, because surely they are making or saving money by doing so. Given what Canadians pay for mobile/internet compared to other countries, it doesn't appear that this savings translates to cost savings for consumers.

2.Do you have any concerns about differential pricing? Absolutely. As a consumer, you're effectively forced into using certain apps or services, especially with data caps being so low. This doesn't really allow for much competition in the marketplace.

3.Do these concerns outweigh the benefits and, if so, are they significant enough to justify us stepping in and regulating the practices? Or should we let the home (wireline), and mobile (wireless) service providers decide? The concerns absolutely outweigh the benefits. If you leave it to the service providers, there would be no change, and less competition in the marketplace, which translates to high prices and low quality of service for consumers. Only the providers benefit from these practices. 4.If we should step in, how should we regulate it? I think that there are two ways to effectively regulate this. Firstly, certain services could be made essential (ie: banking, utilities apps, etc.), giving anyone access to these. Another option would be to enforce a mandatory minimum data cap (ie: 4GB/month per user) or abolish data caps altogether.

Data caps are just a way for companies to make more money by making it easy for consumers to go over them. This then results in huge profits for data overages ($15-20 per GB for some companies), or force them to pay for a higher level on their phone plan (Usually only slightly less than it would cost to just go over once in awhile). Again, the consumers are getting the short end of the stick because almost all providers have the same practices.

vsTerminus 3 points Tue Sep 27 19:44:03 2016 UTC *  (0 children)

Hello - Thank you for taking the time to come out and ask for input here on reddit. I think this was an excellent way to engage with Canadians.

1. What do you think are the benefits of differential pricing?

I not believe there are any benefits to consumers, other than those artificially manufactured by the service provider.

Differential Pricing offers a respite from data caps, which only exist because the service provider put them in place. Removing data caps entirely would make differential pricing redundant, as there would no longer be a need for it.

By allowing differential pricing you would be treating the symptom rather than the disease.

Simply lifting data caps entirely would do far more to benefit consumers than offering limited exemptions to those caps.

2. Do you have any concerns about differential pricing?

Differential pricing will stifle both innovation and competition, further entrenching existing services in our already limited industry.

For example, let's say Netflix strikes a deal and their streaming service becomes exempt from my data cap. As a consumer, how likely am I to ever consider a new competitor to Netflix? Even if I like it better and it offers better programming, the fact that Netflix is exempt from my data cap would make me very hesitant to switch.

Further, most major service providers have their own competitors to Netflix and could very easily exempt their own in an attempt to "poach" customers from competitors.

My point is, while differential pricing has the potential benefits for companies like Netflix, that very service could not have grown and thrived to be what it is today in such a climate.

3. Do these concerns outweigh the benefits and, if so, are they significant enough to justify us stepping in and regulating the practices? Or should we let the home (wireline), and mobile (wireless) service providers decide?

Yes, these concerns absolutely outweigh the benefits and they are significant enough that the CRTC should absolutely be stepping in to enforce Net Neutrality. I think that it's pretty clear that letting service providers decide will not result in a decision in favor of consumers, but rather in favor of lining pockets of corporate executives and making it more difficult for new competition to ever enter the marketplace.

Data caps by themselves are already harmful to innovation and competition and this will only make it worse. We are offered a service and then actively punished for actually utilizing it.

The right approach to dealing with restrictive data caps is not to allow for specific exemptions, it is to remove data caps altogether and charge using a model that makes sense: Maximum throughput (transfer speed).

4. If we should step in, how should we regulate it?

In the short term? Disallow it entirely, and enforce Net Neutrality; All traffic should be given equal priority and treatment, regardless of origin, destination, intent, or any other factor.

Internet should be treated like any other utility in the sense that you pay the same rate for the service no matter how you choose to use it.

In the long term? Do away with data caps entirely and move to 100% Unlimited (by volume) data plans.

Data caps are not logical for the technology they are being used to restrict. Internet is not a limited resource that gets "used up" like gasoline at the pumps. There is no such thing as "data scarcity".

What matters is throughput, or how much someone is transferring at any given moment. We should be paying for how how fast we want to be able to transfer data, not how much we transfer.

The problem that providers always cite is network congestion; Too many people transferring too much data all at once. They claim data caps limit this, but they do not.

Consider two people, "A" and "B".

  • "A" uses 2GB of data slowly over the month during off-peak hours, doing light browsing and listening to music.
  • "B" also uses 2GB of data, but uses it by watching high definition video on YouTube at 4 PM on the bus ride home every day and reaches his cap within a week.

Both users transferred the same amount, but one of them had a much greater impact on network congestion and performance. This is why data caps do not make sense.

Instead, "A" could be paying less for a limited transfer speed plan because it suits their needs for light browsing and internet radio. "B" could then choose between watching videos in lower quality or paying more for a higher transfer speed limit to watch his videos in HD. This way the people who are actually contributing most heavily to congestion are also the ones paying the most into the operational costs of said network.

thedrewabides 4 points Tue Sep 27 20:09:00 2016 UTC *  (0 children)

Thank you for seeking the opinions of regular Canadians in a format they can easily use!

Here are my answers to your questions in order: 1. The entire concept is just fancy marketing-speak to hide the only benefit of this practice: the opportunity for internet providers to charge more for their services. A neutral internet built properly with enough capacity to meet user demand should allow everything to move at high speed, so there would be no need to charge more to let certain things move faster. Improve your networks, Service Providers. I had faster internet for free in a cheap motel in Malaysia 10 years ago than I can even pay for today in Canada's fourth largest city - that is ridiculous. Then I see the same Service Providers posting massive profits every quarter and claiming they have to keep charging us more for the inferior service they provide. This makes it crystal clear to Canadian consumers that their only motive is greed - not the well-being of their customers.

  1. My concern is that it will further widen the gulf between the Have's and Have Not's in society by increasing the cost for certain internet traffic. This is regressive for our society! It can only be a negative on the whole.

  2. The concerns obviously outweigh the benefits because the only benefit is to the Service Provider - not the Consumer. Canadian telecom companies have proven without a doubt that their only concern is increased profitability, not increased value to Canadians. They are functionally incapable of putting the needs of Canadians before greed - so the CRTC absolutely must step in to regulate the practices. It has now been a year since they were ordered to provide access to their fiber, yet they still have not done so, communicating clearly to us all that they must be dragged kicking and screaming to provide higher value to Canadians because they refuse to even when ordered to. The regulation must be enacted rapidly - no more giving them years to comply while Canadians spend untold millions they should not have been spending. Can you please explain to me why we pay more than developing nations and receive worse service? We compare pathetically to most developed nations as well. I have worked with executives in the mobile industry from Europe who marvel at the profiteering of Canadian telecoms and are shocked we let it happen - they would be lynched in their nations if they had the same business practices. As the regulator for this industry in Canada it is your duty to hold them accountable and force them to provide us with value for our dollar, please!

  3. The practice should be completely banned, and the CRTC should have complete audit access, with no advance notice, at any time, to ensure compliance. I can't tell you how many times my connections have been throttled down, and then spontaneously jump up to the speed I am paying for as soon as I run a Speedtest... There needs to be very large fines and painful punishments for violating the rules. When we see a ruling that costs a company thousands or even low millions when they profit in the billions annually, it is clear to Canadians that neither the regulator, courts, or the guilty party are feeling any pain. When a person who makes thousands is charged thousands for a transgression, it clearly makes them think twice before breaking the rules - so why are the fines not at similar levels for these huge corporations? Fine them 10% of their annual revenue, and they will toe the line immediately and somehow make their services work better, like magic! So far, Canadians see giant corporations operate on a purely greed model and get away with inferior service levels because they are not held accountable. Please, please, please, hold them accountable for us!

Thundercracker 5 points Tue Sep 27 20:12:36 2016 UTC  (0 children)

Hi there, I'd like to say I think it's great you guys are looking into these issues and great that you are reaching out to sources like reddit to see what people really think.

What do you think are the benefits of differential pricing?

To be honest, I don't really see an upside to differential pricing. It doesn't offer any more choices because it's all still the same internet, the choices are already there.

Do you have any concerns about differential pricing?

Absolutely! Differential pricing effectively gives the service provider the ability to control my usage on the internet. A great example would be the use of Netflix. Like an increasingly great number of Canadians, I no longer use traditional TV service (I don't even have a TV!) because the cost is too high, and my family finds most of it's entertainment on sites like Netflix. Service providers have recently started their own streaming services to compete with Netflix (such as Crave and Shomii), but our family chooses not to use them. With Differential Pricing, my service provider could effectively punish me for not using their service, and for using a competitor's service.

One might ask how "zero rating" would punish me if it only provides a cost-decrease to services (of the provider's choosing), but the punishment comes from the data caps that are already in place and controlled by the providers. My family already struggles with data caps each month, which is not surprising when Canadians have some of the worst/most punishing data caps in the world. It would be very easy for my provider to punish my family simply by further restricting the already harsh data caps. If most of my family's data usage comes from a competitor's service (Netflix), they have effectively just increased the cost of using my chosen service instead of their own.

Do these concerns outweigh the benefits and, if so, are they significant enough to justify us stepping in and regulating the practices? Or should we let the home (wireline), and mobile (wireless) service providers decide? If we should step in, how should we regulate it?

I definitely think the concerns outweigh the benefits. I see no real benefit to differential pricing, it simply gives the service providers a way to increase the costs of using some sites/services vs. using ones they choose. I think ultimately the CRTC should step in and say NO to differential pricing. The only way to ensure fair treatment of consumers is to ensure that all content carries the same cost, regardless of it's source.

fgejoiwnfgewijkobnew Canada 3 points Tue Sep 27 20:12:46 2016 UTC  (0 children)

What do you think are the benefits of differential pricing?

It benefits the ISPs and hurts consumers. It's a horrible idea that opposes many of the fundamental ideas of net neutrality.

Do you have any concerns about differential pricing?

Yes, I have many. Mainly my concern is about keeping net neutrality intact. If we have these "zero rating" services we no longer have a neutral internet in Canada.

Do these concerns outweigh the benefits and, if so, are they significant enough to justify us stepping in and regulating the practices? Or should we let the home (wireline), and mobile (wireless) service providers decide?

Make data caps illegal and make internet classified as a utility. In Holland the Internet is a human right like water. Internet access should be free and unhindered and paid for completely with our taxes.

If we should step in, how should we regulate it?

Step in, make data caps illegal and grant internet access to everyone for free. The internet must be considered a human right, like water, and should be paid for by taxes. Let ISPs profit off of internet much like my municipal water supplier makes a modest profit supplying me with water.

Buddyboy546 4 points Tue Sep 27 20:50:18 2016 UTC  (0 children)

I am stunned that any rational person would consider allowing differential pricing. Access this it is free; access that it will cost you money. Censorship by any other name and one that is sanctioned by a regulator. Get a grip and remember who you are serving CTTC - public not corporate interest.

jtjj222 4 points Tue Sep 27 21:05:45 2016 UTC  (0 children)

As an undergraduate Computer Science student and (hopefully) future entrepreneur, I rely on users being able to access the tools and services I create on a fair and level playing field. There is no way that I can compete with a massive company that can negotiate backdoor deals with internet service providers to offer zero-rating on their data usage.

At the same time, I think it is appalling that companies can charge based on data usage at all! As technology advances and our data needs increase, data caps will only serve to hold us back. If network congestion was really a big problem like ISPs claim (I don't believe there is any evidence to support this, but I will let somebody that is more qualified decide that), then data caps would only matter during peak usage hours.

By forcing users to endure tiny data caps, and offering zero-rated alternatives, telecom companies slow down progress and reduce competition. I think the CRTC should ban differential pricing. Moreover, they should abolish data caps in general

I also think that the advantages that this regulation would provide far outweigh the disadvantages. Abolishing data caps and differential pricing will level the playing field for online businesses, but also for smaller ISPs that could otherwise be excluded from these deals.

winemaster Saskatchewan 3 points Tue Sep 27 21:12:27 2016 UTC  (0 children)

What do you think are the benefits of differential pricing?

Realistically, none. It would also encourage muscling-out of smaller content providers as they could not afford to pay for preferential treatment on these differential pricing plans. It may seem flashy and impressive on the surface to get unlimited use of certain apps or website, but it has extremely nefarious undertones that are completely anti-consumer-choice.

Do you have any concerns about differential pricing?

Yes. It flies in the face of net neutrality, and if gives greedy ISPs another reason to impose prohibitive data caps, while making the consumer believe they are getting a good deal.

Do these concerns outweigh the benefits and, if so, are they significant enough to justify us stepping in and regulating the practices? Or should we let the home (wireline), and mobile (wireless) service providers decide?

ISPs and other service providers should have no say in what content is important to the consumer. The CRTC should absolutely step in and regulate this anti-consumer practice. Many people are not educated enough about the issue to make an informed decision on this, and that is why the CRTC exists: to protect the consumer.

If we should step in, how should we regulate it?

All data should be treated equally. Data is data, no matter where it's from or where it's going. I don't want my ISP to decide what I can and can't do.

Kerrigore 3 points Tue Sep 27 21:50:31 2016 UTC  (0 children)

It is absolutely critical to the future of both the Internet in general and the technology sector in Canada in particular that differential pricing not be allowed. Differential pricing constitutes a blatant attempt to circumvent the principle of net neutrality that is so integral to the internet remaining a free and open platform. By allowing existing companies to charge more to access certain internet content, you not only allow those companies to create an unfair market advantage for themselves, but also create a significant barrier of entry to new technology companies.

This is a time where we need to foster innovation, not hamper it. We need Canada to become a leader in technology, not set us back. The large established players will tell you that differential pricing will allow them to improve how they deliver existing services. And to some degree, that may be true. But time and time again, we have seen the biggest leaps in technology come not from established companies, but from start ups, from the small guys with big ideas.

Ultimately this isn't just about the end consumer experience, although that would also be significantly enhanced by ruling against differential pricing (or indeed, any type of usage-based billing for ISP's). This is about the future of the Canadian economy. Selling our natural resources isn't going to sustain our economy in the long run, and we need to be investing in the future now, not in 20-30 years when it's too late. Please consider the broader implications of this decision, and don't merely see it in the context of consumers wanting more for their money.

Theduckintheroom 3 points Tue Sep 27 22:02:06 2016 UTC  (0 children)

1. What do you think are the benefits of differential pricing?

  • For a business: another avenue to generate revenue; bandwith/access now becomes "real estate".
  • For a consumer: would have the option of giving up some freedom of choice for lower cost.

2. Do you have any concerns about differential pricing?

  • For business: access to customers may be limited by those with deeper pockets; playing field is no longer level (particularly for small businesses or entrepreneurs)
  • For consumers: loss of autonomy, and potential degradation of resources typically provided for free (as they now have to compete and pay for viewership)
  • For government: Loss of control of communications as private interests set up barriers. There is a reason why connectivity should be treated as public utility. Using the analogue of road infrastructure, look at what happened when the 407 ETR was sold in Ontario, and how, while the infrastructure is needed now; it is beyond the control of the province, and out priced for lots of people who need it.

3. Do these concerns outweigh the benefits and, if so, are they significant enough to justify us stepping in and regulating the practices? Or should we let the home (wireline), and mobile (wireless) service providers decide?

  • Yes, the concerns are significant enough to justify regulation. Why you would even consider allowing private business interests to essentially further privatize the means by which our nation is connected is beyond me.

4. If we should step in, how should we regulate it?

Simply do not allow for it outside of the communication company's own products (ie. Shomi for Rogers). Connectivity should always be as open as possible; it is through this regime that grass root endeavors take shape and appear to the masses. Locking it down in any manner only serves to begin the process of selling a very valuable asset to entities that certainly do not have the public's best intentions at heart.

Short sighted folks will look at the potential money savings offered by service providers, in exchange for their freedom of choice, and may be tempted. It is the CRTC's role to protect the consumer from themselves in times like this, to ensure connectivity is a fair resource for generations to come.

crokinole 5 points Tue Sep 27 22:12:45 2016 UTC  (0 children)

italics1. What do you think are the benefits of differential pricing? There are none that I can think of... italics2. Do you have any concerns about differential pricing? I worry that we will sink into a worse experience in receiving the information we are looking for as only large, well-heeled companies will be able to afford to pay the background fees to ISP's for their data flow, leaving the newer or smaller companies to struggle in lower speed data lanes. This will provide unequal experience to the user and more than likely put the newer, smaller companies out of business. italics3. Do these concerns outweigh the benefits and, if so, are they significant enough to justify us stepping in and regulating the practices? Or should we let the home (wireline), and mobile (wireless) service providers decide? The concerns by far outweigh the benefits. Most people today require a wide variety of internet sources for information, entertainment, purchasing, communication and business. The CRTC must regulate the practices of the ISP's to provide a fair and equitable internet for all. If Canadian highways were owned by half a dozen private companies and they all decided to place toll routes on all their roads, Canadians would go crazy. The analogy is the same for the internet. italics4. If we should step in, how should we regulate it? Ban any attempts by ISP's to step around a fair and equitable internet for Canadian citizens. Period. Personally, I'd like to see our Canadian internet as a utility, owned by the government or at least a non-profit, all-hands-off entity.

jerryfie 4 points Tue Sep 27 23:28:47 2016 UTC  (0 children)

  1. What do you think are the benefits of differential pricing?

None for the consumer, it's another cash grab by the telcos and big ISPs

  1. Do you have any concerns about differential pricing?

Yes, it should not exist. There should be no data caps.

  1. Do these concerns outweigh the benefits and, if so, are they significant enough to justify us stepping in and regulating the practices? Or should we let the home (wireline), and mobile (wireless) service providers decide?

You should never let the providers decide as they in their present cartel form will just make sure they rip us off further.

  1. If we should step in, how should we regulate it?

By making sure there are no data caps on land ISPs and more reasonable ones from wireless operators. And severe penalties for those caught cheating on this (or throttling.)

hedgecore77 4 points Wed Sep 28 00:00:59 2016 UTC  (0 children)

Quite frankly, I'm still waitng for an apology from the CRTC to the entirety of Canada for the debacle that was usage based billing years ago.

The level of misunderstanding of a simple concept such as bandwidth was disgusting coming from a body that's supposed to be governing Canada's telecommunications.

LumpenBourgeoise 5 points Wed Sep 28 00:17:20 2016 UTC  (0 children)

What do you think are the benefits of differential pricing?

Absolutely none except for the people who control the networks.

Do you have any concerns about differential pricing?

Yes. It will never be fair, there will always be sweetheart deals so that rich friends of the networks, or interests aligned with them, get better access to information and better distribution at below market rates. Too much power and control of information will be in the hands of network providers. It will stop new businesses from growing or even breaking in to new data-heavy sectors. Network providers will cut off data and suffocate new businesses and copy their services with better bandwidth to implement them. At its simplest you will visit a website and all the ads will load long before any of the content you wanted will be download, then they will use eye tracking with your camera to ensure you watch the ads before the network drip-feeds your desired content.

Do these concerns outweigh the benefits and, if so, are they significant enough to justify us stepping in and regulating the practices? Or should we let the home (wireline), and mobile (wireless) service providers decide?

The concerns greatly outweigh everything else. Look at your cell phone plan as a government employee and then look at a cell phone plan of someone under the poverty line in Canada. The service providers have already manipulated you and discriminate against people without any voice or power. Just wait until the poor are limited to ad-supported phones that only allow them to watch Roger's television channels or read Bell media articles.

If we should step in, how should we regulate it?

Break up the large media companies and separate their network services from everything else like television channels, websites, advertising and newspapers. Even separate wireless and wired networks into separate companies. And separate the network back-bones from last-mile services. Also for wireless networks, separate the network and tower maintenance and services from everything else. But most of all make sure a completely open and free market exists for leasing services and network access, or skew the pricing and rules to allow more smaller companies to resell services rather than a few large companies.

Enforce net neutrality. Stop network providers from being anything more than a network of dumb pipes.

alex_oue 4 points Wed Sep 28 16:54:16 2016 UTC  (0 children)

What do you think are the benefits of differential pricing?

None. Strictly speaking, I might get a smaller bill at the end of the month, but if I don't happen to have the service that is in the differential pricing, it will very likely end up with a higher bill, and discourage me from using that service. Why should the internet provider sway my opinion over which service I chose to use?

Do you have any concerns about differential pricing?

Many. It confers an unfair advantage to whoever has the most money to get into the differential pricing deal. It enables internet provider to have more control over the kind of content I consume, as they shape which one is more valuable to me through differential pricing. It appears to have a benefit to the consumer (reduced billing), but in reality, it limits the choice of the consumer. It is also a step in the wrong direction for Net Neutrality.

Do these concerns outweigh the benefits and, if so, are they significant enough to justify us stepping in and regulating the practices? Or should we let the home (wireline), and mobile (wireless) service providers decide?

They definitely outweigh the benefits, and they do justify the CRTC to step in and regulate this practice. You should not let the internet provider regulate themselve. There is next to no competition amongst them, so they will chose whatever benefits them the most, regardless of the consumer needs. They also do not have a good track record. They have introduced artificial scarcity through Data Cap (limiting the total data consumed during a period of time), which was justified with network congestion (a dubious claim in and of itself), and is now selling us that artificial scarcity at the cost of X amount of gigabytes per months. Differential Pricing is just another way for internet providers to profit from that artificial scarcity, and shape our consumption. If we were to not have data caps, we would not have differential pricing, and every service would be on an equal footing, not with an unfair advantage on whomever has the best deals with the local ISP.

If we should step in, how should we regulate it?

All traffic should be treated equally. Data Cap (a limit on how much data you can consume) is an artificial scarcity created to help sell a product that should not even exist in the first place. And while we're talking about regulating data traffic, traffic shaping at the internet provide level is a bad idea. All traffic must be treated equally.

pudds Manitoba 4 points Wed Sep 28 17:01:39 2016 UTC  (0 children)

Thanks for doing this. I've submitted comments via the website in the past, but this is an interesting way to try and get more feedback.

Per your questions:

1) I think the benefits are obvious - customers can use popular services without incurring any overage penalties.

2) I have serious concerns about it. I believe that while consumers may like getting a given service for "free", it puts other services at a competitive disadvantage. If a carrier chooses to zero-rate one video service, a competing video service may suffer as a result. Large competitors may be forced to enter into a similar arrangement in order to compete, assuming that the original zero-rating agreement doesn't also include terms that prevent deals with competitors. In addition, I feel that zero-rating specific websites masks the true problem of very low bandwidth caps. Heavy users of certain websites may feel pressured to find a carrier which offers zero or discounted rating for those sites, when they'd prefer to be with a different provider.

3) Yes, I feel these concerns significantly outweigh the benefits.

4) I believe that this practice should be banned outright, such that all data must be treated equally. Carriers with low bandwidth caps should should feel consumer pressure to raise those caps, not use those caps as a way to negotiate preferential deals with popular websites.

_Aquin British Columbia 12 points Mon Sep 26 19:17:06 2016 UTC  (0 children)

  1. What do you think are the benefits of differential pricing?

I get nothing from it. I already use unconventional sources (eg. I don't use Netflix, but I do watch NHK) and they wouldn't be covered by such a scheme. I'm probably not alone.

  1. Do you have any concerns about differential pricing?

I don't care about the details. It seems like an unnecessary and possibly unfair complication.

  1. Do these concerns outweigh the benefits and, if so, are they significant enough to justify us stepping in and regulating the practices? Or should we let the home (wireline), and mobile (wireless) service providers decide?

If you let providers decide, they will take every penny they can get. We pay more for bandwidth than most of our OECD neighbours. Also, it's funny that I pay a lot less for internet (living in the boonies) than people in Vancouver because I have an uncommon local provider.

  1. If we should step in, how should we regulate it?

I'd like to think you guys are experts and don't need to entertain uneducated opinions about such a complicated and important topic.

sleepingsysadmin 17 points Mon Sep 26 15:22:54 2016 UTC  (1 child)

The CRTC should not be concerned with what the incumbents are doing at all.

You should be simply setting what the wholesale prices are and what services those are.

So for internet you say 20mbit = $20/month wholesale unlimited. Then if the incumbent wants to add caps to their products. Then it's up to the incumbent to try to get the wholesellers to do it. Which Bell would have to offer lower prices. So perhaps $10/month for a 50gb cap.

Then when new issues come along like net neutrality; like how Bell throttles torrents. You simply set the rule that wholesale services are default no-throttling. Bell then could get the wholesellers to agree to throttling but obviously would need to offer lower prices.

This makes this entire subject meaningless because wholesale would be unlimited only. So there's no cap to count against.

anythingffs 2 points Wed Sep 28 03:14:59 2016 UTC  (0 children)

There would have to be some pretty tough rules, fines, and oversight in place to ensure the wholesale business was not playing tricks if you were to reply on this model. As it is, there are far too many stories out there of willful disruption of wholesale customer services by the incumbents.

[deleted] 10 points Mon Sep 26 20:32:07 2016 UTC  (13 children)

It would honestly be pretty helpful if you could subsidize or at least put in a limit for how much rural LTE/mobile plans cost.

The government committed to 5 mbps minimum connection for all Canadians. I live in a rural community that has zero fibre internet despite living relatively close to several large cities, and the only access we have is through mobile data plans.

This results in monthly bills starting at $150 for 100 gb of data per month.

Telus, for 60 gb of data, charges at least $350 per month.

For some of us, this is genuinely our only option. As you can see that is just... unacceptable.

RagingHardon Ontario -2 points Mon Sep 26 21:32:50 2016 UTC  (4 children)

Why is that your only option? Why isn't moving closer to the city an option if you don't want to pay those amounts for mobile?

[deleted] 2 points Mon Sep 26 21:59:27 2016 UTC  (3 children)

How much closer than 15 km should I be from the city

Pls enlighten me

TheMikie -2 points Mon Sep 26 23:21:48 2016 UTC  (2 children)

you want city type servicing.. move to the city.

you can't have it all

MRChuckNorris 2 points Tue Sep 27 05:42:51 2016 UTC  (1 child)

I hate when people say this. I lived in the middle of no where. Like i had to come out to hunt New Brunswick. I had cable high speed internet. I moved to ontario and its like i stepped back in time. I live 10 mins outside of a city on a main rd and the only option I have is the worst isp in the world. Xplornet. Rural Afghanistan literally has better internet.

TheMikie 1 point Tue Sep 27 10:53:09 2016 UTC  (0 children)

Again.. look at the size of Afganistan compared to Canada.. you can't run wires everywhere.. this.. costs.. money..

and as a BUSINESS.. why would I spent thousands of dollars to run lines where I'm only going to get 60$ a month back only to have a reseller be able to undercut me and go to 30$ a month my return on investment is just not there.

Out west in rural calgary I know of a group of 20 people who got together and they paid for the construction to run lines to get internet... maybe get with your neighbors and do th same if you want it that much faster

badcallday -2 points Mon Sep 26 22:48:21 2016 UTC  (6 children)

It's not cheap to provide service to rural areas, service providers don't just "run a line" or "put up a tower" to get a community services line or fiber. There's a large cost as well as lots of legal loopholes to get service to a new area.
Having "farmernet" and "farmervision" are some of the sacrifices you make when you decide to live rural, same as why you don't have the best shopping and selection of chain restaurants in these area or are using well water.

Dreviore 3 points Tue Sep 27 04:23:09 2016 UTC  (4 children)

the ISP's have been granted billions of taxpayers dollars in order to expand their network in rural regions. Instead they used our money in order to pay their CEO's, and use the excuse that the money we gave them wasn't enough. The Canadian government works with ISP's to make laying infrastructure a lot easier than the United States.

badcallday 1 point Tue Sep 27 16:02:26 2016 UTC  (3 children)

Thats not how it works

Dreviore -1 points Tue Sep 27 16:07:53 2016 UTC  (2 children)

It actually is when our government provided them money to create a broadband and now fibre backbone.

whatsdata 1 point Tue Sep 27 16:22:52 2016 UTC  (1 child)

He right tho, it's not how it works. They don't just "lay cable or build towers" just because there was money towards it does not mean they can just rush to your tiny town and lay the ground work.

Dreviore 0 points Tue Sep 27 16:27:47 2016 UTC  (0 children)

Of course not, but they were granted a lot of leeway to actually develop infrastructure in rural areas, as well as money to do so. Instead of doing it, they padded the pockets of their CEO's, and claimed it wasn't enough money to do it, and now they jack up prices, and fire low level employees, to have quarterly growth while every business is struggling.

TheMikie -2 points Mon Sep 26 23:20:53 2016 UTC  (0 children)

there's places in Urban places that dont have Fibre. So the argument is moot. You choose to live in the boonies. you get boonies service.. You want urban type service syou pay a premium seeing theres nobdy around you to help pay for the infrastructure.

CLENVENMETINS 5 points Tue Sep 27 15:29:16 2016 UTC  (0 children)

1. What do you think are the benefits of differential pricing?

As a high data mobile user - that's not using an overwhelming amount of data from any single app, website, or service - there are no examples of differential pricing that benefit me.

2. Do you have any concerns about differential pricing?

Yes. The usual concerns you've already heard and are briefly outlined on your site.

3. Do these concerns outweigh the benefits and, if so, are they significant enough to justify us stepping in and regulating the practices? Or should we let the home (wireline), and mobile (wireless) service providers decide?

The fact these concerns are real doesn't justify you regulating anything. You're a dog without teeth, or possibly even worse, a dog without teeth that the burglars have been feeding so that you don't so much as bark when they're knocking the door down.

4. If we should step in, how should we regulate it?

top kek. you guys are an infuriating existence

liquidpig British Columbia 3 points Tue Sep 27 16:34:23 2016 UTC  (0 children)

1. What do you think are the benefits of differential pricing?

There may be benefits in terms of optimizing a network to deliver a certain type of content - ie video streaming where latency isn't important but where bandwidth is.

2. Do you have any concerns about differential pricing?

Yes. Several. It would create preferred content types and preferred content providers. Only content and services on an approved list would have access to this tier of bandwidth and consumers would be much less likely to access content and services from off this list. We already see users watching their bandwidth usage on mobile devices for cost reasons and know for a fact that cost is a deciding factor as to whether a user will access something or not.

Differential pricing violates net neutrality.

It would also further compartmentlize our media and services and allow ISPs to choose (and acquire and operate) the winners in the media industry.

3. Do these concerns outweigh the benefits and, if so, are they significant enough to justify us stepping in and regulating the practices? Or should we let the home (wireline), and mobile (wireless) service providers decide?

The concerns drastically outweigh the benefits in my mind. Yes, the CRTC should step in and regulate practices.

4. If we should step in, how should we regulate it?

The infrastructure and wholesale bandwith (both wireless and wired) should be regulated as a utility and have national standards and prices set. Bits are bits.

nickademus 3 points Tue Sep 27 16:37:33 2016 UTC  (0 children)

i would like to see 100% net neutrality.

i feel like its unfair practice to give certain data any form of preference over other data streams.

bomberman447 3 points Tue Sep 27 17:23:56 2016 UTC  (0 children)

What do you think are the benefits of differential pricing?

There are no benefits, it would only give people the illusion of better pricing on internet/phone plans because something like youtube/netflix might use no data from their plan.

Do you have any concerns about differential pricing?

This goes against everything net neutrality stands for and would lead down the slippery slope to tiered plans with throttling and unequal access to internet data.

Do these concerns outweigh the benefits and, if so, are they significant enough to justify us stepping in and regulating the practices? Or should we let the home (wireline), and mobile (wireless) service providers decide?

Yes the CRTC should step in to regulate net neutrality as it is of no net benefit to the consumer and only looks to increase revenues to the communication companies due to new deals with content providers.

If we should step in, how should we regulate it?

Do not allow companies to create tiered data and require all data to come from the users pool, hopefully eventually removing home internet bandwidth caps due to the growing amount of digital distribution. The CRTC did this with bell's mobile TV which was a great move.

insaneinsanity 3 points Tue Sep 27 17:50:39 2016 UTC  (0 children)

What do you think are the benefits of differential pricing?

The main benefits of differential pricing are to allow large corporations to monopolize the internet and prevent any new players from competing in a fair marketplace.

Do you have any concerns about differential pricing?

"Differential pricing" will allow existing ISPs with content businesses to unfairly compete in content businesses while also locking customers into a 'walled garden'. "Differential pricing" is the antithesis of what ISPs should be doing which is providing a destination agnostic bit pipe.

Do these concerns outweigh the benefits and, if so, are they significant enough to justify us stepping in and regulating the practices? Or should we let the home (wireline), and mobile (wireless) service providers decide?

You had better regulate it. The existing service providers are already using their control over data pipes to engage in unfair monopolistic behavior such as damaging protocols they do not like (ie: bittorrent), interfering with competitors products (ie: netflix), and preventing people from disconnecting their cable/content services (ie: bundling internet, phone, and cable making those services together cost less than internet alone). If you do not stop them now, consumers will be unable to buy ISP service alone at an affordable rate... oh wait, Canada ALREADY has the worst ISP money/value in the entire 1st world.

Wake up CRTC. It's time to break this stuff up and let the tax breaks that were used to fund telecommunications actually help the people paying taxes instead of the corporations which continue to raise rates and provide less and less service.

If we should step in, how should we regulate it?

ISPs should be excluded from providing content. Break up delivery of bits from content creation/providers. If they are allowed to provide content, they must do so in a completely net neutral fashion that does not prioritize or benefit their services over competing services. No traffic shaping, nothing. Customers should be able to pay for a data pipe that provides a rated speed with unlimited data throughput. No catches, no gimmicks, no caps, no requirements for a phone service, nothing else. And the ISPs should NOT be able to deal on both ends of the pipe effectively double-charging for toll-roads to content.

Mekagnome 3 points Tue Sep 27 18:53:46 2016 UTC  (0 children)

Cellular data prices are too high in Canada. I understand we have a lower population than the US but it's ridiculous that you can get unlimited data south of the border for less than a couple of Gigs of data here. I also think the practice of different pricing models from province to province should be illegal. The only reason Manitoba has such low rates compared to the rest of the country is because there is a legitimate competing cellular company (MTS) that's not one of the Big Three.

egad-what-ho 3 points Tue Sep 27 18:54:38 2016 UTC  (0 children)

1.What do you think are the benefits of differential pricing? There are no benefits. This is just a disguised effort on the part of the providers to increase revenue, using the bogus notion that some streams will be priced more advantageously than others.

  1. Do you have any concerns about differential pricing? I have big concerns, especially for people who are on limited incomes. This rapacious telecom ploy is attempting to separate yet more money from ordinary people.

  2. Do these concerns outweigh the benefits and, if so, are they significant enough to justify us stepping in and regulating the practices? Or should we let the home (wireline), and mobile (wireless) service providers decide?

What benefits? There are none! There should not be data caps!

  1. If we should step in, how should we regulate it? The CRTC should use its regulatory powers to ban data caps and put Canadians on a level playing field.

buddy-bud 3 points Tue Sep 27 18:55:27 2016 UTC  (0 children)

No data caps!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Period!!!!!!!!!!!

ydnarecneps 3 points Tue Sep 27 18:58:42 2016 UTC  (0 children)

Differential pricing (zero-rating) seriously limits choice and stifles competition on the Internet. Users, not telecom companies, should decide which services we use online. You should ban differential pricing, and the simple way is to get rid of data caps.

We need transparency and strong enforcement to ensure telcos stick by the rules, and face penalties when those rules are broken.

This should be one of the top regulatory prioroties for CRTC - we are watching and counting on you, our Commission!

jotapeh 3 points Tue Sep 27 19:00:01 2016 UTC  (0 children)

Differential pricing hurts both consumer and small business.

Websites and services which already suffer from a lack of audience will be punished further by placing a premium on the cost of accessing their data.

robindawilliams 3 points Tue Sep 27 19:11:03 2016 UTC  (0 children)

There are definitely benefits in the forms of data like basic email service and public service websites (libraries, university, etc) becoming a free domain of access to allow for significantly better access by someone who might own a phone but not be able to afford the data plans available.

Differential pricing is scary because with the introduction of Data caps it doesn't just allow ISP's to encourage specific services, it also allows them to steer you away from some. Do you enjoy Netflix but shomi is paying your ISP? Well suddenly now they are forcing my hand on which video streaming services I pay for because I can't afford the 100GB a month data usage within the confines of small cap plans. Dangerous control to give a private company on an entire country.

Personally I believe internet access should be free from censorship, we should of course monitor internet to protect our country but that should act as a monitoring system and not a filter. We should not influence what people can access based on a private companies decisions as not all areas of Canada have a choice in picking ISP, and frankly controlling someones data usage and what is considered using it is just as powerful as controlling what websites they can visit outright.

I believe the government needs to look at the perspective of a prospective internet user, and how the internet is not just a method for media consumption but it is a fundamental form of communication in our modern era. We should not be limited by what news sites we visit, what countries we view media from, or what private services we must decide on for our access to resources. I imagine a dark Canada in 10 years talking about limiting the access to "foreign media" to encourage the consumption of Canadian internet resources similar to the requirements for Canadian music on the radio, and now suddenly that has become a method of censorship.

ohyeahpaulchin 3 points Tue Sep 27 19:13:47 2016 UTC  (0 children)

  1. Differential pricing is an issue that could be entirely eradicated if telcos/ISPs simply gave consumers more reasonable data/bandwidth packages. What we pay now for comparable access to the internet in other countries is utterly excessive.

  2. My concerns with differential pricing are pretty much the concerns most people have: it makes the operating on the internet (which is pretty much necessary in this day and age) a pay-to-win model for businesses. Want to have preferred standing in search results, promotion, and access? Just pay off your customers' telco/ISP so that they're incentivised to use your site/app, rather than your consumers. We already have an oligarchy wherein the wealthy and powerful sway our internet use habits; there's no need to further deepen those roots.

  3. If it's not the CRTC's job to regulate these practices, I don't even know what you guys are around for. The dream of the internet was that it would be a great technological equaliser, but if left to the telcos/ISPs, it would just be another platform for the wealthy and connected to dominate the "free" market. If nothing else, I would imagine the CRTC's job is to keep things as neutrally balanced as possible, so consumers can be empowered to make their own decisions based on what they want, rather than what their service provider allows them.

  4. Internet rates are sky high, and definitely need to be regulated (i.e. made more affordable, and therefore accessible to people of all socioeconomic statuses). Telcos/ISPs should ABSOLUTELY not be allowed to dictate what the best services and practices are for their consumers. The internet should be an essential service, and therefore as neutral and accessible as the water that comes out of our taps.

witchcraftz 3 points Tue Sep 27 19:18:08 2016 UTC  (0 children)

Data caps are an outdated idea, the cost to a provider to provide data has dropped to near nothing over the last few years. Data caps are now only being used to create artificial price increases and gouge customers!

pboronowski 3 points Tue Sep 27 19:19:43 2016 UTC  (0 children)

Canadians are trapped by data caps. Caps for wired internet is unheard of for most of the world. Wireless data caps are much more reasonable elsewhere .Many of us struggle with exorbitant monthly wireless rates and the big three continue to rake in the money. The internet is an integral part of all our lives. Our family uses it for everything( work, education, social uses, research, sales, art , music....everything needed to stay "connected". The decision to zero-rate data must remain as my decision. The telecom giants "have no right in the wallets of our nation!" ISPs must NOT be allowed to pick which services I and all the other Canadians use online. The internet must be kept level and square to allow for innovative new ideas. Zero-rating data will kill competition and limit the choices we Canadians have. Canada and the CRTC needs rules , honest behaviour , complete transparency and communication with us Canadian internet users and especially with the telecom giants. There cannot be back room deals. The telecom companies should be completely aware that they will face the anger of Canadians and hopefully penalties that will bring them to their knees and their senses. NO data caps for internet in Canada!!!

joffet 3 points Tue Sep 27 19:19:54 2016 UTC  (0 children)

Simple net neutrality should be the regulation. All packets must be equal, no prioritization, no differential pricing. This simplifies enforcement and keeps the rules easy for consumers to understand.

Technology advancements are bringing all the speed and capacity needed for advanced applications. There is no credible customer benefit for the ISPs to vary from net neutrality. It just a profit grab.

Please protect Canadians from unfair business practices. Simple net neutrality is the best solution.

ieGod 3 points Tue Sep 27 19:33:45 2016 UTC  (0 children)

I oppose differential pricing. The content provider and the delivery mechanism should never be so closely coupled.

NGage22R 3 points Tue Sep 27 19:39:00 2016 UTC  (0 children)

The internet is as large, valuable, and ubiquitous as it is today because it was founded on the principles of freedom and equality. The internet was specifically designed to be distributed, to prevent any one entity from being able to dictate who or what is available on the internet.

Allowing for-profit corporations to dictate how people in Canada use the internet (by influencing their choice of services through zero-rating, for example) completely undermines this founding principle of freedom. Further, it implies the infringement of Canadians' freedom of thought, belief, opinion, and expression by allowing large-scale, legal censorship of the internet.

The internet has made the world a better place. Giving companies the ability to restrict and influence how people use the internet will result in a far worse future than the one we're headed for.

white__owl Canada 3 points Tue Sep 27 19:48:33 2016 UTC *  (0 children)

  • What do you think are the benefits of differential pricing?

There are no benefits for the consumer. The only benefits accrue to the telecom incumbents and their strategic business partners. The illusion of price relief rests on the artificial scarcity created by the data caps imposed by the very same companies who are pushing zero-rating as the solution. The real solution is to eliminate data caps; they have no technical or economic justification, and exist only because the telecoms do not actually compete.

  • Do you have any concerns about differential pricing?

Yes. It is anti-consumer, for the same reasons predatory pricing in general is anti-consumer (which is why it's outlawed). It allows well-funded players to kill existing competition in order to extract higher rents later from the same customers they are supposedly "helping" with short-term low prices. It creates insurmountable barriers to new entrants; if companies like, say, Spotify get preferential access to Rogers customers, only companies of similar size and market penetration could hope to compete. Meanwhile, telecom companies get to be the gatekeepers for entire verticals, for which they also happen to have their own offerings (another egregious example of regulatory failure). Rogers and Bell would like nothing less than to use data caps and zero rating to steer Netflix's customers to their own video-on-demand services, without having to bother with offering a better experience.

Just as no entity gets preferential access to the road infrastructure, no entity should get preferential access to the internet.

  • Do these concerns outweigh the benefits and, if so, are they significant enough to justify us stepping in and regulating the practices? Or should we let the home (wireline), and mobile (wireless) service providers decide?

The benefits for consumers do not exist. The concerns are so obvious that it strains credulity that such a public consultation is even necessary. Maybe this is the song and dance CRTC must go through in order to start protecting consumers after years of inaction, in an era when the lobbying power of the incumbents is almost impossible to stop.

Letting the service providers decide is a laughable proposition. We've been running that experiment for too long already, and look where we are: some of the highest prices for some of the lowest levels of service in the world. I would be all for letting service providers decide if the telecom market were competitive, but unfortunately in Canada it is anything but, due in no small part to the chronic ineffectiveness of the CRTC. All one needs to do is look at the sorry state of internet, wireless, and TV offerings in Canada, compared to countries like, say, Romania (let alone South Korea or Japan).

  • If we should step in, how should we regulate it?

You should, of course, ban it, and eliminate data caps.

But you already knew that.

D-Mass 3 points Tue Sep 27 19:49:39 2016 UTC  (0 children)

  1. What do you think are the benefits of differential pricing?

The only people who benefit from differential pricing are the telecom firms, since it gives an unfair advantage to the corporations they "anoint" which get such treatment either as a result of vertical integration (mergers in related fields) or by financial incentives provided by the service to the telecom. Both behaviours essentially squeeze out competitors and favour incumbents while limiting innovation.

  1. Do you have any concerns about differential pricing?

Personally I think that the most productive, progressive, and innovative internet is a neutral internet. If it was cheaper to use Myspace, the market may have never shifted in favour of Facebook, and Twitter. Either way, we pay for data, and being charged more to use the service that we pay for because we don't use the products that our service provider endorses leads me to several questions. The most important of which being; if they are using the same infrastructure to give me access to both the services they endorse, and the services they don't endorse, why is it financially viable to ignore my data caps if I use "their" service but if I use one of my own it isn't? How exactly are they making this work? I can watch TV on my phone as much as I want on their service, but not on mine? Since the data is shared via the same infrastructure how is that possible? I realize Canada's trust laws are weak, but even I can tell that something is amiss...

  1. Do these concerns outweigh the benefits and, if so, are they significant enough to justify us stepping in and regulating the practices? Or should we let the home (wireline), and mobile (wireless) service providers decide? If we should step in, how should we regulate it?

We have some of the highest telecom rates in the "Western" world. We have telecoms that received grant money to do certain things in the North but neglected their duties to profit that grant money. They are blatantly bilking the system and Governments of the past insured that no competition could join the market, that is mostly held by corporations that were built with tax payer money in the form of Grants. There are three simple things that could help reverse this inadequacy.

1/ New telecoms to the market would not only be encouraged, but Grants and low interest loans would be made available to qualifying corporations. Obviously we only need to look at the failed attempt of Wind to realize that had they been able to access the type of Government support historical telecoms had in Canada that Wind would have grown to a viable competitor. Instead they were squeezed out, and unable to even afford bandwidth to grow their business due to the questionable tactics of the pre mentioned telecoms

2/Telecoms need to provide transparency. I want to know what percentage of my bill ACTUALLY goes to maintain infrastructure, and how much lines investors pockets. Until corporations have to justify their prices with actual numbers they will forever set the price to "as high as suckers will pay"; especially in a market where newcomers are essentially forced out by the historical players, most of which where historically buoyed by the federal government at some point in their history.

3/ Canada should join the long list of countries endorsing Net Neutrality. Does Canada really want to be left behind in innovation? In the last few years we have seen Google Fibre turn entire local economies around. That is the power of the internet. And the way many people are experiencing the internet now, is from their smart phones.

Corporations exist to make profits, and left to their own devices they will maximize those profits to the disadvantage of their customer base. It is naive to even insinuate in a market created by a series of Government Grants (and in one case the sale of a Crown corporation to a smaller telecom player who previously benefited from said grants) that we have a free and open market capable of self-regulation.

What we have is a collection of oligarchies created by the over distribution of government grants to certain players. They have now swelled into obese children that struggle to show the type of annual growth shareholders like to see and choose to over-charge their customer base to do so.

The only sure-fire way to undo the current situation where Canadian's buy cellphones in any country they travel to only to learn that for 25%-75% of their current bill they can get a better service would be to force the biggest players to divest, and encourage foreign investment (with a mandate of partial Canadian ownership). Bell (for example) owns TV stations, a cable service, telecom..all vertically integrated. Those of us who have studied the history can't help draw parallels to The Trust, a chain of movie theatres that also owned movie studios that inspired the original anti-trust laws.

cerberii 3 points Tue Sep 27 19:56:18 2016 UTC  (0 children)

Diffrtential pricing doesnt work and contributes to data caps. End data caps. I had bell tv and they kept charging data for the tv which was not supposed to be data. Please end data caps theres no reason to cap our data except greed. The crtc allows the monopolization of the internet in data caps

techie2200 3 points Tue Sep 27 20:06:44 2016 UTC  (0 children)

I'd like to start my comment by saying I am vehemently opposed to differential pricing as it is at best a stop-gap which will lead to an overall negative outcome.

On another note, I believe that the CRTC should be working to abolish data caps in general. We have a severe lack of competition in this country and data caps are just another gouging tactic. There should be no such thing as "too much internet" especially since the internet is essential to Canadians' daily lives.

What do you think are the benefits of differential pricing?

Short term, I can see a few small benefits (i.e. being able to use certain services without worrying about how it will affect my data cap).

Do you have any concerns about differential pricing?

Yes, many. Differential pricing is the antithesis to Net Neutrality. With differential pricing in place, telecoms can select which services to support, killing competition (i.e. "why should I use X when Y doesn't affect my data cap?") and stifling innovation.

There are also privacy concerns. Telecom companies should not have an incentive to inspect their users' data. For people that use VPNs this means their traffic cannot be zero-rated as well.

It also incentivizes telecoms to keep data caps small, as they can make deals with providers of certain services to zero-rate their traffic, meaning Canadians will be unable to browse the internet in their own way.

Telecom companies should not be policing Canadians' browsing habits in any way, and zero-rating would allow them to.

Do these concerns outweigh the benefits and, if so, are they significant enough to justify us stepping in and regulating the practices? Or should we let the home (wireline), and mobile (wireless) service providers decide?

These concerns massively outweigh the benefits and the consequences of zero-rating / differential pricing would be astronomical. The CRTC should definitely step in.

If we should step in, how should we regulate it?

Make the practice illegal. Fine any company that does it.

Les_Nyffeler 3 points Tue Sep 27 20:07:34 2016 UTC  (0 children)

Uphold Net Neutrality. The internet is a new tool that can bring the creativity and cooperative attitude of all out species together. If leaders are true leaders they will recognize that the net needs to be free and unfettered. If they are merely bureaucrats lacking vision, then they will accept their "bonuses" and let the corporte interests lock down the net for their profit. Differential pricing is a pathetic ruse to attempt control of the eyeballs. Data caps are similar. Consumers know what you are doing and we are waiting and watching. If you do not "step in" and do your job you are simply letting a opertune moment in the evolvution of global society slip away. This means that it will be a cause that the next generation will take up. The internet has become somethinf far more than it was ever envisioned to be. Far more than a system for a few university groups to link reserach papers. Far more than simply a new and cheaper marketplace for retail catalog shopping. The internet will be free. The internet will be the consciousness of the planet.

88bassomatic88 3 points Tue Sep 27 20:31:00 2016 UTC  (0 children)

What do you think are the benefits of differential pricing?

I don't see any benefits to me personally and can't imagine any to other users

Do you have any concerns about differential pricing? 

I'm not interested in what 'BelRogTelWin' decides I can download free of data charges. I want a flat rate, (WAY lower than what is being offered now b.t.w!) no data restrictions and net neutrality.

Do these concerns outweigh the benefits and, if so, are they significant enough to justify us stepping in and regulating the practices? Or should we let the home (wireline), and mobile (wireless) service providers decide?

Please step in. We need rates we can afford with no data restrictions and I want net neutrality. We've all paid for our internet a thousand times over already. It's time to get all we've paid for.

If we should step in, how should we regulate it?

Establish and enforce a fair flat rate for all, no extra charges, and net neutrality. If the big boys don't like it, that's OK. Canadians can manage without them. I'm tired of being 'ripped off'. I want MY internet back.

pseud0nym Alberta 3 points Tue Sep 27 20:33:50 2016 UTC  (0 children)

What do you think are the benefits of differential pricing?

I think it is a bad idea and reduces competition and choice for consumers in the market.

Do you have any concerns about differential pricing?

Many. I am concerned about new entrants which use IP services, which is anyone really but the incumbents, being unable to enter the Canadian market due to uncompetitive practices by ISPs that have become media providers. Bandwidth in Canada is expensive and a massive drain on our business competitiveness. Yet services such as Netflix face an extra tariff that competitors such as Telus TV are exempt from. All data needs to be treated the same and bandwidth charges and caps should apply to media services that the incumbents offer as well.

Do these concerns outweigh the benefits and, if so, are they significant enough to justify us stepping in and regulating the practices? Or should we let the home (wireline), and mobile (wireless) service providers decide?

The detrimental effect on new technology entrants is so extreme that the only way I can see this situation being resolved is if the CRTC steps in and enforces network neutrality or forces the ISPs to divest of their media assets.

If we should step in, how should we regulate it?

Simply insure that all traffic, of any kind, delivered through an ISP connection is metered and any and all caps and charges apply to all data delivered to the consumer regardless of origin. In short: make the bandwidth that is being consumed for media connections by ISPs visible to the consumer.

mwlcarter 3 points Tue Sep 27 20:42:15 2016 UTC  (0 children)

I think differential pricing is not a slippery slope Canada should go down. In fact, since it's apparently now acknowledged that there isn't a bandwidth problem in Canada, there should be a ban on data caps. The problem with differential pricing is that all of a sudden all the content we'll be able to access (at a reasonable price, and/or at a reasonable speed) will be limited to content provided by companies who can afford to purchase preferential access. That's not what the Internet is all about.

MenstruatingMuffin British Columbia 3 points Tue Sep 27 21:00:24 2016 UTC  (0 children)

There is, without a shadow of a doubt, no benefit to the consumer in allowing ISPs to have this sort of control.

As it is, Canadians pay outrageous prices for internet that is throttled and capped, adding "censored" to the mix is just pouring salt into the wound.

Telco. have us and our wallets, right where they want this, and the only thing holding them back from bending the rest of the country over the proverbial barrel is the CRTC. I implore you to make the right the decision, the decision that sides with net neutrality and to implement STRICT rules and regulations so that Telco. providers in Canada are required by law to give us unthrottled, unbiased and open access to the internet, a utility which is (if it already hasn't) becoming an essential utility.

tinselsnips Saskatchewan 3 points Tue Sep 27 21:45:03 2016 UTC  (0 children)

What do you think are the benefits of differential pricing?

Increased advertising revenue (for the ISP), increased licensing revenue (for the ISP), the elimination of competition (for the ISP) - every single advantage for the ISP, and absolutely none for the consumer.

Do you have any concerns about differential pricing?

The entire concept - I regard it as nothing less than censorship, ripe for abuse. Today, Netflix gets throttled while ISP-owned streaming services are fast and free - tomorrow, does any content not owned by your cable company suddenly become inaccessible? When the competitive services are forced out of the market and the ISP's service is now the only game in town, does it cease to be free?

Do these concerns outweigh the benefits and, if so, are they significant enough to justify us stepping in and regulating the practices?

The concerns absolutely outweigh the benefits, because there are no benefits for the consumer. Only the ISP that stands to profit from these "zero-rated" services sees gain (from advertising and licensing, and the suppression of competition), while the consumer is simply forced to consume whatever information the ISP wants them to consume, or pay the cost.

Or should we let the home (wireline), and mobile (wireless) service providers decide?

Absolutely not, because they do not have the best interests of the consumer in mind - the people that paid the taxes that subsidized their network infrastructure.

If we should step in, how should we regulate it?

It's quite simple - end data caps, and enforce Net Neutrality. Full stop. Anything less is simply paying lip-service to Canadians while handing monopolies to large Telecoms.

DigitalRain83 3 points Tue Sep 27 21:45:30 2016 UTC  (0 children)

  1. Nothing

  2. It is threat to network neutrality and continues the trend towards media consolidation and towards the vertical integration of telecommunications infrastructure, retail services, and content.

  3. Obviously, strong concerns far outweigh no benefits.

  4. In the immediate term, zero rating and differential pricing as defined in the question should be prohibited. Subsequent to that, network operators should make the cost of providing data publicly available and subject to price regulation that would enable them to recoup their costs and make a fair profit, rather than the gouging that currently exists. Beyond that, network operators should be required to provide the general public with detailed information as to the status and the capacity of their networks. For instance, I know of no publicly available website that provides official information about the state of the Rogers cable network in my area and am therefore required to call my ISP and open a repair ticket should my modem's connection to the cable network drop. The ultimate goal should be the decoupling of the ownership and operation of network infrastructure from both the retail services and the content provided over the network. One way to do this would be via functional separation, wherein a given telecommunications network is owned and operated by an entity separate from any of the firms that sell retail service on said network and that the entity operating the network is required to treat all retail service providers (i.e. ISPs) equitably with respect to pricing and network access. A more radical solution would be to nationalize all of these networks under crown corporations or to establish independent P3s that own and operate the networks. The benefit of the latter approach would be that the maintaining and upgrading of the network infrastructure would be based on the needs of the consumers and businesses which use this infrastructure rather than the whims of Bell Canada shareholders, for instance.

Chaotichazard 3 points Tue Sep 27 23:34:16 2016 UTC  (0 children)

I'm more upset that the same package in Manitoba and Saskatchewan is twice the price in Ontario.

The only reason why is lack of competition in Ontario.
That bugs me more then data exemptions

Anti_Obfuscator 3 points Tue Sep 27 23:54:30 2016 UTC  (0 children)

What do you think are the benefits of differential pricing?

The benefits of differential pricing are not to the customer at all but to the providers. Customers as the final consumer will end up with the bill eventually, whether it be at the ISP/data provider level or by paying the application provider, so there are no real 'savings'. The touted savings are simply a marketing tool.

Do you have any concerns about differential pricing?

I would be concerned that corporations would use their control of data with differential pricing to show favouritsm to corporate partners, and to expand their vertical businesses and subsidiaries at the expense of competitors and smaller businesses. It is in effect a regulated form of a corporate business to business subsidy for preferred partners and a small set of application providers.

It could also be used to punish competitors, smaller players, and startups who wouldn't be part of the differential pricing plan.

Do these concerns outweigh the benefits and, if so, are they significant enough to justify us stepping in and regulating the practices? Or should we let the home (wireline), and mobile (wireless) service providers decide?

There are only 4 major players in the Canadian market: Bell, Telus, Shaw, and Rogers. This is not a significant level of competition in this market, and anything that these juggernauts do could have drastic effect on consumer choices.

To be analogous to a toll roadway such as the 407 ETR in Ontario, what if Walmart partnered with the ETR, and their trucks were allowed to pay no toll, and Canadian Tire trucks had to pay the regular fee? Would we think that was fair? Public money built some of that infrastructure, and it serves a public purpose.

If we should step in, how should we regulate it?

Adopt a strong net neutrality position, and defend it. Do not support bandwidth throttling in any form such as packet type, hour of day, or whether it is encrypted or not. Do not support any form of IP blocking, except in cases of national emergency. Providers should understand that they are providing a neutral public service, and should not be putting their shareholders above public access.

Delta64 Alberta 3 points Wed Sep 28 00:24:33 2016 UTC  (0 children)

In my opinion, all Canadians should be given access to high speed (i.e. greater than or equal to 100 mbit/s) no data caps internet. We as a nation are moving towards a future where fast and easy access to the Internet will become an absolutes necessity for day to day functions.

I also believe that, if Internet access is treated as a basic necessity, we will in the long term be benefited.

graysonAC 3 points Wed Sep 28 00:34:11 2016 UTC  (0 children)

[i]1. What do you think are the benefits of differential pricing?[/i]

I have yet to see any significant consumer benefit from this.

[i]2. Do you have any concerns about differential pricing?[/i]

Yes, very much so. This gives ISPs strong financial incentive to know what I'm using their service for, which I'm opposed to - privacy should be the default, and our internet providers shouldn't get free access to violate this privacy, particularly when the motive is profit-driven.

This also makes it a given that we're going to see net neutrality violated - their content will be the only things that get preferred access, unless we're willing to pay even more than we already do in Canada. Our internet rates are already extremely high, both because of our low population vs high country size, but also because of monopolies with minimal requirements to compete.

This is going to also give ISPs the ability to utterly crush small content providers - anyone that can't afford to pay up in order to be featured on the better channels is going to be even further marginalized.

[i]3. Do these concerns outweigh the benefits and, if so, are they significant enough to justify us stepping in and regulating the practices? Or should we let the home (wireline), and mobile (wireless) service providers decide?[/i]

Yes, they do, and yes, you should. Please do not let the for-profit companies ram this down our throats. Protecting the citizens of Canada from this is, as far as I can tell, literally the CRTC's job.

[i]If we should step in, how should we regulate it?[/i]

Net Neutrality is a basic component, and adhering strongly to this protects our citizens and allows internet-based ventures within the country the chance to freely compete. Not many new businesses these days can avoid internet-based aspects, and we need to ensure that this isn't stifled, particularly for non-computer-savvy folks.

I'd be overjoyed if the feds and the CRTC found the will to realize, and enforce, that internet access should be a basic service for all Canadians. Everyone should be able to get at least basic internet access, without fear of data overages for home connections.

cultural_dissenter Canada 3 points Wed Sep 28 01:41:50 2016 UTC  (0 children)

As it stands now, bandwidth in Canada is limited and expensive compared to other countries, particularly on mobile. Zero-Rating allows companies to double-dip, and can make it difficult for people to switch companies without significant additional expense, which turns the marketplace from neutral carriers competing for customers, to carriers competing to lock-in exclusive deals to make it difficult for end users to switch. The end result is anti-competitive.

These exclusive deals place a significant burden on entrepeneurship, and place incumbunts in superior positions from the start. My company produces streaming software, and our customers include many innovative media companies. With people limited in their data (in some cases from the hundreds of megabytes), and data caps staying low, end-users will often avoid new services, and these new services (already facing difficulties with exclusive and expensive licensing on content itself) lack the name-recognition or revenue to strike these kinds of deals. The end result is a stifling of innovation.

Neutrality is the foundation of the internet - it's expansion, and it's level playing field has helped transform the shape of business and entrepeneurship. Anyone - literally anyone - can make a web site, accessible to billions, in much the same way the telephone permitted anyone with a business to be reached. Neither would have been possible if the incumbents (often with government-granted monopolies) were permitted to raise their rates to prohibitively expensive levels, then extract more money from the large businesses to be reachable at reasonable rates.

This is the virtual equivalant of making every road a toll road, and then permitting Wal-Mart to validate. It would effectively tax every business they compete with.

rootbrian_ 3 points Wed Sep 28 02:41:07 2016 UTC  (0 children)

That is a very bad bad idea! The plans for different Internet speeds on wired Internet access should NOT be subject to differentials based on what websites we access, post/upload videos/files/photos to or what media we consume/watch/listen to!

Us consumers want unlimited data usage on our home Internet, and cellular plans. Windmobile was a start, now let's see the big guys finally follow suit and really compete! There is no such thing as "too much data" or "too much Internet usage". That is a thing of the past in other countries, now it should be the same in Canada.

Fair pricing! Unlimited data usage with a very generous full speed allotment from rogers, bell, telus (not just limited to a small "zone" of their entire coverage areas either!) and their subsidiaries is what everybody has been wanting for AGES! Make it happen.

bosco9 3 points Wed Sep 28 03:03:22 2016 UTC  (0 children)

What do you think are the benefits of differential pricing?

I don't believe there are any benefits to consumer when there's differential pricing. The internet has always been free of bias and differential pricing would let telecommunications companies to give preference to certain websites. The only benefit would be to companies large enough to be able to afford "preferential" status, smaller companies would be shut out from this as well

Do you have any concerns about differential pricing?

My concern with differential pricing is that the consumer would be limited as to what they are allowed to see if what they want is not part of the "preferred" package. In addition, this lack of choice would create a barrier of entry to smaller companies trying to do business online.

Do these concerns outweigh the benefits and, if so, are they significant enough to justify us stepping in and regulating the practices? Or should we let the home (wireline), and mobile (wireless) service providers decide?

The benefits are only to a few people (large companies and their shareholders) and the concerns will affect ALL Canadians. Given how important access to information is in today's economy, the internet should be as free as ever and we should encourage innovation by not blocking access to the internet. The CRTC should certainly step in to ensure caps are removed and that differential pricing does not become the norm in Canada

If we should step in, how should we regulate it?

The CRTC needs to ensure unbiased, easy and cheap access to the internet is available to all Canadians. You need to regulate telecoms to ensure data caps are removed and that pricing is the same for all bandwith, not free for some and pricey for others

Kaizyx 3 points Wed Sep 28 04:35:05 2016 UTC *  (0 children)

What do you think are the benefits of differential pricing?

There are none. Data is data and no one class of data is more burdensome than another despite what service providers highlight. People must be allowed to affordably communicate over a wide range of network protocols and services without one impacting another. If you permit one class of data to become more relevant or important than another simply because it's popular or because it's tied to a specific brand, the Internet will be broken.

Do you have any concerns about differential pricing?

Yes. See my essay below.

Do these concerns outweigh the benefits and, if so, are they significant enough to justify us stepping in and regulating the practices? Or should we let the home (wireline), and mobile (wireless) service providers decide?

Market forces do not provide enough power over this issue. It is necessary for regulatory controls to be enacted to manage this issue as ISPs and their investors are unruly and will abuse their market position as I highlight below in my brief essay.

If we should step in, how should we regulate it?

Mandate ISPs provide a common carrier service with a "dumb pipe" with an IP address and DNS servers that do not tamper with responses or provide responses in violation to standards (e.g. NXDOMAIN tampering) to the Internet. Prevent ISPs from bundling via incentives or otherwise other Internet-accessed products with Internet services. Require that ISPs keep rates the same regardless of what is being accessed. Establish that ISPs would fall afoul of advertising standards if they do not supply access to the entire Internet equally.


Differential pricing must be strictly prohibited in all forms.

The Internet's value comes from the fact it is a global, equal, unified network, a network that is created as a collective of many different pieces, networks, protocols, services, people coming together to form a greater whole. That needs to be protected.

It's a network where just by participating, you are a stakeholder in perhaps humanity's greatest achivement.

It's a network where many people of different walks of life can come together to share ideas, thoughts, and cultures on the global stage.

It's a network where people can collaborate, innovate and simply decide to create technologies and businesses with almost no cost simply because that technology or business is a good idea.

It's a network where people can work from home through remote access, reducing the number of cars on our roads and enabling parents of small children to take care of what needs to be while not taking time off.

It's a network where people can seek refuge from a less than ideal offline life and seek safety on small private servers with friends without airing their issues on public sites like Facebook.

It's a network where helping in the global community is not only possible, but possible with any skill set or talent.

Differential pricing will be weaponized by ISPs to destroy all of the above and decades of hard work that Canadians and others in the global community have made into the network. It will place Canada behind other countries and disable innovation. ISPs will not have any incentive to price access to the global Internet fairly in comparison to their own branded services and their partner's services. It will effectively place "long distance rates" on Internet access, or even have Cable TV style "packages" for online services as approved by them, where all others will be priced unconscionably.

As a network professional, I can assure the CRTC and the Canadian public that costs for ISPs are much lower than the ISP industry are publicly claiming. There is no such thing as "Long distance" costs, and unlike Cable TV, ISPs are not charged by content owners to deliver content to subscribers. Even the costs for an ISP to connect to "the rest of the Internet" are relatively low, in some quite common cases some connections between ISPs can even be free! That's right, peering agreements can sometimes be achieved as "settlement free", that means ISPs deciding that it's so economically beneficial that they connect to each other without anyone getting a bill. The only costs there are for the infrastructure to establish that connection.

It's just that ISPs and their investors are demanding further, infinite growth. In this quest for growth, ISPs are generating superfluous costs for themselves by creating these branded services without actually seeing if consumers will be willing to pay for them. As a result, there's low uptake of these services and obviously the providers are unhappy with results.

They don't want to take a loss along with their investors for a bad business move, so they seek to give these services unfair advantages in the market through initiatives like zero-rating these branded services while artificially limiting access to everything else through low caps and speed throttling. They essentially seek to force these services on consumers.

It's nonsensical to allow ISPs to impose such limitations on a network that doesn't need them just so a few stakeholders can benefit while Canadian businesses and consumers are made losers. Canada needs to categorically reject the notion of such limitations if we wish to remain competitive and strong internationally.

I see so much capability and potential, untapped potential in the Internet that will only be locked away for Canadians if it is made prohibitively expensive. Open, unrestricted (technologically or financially) Internet access is no longer a luxury, it's a necessity to be an active social participant of society. To that end, it would be irresponsible to grant ISPs the ability to charge "long distance rates" or offer "packages of websites".

Much like the FCC's decision in the US to classify ISPs as common carriers, I believe the same policy is necessary in Canada. ISPs need to be reminded that they are paid by hard working Canadians to carry data from point A to point B and to treat that data, all of that data equally. Consumers are not paying ISPs to market to them or to create services to have forced upon them.

In closing, I urge the CRTC to reject affronts to network neutrality, to reject differential pricing and zero rating, to challenge the unjustly low caps and throttling. It is critical for us as a nation.

To quote Vint Cerf, one of the fathers of the Internet as one of the creators of TCP/IP a core technology of the entire Internet: "The Internet is for Everyone", I'll leave you with something he wrote that I'd like everyone to read as they ponder this subject: https://www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc3271.txt

SFWcontent 3 points Wed Sep 28 05:05:40 2016 UTC *  (0 children)

  1. Zero-rating and/or differential pricing has little to no value for the consumer.

2.My concerns about differential pricing have been noted by many others. It is a way for the ISPs to control what we see on the internet and to price-gouge us for any of our preferences that don't match what they want to show us. It is also a method to lock out competitors, and make sure that the Big Three can continue to charge some of the highest internet and cell phone rates in the world.

  1. Since there are negligible benefits, the concerns far outweigh them. The CRTC should definitely step in, letting the home and mobile service providers decide would be letting the fox guard the henhouse.

4.Regulate it by banning it outright.

WeirdnessAndLight 3 points Wed Sep 28 12:12:50 2016 UTC  (0 children)

This is one area that Canada seems to be significantly behind much of the rest of the world. While there are many things that make me proud to be Canadian, I cringe whenever my International friends ask me why our telecoms are so backwards when it comes to mobile and home Data plans.

I see no benefits to differential pricing. I see significant opportunity for abuse by the Internet providers and a significant threat to Net Neutrality.

I do not believe this is a practice that is needed by these businesses. There are many examples globally of how to structure an effective and profitable business model without it.

Data caps have no place in 2016.

TheVast 3 points Wed Sep 28 15:14:09 2016 UTC  (0 children)

What do you think are the benefits of differential pricing?

No benefits to consumers or the business marketplace. Sponsored or zero-rating data limits customer choice and crushes innovation. If you have to pay for data from a new video streaming service superior to Netflix but Bell decides to give you free Netflix that's bad for everybody but the back-room deal makers at the incumbent companies.

Do you have any concerns about differential pricing?

Yes. I'm concerned that if this pricing model is allowed to continue the overall data rates or caps pricing will reflect assumptions that customers will be using the preferred services. So suddenly 250GB monthly will turn into 100GB because "Hey, we won't charge you for Shomi, CraveTV or from whatever other distraction the telcos will prop up to carve off revenue Netflix or Spotify". That's terrible.

Do these concerns outweigh the benefits and, if so, are they significant enough to justify us stepping in and regulating the practices? Or should we let the home (wireline), and mobile (wireless) service providers decide?

You should definitely step in and ban this pricing model. Absolutely nobody should trust these companies to make a consumer-friendly decision because they would never voluntarily do so.

If we should step in, how should we regulate it?

Enforce net neutrality and don't allow telcos to fool us into marketing it with a different name. Show some teeth and don't let them raise prices to ridiculous new rates like they did after you told them cell phone contracts were capped.

Canada needs to compete on a global level and that means having reliable, fast communication services that are within the reach of everyday Canadians. Instead of data caps, enforce pricing caps. Make it so a Canadian's cost of phone and internet can not be more expensive than the equivalents in other G8 countries. Do not accept excuses why this cannot be done. If Robelus refuses to get on board then nationalize fibre lines and cell phone towers and open up competition. Enough is enough.

Slysliver 3 points Wed Sep 28 15:53:27 2016 UTC  (1 child)

1.What do you think are the benefits of differential pricing?

For a regular user, not needing to worry about using up your data plan sounds attractive if you're using the services that the provider has green lit as an approved service, but this benefit only exists in a market where data caps are unreasonably low. For businesses, this would function as a way to attract more customers and ensure a smooth and worry free delivery of service.

2.Do you have any concerns about differential pricing?

I have a great deal of concern for the concept of differential pricing. The entire structure only provides benefits for those who do not need a advantage in the online market. Websites like Facebook, Twitter, Spotify, Reddit, Amazon and other major players already control a large enough segment of web traffic that allowing them the advantage of offering unlimited traffic to their domains makes them impossible to compete with for any new services in the market. It also directly conflicts with the idea of net neutrality which has been a key factor in the web flourishing in the way it has.

For consumers, it means hoping your wireless or internet provider choses your list of preferred services as the free or reduced charge options. The effect consumers will likely run into one of the following; based on the history of our telecom companies, each provider with provide the same services at the reduced or unrestricted level but with not allow customers to choose their desired free service which create plans that only serve to drive traffic to specific websites, or if different telecoms are required to provide different services then say a Telecom Company A provides a service to connect to Facebook and Apple Music for free each month, and Telecom Company B offers a service to connect to Myspace and Spotify for free each month, if a consumer uses Facebook and Spotify as their services of choice, neither Telecom company will meet their needs. Unless each user is able to select their desired services, than there will likely never be a plan that fits everyone.

Finally, it also discourages new companies to establish themselves in Canadian cities as there are no benefits to being in a market where they are required to likely pay extra to a telecom company just to stand a chance against the existing services. Canada already has a major brain drain occurring in our technology sector and adding more barriers for entry in our market does not help anyone.

3.Do these concerns outweigh the benefits and, if so, are they significant enough to justify us stepping in and regulating the practices? Or should we let the home (wireline), and mobile (wireless) service providers decide?

The concerns far outweighs the benefits to me. Allowing the service providers to decide how to regulate net will do nothing but hurt consumers and Canadian businesses The method of regulation should be decided with the public's input, which is being done effectively here. The CRTC should absolutely step in and ensure the practice of differential pricing is not permitted and prevented regardless of the title it goes under.

4.If we should step in, how should we regulate it?

If we have no options but to allow it, it should be mandated that telecoms do not get the choice of which services should be provided for free. Allowing telecoms to decide which services can be access is against the best interest of Canadians as it puts far too much power into the hands of people who have been shown to abuse the system already. Canadians should be able to chose how they want their traffic and interests directed and should be able to change that choice regularly and without difficulty.

However, it's my belief that the archaic system of data caps have long outlived their usefulness and now come at the cost having Canada lag far behind other countries in our policies regarding the internet. If telecoms are able to provide unlimited access to certain websites at no extra cost without changing the infrastructure, then there is no reason for the practice of differential pricing to exist. differential pricing should not be permitted and attempts to introduce it under other names should be held to the same scrutiny.

Borrillz 2 points Fri Sep 30 02:49:59 2016 UTC  (0 children)

Great job here, unlike a lot of the responses you put yourself in the place of joe schmo internet user streaming videos and going on social media. The business perspective and general outrage over datacaps are legitimate but your angle speaks for the majority of taxpayers.

bubongo 3 points Wed Sep 28 18:02:28 2016 UTC  (0 children)

What do you think are the benefits of differential pricing?

The benefits would be "cheaper" online services. More data for certain streaming sites etc.

Do you have any concerns about differential pricing?

Yes. Very much so. It really isn't anyones business what I do with my data, unless its against the law. If I choose to download a picture of a cat it shouldn't be any different if I chose to download a picture of a dog. To the isp's infrastructure it makes no difference. Data is data.

Do these concerns outweigh the benefits and, if so, are they significant enough to justify us stepping in and regulating the practices? Or should we let the home (wireline), and mobile (wireless) service providers decide?

The concerns very heavily outweigh the benefits. Having the isp's choose arbitrary services over others is unfair to the customer and ultimately benefits big buisness.

The ctrc should absolutely be regulating the telecoms. The big 3 (Rogers, Bell, Telus) are already in cahoots with each other. The fact that all their cell phone plans are identical shows that they are working together to fix prices.

If we should step in, how should we regulate it?

As another commenter stated. Ban it altogether. There is no good reason why some 1's and 0's are different than another. We as the consumer should choose how we use our data and which services to give our business, not the telecoms.

JDGR 3 points Wed Sep 28 20:29:36 2016 UTC  (0 children)

Thank you for taking to them to elicit responses from Canadians in an open forum. I truly hope that your intentions are pure and the CRTC will take all of our comments and concerns into consideration and act in Canadian citizen's best interests, not corporations.

  1. There are no benefits to consumer's at all. This only benefits the big players and their shareholders while trampling on the rights and freedoms of consumers.

  2. Absolutely I have concerns. The ISP's in Canada already treat the public like garbage. Every index online that quantifies the quality of services vs pricing rates Canada as a "third world" country. We are treated with no regard, calling support is laughable if it didn't make people so angry, we pay an astounding large amount for next to nothing, and they lock us in with contracts with ridiculously large termination fees so they always get their money. Not to mention that anti-competitive behaviour they exhibit to any smaller ISP looking to enter their territory. If we gave them more power, able to charge us more for services, there would be no stopping the amount we as Canadians pay.

This all doesn't even touch on the subject of free speech and the freedom to do/watch/say whatever we want online. If I want to watch Youtube or Netflix once a month, I shouldn't have to pay for a higher package. What if I need to connect to my company's servers, I need a VPN service for that. Now I have to pay even more to work. Maybe I find a site that disparages the Big Three in Canada and enjoy posting there. When it comes to light the site exists, what's to stop them from then blocking access to it since the groundwork has been laid. The vast majority of Canadians don't have the ability (or desire) to pay $100+/month for basic internet services. This would effectively cut off 70-80% of Canadians from the sites they enjoy, or may need to visit, and prevent other smaller sites from ever showing up if the providers didn't want them to.

Also, there is the security aspect. I know that providers are already snooping quite extensively through network traffic, but if differential pricing rolls out, this will be taken to an extreme level. If they are just checking the website I'm visiting, that is easily avoidable by using a VPN service. So to enforce this horrible practice, they will have to be able to decrypt my encrypted communications to determine what sites I am visiting. This is a HUGE security risk and invasion of privacy. To take it a step further, how about a Whistleblower wanting to come out against their corrupt employer and uses a VPN and TOR. Once again, if you allow this to go through, they will have the legal footing to force the decryption of all network traffic, or they will simply block everything encrypted. The internet will basically shutdown in Canada thanks to allowing this.

  1. The CRTC NEEDS to step in an put a stop to the current unfair practices of the ISP's (both wireless and wireline) in Canada. They have been flaunting their disregard for Canadian's wishes for years, and don't care one bit about anything the CRTC says. They need to be stopped and properly brought into line to ensure a fair and equal internet for all of Canadians.

Look at the CRTC regulation that Cable providers had to offer channels that were tied to huge bundles; an "a la carte" methodology. The providers did all they could to fight it, and when they lost anyway, the packages they rolled out actually cost Canadians more than the bundles. 97% of Canadians would pay more to buy only the channels they wanted vs buying a huge bundle. How is this fair practice? The CRTC needs to step up and actually have the strength to enforce FAIR practices for it's citizens.

  1. The internet should NOT be regulated in any fashion. That was the original goal of it and what the public has been fighting to maintain for years. Corporations and ISP's are the ones fighting to regulate and change the status quo as they realize they can monetize it by either charging more for services, or charging for different tiers of sites, or just blocking sites they don't want.

The Internet must remain a 100% free and open platform. No "differential pricing" options, no tiered services, just straight, simple, network access. Whether I want to pay for a 5 MB line or a 50 MB line shouldn't matter. Both need to be able to access the exact same content, services, and websites without any intrusion by ISP's.

Thanks, JDGR

lebasilic 4 points Mon Sep 26 18:31:24 2016 UTC  (0 children)

  1. La différenciation des prix permet d'avoir une certaine compétion envers les différentes compagnies de télécommunications. Elle nous donne la chance de choisir vers quelle compagnie nous tourner pour faire affaire, ce qui force les compagnies à se faire concurrence et baisser leurs prix.
  2. Dans les zones éloignées des grands centres urbains, la/les compagnie(s) présente(s) dans cette zone peu(ven)t imposer les prix qu'elle(s) veu(len)t, forçant les gens à payer des prix parfois trop hauts.
  3. Devant régulièrement aller dans des zones moins couvertes, je dois me tourner vers les compagnies qui offrent des services dans cette zone, ce qui peut augmenter de beaucoup ma facture. Il faudrait que le CRTC intervienne dans le dossier afin de réglementer les prix.
  4. Forcer les fournisseurs de services à offrir les mêmes prix pour un même service. Les prix ne devraient pas changer par rapport à la région ou aux services offerts.

Not_a_unicorn_yet 2 points Tue Sep 27 19:00:55 2016 UTC  (0 children)

The mere fact that the CRTC thinks there needs to be a discussion about diff pricing shows that they are either in bed with the big canadian ISPs, or don't understand how the world of humans works.

There is only ONE reason for diff pricing and data caps: getting more money out of customers and keeping competing (netflix, etc.) services down. There is NOT OTHER VALID REASON. PERIOD.

If you want to be an ISP, either provide neutral internet or get out of the business.

PM_ME_UR_STONED_FACE 5 points Tue Sep 27 14:42:20 2016 UTC  (0 children)

This is a terrible idea and it's so anti-consumer it's pathetic that you people are even considering this idea as if it has an iota of merit. It exists to put more money into corporate pockets that ALREADY gouge us for lousy service. How dare you pretend to represent us, we already know you're going to make the decision that benefits YOUR pockets by way of corporate kickbacks and the bribes you love to pretend don't happen. Disband the CRTC if you really care about consumers and let US choose for once. But you've never done the right thing ever so I have no faith here. This is just a dog and pony show so when you make the wrong decision you can include the fact that you "got input from canadians". Forget that you're going to ignore it all.

decoy11 2 points Tue Sep 27 06:28:17 2016 UTC  (0 children)

Do you have any concerns about differential pricing?

I do have concerns about differential pricing. As a consumer I believe it the choice for each service I want to not be affected by the ISP. The ISP should be there to facilitate the connection to the service. I do not like the idea of a service getting preferred treatment in any sort of way. I also do not like the data caps.

If we should step in, how should we regulate it?

I think any attempt to implement differential pricing should be outlawed. The ISP should just be here to facilitate the consumer to the services provided across the world.

NewfieRedditor16 2 points Tue Sep 27 13:09:21 2016 UTC  (0 children)

It's a terrible option for consumers.

It exists so Telecoms can be bribed by video provider services (like Netflix) about where their services should fall.

The internet is not like eating oreos. Data caps should not exist at all.

cloakedbolter 2 points Tue Sep 27 13:22:59 2016 UTC  (0 children)

What do you think are the benefits of differential pricing?

As defined in the CRTC article, I think it's terrible. I don't think a company should be allowed to favor its own services over another, especially when it comes to Internet traffic, it should be neutral.

Do you have any concerns about differential pricing?

It penalizes the uses of third-party services to favor the service provider's services. In doing so, it limits the variety of content for users (in an indirect manner). This allows service providers to sell their other services much better in an unfairly manner and exposes them to media which allows the media's owner to better propagate their messages (political or otherwise).

Even if they were to favor a third-party service (like Netflix). It would still be wrong since it would undermine the neutrality of the Internet by favoring Netflix over other services.

Do these concerns outweigh the benefits and, if so, are they significant enough to justify us stepping in and regulating the practices? Or should we let the home (wireline), and mobile (wireless) service providers decide?

CRTC differential pricing article extract: enable consumers to benefit from free or discounted services, and potentially a greater choice of and more innovative service offerings.

The reason we have differential pricing in the first place is because there's a price tag on data consumption. If we remove data caps from the picture, then differential pricing benefits (as defined) becomes worthless. I don't think there should be a limit on the amount of data we consume.

If we should step in, how should we regulate it?

  • Abolish data caps, then you no longer have a problem with differential pricing of this type.
  • Forbid differential pricing (of this type).

AlexandrTheGreat 2 points Tue Sep 27 13:51:09 2016 UTC *  (0 children)

1 What do you think are the benefits of differential pricing?

I can see where the theory behind differential pricing works (accounts are exempt from certain common use of data), which is being advertised as a 'deal' for the consumer. However, I do not believe this to be truthful, and see very little benefit to data caps on the consumer end.

2 Do you have any concerns about differential pricing?

My concern is, plan rates are artificially increased to make it appear that the consumer gets a deal on those data exemptions. I'm also concerned that differential pricing is a symptom of the telecoms (at least the big 3), being allowed to run-rampant, which is why Canadians pay some of the highest fees in the world for the services they provide.

Additionally, data caps also provide other pitfalls. For example, if you are surfing the web just looking at various webpages which typically don't use a lot of data, but you hit a website that redirects you to a video (or similar), even if you manage to close the site quickly, you've still lost a good chunk of your data limit to a video you had no interest in watching or loading. With redirect sites becoming a more prevalent blight on the internet, it makes the user feel twice as bad for hitting a redirect website AND then losing money to their Provider to make back that lost data.

This also ties into other services provided by telecoms, as most options can be covered by Internet access. Calls, Messaging, Watching TV, etc. can all be accomplished through various internet options. I understand why they are split by the telecoms (to make more money), but it seems a lot simpler to provide an unlimited data plan and then people can do whatever they need with the internet. As example products, Skype, WhatsApp, and Netflix can achieve almost everything that the telecoms charge for through the internet, and that's why the pricing is the way it is.

3 Do these concerns outweigh the benefits and, if so, are they significant enough to justify us stepping in and regulating the practices? Or should we let the home (wireline), and mobile (wireless) service providers decide?

I believe you should regulate the practices, but even further, regulate the telecoms themselves. There are plenty of recent symptoms of the telecoms abuse (particularly the big 3):

  • The Skinny Plan / Fibe shenanigans
  • Netflix VPN problems
  • Streaming boxes
  • Torrenting shows unavailable in Canada (like Game of Thrones, etc.)

Canadians should have viable options that don't force them to look for alternate solutions, when the big 3 basically leave none. If you want internet pirates, that's how you get internet pirates.

4 If we should step in, how should we regulate it?

Honestly, I think consumers should have the option available to purchase an unlimited data plan for mobiles and home. This would solve the data caps/exemptions issue. The way I see it, if this is made to happen, and the Texting, regular Calling, and so on don't survive then they were being artificially propped up by the telecoms. I also think the telecoms should have more oversight since internet is now consider essential services. I don't mind them making some profit, but comparing to other countries, the prices they offer for services is very unbalanced.

Auteyus 2 points Tue Sep 27 14:17:21 2016 UTC  (0 children)

This would only be fair to apps, if the service provider controlling the differential pricing has no vested interest in the popularity of one app over another. In that case, the service provider would have no reason to enact differential pricing.
Differential pricing should not happen unless we want service providers to control the app market and I know I do not want to give them that control.

r5a 2 points Tue Sep 27 14:44:12 2016 UTC *  (0 children)

If the ISPs were legally able to do this it would be a total disaster. I'm extremely concerned. Normally I never really speak up on issues but this is something that I believe would be a step in the wrong direction for Canada.

If they're able to pick and choose things like that it would certainty be abused by the providers for their own gain. They should only be delivering a service at a given rate. That's all. Treat them like a utility that provides a service. All they should be doing is giving you access that the advertised rate. The minute you give them ability to prefer/shape /charge for what's being delivered over that service it very quickly becomes a slippery slope.

I cannot see any benefit to this. What the consumer chooses to do data wise should NOT be up to the providers to dictate what is considered fair use.

As an example could you imagine you're on Rogers and they only allowed SportsNet and not TSN? Or severely crippled (traffic shaped)/charged an extra "access fees/service/delivery fees" for TSN access but not SportsNet? Or Shomi included in data but Netflix requires an extra "transit fee/or eats your data" That's insanity.

ISPs in Canada are a laughing joke in the world in terms of access/technology/infrastructure. The fact this is on the table is embarrassing. The CRTC needs to step up, grow some balls and get skin in the game and come down on providers. Things need to change for the better, not the worse.

zadtheinhaler 2 points Tue Sep 27 14:54:48 2016 UTC  (0 children)

Please say no to differential pricing and bandwidth caps. We already pay a hefty price for internet in this country, there is absolutely no need for these companies to nickel and dime us any further than they already do.

While the situation is still somewhat better than the US situation where there's often no competition at all for internet and phone service, the packages and pricing here are artificially high.

Besides, who decides what services are exempt from bandwidth usage? Does the company in question, let's use Netflix as an example, have to pay to prioritize their service, much like they had to do down in the States? That's double-dipping on the part of the ISPs, and it's a lock that the extra money won't go to upgrading infrastructure, because spending money to offer a better service is against their best interests.

Please do the right thing and regulate.

cojofy 2 points Tue Sep 27 15:06:17 2016 UTC  (0 children)

It only benefits the providers and the services they promote. Data should be just data in the providers' eyes and based on this that what providers should compete. They are not content providers.

Zognorf 2 points Tue Sep 27 15:28:55 2016 UTC  (0 children)

Every point I might wish to make has already been made, so I will instead provide a personal example regarding this 'zero-rating' system.

Rogers already does this with their mobile plans vis-a-vis Spotify family plans, which are unavailable to anyone in Canada not with Rogers on account of their contract. Not only would I not consider changing my cell phone provider to gain access to this service, I instead actively avoid them in order to not contribute to such a system. Additionally, I stopped using Spotify entirely because of this, despite it being an otherwise desirable service.

No. 1 & 2: Zero-rating/multi-tier/two-tier (or whatever they want to spin them as) are of no benefit to the consumer in the end, and actively serve to restrict user freedoms online in general.

3: Regulation is necessary. The incumbent providers have already shown (for decades) that they'd rather collude on pricing rather than competing. This is not going to change.

anthnykiedis 2 points Tue Sep 27 15:55:53 2016 UTC  (0 children)

  1. What do you think are the benefits of differential pricing?

If differential pricing were really exempting from data charges for certain content that we could elect, and choose it would be okay. However, with big companies only giving us the option to have their own products be included in the exempt charges, we have an anticompetitive system that does not benefit the consumer.

  1. Do you have any concerns about differential pricing?

Yes, differential pricing is (for the most part) anticompetitive because companies (for the most part) only include their products in the options consumers have. Also, what does it cost a company for 1GB of data? Why is that not something that the public has access to?

  1. Do these concerns outweigh the benefits and, if so, are they significant enough to justify us stepping in and regulating the practices? Or should we let the home (wireline), and mobile (wireless) service providers decide?

Step in. Don't let the big companies do whatever they want, whenever they want. It's not fair.

  1. If we should step in, how should we regulate it?

Find out how much 1GB of data costs a company to provide someone with per month, and then find out a reasonable mark-up, or some way to control how much they deceive the public.

boxyscandinavian 2 points Tue Sep 27 16:07:33 2016 UTC  (0 children)

To me, this feels like a way for the Big Three, to Monopolise Canadian Media further. I agree with the majority of people who would like new legislation regarding data caps and what is allowed to be charged vs data cap imposed. Compared to many other North American and European countries, Canadians truly are robbed when it comes to Telecom. This is especially true for Rural Canadians, who in some areas are paying >$100/month for a data cap of <20GB

Naito- 2 points Tue Sep 27 16:46:02 2016 UTC  (0 children)

Questions: We need your opinion about differential pricing: What do you think are the benefits of differential pricing?

Since it seems the primary use of data is for consumption of media, it could potentially reduce costs for some users.

Do you have any concerns about differential pricing?

Yes. It would give too much ability to service providers to choose what media is preferentially accessed by users. This goes against the agnostic nature of the internet, and provides unfair advantages to the chosen types of media that is available at reduced prices. It would be like the power company selling their own brands of appliances that promise reduced pricing; it would very quickly eliminate other manufacturers, and the self-branded appliances would become fully controlled revenue stream for the power company.

Do these concerns outweigh the benefits and, if so, are they significant enough to justify us stepping in and regulating the practices? Or should we let the home (wireline), and mobile (wireless) service providers decide?

I believe the concerns outweigh the benefits, primarily because it will further reduce competition and differing views in online media. The only thing differential pricing will do is allow service providers to promote their own streams of media while reducing the visibility of other providers. I do not believe that there will end up being any benefit to the consumer, and the only advantage will be further lock-in for consumers to a service provider. The industry cannot be trusted to regulate differential pricing as they have absolutely no incentive to do so, and every incentive to use it to further reduce competition.

If we should step in, how should we regulate it?

Treat all data as equal. While the current data caps are far too low to be realistic in the modern internet-dependent world we live in, usage based billing is in and of itself not "evil". It just has not been implemented in a way that is sensible. Allowing utilities to sell 50mbps connections with a data cap that can be used up in 3 hours is simply predatory. Link bandwidth to a reasonably sized data cap that accurately represents how the average person now uses the internet. Make it actually generous, and you'll be able to promote growth and innovation again, rather than line pockets of already large corporate conglomerates.

ezSpankOven 2 points Tue Sep 27 17:34:38 2016 UTC  (0 children)
(note: offensive term(s) have been replaced by asterisks)

Sounds like a crock of **** to me. Just another way for wireless companies to screw their customers.

The wireless companies are only pushing for this because they hope customers will be confused as to what services fall under which category and inadvertently run over their data caps.

xinit Ontario 2 points Tue Sep 27 17:45:21 2016 UTC  (0 children)

What do you think are the benefits of differential pricing?

There are so many other things that I'd rather the CRTC 'step in' and address. From the big players intentionally obstructing the little players (Bell v. Teksavvy, etc) to the usurious mobile data rates that seem to be universally identical across the big players. Then there's the whole "Basic cable" issue that the CRTC stepped in and appear to have caused the prices to go up with regulation...

Maybe it's just me, but the CRTC and Canadian consumers really don't seem to be on the same team here. I'm not sure we ever have been, and maybe that needs to change.

internetuser101 2 points Tue Sep 27 18:16:14 2016 UTC  (0 children)

  1. the only benefit would be in the form of modified differential pricing where data utilized to show advertisements to a consumer is not charged to the consumer but back to the advertiser. This could be used as the basis of a system for advertisers to need to pay to have their ads viewed rather than jump on the consumers bill.

  2. the primary concern, as stated by others, is that it opens of the door to challenge net neutrality, which would be a negative for everyone except the ISPs.

  3. yes, this is enough of a concern that it needs to be regulated. Internet should be considered a utility a should be regulated like one.

  4. it should be banned completely, but if it is not, it should only be allowed under the terms of my first point.

merelyadoptedthedark 2 points Tue Sep 27 18:43:15 2016 UTC  (0 children)
(note: offensive term(s) have been replaced by asterisks)

While I think this is a problem, I don't think the CRTC should get involved, because you will **** everything up.

You tried to help us by reducing cell phone rates and eliminate 3 year contracts, so now cell phones plans and phones are more expensive than ever in retaliation.

You tried to help us by unbundling cable packages, so obviously cable prices are now more expensive than ever in retaliation.

Please don't do anything more to increase internet pricing, because that's all you will do.

You people pat yourselves on the back for a moral victory, while ignoring the fact that the media companies are spitting at the customers and going against the spirit of the law while grudgingly following the letter of the law and passing all costs down to the consumer, and you don't even care or acknowledge this.

These companies fear you less than a teenager fears a mall security guard, and you have about as much power.

CRTC is a **** organization that does nothing to help Canadians.

Xedd82 2 points Tue Sep 27 18:52:01 2016 UTC  (0 children)

  1. There is no benefit to differential pricing. It is a cash grab for the Oligopoly that currently controls Canada's access to the internet.

  2. My concern is that the CRTC is even considering allowing it to happen.

  3. There is no benefit. Regulate the practice and do not allow it to happen.

  4. Step in and make the internet open to everyone. Remove data caps. Remove the ability for the ISP's to create a tiered service. There is no need for this ridiculous system.

zebkai 2 points Tue Sep 27 19:14:21 2016 UTC  (0 children)

Q: What do you think are the benefits of differential pricing? A: None for consumers except possibly a break on artificially inflated data prices and data caps. Plenty for oligarchical telcos who want to turn the dream of the Internet into an over-commercialized balkanized nightmare run strictly for profit to the detriment of Canadian consumers and technology startups who cant' afford their fees. And you can be sure that not too far down this road the telcos will remove any cost benefit to consumers. These price breaks are a trojan horse meant to destroy net neutrality.

Q: Do you have any concerns about differential pricing? A: Yes, it destroys net neutrality and heads down the road towards the "cable-ization" of the Internet.

Q: Do these concerns outweigh the benefits and, if so, are they significant enough to justify us stepping in and regulating the practices? A: Yes, the telco oligopoly in Canada has already brought us to the point where we have some of the most expensive and poorest performing internet services in the developed world. If you let them they will balkanize the Internet and monetize it to the detriment of Canadian consumers and businesses and organizations.

Q: Or should we let the home (wireline), and mobile (wireless) service providers decide? If we should step in, how should we regulate it? A: Absolutely not. Given free reign the telcos would destroy the Internet to maximize their own monetary gain, which is their natural purpose. The only regulation you should enforce would simply and absolutely compel the telcos to be neutral common carriers who treat all data identically. Give them a regulatory regime this too complicated and they will weasel and nitpick their way to want they want.

overlycritical 2 points Tue Sep 27 19:29:32 2016 UTC  (0 children)

I'm a co-founder of a startup in the "innovation economy". We are in the Accelerator Centre in Waterloo, ON, and a member of Communitech.

Having Canadians have easy access to Internet services, particularly our innovative products, is vital to our success. Differential pricing and data caps in general reduce our ability to bring our products to market locally. Canadians already have a lower than average (in NA) adoption rate of new technology.

The various levels of government see great value in the innovation economy and provision money, in many different ways, to support it. It would be great to see the CRTC get in alignment and make decisions that help drive innovation in Canada.

Go beyond differential pricing and eliminate data caps entirely. 99% of Canadian tech businesses (not to mention consumers) will thank you.

Magneon 2 points Tue Sep 27 19:39:56 2016 UTC  (0 children)

  1. In the short term some users might benefit.

  2. I would prefer an open internet where everyone is on a level playing field. In the long run differential pricing further swings power into the hands of incumbent corporations and represents a barrier to innovation and new market players on the internet.

  3. The detriments far outweigh any perceived benefits. I don't trust wireless or wire-line providers to be impartial in this area since most of them provide their own video streaming or television services. I believe the entire point of differential pricing is to allow the telecom giants a monopolistic edge to their own products.

  4. Regulation should be very clear cut: there should be no differential pricing. It would allow powerful companies to overwhelm small startups and destroy one of the best features of the internet. How could a new youtube competitor hope to compete if users are charged more for accessing the new site than youtube (for example)?

Furthermore, with the exception of emergency services and (in the case of cellular) possibly phone access quality of service, internet service pricing should be entirely agnostic to the content being sent, and the amount of content being sent (especially for wire-line).

As a PEng with a degree in Computer Engineering, it's extremely frustrating to be charged hundreds of times the wholesale price for additional "data usage" above my connection fees that already cover my bandwidth. In my plan 30mbit is my downlink bandwidth, 300GB is a made up limit designed to extract profit. Bandwidth caps do nothing to change peak usage congestion, and the actual bandwidth costs on my connection make up at most a single digit percentage of the fee I'm being charged.

I'm also tired of companies trying to label high data users things like "pirates", "internet hogs", and people using more than their "fair share". I pay for a 30mbit connection. That's not even remotely the highest tier available, but it's enough for my family of four. I watch netflix, youtube, and twitch.tv gaming streams. We talk to our extended family on skype. My wife watches netflix and youtube, my kids watch netflix and youtube. My family members play PC video games, and it's not uncommon for a new game or even an update to be 5-15GB. Our family internet usage hovers between 500GB and 800GB per month.

That's not unusual for a young, modern and tech literate family. It will increasingly be the norm. The days from the 90s are gone when all families huddle around their cable TV and watch shows at a predefined time, sit through 30% advertisement content, and use the internet for only email, banking and news. These days Facebook has live video streaming, skype video chat is so easy to use than my grandparents can use it without issue.

ncrdrg 2 points Tue Sep 27 19:50:16 2016 UTC  (0 children)

Le zero-rating, c'est simplement la deuxième étape afin d'éliminer toute compétition du marché.

À priori, on le sait tous, les limites de bande passante ne servent pas à offrir un meilleur service, ça sert à se faire plus d'argent et protéger leur service de cable et prévenir l'adoption de services compétiteurs sur Internet comme Netflix/Amazon Prime, etc...

Le zero-rating, c'est arrivé après qu'ils ont en le temps de créer également leur propres services de vidéo internet. Les compagnies Internet ne veulent évidemment s'imposer les limites qu'ils ont mises sur tous les autres compétiteurs, donc ils offrent un bandaid après avoir crée la blessure eux-mêmes. C'est ça la réalité. Ils se servent de leur intégration verticale pour monopoliser le marché et empêcher une juste compétition pour les nouvelles compagnies.

Abolir le zero-rating, c'est seulement traiter le symptôme. Ce qu'il faut, c'est abolir les limites de bande passante. C'est honteux de voir ces grosses compagnies prendre des mesures pour freiner toute compétition sur Internet pour protéger leur service TV et ensuite s'en exempter pour favoriser leur service de vidéo Internet. Franchement, l'intégration verticale devrait également être abolie à cause des torts que ça cause au niveau de la compétition dans le marché mais il faut être réaliste, ça ne se fera jamais. L'abolition des limites de bande passante, ça, c'est réalisable et le CRTC doit s'y attaquer de plein front.

vellathewench 2 points Tue Sep 27 19:54:44 2016 UTC  (0 children)
(note: offensive term(s) have been replaced by asterisks)

I don't even understand how you even need to ask our opinions on differential pricing. Why should it be legal for companies to make all kinds of backdoor agreements so they can sell their service to us at a lower price, while all the companies who can't or won't deal get left out in the dark? How is that fair to anyone? The internet is supposed to be an open area with no policing or content, at least in a free country. So why should any Canadian company be allowed to say, hey, watch this and we won't make you pay for data, but don't watch our competitors, or we'll charge you up the *** for data.

Data caps are already unfair. In this day of advanced graphics and so many areas of our lives being involved online to make our lives easier, why are there data caps? Back in the day there was no such thing, back when the internet was new and they were supposedly building the infrastructure. But now, they built it and yet they want to charge us now? Why? Greed, that's why. We do so many things online now, and so many companies only deal online now, instead of through mail or in person, so of course they want to charge us for data now, so they can make a ton of money of us since we have almost no choice. If you can't see how that works, then chances are you are receiving some kind of money from these people to believe these caps are necessary. What happens when most government stuff or just employment opportunities are online? What happens to the unfortunate who can't pay the bloated internet prices we have right now? And why exactly in a country such as ours, do we have such high prices to begin with? Because there is no competition, just collusion from the biggest companies. And who suffers? Everyone who ever needs to pay for internet. Something that is quickly becoming too important in everyone's lives. Especially for wired internet. I get having some data caps on phone data, but the amount you get and pay for is crazy. You don't get to choose how you view stuff on the internt (for the most part), you can't go low resolution just so you don't pay a ton for data. Yet they want to nickel and dime us for every red cent they can squeeze out of our pocketbooks. It's high time the CRTC actually worked for the little guy, the average Canadian. If the big companies can't compete, how is that our fault? Maybe they should be trying to keep customers, maybe improve their services, become innovators, instead of gouging us to make money. Lately all it seems is that they care about getting us to buy more. Well quantity is not quality. And most of the big companies have not given me a reason to want their services. I prefer to stay with a smaller independent company. I don't have to constantly check my home internet bill, because it's always the same. And when they raised the price, only once in 3 years, they sent me a letter well in advance to warn me. My cell phone company is another matter, and they aren't as unreasonable as most, but still the packages could be better.

There is so much more I want to say, but others have said more than enough and I don't want to seem like I'm rambling now. The most important thing for you to remember is, you work for the common people, not for big companies. A fair and open internet with fair prices can only help this country do well in today's world. We need to compete. And right now we aren't doing well in that department. That's what you need to think about.

skywave84 2 points Tue Sep 27 19:57:09 2016 UTC *  (0 children)

1) Differential Pricing only benefits colluding provider pairs, random people who already use one of the services they will happen to dodge data caps with, and savvy individuals who will research and hop services to benefit from the allowance of this practice. (And the latter two[consumers] would benefit even more from disallowing this practice and removing data caps entirely)

2) Differential Pricing allows for predatory and controlling business behavior, legal loophole practices, and is completely unaligned with net neutrality and the progress of our country.

3) They absolutely do. This is evolving territory that desperately needs attention right now.

4) Designate the internet as an essential service with NO DATA CAPS. The internet(via both wireline and wireless) is used for a ridiculously large portion of everyday life. Communication, education, recreation, small business operation, and everything in between. Be a world leader in this matter and set an example. The benefits to the people are profound and obvious!

Let consumers decide what services and apps they use rather than providers controlling them and their usage.

We all want net neutrality and this practice undermines that.

OminousCaptcha 2 points Tue Sep 27 20:06:17 2016 UTC  (0 children)

1. What do you think are the benefits of differential pricing? Differential pricing would benefit those who already have money, power and influence - telecom providers, media companies and advertisers.

2. Do you have any concerns about differential pricing? Differential pricing will limit choices for consumers, stifle creativity and innovation, and silence critics and marginalized voices. It will further trap Canadian consumers in the data cap model. It threatens the neutrality and freedom of the internet.

3. Do these concerns outweigh the benefits and, if so, are they significant enough to justify us stepping in and regulating the practices? Or should we let the home (wireline), and mobile (wireless) service providers decide? Yes, this practice should be regulated.

4. If we should step in, how should we regulate it? Enforce an open and neutral internet, and more transparent business practices of the telecoms.

Treehggr 2 points Tue Sep 27 20:30:16 2016 UTC  (0 children)

There is no benefit to the Canadian public to the practise of zero-rating. It only serves to direct consumers to a specific telecom. I am afraid that if this practise is allowed then it will drastically affect the neutrality of the net as the Telecoms will use it to direct traffic to their sites. There are NO benefits other than to the Telecoms so this practise should be outright banned with heavy fines if practised.

Kiaskards 2 points Tue Sep 27 20:34:50 2016 UTC  (0 children)

Because of these huge companies controlling everything that affects my life, there is nothing left at the end of the day to pay for all the prices and the continued hikes they force on the likes of people in my class. I am on a pension, and trust me the only thing that does not go up as fast as the increases is my pension. Enough with the data caps, hugely UNFAIR, and we MUST uphold net neutrality. As to how this should be done - that is not something I can comment on as I am not qualified, but it MUST be for ALL Canadians, not just the chosen few.

eronanke 2 points Tue Sep 27 20:46:56 2016 UTC  (0 children)

  • The government should protect Net Neutrality.
  • Consumers of Canada should not be manipulated into abandoning Net Neutrality in favor of lower prices.
  • The CRTC has to make sure that pricing is fair under those conditions and that there is competition in the Canadian telecom marketplace.

Differential Pricing is step one towards a hierarchical internet, where the poor lose because they can't afford the bandwidth needed to access the entire internet. It's penalizing them and rewarding no one.

daveb416 2 points Tue Sep 27 20:48:34 2016 UTC  (0 children)

I am not a power user. In spite of that, I have to visit Starbucks and free wi-fi restaurants so I don't have issues.

When I was young, and our family only took home $50 a week, the Bell Telephone Company charged $1.16 a minute for direct dial long distance calling to the United States (before discounts). Our take home pay is around 5x bigger, but that same long distance call costs 2c a minute if you use a calling card.

Internet providers need the same shift. I get Internet service ads in my apartment for a big sale, a price of $80 a month with data caps. This is robbery.

We call on the government to help when robbery is in progress.

Please step in, and prevent this two-tier system. The large corporate internet services are on public record for their wanton disregard for the consumers they sell to.

Canadians are people. People need air, water, electical power and communications. We live in a time where cellular data and internet data are often requirements for other things we do. We shouldn't be hostages, nor be bullied into paying tribute.

We see the prices and services other countries. We're not blind to this. The CRTC must provide equitable data services for Canada.

Please.

Twisted_Knight 2 points Tue Sep 27 20:51:58 2016 UTC  (0 children)

I only want to voice one thing, and that one thing echoes what many Canadians have already said: we pay too much for our internet and cellphones. We are one of the most expensive countries in the world, and there's absolutely no reason for that. Smaller companies need to be able to enter this industry to allow for competition. This monopoly has always been skirting the line of legality, and it needs to stop. A monopoly means that telecomms can treat us any way they like because they know we can't go anywhere else. We're treated like garbage, our money siphoned from us, and the rest of the world is laughing at us. If the CRTC can do anything at all, do it. Canadians are what keep this country going, not telecomms.

Fraserstreet 2 points Tue Sep 27 20:56:41 2016 UTC  (0 children)

Net neutrality for all.

Differential pricing (or zero-rating) is not helpful. Especially when ulterior motives are deceptively glazed over with unhelpful tag words.

Make the internet free, cheaper and fair for all to access. The internet is a human right not a corporate right.

haveyouseenthe Ontario 2 points Tue Sep 27 21:21:12 2016 UTC  (0 children)

First of all, thank you for bringing us the opportunity to openly participate in this debate. I'm hoping you keep doing this more often.

What do you think are the benefits of differential pricing?

The ONLY way I see differential pricing working is if we let the CONSUMER choose which service or services can use the feature. I'd like to have no data caps on YouTube for example, but that's only myself. Unfortunately, I don't see this being implemented ever. I have very little trust in our canadian broadcasters to let something like that happen. So at the end of the day it's best to stick without differential pricing.

Do you have any concerns about differential pricing?

If unregulated, it will only benefit the providers, not the users (in the big picture) what would stop Rogers from letting* Shomi* without data caps, and leaving Netflix within those data caps? It would basically force consumers to use their product in their monopoly. It will also stop Canadian entrepreneurs from getting into the market. Who would even care about a new messaging app, when differential pricing benefits only one or two apps in particular? There's no room for healthy competition.

Do these concerns outweigh the benefits and, if so, are they significant enough to justify us stepping in and regulating the practices? Or should we let the home (wireline), and mobile (wireless) service providers decide?

Yes, they're very concerning. It just shouldn't happen at all. If we let the providers decide they'll ONLY look for their own benefit, not the benefit of Canadians.

If we should step in, how should we regulate it?

The only regulation should be not letting it happen. Not when the internet is an open space where everybody is equal to participate and join.

Folcon 2 points Tue Sep 27 21:30:45 2016 UTC  (0 children)

I arrived late, so the points I wanted to make have already been said by others, and more eloquently than I could have.

So just wanted to comment and add another name and voice to the pile of comments supporting net neutrality, the end of data caps, and the idea of the internet as a public service and basic human right.

ibisolutions 2 points Tue Sep 27 22:12:08 2016 UTC  (0 children)

Differential pricing limits choice. It stifles competition and innovation on the Internet: the next Reddit or Twitter could never get started in a world with zero-rating. The Internet should be a level playing field for innovative new ideas. Differential pricing is poison!

srakken 2 points Tue Sep 27 22:53:42 2016 UTC *  (0 children)

What do you think are the benefits of differential pricing?

Absolutely no benefit to the average consumer!! If anything it will stifle competition in the online marketplace by making it more difficult for small players to compete. This clearly with work out disproportionately well for incumbent Telco who already have their own streaming services and control the datacaps.

Do you have any concerns about differential pricing?

Yes. I have many concerns about differential pricing. It is extremely anti-competitive. This clearly has a huge advantage to the incumbent ISP who already control bandwidth fees, data caps. Frankly I fail to see how the Telecommunication companies haven't been forced to break up a long time ago. It boggles my mind that the ISP can control the gateway to the Internet, impose whatever fees, bandwidth caps they like while at the same time offering streaming and multimedia services. What are they going to do charge themselves bandwidth/sponsor fees?!

Differential pricing will lead to a two tiered internet which will make it extremely difficult for entrepreneurs to get a start. When large telco and corporations are providing content without caps it will clearly steer people away from sites that will cause them to be charged bandwidth fees. This will have a direct impact on Canadians ability to compete world wide.

Do these concerns outweigh the benefits and, if so, are they significant enough to justify us stepping in and regulating the practices? Or should we let the home (wireline), and mobile (wireless) service providers decide?

No tangible benefits exist for consumers, this is clearly anti-competitive and unfair. The CRTC must intervene. The service providers should not be allowed to decide.

If we should step in, how should we regulate it?

Do not allow differential pricing PERIOD. Enforce net neutrality. Take things one step further and eliminate bandwidth fees and caps as they are unreasonable.

ibisolutions 2 points Tue Sep 27 22:55:26 2016 UTC  (0 children)

Telecom providers should not be permitted to zero-rate data, making websites they don't like (or get revenue from) more expensive to access. It is just wrong to think about letting ISPs artificially pick the online winners and losers. Users should choose! Data caps are fundamental to this, and they should also be removed. Canada is one of the most backward of the developed nations for low data caps and high priced internet access. This needs to be fixed, but zero rating will only make things worse.

philippemercure 2 points Tue Sep 27 23:33:53 2016 UTC  (0 children)

I would really like the data cap to be gone from all Canadian Wireless company, I'm currently easily reaching my 6 GB internet on my iPhone every month, without any option to have an unlimited bandwidth and with stupid rules like having a max over cap price that they can charge you and not being able to just stop if you reach your data cap. It already happen to me to pay for a full month in overcharge of data cap because I didn't received any alert that I had reach my data cap. This need to be fixed.

Axeman2063 2 points Tue Sep 27 23:56:08 2016 UTC  (0 children)

There really is no benefit to differential pricing. It effectively nullifies net neutrality. And the concerns and potential for abuse, in my opinion, make it absolutely critical the CRTC step in and regulate. The Internet, at one time, was a luxury. Today it is a critical part of day to day life. Even something as simple as looking for work basically requires an Internet connection, as many companies don't accept in person applications. It needs to be regulated as a utility, and with open, unfettered access to all content equally and fairly. To do otherwise opens the door for corporate abuse that can and unquestionably WILL happen.

punkfiveo 2 points Wed Sep 28 00:03:37 2016 UTC  (0 children)

  1. What do you think are the benefits of differential pricing?

To the consumer, none. This is strictly a way for ISPs to make revenue-generating deals with large websites. ISPs will no doubt lower data caps as a result of this, wiping out any gains that the consumer would have been given. There are zero benefits to the consumer.

  1. Do you have any concerns about differential pricing?

Yeah, by allowing this you allow corporations to dictate content, and to get money from the big players. It gives them an excuse to lower data caps (which are already measly), and doesn't make the internet any freer. It makes certain 'types' of internet better than others, which doesn't reflect reality at all. 1 MB of data is 1 MB of data. It doesn't matter what is in those megabytes, only that it was delivered.

  1. Do these concerns outweigh the benefits and, if so, are they significant enough to justify us stepping in and regulating the practices? Or should we let the home (wireline), and mobile (wireless) service providers decide?

Yes, they outweigh the benefits by far..seeing as there is no benefit. Yes, absolutely the government should step in. This is something that telcos are doing to make more money, otherwise they wouldn't do it...simple as that.

  1. If we should step in, how should we regulate it?

Ban the practice entirely. The internet is an electrical signal. The telcos are trying to profit from saying it's something different when it's not.

RDOmega Manitoba 2 points Wed Sep 28 00:12:51 2016 UTC *  (0 children)

Thank you to the CRTC for the opportunity to respond. I would like to note that I am a technology expert with experience producing software and multi-node deployments targeting data centres. I also have past experience with the installation and support of payment systems and retail point of sale for some of Canadas largest retailers and small grocery chains.

As such, my skills require me to to be both familiar with the concepts of and quick to analyze computer networking systems.

What do you think are the benefits of differential pricing?

Holistically, none. Unfortunately, the marketing language used to describe differential pricing to consumers is deliberately vague. A differential pricing option misleadingly presents as a positive offering in sales materials, but sits on top of several false dilemmas. Most of which center around convincing governement, regulators and Canadians that bandwidth is always in a state of crisis.

Do you have any concerns about differential pricing?

The idea of differential pricing is highly troubling. Not only as a concept, but also given that we as a nation are struggling to understand the deceptions it builds on top of. The main concern I have is that differential pricing is by definition biased. With differential pricing, we are making a list of who is to benefit which means the default then becomes to disregard.
If the idea of a two-tiered system has just entered your head while reading that, you would be correct! Implementation of differential pricing is tantamount to saying "by default, you will have a second rate experience".

There is no way a system like that could be effectively managed without perverting the fundamental nature of the internet which is built on the free exchange of information. To allow differential pricing is to centralize power over whatever segments of the system pass through any provider. This could even have implications for data that doesn't even belong to their subscribers. Keep in mind, the internet does not technically have political boundaries.

Looking deeper into things, I see no point entering into further discussion regarding the potential impact on the overall network because the strain any differential pricing solution seeks to address does not exist in the first place.

Canadians and the CRTC are being lured into a discussion where anything but the flat out prohibition of differential pricing is inherently a political appeasement.

Do these concerns outweigh the benefits and, if so, are they significant enough to justify us stepping in and regulating the practices? Or should we let the home (wireline), and mobile (wireless) service providers decide?

Given that I and any other technically knowledgable Canadian refute the need for differential pricing, yes, regulation is required.

It is obvious that the CRTC needs to set hard regulations with severe penalties. The fundamental rule CRTC needs to adopt is: Never let the service providers decide. Ever. Bell has already been found in the past to misrepresent costs in disclosures provided to the CRTC to inflate numbers for pity. Think: $16 orange juice.

There is no precedent to show that incumbents will do anything but attempt to claw back and fracture services to extort Canadians for something they were already paying less for. Canada is stuck in a marketing and lobbying twilight zone where the incumbent providers apply their vast resources to put as much static on the line as they can to manipulate the market.

If we should step in, how should we regulate it?

  • Ban data caps of any kind, any internet access in Canada must always be unlimited
  • Ban the practice of bandwidth reduction (reduced data rates after a certain amount of data transferred)
  • Realign the national understanding of the term "bandwidth" which correctly defined simplifies down to "potential for transmission". Not "data transmitted over a billing period".
  • Enforce net neutrality
  • Establish a national internet service provider to set the pace for service quality and price
  • Bring massive penalties against the executives and shareholders of companies in violation of the above

    Each of the solutions above directly addresses the topic of differential pricing by focusing not on false symptoms, but by eliminating the platform of misinformation incumbents exploit continuously.

elementelrage Alberta 2 points Wed Sep 28 00:26:45 2016 UTC  (0 children)

While it is an American article, I still think its valid and a good read. http://broadbandnow.com/report/much-data-really-cost-isps/ My opinion on this is that I'm not quite sure how to feel. Full disclosure, I am a Telus shareholder and I do love me some of those dividends. I also have Telus for internet and cellular. FTTH 150mb/s up and down.

But I am concerned that my parents in Ontario are not able to get reliable internet that has even a "modest" cap above 40g/month for less than about $80. They had to go though xplorenet to get even that. And although there is hardwired internet one concession over, the "node was full". I thought that there was a push to provide internet to rural areas (this is in the Bancroft area) for a reasonable cost. /rant

I have also worked for Shaw internet and feel it is mostly a matter of not enough competition available to lower the costs and making the market competitive. It seems like there should be a way to lower the barrier of entry to enable more ISP's to enter the market.

JMJimmy 2 points Wed Sep 28 00:38:49 2016 UTC  (0 children)

I think zero rating is a recipe for disaster. It's terrible that you allow it to continue with text messaging let alone even consider the idea for the broader internet landscape. ISPs should not only be barred from any sort of preferential pricing scheme but they should be forced to split their ISP business and their content business. There are simply too many ways that they can disadvantage competition.

What do you think are the benefits of differential pricing? - Zero. None. Differential pricing is just another form of monopoly whereby the common carrier either uses their infrastructure in an anti-competitive manner or they sell the access to the differential pricing monopoly to the highest bidder. The perceived benefits are that X user will get Y for less or zero because of differential pricing but that is a false logic. As was seen with Shomi/CraveTV, as soon as a stop was put on zero rating, data caps immediately started to increase. Meaning that the incumbents where hording capacity knowing that they would be introducing this product and need the bandwidth to support it. That exemplifies that consumers will get the bandwidth they need, regardless of a ban on differential pricing. Such a ban means that the incumbents are on a more level playing field with everyone else in the market. It also means consumers can use this new "found" bandwidth for the product of their choosing and not a product of the providers choosing.

Do you have any concerns about differential pricing? - HUGE concerns. From small businesses unable to compete in such a market to the ability of incumbents to create "media packages" that other ISPs could not provide since at the end of the day, they have to pay the incumbents which means zero rating is doubly costly to them.

Do these concerns outweigh the benefits and, if so, are they significant enough to justify us stepping in and regulating the practices? Or should we let the home (wireline), and mobile (wireless) service providers decide? - Yes the concerns outweigh the benefits, there are no benefits only significant concerns. The concerns are so significant that behind DPI and "traffic shaping", differential pricing ranks as one of my largest fears for the Canadian internet.

If we should step in, how should we regulate it? - You should not just regulate the practice, you should ban it entirely. No exceptions.

wireframe88 [🍰] 2 points Wed Sep 28 02:08:20 2016 UTC  (0 children)

I have nothing new to say that hasn't already been said. Like all the others, I see no benefit from introducing differential pricing. The CRTC should step in and enforce a common carrier model and end data caps. Canadians need open Internet access to compete in the modern economy and that is only going to become more important in the future.

cyberqguy 2 points Wed Sep 28 02:35:31 2016 UTC  (0 children)

  1. Differential pricing (or zero-rating) seriously limits choice and stifles competition on the Internet: the next Reddit or Twitter could never get off the ground in a world with zero-rating.
  2. Canadians are trapped by data caps: For wired Internet, data caps in most of the world are unheard of. For wireless, caps in other nations are far more reasonable than those in Canada.
  3. There is no such thing as “too much Internet,” given how essential online access has become to our everyday lives. If we don't tackle this now, Canada will fall even further behind.
  4. Users, not telecom companies, should decide which services we use online: Telecom giants should not be permitted to zero-rate data, and make websites they don't like more expensive to access.
  5. We need transparency and strong enforcement to ensure telcos stick by the rules, and face penalties when those rules are broken.

nomady 2 points Wed Sep 28 10:24:03 2016 UTC  (0 children)

What do you think are the benefits of differential pricing?

Large telecom companies would make more money.

Do you have any concerns about differential pricing?

Differential pricing would result in a less competitive environment for smaller companies trying to compete on the internet. It would be like create a separate high quality road system that only the biggest companies could use.

If we should step in, how should we regulate it?

They should not be allowed to do it.

Additional comments

Canada is one of the few countries in the world where data is not unlimited. Cambodia, and pretty much every country in Asia provides higher quality data plans than our telecom companies. With the internet becoming central to everything, we as a developed country should not have less access to data than a developing country. Much of their profits are a direct result of tax payer subsidization in infrastructure. They should be forced into a situation where they need to utilize their large profits to improve Canada, not figure out better ways to charge us more money. I personally feel let down by the CRTC after travelling the world, how is Canada lagging behind developing countries when it comes to internet access?

atmx093 2 points Wed Sep 28 13:26:03 2016 UTC  (0 children)

What do you think are the benefits of differential pricing?

There are short term benefits to customers because they pay less, but this ultimately comes at the cost of reduced competition and increased prices due to a newly created scarcity.

Do you have any concerns about differential pricing?

I think all data should be treated the same, because differential pricing gives an unfair advantage to a particular service. It effectively strenghtens the incumbents' chokehold on the market by hurting competitors that offer similar services.

Do these concerns outweigh the benefits and, if so, are they significant enough to justify us stepping in and regulating the practices? Or should we let the home (wireline), and mobile (wireless) service providers decide?

The service providers can't be allowed to self-regulate, because whatever they decide to do is always to their own advantage. Differential pricing is almost always offered for a service that is hosted by the same service provider which stifles competition. Fostering a healthy and competitive marketplace is even less than an afterthought for them and this can easily be seen by looking at how much we pay for wired and wireless services compared to other modern nations where providers actually compete instead of colluding. The CRTC must be there to promote free enterprise.

If we should step in, how should we regulate it?

All data should be equal and no particular service should be given an unfair advantage over competitors. Data caps should also be heavily scrutinized. If they are able to offer differential pricing, then what's stopping them from being a lot more generous on overall data packages both for wired and wireless services? Whether the data comes from the differentially priced service or any other service, the cost for that data is the same.

Senkrad68 2 points Wed Sep 28 14:25:01 2016 UTC  (0 children)

What do you think are the benefits of differential pricing? I don't see any benefit except to the internet provider company. They charge the user for access. They charge the content provider for special access. The users who don't use the services that have paid use up their cap faster

Do you have any concerns about differential pricing? I think the internet needs to be free (as in speech) and equal. As soon as tiers appear it opens up concerns of equal access, restrictions, limited choices, etc

Do these concerns outweigh the benefits and, if so, are they significant enough to justify us stepping in and regulating the practices? Or should we let the home (wireline), and mobile (wireless) service providers decide? The concerns absolutely outweigh the benefits, especially as the only benefits I see are for the internet provider company. They need to not be able to do it, in any way, shape or form.

If we should step in, how should we regulate it? Not an easy question to answer, and I am not sure what the answer is. The internet companies should not be allowed to do this in any way, shape, or form. Elimination of data caps might be enough to remove incentive, but I am sure they will try to find something else.

Dee2866 2 points Wed Sep 28 16:47:00 2016 UTC  (0 children)

There are no benefits for the general public, with the exception of very light users of the internet. The benefits for corporations, as usual, are greater profits. No need to complicate things more than that.

The concern here is that we will be less competitive with other countries, as well as gouging the general public. Internet services should be treated as a regular utility, with access that is affordable and easily accessible. This will also put a choke hold on smaller start ups attempting to get going and strangle the free market economy.

No private company should have the right to determine access to or the content of what is seen on the internet, period.

No private company can be trusted to regulate themselves regarding this issue, as the loss in profits due to greater access to the internet IS the motivation behind the desire to throttle, restrict and/or charge outrageous amounts for data, by the current ISPs. This is an issue that needs to be resolved once and for all, and that does NOT mean that the CRTC allows private corporations to dictate their own terms to the detriment of Canadians. Nor does it mean that the CRTC decides what is "fair" for Canadians to have access to, or pay for access to the internet, It belongs to the people, and should stay that way.

GoodRedd 2 points Wed Sep 28 16:56:31 2016 UTC  (0 children)

Omg, I can't format this on mobile. I'm so sorry!

As many of the above comments state, I'll try to be clear and constructive .n 1. What do you think are the benefits of differential pricing? Differential pricing is not good. There is a problem with the industry and this covers the symptom, which is CURRENTLY that people don't want to be charged excessive overages. But the actual problem is that there is no competition AND no regulation on pricing of services. One of those two is necessary, in my opinion! "Either play nicely OR we'll make you play nice!" <- any parents on the room? . Anyone that is educated knows that the rates here in BC are nonsense. Just compare them to areas with competition, like Saskatchewan. . . 2. Do you have any concerns about differential pricing? My concern is that it won't fix anything, and will cover up the symptom, which actually makes it WORSE. This is like taking Tylenol or morphine for cancer. It may not bother you anymore, but there's still a problem. . . 3. Do these concerns outweigh the benefits and, if so, are they significant enough to justify us stepping in and regulating the practices? Or should we let the home (wireline), and mobile (wireless) service providers decide? As I stated above, it's your job as regulator (parent) to let them compete, and watch from the sidelines. The park bench. They are NOT competing (at least in BC), which means they need parenting. It is not acceptable to let them decide on their own. They will choose profit every time. In fact, that is their prerogative, it would be a problem if they didn't! . . 4. If we should step in, how should we regulate it? See above. It's difficult to enforce competition, when price matching is so profitable for them. However Saskatchewan and Manitoba do well. I would suggest some kind of incentive or tax benefit, or startup assistance for a small player in the market. But otherwise, capping profits from overages even at 1000% (60¢/GB instead of $5) would be a good start.

I know, at some point people scream "socialism!" But if the kids won't play nice, someone needs to keep the playground civil.

MWD_Dave 2 points Wed Sep 28 17:09:56 2016 UTC * (gilded) (0 children)

Questions: We need your opinion about differential pricing:

  • What do you think are the benefits of differential pricing?

    The benefits are obvious. That certain data features/content can be given preferential treatment. This would allow carriers to violate net neutrality and start giving preference to certain websites/content. With this providers can get work deals as to who is "free data" and who is not. They can then be paid on the front end from content providers and then paid on the back end through subscribers via plans that utilize this content or through overages/larger data plans for the subscribers that have other interests. The content providers would love this. (Bell/Telus/Shaw/Rogers)

  • Do you have any concerns about differential pricing?

    All of the above but from a reverse perspective. Average Canadians already pay much more than the average for cellular and internet data. This would only embolden the larger providers to further gouge the average citizen. If the previous sentence may sound embittered, that's because it is. Let's look at couple examples:

    If you're a Koodo (Telus) customer in Saskatchewan you can get 5GB of Data, Unlimited Canada Wide Calls + Texts for $48/month. But if you're in a province like Alberta those same features with the exact same company will cost you $90/month. How does a province with a MUCH HIGHER population density end of paying almost 2x as much for the same wireless product?

    Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that Saskatchewan actually has a 4th player who provides actual competition? How the heck is that even legal that BC, AB and ONT are allowed to be ravaged so dramatically by such obvious anti-competitive oligopoly collusion? Perhaps if wireless services were allowed to be treated the same as internet with wholesale services purchases available we wouldn't have such a ridiculous amount of companies owned by the same 3 companies? Rogers (Fido, Chatr) Bell (Virgin, MTS) and Telus (Koodo and Public Mobile) are so obviously anti-competitive it's ridiculous.

    This is fairly obvious in our home internet providers as well. In my own city Edmonton for a fairly standard 5mbps up and 30 down with 300GB/month data cap:

Telus: $73

Shaw: $75

TekSavvy (A wholesale internet re seller): $45

Yep, nothing to see there either I suppose.

  • Should we step in? If we should step in, how should we regulate it?

    YES!!!! I don't know how you can't look at the above examples and not see corruption and collusion. For myself, that was just from a quick 1/2 hour of quick searching online. Just imagine what one could discover if it was their job to keep Internet and Wireless providers from taking advantage of the average Canadian?

    Regarding net neutrality. Yes, step in. Yes regulate it. Here's a simple rule: don't let data providers allow for exemptions under any circumstances. That would mean no free TV/movies/websites for special provider approved content. Net neutrality is an important principle. Stand by it.

    Make the providers increase data caps (without upping their revenue), or failing that, force them to actually complete with each other. Don't let them get away with blatant collusion that is currently occurring. Maybe then we'd see increased data caps (or even unlimited data) for less money occurring through natural competition.

Edit: Thanks for the gold kind stranger!

marpincan 2 points Wed Sep 28 19:47:10 2016 UTC  (0 children)

is this the slippery slope that will soon go from exempting charges to different charges for different data???most Canadians do not believe that big telco in Canada can be trusted and that the CRTC can properly monitor big telco and make big telco treat Canadians fairly. Net neutrality is a must that can not be compromised in anyway. their are no benefits to differential pricing - big telco will just use it to disadvantage users and line their pockets.

wmcduff 2 points Wed Sep 28 19:49:40 2016 UTC  (0 children)

1) The benefits to zero-rating seem something that benefits the ISPs more than consumers. Companies pay the ISPs to provide their content for cheaper, and consumers get free access to it.

2) Zero-rating benefits incumbents, as a new company with progressive ideas is unlikely to have the funds to get zero-rating, making it's content second class. Also, it discourages ISP from raising data caps, as they will make money from companies paying for zero-rating.

3) Yes, this needs regulating.

4) Ideally, parliament would pass a law banning the practice of zero-rating. A bit should be a bit, no matter what content it is part of. Barring that, the CRTC should look as unfavourably at zero-rating as possible.

RCC42 British Columbia 2 points Wed Sep 28 20:14:04 2016 UTC  (0 children)

Special exemptions for one service over another in this way of differential pricing is a slippery slope of a devious kind. The internet is becoming so important to remaining connected and engaged with society that the discussion should really be about what approach we should be using to transition ISPs into a utility like water or electricity.

And I won't accept the argument that the internet is somehow special or different or otherwise exempt from being considered a utility. Electricity is a utility but you don't strictly need it to survive (unlike water), but if you don't have electricity you are living in an entirely different world than those with it. Same goes for those with and without internet access.

Make it a utility, anything else isn't really an acceptable discussion.

Weathercock 2 points Wed Sep 28 20:29:06 2016 UTC *  (0 children)

What do you think are the benefits of differential pricing?

As a consumer, I see no long-term benefits to differential pricing. The advantages serve solely corporate interests at the cost of the well being of consumers.

Do you have any concerns about differential pricing?

Differential pricing, the end of net neutrality, would serve to bring and end towards the internet as a tool with an open and level playing field for free expression, business, and the exchange of ideas. It stacks the deck in favour of the large, dominant telecom companies and their business partners, ultimately adding a price point to the idea of free speech.

Do these concerns outweigh the benefits and, if so, are they significant enough to justify us stepping in and regulating the practices? Or should we let the home (wireline), and mobile (wireless) service providers decide?

These concerns outweigh the complete lack of benefits by a colossal degree, and are more than significant to justify regulation. Time and time again, telecom providers have proven themselves to be completely unfit in working for the benefit of Canadian consumers, and to let them have any sway over something as important as net neutrality would be a severe error in judgement. To let differential pricing pass would be a direct betrayal of the CRTC's duties toward the Canadian public.

If we should step in, how should we regulate it?

Uphold net neutrality; no differential pricing, or differently branded concepts on the same idea. Bring in legislation to ensure that net neutrality is further upheld and never brought into question with silly, exploitative ideas like this ever again. Bring an end to data caps, they serve no purpose other than to extort money for nothing from consumers, and form a public carrier with truly competitive service and pricing, while also ending the monopoly on networking infrastructure so that smaller providers may actually compete. We deserve to no longer be a third-world country on the internet.

OneDegree 2 points Wed Sep 28 21:55:32 2016 UTC  (0 children)

  1. What do you think are the benefits of differential pricing?

To any entity other than established internet service providers? None whatsoever.

  1. Do you have any concerns about differential pricing?

Monumental concerns. Canada's telecommunications infrastructure is overpriced, slow, and constrains users with data caps. It prevents users on these networks from accessing information services. It prevents the creation of new services that would support employment, generate revenue, and bolster the trade surplus.

Differential pricing can only subsidise first-party services to the detriment of all other services. Aside from this implicitly presupposing that ISP's know better than the consumer which digital services are most valuable to them, this can only exacerbate Canada's lackluster telecommunications services.

  1. Do these concerns outweigh the benefits and, if so, are they significant enough to justify us stepping in and regulating the practices? Or should we let the home (wireline), and mobile (wireless) service providers decide?

These concerns massively outweigh the non-existent benefits. Please step in and shut down this anti-competitve, anti-consumer behaviour immediately.

  1. If we should step in, how should we regulate it?

Similarly to the Chileans:

http://www.leychile.cl/Navegar?idNorma=1016570

Prohibit internet service providers from serving network traffic with a different price or quality of service based on the origin, destination, encryption status, etc.

astroNerf Ontario 2 points Wed Sep 28 23:58:01 2016 UTC  (0 children)

What do you think are the benefits of differential pricing?

For consumers: no benefits that I am aware.

For providers: differential pricing allows for greater control of consumer choices, and more opportunities for profit at the expense of consumer freedom.

Traffic on the Internet should not be priced or favoured according to its source or destination.

Do you have any concerns about differential pricing?

Very much so.

Suppose I pay for an online movie streaming service (like Netflix). If I happen to have an Internet Service Provider who offers its own competing movie streaming service, a lack of regulation would allow my ISP to promote its service over those of competitors not based on price or features or quality, but rather by degrading the quality or service of its competitor, or prioritising or charging less for traffic to/from their own service.

A fair analogy would be if your hydro provider sold lightbulbs, and was able to power competitors' lightbulbs a bit less than their own, of if it made it difficult to turn on certain light bulbs in the first place, or powered them in a way that made them flicker. If this same hydro provider charged people 10 cents an hour to run the provider's light bulbs, while charging 20 cents an hour to run competitor light bulbs, this would cause an uproar.

This is why it's critical for the growth and accessibility and openness of a 21st century Internet that ISPs be agnostic about the traffic it transfers.

Do these concerns outweigh the benefits and, if so, are they significant enough to justify us stepping in and regulating the practices? Or should we let the home (wireline), and mobile (wireless) service providers decide?

The Internet should be regulated like a utility. Leaving it up to providers and market forces will not result in net neutrality.

If we should step in, how should we regulate it?

I'd really like to see strong rules that prevent providers from altering the speed of traffic or availability of service based on the source or destination of Internet traffic. It should not be allowed that traffic to or from certain servers is priced differently or throttled.

Prioritising traffic is less of an issue, as some data (eg, VoIP) is time-sensitive whereas other traffic (eg, FTP, bittorrent) is less time-sensitive.

sumofallwars Canada 2 points Thu Sep 29 00:44:05 2016 UTC  (0 children)

Questions: We need your opinion about differential pricing: 1 What do you think are the benefits of differential pricing?

I don't think that there are many benefits for differential pricing.

2 Do you have any concerns about differential pricing?

It only benefits people who are already buying large amounts of media/services. It will also encourage gatekeepers to charge for content that they don't provide while allowing for content they create to be free. I think this is a huge problem for people like me who only use a single service(internet) but are over paying for a substandard service.

3 Do these concerns outweigh the benefits and, if so, are they significant enough to justify us stepping in and regulating the practices? Or should we let the home (wireline), and mobile (wireless) service providers decide?

They do outweigh the benefits by alot. gatekeepers could effectively ban certain types of services like netflix If they allow only their own services to be free of datacaps but place data caps on everything else. They are already doing this with artificially low datacaps.( please for the love of god ban or require larger datacaps for wired internet. there is no technical reason what so ever for such low datacaps. Since they can and do offer unlimited but only if you pay more.) If they complain about traffic tell them to upgrade their infrastructure above demand for once.

4 If we should step in, how should we regulate it?

An outright ban would be my solution. other than that If data caps were no longer an issue than this would not be one either. Data caps are the root of the problem. If you remove data caps and allow for unlimited internet with a soft cap (internet shaping during peak times and only as needed.)

The tech to do this already exists and could be used IF there was an incentive for telecomps to do so.

ApathyLincoln 2 points Thu Sep 29 02:45:52 2016 UTC  (0 children)

I strongly believe that diversification is a good thing in every facet of the economy, and I can clearly see this will end in the opposite. The ISPs have a fair bit of digital content providers under their umbrella, and will use this to increase their dominance of that market - choking out any possible competition and causing the industry to stagnate.

This will squeeze out the smaller providers, leading to the same sort of issues that the telecom industry has in other industries - steadily increasing prices for the same or worse service. Industries such as streaming radio, TV and movies are among the forefront but also social media such as Reddit, facebook, twitter gaming platforms like Steam, Xbox and Playstation - the latter six which would gain a chokehold on their specific industries.

This would no doubt cause harm to the average consumer in the long run - this is why I call for the rejection of this proposition, and instead call for the CRTC to address the issue of data caps in general, optimally through a mandatory unlimited offering with price limitations.

ultrasuperman1001 Ontario 7 points Mon Sep 26 16:05:57 2016 UTC  (1 child)

Thank you for coming to Reddit, I've tried to do the surveys on your website but it's not the most user friendly. As for your questions: 1) On the consumer end its great because (for example) if I wanted to watch YouTube all day I could however this is when number 2 comes into play...

2) We all know any provider is in it for the money and they won't give "free" unlimited access. If they want to make a new price point like $5 extra for unlimited YouTube that's ok with me AS LONG as no other video streaming service is harmed, like YouTube streams as full speed but all others are limited to 50% speed, Or they start doing what Comcast wanted to do and have a "fast lane". So like Bell couldn't offer free YouTube at the expense of YouTube buying a "fast lane". Basically it should be the consumers choice for if they want unlimited video and they should be able to pick what they want unlimited. My other concern is that they may force people to buy these plans or bigger data plans (if they go this route) because they could easily drop the already small data plans to something even smaller then up sell an "unlimited package". For example most plans are on average 1GB-2GB for ~$50-$60/mo which is ok for light streaming but they could introduce a new $10 option for unlimited YouTube then drop the data to 500MB and keep the costs $50-$60 which pretty much means you would need that extra $10 plan for streaming. (of course I use YouTube in my examples but they could be a Netflix plan, a Twitch plan, a Facebook plan, a Google search plan, etc). Another thing to ask is what about ads? will they be part of the plan as well because we all know how YouTube likes doing 30 second non-skippable ads which eat up a fair bit of data and if they aren't part of the unlimited plan then your still going to need a fairly large data plan from the start, and at that point the unlimited package may be pointless.

3) You guys need to be at the helm for this stuff, the big 3 already have a monopoly and if they are given the chance for more money you can bet they will take it. There needs to be a very clear list of rules about what can and cannot be done, we need to protect net neutrality and we can't have these guys strong arming their way to an exclusive deal, like you have you pick Rogers if you want YouTube then Bell gets Netflix and Telus gets Twitch (just to be clear I mean you couldn't get YouTube on Bell because Rogers has the exclusive). If everything is clearly written so its fair for both parties and we can protect net neutrality then I feel this would be a fine option for people who stream stuff. However based on past history between you, the public, and the big 3 I feel there would not be enough legislation and the big 3 would find loop holes, or (what Bell is trying to do now) start suing everything because "it's not fair".

4) I'm not very familiar with how things get regulated but in short YES YOU NEED TO REGULATE IT (if someone wants to give me a tl;dr on regulating things I'm all ears). The big 3 (or any provider) will defiantly take a mile if you give them an inch, so like I said everything needs to be clear on what's allowed and not allowed. I actually feel you guys need more power when it comes to regulating (off topic a bit but I want this out there) the big 3 have had a number of price increases recently and they are all the same price (a bit suspicious isn't it?), they can't give a real reason as to why the prices went up and the same as to why they are the same price, so if they added an unlimited website option that's not regulated in some way, they could easily make an unlimited plan then just slowly raise the price month after month and that would turn into another thing to take money out of the consumers pockets.

AssmunchStarpuncher -2 points Mon Sep 26 21:37:46 2016 UTC  (0 children)

You want a real reason the price went up? Internet traffic is doubling every eight months, this will make the current speed we enjoy impossible. If the big three started building 2 or 3X capacity into their network right now, our need for more capacity by the time they finished would make the upgrade look like a bandaid on an axe wound. Additionally, our populations being spread out rather then built vertically creates a higher cost per km2 than in other countries. Also, knowing that these companies upgrades cost billions, and that their businesses employ upwards of 60,000 Canadians to support it, i think the price for internet is reasonable.

Blindmouseottawa 5 points Mon Sep 26 16:35:56 2016 UTC  (0 children)