UBB Update 6: Bell Backtracks

April 19th, 2011 by Potato

Bell has announced that it’s changing its UBB strategy in light of the fierce opposition (thanks to those of you that wrote your MP and/or the CRTC!). This is clearly not a case where Bell has seen the error of its ways and recanted, but just trying a less bad strategy to game the system to fleece the customers of its competitors. They’re still trying to push through a UBB scheme, but one that allows independents to aggregate their users, which gives them some flexibility on creating their own offering (rather than “white label” Bell retail). Still, it’s a cash grab, with the Globe reporting that fees would be 30 cents/GB — still gouging by about an order of magnitude. It’s not clear if this would replace the tariffs in place, or be an additional charge. As an additional charge, it’s still way too much (though given that the independents pay for their throughput, any UBB charge is too much). As a replacement for the existing tariff, I can’t really say, we’d have to see what the independents have to say on the matter. There’s speculation that Bell did this so that UBB wouldn’t become an election issue, though I have to wonder how it could: all the parties are already against it, which makes for a bit of a boring debate.

Also, Michael Geist had a series of posts on UBB this week, including one where he had some students put together a research report on UBB around the world. He also mentions the lack of linkage between congestion and charges designed to relieve congestion.

What’s the cost per GB? We’ve thrown around figures for the 1-3 cents/GB range, but that involves a fair bit of reverse engineering and some (pretty fair, IMHO) comparisons to US networks. Michael Geist digs up a report from Bell on the cost of bringing broadband to the boonies, and finds that with Bell’s own worst-case numbers for building a rural network from scratch are still less than 8 cents/GB. For the existing, largely urban/suburban network, the 1-3 cents/GB figures floating around are very likely correct.

2 Responses to “UBB Update 6: Bell Backtracks”

  1. Canadian Capitalist Says:

    Bell better wise up. I recently left them after close to a decade and signed up with Teksavvy on hearing all the good feedback on CMF. Bell, naturally, tried to keep me by offering to match Teksavvy but I decided to leave Bell on principle. 300GB sounds really good even though I never come close to using up even Bell’s 25GB limits.

  2. Potato Says:

    I would love nothing more than for this latest gouging attempt to totally backfire and drive customers to their competitors with the publicity :)