Geist on Usage Based Billing and Bandwidth Caps

Blog, Disruption, Les Routledge

On Tuesday, Michael released an article on UBB and bandwidth caps.  He makes the following comments about competition policy related to UBB and caps….

  • The Canadian Competition Bureau has not been active on this file, despite the potential for serious anti-competitive behaviour as the dominant ISPs could use their position to favour their own content (when vertically integrated) or create economic incentives that favour services such as their own video-on-demand over Internet based alternatives (by, for example, counting bandwidth for Internet alternatives against the cap but not the same content offered by VOD).  The Bureau should aggressively investigate abusive behaviour as well as questionable marketing tactics.
  • Where UBB is used, there should be measures to ensure that they are not used for anti-competitive purposes.  For example, there are fears that Bell’s wholesale UBB will be applied to IPTV usage by independent ISPs, but will not be similarly applied to Bell customers.
  • The Internet traffic management practices issues come into play here as well.  The CRTC has been active on the disclosure side, but without active audits of ISP practices, it is virtually impossible to know whether current throttling practices are needed or deployed largely to harm competitors.

Perhaps those are good questions to ask as Bell is seeking permission to acquire controlling interest in CTV.