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Bell, Rogers Offer Unlimited Internet Ahead of CRTC Ruling

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In November of 2011 the CRTC ruled against usage-based billing (UBB) for internet (the Harper government stepped in to reverse it), after they initially approved a plan for internet providers to implement UBB. Now, with the CRTC set to rule what smaller independent internet service providers (that purchase bandwidth at wholesale from the likes of Bell and Rogers) will pay for wholesale internet, it is believed prices will eventually drop compared to before.

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Coincidentally prior to the CRTC announcement, both Rogers and Bell are offering promotions for unlimited internet reports the CBC, a change from before when internet bandwidth was capped, with telcos long arguing the latter helped control network congestion. Canada has long been notorious for having some of the highest bandwidth prices in the world.

Rogers and Bell have similar offers where customers with bundles can pay $10/month extra for unlimited bandwidth and those without bundles will be charged $30/month extra. Videotron in Quebec also looks to be jumping into the unlimited internet too for $10/month.

Peter Nowak on these new internet offers:

The image at the top of this post is a pretty clear indictment on the state of internet competition in Canada. Not only are Bell and Rogers offering the exact same service for the exact same price with the exact same limitations, they’re even using the exact same marketing imagery. How sad.

Savvy internet users would be wise to wait until indie ISPs have a chance to digest the CRTC’s ruling before locking into the big guys’ extortionately identical plans. Many indies have continued selling large or unlimited plans during this whole usage-based-billing saga, but this week’s ruling should give them some final clarity on what sort of prices they can offer in the long term. Cheap, affordable internet without a host of limitations looks to be just around the corner.

This isn’t the first time telcos have unveiled new options for consumers prior to CRTC announcements. Just prior to the CRTC proceedings on its draft wireless code, Rogers announced an update to its cellphone unlocking policy.

With consumers consuming so much bandwidth nowadays thanks to YouTube (blame Harlem Shake/Gangnam Style videos) and streaming services such as Netflix, internet usage will continue to increase. What do you think about the state of internet offerings in Canada?

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