Tuesday, April 14, 2009

First I've heard of this.

Good thing? Bad thing? Freakish overreaction? I'm not sure what to think.


Ian said...

Support the local ISPs, we are being gouged on internet and data in this country due to lack of competition.

ADHR said...

Granted. But I'm not convinced Bell doesn't have the right to do this.

Catelli said...

This puts Bell at a competitive disadvantage.

Why? Because they have to open their networks and Rogers and Cogeco do not.

Bell is the only provider that has to allow competitors access to their equipment and services. The same has to be done with the other monopolies to level the playing field.

Otherwise its just picking on Bell.

ADHR said...

Would this affect Bell's non-telephone-based services, too? I mean, they have to open up their phonelines, but do they have to open up anything else?

I do agree that Bell shouldn't be put on an uneven playing field with the cable companies. But that only suggests, to my eye, that the cable companies should have to sell access, too.

Catelli said...

Yes, Bell has to provide access to local phone, long distance carriers and ISPs on their services. Three areas where competitors are allowed to use Bell services against them.

The Cable companies are allowed to provide all the same services on their proprietary networks without opening them up. Which is why to compete with Rogers cable, Bell has to provide Satellite TV.

This was supposed to be the quid pro quo for Bell deregulating. The cable providers were supposed to open their networks to 3rd parties after a period of time, and for whatever reason, this never happened.

ADHR said...

So, would a solution be to lean on the CRTC to force the cable companies to live up to their side of the bargain? Or to allow Bell to be as restrictive?

Catelli said...

A solution may be to force Bell to break up into individual companies. Have a infrastructure division that is not allowed to sell service direct to the consumer. It can only resell access to its resources to the end supplier.

Sympatico, Execulink, etc. all would have to negotiate contracts with Bell for access.

This would remove the conflict of interest position Bell finds itself in. However, it does create a infrastructure semi-monopoly. We have that now regardless (Bell still owns most of the communication infrastructure).

Would pricing to the consumer increase? Probably. But at least it would delineate the different responsibilities and put all ISPs that use the Bell infrastructure on a level playing field.

As to the Cable monopolies, I don't know if the same model would work for them. The cabling infrastructure is physically different, and that does lend itself to problems in splitting it up (which may be why it still hasn't happened).

Regardless, the whole Telco setup in this country is a friggin mess. Before people start mouthing off about unfair pricing and bandwidth caps they need to understand how the system works.

ADHR said...

Maybe there's a role for the government here? A public regulatory body and/or Crown corporation that buys up the telephony and cable infrastructure, to ensure fair competition?

I knew that the screed I linked to was uninformed, but I wasn't sure how. ;)