Tuesday, March 29, 2011

UBB 2.0

Bell was never going to just quietly give up on forcing usage based billing onto the wholesale ISPs. Their mistake was trying to impose the Bell retail UBB onto the wholesale ISPs, which created a public outcry and turned UBB into a political hot potato. They have learned from that mistake and have made a new proposal which moves the UBB from the wholesaler ISP's retail customers to the ISP itself. The ISP would buy blocks of usage at $200/TB/month and pay overage fees of $0.30/GB/month. Bell calls the new proposal "aggregated volume pricing" (AVP) but it is really UBB 2.0.

On the face of it, AVP looks better as the ISP can be more creative in how it passes the cost on to its customers. However, the pricing is way out of line with how much it actually costs to deliver a TeraByte per month at the wholesale level. Besides, the ISPs already pay Bell to have their data transit GAS and AHSSPI so the new proposal is still double billing for the same service. AVP is still nothing more than a cash grab by Bell.

This proposal is unlikely to get 500,000 people to sign a petition and cause another media stir, as the direct impact on the individual customer is much less obvious. The proposal ensures that the fight is now between Bell and the wholesale ISPs, who unfortunately do not have any influence at the CRTC. I expect the CRTC to rubber stamp UBB 2.0, perhaps with few token concessions to make it look like they were impartial. Bell wins again.

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