My UBB complaint to Canada’s Competition Bureau.

Kudos to a clever reddit user for this rather brilliant idea.

Instead of lodging a general complaint about usage-based billing I thought I’d make mine a bit more personal. Read on to see what I mean…

Complainant’s Information

Last Name: Andrew
First Name: Currie

Title: Blogger
Company Name: Open attitude.

City: Toronto
Province: Ontario
Country: Canada

Web Site:

Company or Person Complained Against

Last Name: von Finckenstein
First Name: Konrad

Title: Chairman
Company Name: CRTC

Street Address: Central Building, 1 Promenade du Portage
City: Gatineau
Postal: J8X 4B1

Province: Quebec
Country: Canada

Contact Phone Number: 819-997-3430
Fax Number: 819-994-0218

Web Site:

Details of Your Complaint

Products and/or services supplied, product name and description:

Usage-based billing (UBB) for Canadian Internet service providers.

Any request examined by the Competition Bureau must fall within the scope of the Acts it enforces. Please identify the Act that applies to your request:

Competition Act

Are you a victim?


If yes, what is your estimated loss (CDN$)?

Up to $60/month, ongoing.

Additional Information:

Would be very interested in knowing the number of ex-Bell and Rogers executives who are currently involved in the CRTC, and also what purpose (if any) the commission serves for the rest of Canada.

… Note that as a Teksavvy cable Internet subscriber I’m not actually affected by UBB, yet. But since Rogers controls the “last mile” of my connection things could change for the worse in very short order.

UBB is bad news for all Canadians. Here’s a fairly exhaustive list of things you can do about it.


  1. Wow. This is pure brilliance. I might just have to do the same thing. Will it do anything? I doubt it. I wrote a letter (not a form letter) to members of parliament and the only person who got back to me several weeks later was Jack Layton with a lengthy press release.

  2. I just got an email from teksavvy saying they are changing their billing policies and my rates will be adjusted accordingly.

    kinda pissed about this.

  3. Great post, Andrew.

    Only a couple of quibbles… I’m a Teksavvy customer too, and I thought their last mile was all Bell, not Rogers (although it may be different out in the styx)

    I’m guessing you’re self hosting since you’ve your own domain name, and since you’ve chosen CC by-sa you’re probably using a non-commercial account. Since you are a creator you may well have underestimated the UBB hit you will take. Because bandwidth isn’t just what *you* use, it’s also consumed by visitors to your blog. Essentially, the more traffic you get the more you will exceed the caps.

    This is one of the things I think will be the greatest tragedy of all… UBB will deprive many Canadians of the voice the Internet has lately given us.

    I know it doesn’t seem they listen, but I think writing or calling your MP as well as Tony Clement and James Moore et al. Our government needs to hear a resounding “No” from Canadians.

    It will be a black day indeed for all of Canada if Usage Based Billing actually gets implemented.

  4. It looks like that day isn’t far off.

    Here’s a snippet from the infamous Teksavvy email making the rounds:

    From March 1 on, users of the up to 5 Mbps packages in Ontario can expect a usage cap of 25GB (60GB in Quebec), substantially down from the 200GB or unlimited deals TekSavvy was able to offer before the CRTC’s decision to impose usage based billing. Future cap changes across the remaining provinces and cable services are expected soon.

    So life will suck for DSL customers first, and cable customers soon after…

  5. Now that the big boys have got even more greedy than before with the UBB scheme perhaps it is time for a real change. I say instead of voting the next government in based on their stance on UBB we make internet in Canada fully government run and non-for profit. I’m really sick of the lies being fed to the public from the telecoms to justify their position. I’d be much more happy if they would just tell the truth- UBB increases profits without adding ANY costs to their systems.

  6. Let’s boycot services from greedy Bell and Rogers and promote the alternatives. We need to give our support to companies like TakSavvy ( which give us better bang-per-buck, and hopefully will also force the duopoly of Bell and Rogers to offer better service/rates – we desperately need a healthy competitive environment in Canada!

    So let’s vote with our wallets – let’s all send a strong message that we are not happy with the status quo and that we demand change now. Let’s not wait for the government, CRTC, or someone else to fix this. Switch providers and start saving your hard-earned money ASAP, and spread the word!

    Also, request the government to dissolve the CRTC at:

  7. Reference number: 544520

    Industry of interest/concern: Cable Television
    Type of message: Complaint
    Your Message: Senior Citizens are on fixed incomes. They are retired. They like to watch TV. They like to watch Turner Classic Movies. My mother is moving into an apartment in East York. I enquired how much it would be for a Bell Bundle (basic phone/basic internet/basic cable + Turner Classic Movie channel). It appears (1) there is no discount for seniors, (2) in order to get TCM, you have to add a movie pack to the basic cable, bringing the cost of the bundle from $70/m, to $105.20/m for the first year, and $133.74/m each year thereafter. Does this really seem reasonable to the CRTC? What are your 70+ parents paying for their services? Canadians are paying astronomical rates and you are making sure are hands are tied. What’s in it for the CRTC, I wonder?

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