Bell, usage based billing, and TekSavvy


in Canada, Economics, Geek stuff, Internet matters, Law, Rants

It seems the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has let the dominant internet service provider (ISP) Bell largely ruin the smaller ISP Teksavvy:

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…

We encourage you to monitor your usage carefully, as the CRTC has imposed a very high overage rate, above your new monthly limit, of $1.90 per gigabyte ($2.35 per gigabyte in Quebec).

Forcing big companies like Bell to lease capacity to companies like Teksavvy seems very smart, as it helps prevent dominant monopolies from forming. Unfortunately, such arrangements don’t have much meaning if you also allow the big company to force their own policies on the smaller companies that are leasing from them.

Consider the case of a customer using 100 GB a month – half of Teksavvy’s previous low cap. Before, they would have paid $44.30 with tax. Under the new rules, they would pay that plus another $142.50 in additional data usage fees.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

. January 29, 2011 at 4:42 pm

Dear TekSavvy Customer,

There are a lot of things going on at TekSavvy that we want to be sure you know about, including the introduction of some exciting new services, and changes to some existing ones.


The TekSavvy voice over Internet (VoIP) service finish line is in sight! We will soon be launching our hot new VoIP service, aggressively priced to allow our customers to save even more with TekSavvy while you benefit from the cutting edge “technology savvy” options you’ve come to expect from us! Great pricing with great features, coming soon!

Usage Based Billing-UBB

As some of you know, the CRTC recently rendered a decision forcing all independent DSL and Cable Internet providers to substantially match incumbent (like Bell) usage rate caps. This will influence all of our internet service packages eventually, but DSL residential customers in Ontario and Quebec first, as of March 1. Along with you, we are not pleased with this, and our view is more fully expressed in our press release which you can find here:

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. Users who were on unlimited package rates will be returned to $31.95 capped rates although larger blocks of bandwidth can be purchased.*

In order to facilitate this transition we have constructed a new easy-to-navigate portal at where our customers can choose from the amended and new packages.
The details of our new rate plans and charges can be found there. You will be able to register using the account information found at the end of this email. More on the portal below. In addition, in order to accommodate these changes, we have amended our Terms of Service, primarily regarding implementation. The amended Terms form part of your Agreement with TekSavvy and can be viewed at

Please note if you do not choose a new service before March 1, 2011, your existing package will be transitioned into an amended package. Existing packages and the ones they will be replaced with in each case can be found at for Ontario and for Quebec.

Content and data like Netflix, YouTube, IPTV, large file downloads or other streaming services can consume large amounts of bandwidth and place your cap limits in jeopardy very quickly. We encourage you to monitor your usage carefully, as the CRTC has imposed a very high overage rate, above your new monthly limit, of $1.90 per gigabyte ($2.35 per gigabyte in Quebec).

The CRTC did however provide an option for insurance usage blocks at $4.75 per 40GB block per month, which can be purchased if you want to reduce your cost for use above 25GB (60GB in Quebec).

Ontario and Quebec up to 5 Mbps users with a monthly limit of 25GB and 60GB respectively:

Insurance Blocks Offered:

* $4.75 – 40GB extra usage
* $9.50 – 80GB extra usage
* $14.25 – 120GB extra usage (maximum 3 blocks)
* $55.00 – 275GB extra usage (maximum 240GB extra usage in Quebec)

To select a new package please visit
You will be able to register using the account information found at the end of this email.

Unhappy With the UBB Decision? So Are We!-Join Us!

The CRTC decision to impose UBB on the whole market is a big win for Bell and other major carriers, but a big hit to everyone else. To view the CRTC decision, go to:

Like our customers, and Canadian internet users everywhere, we are not happy with this new development. We will continue our efforts to fight the imposition of exorbitant bandwidth charges on usage with virtually no incremental cost to Bell and other UBB carriers, and we will develop strategies to restore the usage levels and costs our customers have come to expect. But we need your support to succeed, and get back to the cost structure we have a right to expect.

If like us you are disappointed with the CRTC’s decision, make your views known on UBB and what it means to you (and Canada frankly) by going to, where you will find a petition against UBB. Sign it, get involved, and together we will make a difference! Let everyone you know understand that Canada is about to become the most expensive internet market in the industrialized world!

We will keep you informed of our efforts, and look to you for your help.

If you would like to get more involved go to these links to make your thoughts known and join this battle:

* – signing the petition will now automatically send our Minister of Industry, Tony Clement, the person politically responsible for the CRTC, an email.
* Join the twitter campaign at
* Join the Facebook campaign

TEKSAVVY CABLE Internet Expansion

The cable Internet roll-out continues vigorously! We now have Cable Internet, at higher speeds than DSL, across much of the Greater Toronto Area, including Richmond Hill and Mississauga. Many more high speed locations are expected soon!


After months of testing and tweaking we’re pleased to announce the launch of our new customer portal, where you will be able to view your customer details, Internet usage and if needed pre-purchase additional usage blocks. Go to to receive your online access information.

To register for portal access you will need to supply the following information:

Street Address: 160 ARGYLE AV
Billing Email Address:
CID: 16485
OID: 27834

We thank you for your continued patronage as we work hard for your Internet enjoyment and future!

Rocky Gaudrault

To contact us:

By Mail: TekSavvy Solutions Inc.
330 Richmond Street, Suite 205
Chatham, Ontario
N7M 1P7

By Telephone: 1-877-779-1575
By Fax: 1-519-360-1716
By Email:

For additional information about TekSavvy, see

* Taxes extra. Offer and rates are subject to change. Offer only available in those locations that are accessible by suitable facilities and technologies, and that are served by underlying required services provided by other providers of telecommunications services, where applicable. Some terms and conditions apply. See

. February 1, 2011 at 10:22 pm

Worried about extra Internet data fees? How to know what you’re in for

Internet providers in B.C. have begun to charge users who go over their monthly data limits

By CHAD SKELTON, Vancouver Sun January 27, 2011

VANCOUVER — If you’re worried about going over your Internet provider’s new monthly data caps, you really only need to ask yourself one question: How much video do you watch online?

Shaw announced earlier this month it will begin charging users who go over their monthly data limits, which can range from 15 to 350 gigabytes a month, depending on their level of service.

The data meter is running whenever you’re on your home Internet connection, from surfing websites to checking email.

But in reality, online video is the only activity that’s likely to get most people into trouble.

Even on Shaw’s cheapest plan — High-Speed Lite, $25 a month when bundled with other services — you can download 7,500 photos before you exceed your 15-GB cap.

And downloading music is pretty risk-free, too: You can buy more than 3,500 songs on iTunes — or listen to 500 hours of Internet radio — before coming near your monthly cap.

Video, however, is another story.

Download just five high-definition movies on iTunes — about 3.5 GB apiece — and you could exceed your monthly limit on Shaw’s cheapest plan.

. February 1, 2011 at 10:23 pm

Backlash grows over usage-based Internet billing

If you’ve been on Twitter this weekend you’ve likely seen the tweets urging you to “Stop the Meter,” referring to an online campaign by to stop usage-based Internet billing.

Canadians, it seems, have taken notice. In the last week alone, says their petition has grown from 40,000 signatories to 170,000 with more signing on by the minute.

“[Usage-based billing] is a problem for people who create and enjoy content,” says OpenMedia’s Lindsay Pinto. She says non-partisan organization has been overwhelmed with support from people creating YouTube videos and going door-to-door to get more signatures.

There’s even a Facebook event calling for a protest in downtown Toronto on Friday.

The campaign began last year when the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission agreed with Bell over the right to impose usage-based billing on its Internet customers. But the recent surge in interest stems from last week’s decision by the CRTC that effectively ends unlimited Internet use in Canada.

Milan February 1, 2011 at 10:39 pm

In January, I used 24.230 GB. In December it was 67.067 GB.

At the new prices, that would have added $80 to my monthly internet bill.

This is really going to hurt Netflix streaming.

. February 11, 2011 at 10:19 pm

[La version Française suivra.]

Dear TekSavvy Customer,

Because of your support and participation in reaching out to the various MPs and the Minister of Industry we’re pleased to announce that the March 1st UBB implementation date has been suspended indefinitely.

With over 460,000 signatures having been sent to Parliament Minister Clement and the Industry committee requested the CRTC review its recent decision in full, which it has obliged and are now doing. Until this review has occurred UBB over DSL has been completely shelved. Minister Clement also added they would overturn the review should it resemble in any way to the previous outcome!

So, congratulations to all who’ve spoken up about this issue, you’ve made a huge difference. As a Canadian, today, I can honestly say it’s refreshing to know politicians do listen and will affect change when the public at large shows concern!

Effective March 1st we are going to move forward and make changes to the Usage, but we’re going to make it a positive one!

We are reinstating the Unlimited package but the 200GB package will be changed… to 300GB! UBB is about Internet Costs, and as a result of lower costs with our providers (Peer1, Lime Light, etc…), costs outside our relationship with companies like Bell, we are extending the savings on to you, the clients… Enjoy!

PS – To view your usage or receive more details on reinstated/upgraded packages go to Please note that usage on the Customer Portal is currently only available to DSL users. We are working towards adding this option to all of our Cable users.

[Version Française]

Cher client TekSavvy,

Grâce à votre soutien, votre participation et vos communications avec divers députés et le ministre de l’Industrie, nous sommes heureux d’annoncer que la date de mise en oeuvre du 1er mars de la facturation à l’utilisation a été suspendue indéfiniment.

Avec plus de 460 000 signatures ayant été envoyées au Parlement, le ministre Clement et le comité de l’industrie ont demandé au CRTC de complétement réviser sa récente décision concernant la facturation à l’utilisation. Par conséquence, le CRTC travaille maintenant à réviser cette décision et la facturation à l’utilisation sur le service DSL a été complètement mise à l’écart jusqu’à nouvel ordre. Le ministre Clement a également ajouté qu’il annulera la décision révisée si elle ressemble à la précédente!

Alors, félicitations à tous ceux qui ont appuyé la cause et ont passé le mot. Vous avez eu un énorme impact. Je suis heureux de constater que les politiciens sont à l’écoute des citoyens et sont prêts à agir!

À compter du 1er mars, nous allons apporter des modifications à l’utilisation, par contre les modifications seront positives!

Nous rétablissons le forfait illimité, de plus le forfait de 200 Go sera modifié… à 300 Go! La facturation à l’utilisation est axée sur le coût du service Internet et en raison d’une diminution de nos coûts grâce à de bonnes relations avec nos fournisseurs de bande passante autre que Bell, nous économisons et nous désirons vous passer ces économies… Alors, profitez-en!

PS – Pour voir votre utilisation de bande passante ou en connaitre plus sur nos forfaits réintégrés ou mis à jour, visitez Veuillez noter que le calcul de l’utilisation de bande passante n’est présentement disponible que pour les utilisateurs du service DSL. Nous espérons bientôt pourvoir offrir cette fonctionnalité à nos utilisateurs du service de câble.

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