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Canada Splits Local Phone, DSL Services 445

Posted by simoniker
from the one-or-the-other-not-both dept.
s20451 writes "Running counter to the recent string of pro-consolidation FCC rulings in the United States, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission has ruled that big Telcos like Bell and Telus must offer ADSL service even when local phone service is provided by another company. Effectively this ruling splits local phone and net services, opening both up for competition and lower prices. Press release here."
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Canada Splits Local Phone, DSL Services

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  • by TWX (665546) on Monday July 21, 2003 @03:09PM (#6492879)
    ... that someone here would work to implement this in the United States. It would mean that companies like Verizon and Qwest wouldn't have the stranglehold on broadband that they currently do...

    In Phoenix, we have two different Cablemodem providers, with some fairly significant overlapping coverage, but all of the independent DSL line providers for residential closed except for Qwest, and Qwest still uses Pair Gain, which kills DSL.
    • I live in a farily small town. Any area you live in has "one" broadbrand option. There is no (or very little) overlapping. There is no choice here. In town you have a choice of the one cable or one dsl, but this is honestlly a small area. I live outside the city limits so it's either take what they give you or get nothing. I've found it's like this in quite a large section of the US.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Nice. "I didn't read the article but I have a post that people will like and will post it anyway." This is about forcing big phone companies to offer DSL in areas where they don't offer local service. It has nothing to do with decreasing monopolies in areas that the big companies already exist. It would be like getting RCN local phone service but still being able to get Verizon DSL. Why I would want to do that (since Verizon DSL sucks) I don't know. I am much happier with my RCN cable modem which aver
    • > It would mean that companies like Verizon and Qwest wouldn't have the stranglehold on broadband that they currently do...

      You can already get broadband from a variety of different vendors here in Canada. If you can get high-speed from Bell, then you can also get it from other re-sellers also.

      So this is more of a "freedom" from who you get your local phone service from.
    • In Phoenix, we have two different Cablemodem providers, with some fairly significant overlapping coverage, but all of the independent DSL line providers for residential closed except for Qwest, and Qwest still uses Pair Gain, which kills DSL.

      Covad is still open (they recovered from Chapter 11), and does service Phoenix. SpeakEasy uses Covad exclusively, and as far as I know Earthlink uses Covad in Phoenix. Of course, Covad's ADSL normally uses line sharing on top of Qwest's line, so if Qwest's line won'
      • by TWX (665546)
        "Pair gain [bldrdoc.gov] does kill DSL, but don't assume you can't get DSL through Qwest until you talk to Qwest and they tell you you can't. They may switch your phone line to a new pair."

        They won't. A friend of mine lived 7000 feet from the CO, and he tried asking, he tried three different phone lines, and they all were pair gain. His upstairs neighbour had DSL though, so that really made him mad that it was available there and yet they wouldn't do one little change that could have allowed them even
        • They won't. A friend of mine...

          Don't assume you can't get DSL through Qwest until you talk to Qwest and they tell you you can't. Your experience may differ from your friend's. I'm not saying it will, just saying it could.
  • hmm (Score:3, Funny)

    by UU7 (103653) on Monday July 21, 2003 @03:09PM (#6492882)
    This is quite good news. I'm glad we aren't following the US.

    I love living here :)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 21, 2003 @03:10PM (#6492891)
    ...by pricing it ridiculously high. If they get suckers who sign up, then they profit. If they don't, well they really didn't want the business anyway.
    • by Zathrus (232140) on Monday July 21, 2003 @03:18PM (#6492987) Homepage
      That's fine. As long as they offer it to everyone, indiscriminately, at that price. Including internal customers.

      Anything else is price discrimination, which I'd bet is illegal in Canada.

      Offering it at absurd prices will merely kill it outright and drive customers to alternate providers and/or services. This is the entire idea behind deregulation, and if it's implemented properly it can work.

      When it's implemented improperly, however, it becomes a nightmare and causes far more problems than existed previously -- for examples on badly done public utility deregulation see California's electric power dereg or Georgia's natural gas dereg. Either one is a case study in how not to do it, and between the two they've frozen dereg pushes on power or natural gas across the US.
      • Unfortunately for consumers, higher DSL prices when the local line is
        through a competitor are likely. Telus already does something similar with
        long distance and calling features. The idea is that you can get your call
        waiting, callerid, and some other features at a discount as part of a
        bundle. However, this bundle must include a long distance package. Switch
        to Sprint for example for your long distance and your optional phone service
        prices go up. They could offer similar DSL discounts for local-line
        custo
    • Actually, Bell makes a lot of money off the people who don't sign up with Sympatico. They lease the DSLAM ports and don't have to provide end user support or any other ISP infrastructure.
  • by tomhudson (43916) <barbara.hudson@ ... a - h u dson.com> on Monday July 21, 2003 @03:11PM (#6492896) Journal
    Unfortunately, the decision only applies if you have service from some telco - it doesn't make it possible to have ADSL-only service for those of us who use our cell phones as our only voice line.

    Should happen soon, though - you can already order internet access from cable companies w/o subscribing to their TV services.

    • Sure you can... You just pay a $15 premium for the privelage of having service without a voice line. Thus defeating the purpose since basic service is $18...
    • I can order cable modem only from Cox, and could do so with Adelphia here in the states. Of course, they charge you additionally... surprisingly the same price as carrying the broadcast channels.

      So now i have basic channels on cable, the modem, and everything else on Direc(Just as big thieves as cable co's)TV...
    • "Should happen soon, though - you can already order internet access from cable companies w/o subscribing to their TV services."

      The assclowns at Rogers charge you an extra $10 per month to get cable internet without cable TV. This was thoroughly covered by the Royal Canadian Air Farce.

  • yay canadians! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Machine9 (627913)
    such sensible people!

    maybe next they'll force computer manufacturers to offer alternative OSses on computers, to open up competition and lower prices.

    • "maybe next they'll force computer manufacturers to offer alternative OSses on computers, to open up competition and lower prices."

      You mean like this one [apple.com]?

      Alternatively, would you consider manufacturers offering PCs with NO operating system a viable substitute?

      And I also wonder if anyone would take a free Linux CD from a free bin if places like Circuit City and Best Buy offered it.

      • Re:yay canadians! (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Machine9 (627913)
        I think you're on to something there...
        what a wonderful place the world could be.

        you think we can convince RedHat to press 3.000.000 cardboard-sleeved 1 CD editions of their flavour of linux? I'm sure at least SOME people would pay for support after installing that.

        • Of course, there wouldn't be any PROFIT in it for the retailor, so I suppose they'd have no reason to set aside valuable store space for such a bin/display. Probably a huge hurdle across the board in the way of getting OSS to the masses.

          A shame too. I'd love to not have to spend a day downloading the latest distribution of Mandrake....

        • you think we can convince RedHat to press 3.000.000 cardboard-sleeved 1 CD editions of their flavour of linux?
          You want to make redhat into another aol, with junk cds everywhere?

          Why not just burn a few and slip them into Windows magazines at the magazine store?

    • "maybe next they'll force computer manufacturers to offer alternative OSses on computers, to open up competition and lower prices."

      This would be unlikely because the federal government would lose the 7% GST (goods and service tax) they make when someone buys a windows license.

  • by Gefiltefish11 (611646) on Monday July 21, 2003 @03:11PM (#6492906)

    I'm an American, you insensitive clod!
  • by Anonymous Coward
    The phone companies are already basically monopolies, and here they were willing to sell their DSL at a loss for a few years to put other DSL providers out of business. Sure, they had to share the lines under the law, they just made it difficult and expensive.
    • Here's the deal...

      All dsl lines are owned by the major telcos... the CRTC forces them to let smaller ISPs resell the lines (bulk pricing allows for profit)... services (email etc) and the actual pipe to the internet are provided by the ISP... but the dsl line is owned and supported by the telco.
    • I don't know how things are where you live, but where I live, Canadian internet looks like a dream. The DSL (which I have) is $30 a month + ISP charges for 65k/s download and 25k/s upload which really kind of sucks compared to rates/bandwidth/latency ratios which I hear about in other countries and my phone company isn't making any effort to "compete" either. Something tells me they can't afford to.

      The US is definitely not the place to be for high speed internet. Canada, Sweden, Korea... they all have t
  • Ouch. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Quasar1999 (520073) on Monday July 21, 2003 @03:12PM (#6492913) Journal
    Bell was losing hundreds of subscribers a day due to their bandwidth capping earlier this year, and now they have to provide ADSL service to really small markets where it will cost them more to upgrade the infrastructure to support ADSL than they could possibly make in revenues from customers?

    Sell your Bell stock! ;)
    • Re:Ouch. (Score:4, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 21, 2003 @03:19PM (#6492996)
      Read the ruling again. They're not required to provide ADSL everywhere (which would entail huge upgrade costs).

      What they do need to do is provide ADSL, in areas that they already serve, to customers who use local phone service from someone else.
    • Although I get a good laugh out of your byline, I have to wonder...

      How much is their stock inflated by dragging in customers they normally wouldn't have? For example, my local telco wasn't "able" to provide me with ADSL unless I managed to change my phone service and my long-distance service. They won't make any money from the long distance service (1 call in 4 years), but I remeber what a fight it was (in the media) to even have a choice of local providers.

      Mabye I could have fought it, and mabye I coul
      • First off, it was truely meant as a joke... I don't do any stock market trading..

        As for the Long distance service, I don't know about you, but I am a Bell customer, and I had to cancel my Long distance service with them, since they introduced a monthly surcharge of $5.95 just for the privelage... and I NEVER make long distance calls... I had no trouble getting ADSL service from them... mind you, I subscribe to one of their 'packages' for callerID and Call Answer, so I'm sure they're making their money fro
  • A word of caution: (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Meat Blaster (578650) on Monday July 21, 2003 @03:15PM (#6492946)
    We split our national phone company, and it turns out the rates kept going up while the level of service went down. Apparently, there's some sort of economic force called "scale economy" that reflects the fact that having multiple companies providing the same service means a lot of costly redundancy.

    Some monopolies should be broken, but others are better off regulated. We got Unix out of AT&T, but I'm not even getting reliable Caller ID out of the local tel.

    • by Realistic_Dragon (655151) on Monday July 21, 2003 @03:26PM (#6493086) Homepage
      We split our national phone company, and it turns out the rates kept going up while the level of service went down.

      We split up our ADSL providers in the UK, and service went up while costs went down with the exception of the services offered by the old monopolist.

      They offer the worst service with the worst reliability at almost the highest cost - now imagine how bad it would be if they had no competition at all?
  • Two edged sword (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 21, 2003 @03:17PM (#6492973)
    Effectively this ruling splits local phone and net services, opening both up for competition and lower prices

    This also opens up the possibility of finger-pointing and blame assigning, instead of problem resolution. A couple of years ago, I had difficulty getting DSL from DirecTV DSL over BellSouth's phone lines - rather than solving my problem, the two companies used me as a message carrier in their blame war. I gave up, got a cable modem, and haven;t looked back.
  • Does this mean...? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 21, 2003 @03:17PM (#6492978)
    They have unbundled local service and dsl so that people don't have to pay for a land line to get high speed internet access? So a person could just subscribe to the high speed service and do his own internet telephony?
  • Sure, opening up things to competition would be nice, but at the moment, there's two big things that hold me back from using Bell's ADSL: the monthly bandwidth cap, and the speed. I'm with Rogers, and they decided to hold back on implementing a similar plan until they were done seeing how Bell fared with it... and they haven't implemented it yet. :) Plus I've found that my cable connection is often faster than friends of mine who went with Bell.

    From where I'm sitting, it costs about the same for Bell or
    • by gregmac (629064) on Monday July 21, 2003 @03:26PM (#6493087) Homepage
      From where I'm sitting, it costs about the same for Bell or Rogers.

      I've been using smaller ISPs for DSL, and they're a lot better. Bell Nexxia owns the DSL network. Sympatico 'rents' the lines/bandwidth from Nexxia to provide high-speed internet. The problem with Sympatico is that they rent a certain amount of bandwidth for a geographical area (well, really, per-CO switchbox), and if they happen to have 300 subscribers in that area, they all have to share that limited amount of bandwidth, which is why it is often very slow.

      The smaller ISPs will actually purchase 1.2mbit of bandwidth (or whatever plan you have) per customer. If they have 10 customers in that area, they get 12mbit of bandwidth (in reality, they probably maintain a ratio, but the effect is the same). As number of users increases, they get more bandwidth. As a result, my DSL is a lot faster than a friend of mine's who lives in the same building but is on Sympatico.

    • I hate saying this but you've got wrong information. Bell removed their caps at the beginning of the month so they have unlimited bandwidth. Bell just recently upgraded their lines 1.5Mbps which is where Rogers claims to be at. By the way, which modem does your friend have? Did your friend remember to put the filters on each phone line? Did he tweak things out to the proper settings and NOT use access manager? My speeds are on Bell Ultra (3.5Mbps) are far faster than anyone I know on Rogers or most ADSL com
    • Bell removed their bandwidth cap a few months ago. See This page [sympatico.ca] for details. My guess is that they were getting killed by Rogers.

      Ironically, Rogers was thinking of implementing a bandwidth cap, but In response to Bell eliminating their cap [custhelp.com], they backed down [custhelp.com].

      In some cases, capitalist competition really works!

      As for the speed, I've used both and found the two comparable, with Rogers a little faster. Bell (as all DSLs) varies depending on where you are in relation to the phone switching station. Rogers (as

  • From the article:

    ...by refusing to provide retail high-speed Internet services to competitors' customers, incumbent telephone companies are unjustly discriminating against their competitors and giving themselves an undue preference.

    Now don't get me wrong, I'm all for more competition. But "unjustly discriminating against their competitors"? And "undue preference"? Since when is it bad to give your own company "preference", and who are they to say it is "undue"?

    This looks to me like socialism at work

    • The problem is we have almost no local phone company competition in Canada.
      If I *were* to use sprint instead of Bell, I would not be able to have ADSL, I would need to have a bell local line.
      That seems unfair does it not?
      And their not deciding how they will compete, their forcing them to do so.
    • >and in the other, they take away the rights of businessmen to decide how they compete

      The rules are different when you're a monopoly, and the government is the only one who can enforce that. I don't see how this is socialism while crying foul about Microsoft's actions isn't.
    • Thank you!

      In every topic about Canada I always look to see how quickly there are posts about nasty old socialism up here in Canada.

      I don't know why but it always makes me laugh. :-D
    • "This looks to me like socialism at work under the guise of capitalism." -- First of all, let's get clear that all the North American (and industrialized "democracies'") economies are mixtures of both capitalism and socialism, in varying degrees. Don't they teach anything in Social Studies?

      "...they take away the rights of businessmen to decide how they compete." -- More like 'limit' than 'take away' -- it's called regulation and it's the norm for all industry, practically everywhere, again in [hugely] vary
    • There is no competition. That is the problem.
    • I'm not a lawyer, but I did sit in a lecture on telecom law, which had the following interesting tidbit:

      Under telecommunications law in Canada, telcos must offer services without discrimination. When the telcos were mostly monopolies, this provision was interpreted to mean that the telcos had to offer services to each individual customer who wanted them, without preferential service or pricing. Now that the telcos are facing competition, and deal amongst themselves, the provision has been reinterpreted t
      • Not really. Prior to the ruling, a Telco could refuse ADSL to a customer if that customer was not also buying local phone service from same Telco. This is where the discrimination comes from and where the parent post is wrong. There is no "favouring" going on here. Favouring implies that the customer can still choose the telco independantly of the ADSL service and just that the terms will be better if you get the ADSL and phone service from the same provider. That is NOT what was happening. You got NO ADSL
  • by Supero100 (664946) on Monday July 21, 2003 @03:19PM (#6493000)
    Interesting - let the competition begin.

    However, we'll all be wireless before too long, and there will be no place for DSL - unless this market competition drives the overall costs down. Who wants to pay for local phone service (if you're already paying for it with your wireless plan) if you just want DSL, which would then be an additional cost to the local line?

    $30 local phone
    +$60 DSL service
    -----------------
    ($50) Digital Cable + ($45) Cable Internet

    Assumption: You already pay $35 for a cellphone.

    Sure, I'll take 125 channels as a perk for my decision making skills.

    I hope this will make it harder for my decision making skills, it's amazing how quickly you learn that you have 125 channels and nothing is ever on!
    • Actually I am in Canada and a friend only pays $25 CDN for DSL from Telus. And if this story is correct due to competition it may go down
    • by dsanfte (443781) on Monday July 21, 2003 @03:34PM (#6493183) Journal
      Bell ADSL 1mbps/256k in the Ottawa area is $25/mo. In most cases, cheaper than the rest of your phone bill.
    • "Assumption: You already pay $35 for a cellphone.
      Sure, I'll take 125 channels as a perk for my decision making skills."

      One. Phone providers offer a 3-10 (I forget what it was after tax) dollar a month dial tone, which is fine for DSL. If your wonderful "decision making skills" can do the math on that one, you'll realize that if you DONT need actually need the land line, its cheaper to get that instead of paying for a 30 month "DSL connector" (so to speak).

      Two. I wouldnt trade my land line for a cell phone
      • wouldnt trade my land line for a cell phone any day.

        Well, I know I'm not the only one who's done it. One of the other guys here bought 2 of them, and cancelled Bell's landline to his house, because he lives just outside the local calling area, so most of his calls were long distance. He now pays less, has the convenience of 2 cell phones, and with rogers' unlimited w/e and eves, and 350 min/day package for $40.00 Cdn,, + $15 for the second phone and number, he's way ahead.

        We're all using Motorola V60s,

    • More like +$30 for DSL service.

      Yes, it WAS +$60, but prices keep dropping every day.
    • Who wants to pay for local phone service (if you're already paying for it with your wireless plan) if you just want DSL, which would then be an additional cost to the local line?

      Some changes to your math:

      $24.95 local phone
      +$24.95 DSL service [telus.com]
      -----------------
      $49.90

  • Way to go! (Score:2, Interesting)

    A few months ago I acquired a cell phone from Rogers AT&T. Soon I realized that having a cellphone and a landline phone seem redundant. So I cancelled my landline and have all my voice calls through my mobile phone. But cancelling the landline phone (from Telus) means I cannot get their ADSL service. Have to use the alternate Cable service offered by my Cable company. The decision means ADSL service does not have to be tied to you having a landline phone account Good job CRTC
  • It's really true... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by cioxx (456323) on Monday July 21, 2003 @03:29PM (#6493111) Homepage
    I read an article [cnn.com] 2 days ago regarding Dismayed Americans who contemplate moving to Canada because the States had become too conservative and there was a quote which stood out from the rest..
    "Canada has an opportunity to define itself as a leader," Hanley said. "In some ways, it's now closer to American ideals than America is."

    And it's more evident with the recent news that we keep hearing how Canada is moving forward while the States are slipping into regress by way of draconian laws and regulations a la DMCA, Super-DMCA, Media Consolidation, etc.
    • Just for the sake of argument, why would I _not_ want to move to Canada? (I currently live in the U.S.). I've certainly considered living in other countries, if only just for a while to see more of the world, but I don't want to fall victim to the "grass is always greener" illusion.

      As background, let's say that I'm a moderate with a bit of a leftward bent (Kucinich is looking surprisingly good for a Democrat), and I don't think national healthcare is such a bad idea at all. What might I find to be worse
    • Life, liberty, pursuit of happiness - Sticking to recent news, Canada gets two 'feathers in its cap' for medical marijuana and same-sex marriages right there. Neither inflicts harm on others, and both grant freedom to more fully enjoy life... what's there to lose besides fundamentalist ideals?
    • The Washington Post also had an article [washingtonpost.com] on July 1st (Canada day) talking about legal marijuana, gay marriage and other stuff happening up north.
  • Sweet! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Z0mb1eman (629653) on Monday July 21, 2003 @03:31PM (#6493137) Homepage
    I've had Bell ADSL in Toronto for almost 3 years now. Setup was a pain, and I had problems with it about one year later for a few days, but other than that it's been rock solid, and very reliable performance. Not FAST - 128kbps up, 1mbps down - but I know I can get those speeds any time.

    Of course... 3 years later, I find myself paying more for less. Speed hasn't increased at all (why would it?), the price has gone up a few dollars, and they've introduced monthly transfer limits - 10GB combined upload/download, with absurd prices for extra bandwidth. What ticks me off is that they still advertise it as "unlimited".

    There are other, smaller, local DSL providers - but the speed and prices are comparable.

    Maybe this will finally help advance an industry that's been stagnant - from the consumer's point of view - for over 4 years now!

    Hehehe... oh I kill myself... I really do...
    *keeps looking for a way to afford SDSL*
    • by Malc (1751)
      "Not FAST - 128kbps up, 1mbps down"

      They're actually in the process of upgrading the 1 Meg service, free of charge. I think the new rates are 1.5Mbs/320Kbs, or something like that. I saw it discussed in can.internet.highspeed, but didn't pay attention to the details as I'm on the 3.5Mbs/800Kbs service (for only slight more using IStop rather than Sympatico).

      "the price has gone up a few dollars, and they've introduced monthly transfer limits - 10GB combined upload/download, with absurd prices for extra
    • They removed their caps the beginning of July 2003, and they've upgraded their lines to 1.5Mbps instead of 1.0Mbps, check your facts before complaining. Their website has all the details of their upgrades in english or read the forums of dslreports.com in the Sympatico channel.
  • I work for a CLEC in the US and I really don't see why thats necessary. I'm sure we would offer a discount to customers who purchased phone service and DSL from us, the ILECs should be allowed to sell whatever packages they want as well. Allowing the little guy access to the lines is one thing, but regulating how they can sell their packages is too much.
    • Huh! I don't want a discount. I don't want to give the local phone monopoly anymore money. Why should I have to have local phone service just to get DSL? Stupid. I don't want to use them for internet (I don't already), and don't want to use them for phone service (I've had no choice so far).
  • Telus DSL (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Pejorian (258646)
    Telus, the big telco out here in the west, offers a good DSL service. They have not begun to enforce any capping, unlike the cable companies, and the speed is much better than many (if not most) of the US residential DSL providers...

    I don't think this announcement will have nearly the impact in the west that it will have in the central and eastern parts of Canada. Out here, there really aren't any viable competing telcos, and Telus allows other companies to resell DSL under other brand names (for the same
    • i'd like to also say bullshit, as telus is extremely spam friendly.

      Look here.
      http://www.spamhaus.org/sbl/listings.lasso? isp=tel us.com&-nothing=Search
  • Not only do they "lose" the case but they
    get Slashdotted!
    (I am joking because hopefully these guys have the
    capacity to handle it.)
  • How much longer is it going to be before eveyone in the US smarter than a brick has left for some other country with sensible laws? Or maybe its already happened and im too dumb to know it?
  • Between stuff like this, and Coffee crisps, Canada keeps looking better and better.

    Now if they would just do something about the GST...

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