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Canada Splits Local Phone, DSL Services 445

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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  • 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.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 21, 2003 @03:20PM (#6493019)
    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 averages around 1.2 Mbps.
  • 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.

  • by shadowofdarkness ( 578100 ) on Monday July 21, 2003 @03:29PM (#6493106)
    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
  • 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 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.
  • by TWX ( 665546 ) on Monday July 21, 2003 @03:37PM (#6493209)
    "Pair gain [] 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 more low-maintenance revenue...
  • by Neil Watson ( 60859 ) on Monday July 21, 2003 @03:40PM (#6493242) Homepage
    Bell Canada has been a thorn in my side for years. During the dailup years Bell was late to recognize the Internet. In an attempt to catch up it is rumoured that Bell tried to heavly increase the cost of the phone lines owned by ISPs. I believe there were some court cases and the business plan was dropped. Later, I found myself using a new TV system called LookTV []. Just when things where going well for them (including a blazing fast wireless Internet access plan) it is rumoured that Bell bought out Look's biggest financial backer and cut their funding. That was a few years ago and Look has yet to recover. The final straw is ADSL. No matter who your ISP is (and there are a few) Bell owns all the lines. At one point it is rumoured that Bell was leasing it's lines to it's own ISP [] branch at cost in order to drive the other ISPs out of business. I think there was a court case.
  • by Malc ( 1751 ) on Monday July 21, 2003 @03:41PM (#6493246)
    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.
  • Re:so... (Score:2, Informative)

    by Gibble ( 514795 ) on Monday July 21, 2003 @03:47PM (#6493299) Homepage
    Online Gaming, and legal software downloads (linux ISOs and packcages, etc) these all eat bandwidth and when I'm downloading a 650MB ISO, I'd like it to be done within a reasonable time, not days.

    I'm also a webdesigner and I am constantly uploading files to webservers, I like to be able to do this quickly and not have to wait around killing productivity. When I need to VNC to a server I wouldn't mind a decent response, rather than an extremely choppy connection.

    There ARE legitimate uses for bandwidth by home users.

    In the small town I live, we have the choice b/w Cable from Shaw, or ADSL from MTS ... Cable is by far the superior choice in Manitoba.

    But forcing companies to provide a service...seems wrong, if you want to regulate, don't have private companies. If they want the control, the gov't should run them.
  • Sure it is. Bell still gets 2/3 of the $$$ when you go to a non-Bell service for ADSL, so they're getting their money anyway --- but what the hell, once wireless service gets a bit better, I'll probably go for that instead. For the really big d/ls, I'll just shell into the box at the office. Oh, BTW, Bell also get their cut when you use an alternate voice service.
  • by Fulg ( 138866 ) on Monday July 21, 2003 @04:12PM (#6493584) Homepage
    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.

    I believe that the service is still actually offered by Bell, regardless of who sells it to you... The "other resellers" just buy bandwidth on Bell's existing infrastructure.

    In effect you just get to choose the letterhead on your bill :)

    It may be cheaper in the end but you get the same (possibly sucky) service either way.
  • by s20451 ( 410424 ) on Monday July 21, 2003 @04:17PM (#6493636) Journal
    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 to mean that telcos also cannot discriminate against businesses, even their competitors. That's probably where this ruling is coming from.
  • by gobbo ( 567674 ) <{wrewrite} {at} {}> on Monday July 21, 2003 @04:29PM (#6493752) Journal
    Can't resist a good troll...

    Taxes aren't that bad here, especially when you factor in the cost of medical insurance. (I make ~$60k/yr CDN and pay about 28% taxes without loopholes, so duh!) For some, they're better than having an equivalent position in the USA, as they discover when they move down and experience user-pays-for-everything, and they move back to Canada for economic reasons. It all depends on cost-of-living in various regions, and even the region of Canada or US one moves to, as well as the income bracket you're in. I've found that the moderately wealthy complain about taxes consistently, if they're from a somewhat socialized industrial nation.

    If I get cancer, I can still change jobs or provinces without losing my medical benefits or paying disproportionately. That's not commie, that's humane, you twit!

    One other thing... gross disparity of income leads to other extremely expensive social ills, like massive prisons, health problems, badly educated populace, violence and insecurity, drug use, despair, riots, and extreme cultural stress. It's a hidden cost, and we canucks have our share of these problems. I think it's hilarious that 'Americans' consider us socialized pinkos!

    Besides, isn't Robin Hood a hero? You presume that the rich never steal from the poor.
  • by BagOBones ( 574735 ) on Monday July 21, 2003 @04:42PM (#6493854)
    Close. The way ADSL works here (Edmonton, Albert, Canada) is that Telus (Main phone company) owns almost all of the phone lines and they are connected to their wiring centre.

    When you sign up for ADSL from an alternate provider. Your modem is connected to Telus lines and goes through the Telus wiring centre then it goes the the ISP you signed up for who then connects you to their backbone connection.

    This also means that if Telus has screwed up your phone line or you simple have poor wiring it doesn't matter who you sign up with you get the same problems.

    Also the alternate ISP is at the mercy of Telus support when something goes wrong at the wiring centre.

    So your ISP controls your bandwidth and charges, but the Phone Company owns and controls the lines.
  • by forgetmenot ( 467513 ) <atsjewell&gmail,com> on Monday July 21, 2003 @04:53PM (#6493935) Homepage
    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 service if you used a different phone provider (or more to the point if you have NO local phone service).

    The reason this increases competition is because there is little if any competition (despite what the industry might say) in the local phone service and consequently tying ADSL to local phone provider meant likewise no competition there as well. The discrimination, therefore, is not so much against competing business (again, because there isn't much competition) so much as it discriminates against those "customers" who *horror-of-horrors* don't have local phone service (which is increasingly common as more and more people move to cellular phones).

    So the ruling talks about providing ADSL service to competitors lines but what it really boils down to is a Telco can't force a customer to buy their (probably unnecessary) phone service just to get the ADSL, (just like a cable internet provider can't force you to buy the TV package). However, it does not prevent the Telco from adding a surcharge for providing ADSL sans phone which is similar to what the cable providers do if you buy the internet access without the TV package. Now... if they could only regulate THAT away we'd be really laughin.
  • by martok ( 7123 ) on Monday July 21, 2003 @05:21PM (#6494175)
    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

    I suppose they see it as more of an insentive program for loyal customers
    but it makes it very difficult to switch optional services from the big
    telco such as long distance or DSL.
  • Re:I'm an American (Score:3, Informative)

    by Distinguished Hero ( 618385 ) on Monday July 21, 2003 @05:35PM (#6494286) Homepage
    Here's [] the direct RealPlayer link.
  • by pdaoust ( 592115 ) on Monday July 21, 2003 @08:11PM (#6495296)
    I don't know where you got you info from but this is not exactly the way it works.

    A smaller ISP's connection and a Sympatico connection are exactly the same all the way from the house to the Broadband Aggregation Server (BAS). In Nexxia's case they use Juniper ERX and Redbacks SMS-1800. From the BAS, the Sympatico customers go straight to the Nexxia IP cloud via a FE or GE connection while the smaller ISP's traffic has to be backhauled again over ATM via an L2TP tunnel. Only then do you access the small ISP's IP network. In fact this actually makes it worse because you add extra overhead (not that much but most of the time you have to reduce your MTU even more when you are with a smaller ISP or risk fragmentation and certain web sites not loading at all).

    Given that a lot of these small ISPs actually use Nexxia as their ISP I find it hard to beleive that they would in fact be faster than Sympatico.

    I've been on Sympatico HSE for over three years and have been very satisfied. I have friends who use the smaller ISPs, but its certainly not for speed... maybe more for the more "specialized" kind of service they offer (static IP, droneless help desk, better NNTP feed...).

Statistics are no substitute for judgement. -- Henry Clay