I am an island, I really don't give a rats ass about the latest CRTC ruling involving Usage Based Billing by Canada's telcos. The best none-hyperbole analyses that I have read so far has been by the indubitable Michale Geist. Well indubitable to others...
Before I continue, I have a quibble with M. Geist's point about how the Gateway Access Service (GAS) is not truly part of the Internet and therefore is not part of the congestion problem. Even though the last mile service is connected directly to the third party ISP, it is connected over Bell equipment, and likely, the same equipment that "Internet" traffic travels on. Networking equipment doesn't care what is "Internet" and what is "private", the very same equipment can be used to communicate the data on multiple networks simultaneously. Even though the two networks do not cross-talk with each other, both still impact the overall capacity of the network equipment providing said traffic (and due to the way the network may be setup, the same data packet can traverse through the equipment multiple times as it ping-pongs its way down the multiple networks, which can increase overall utilization.) What people don't understand is that the logical network that is laid out may not have any resemblance to the physical network it is actually installed on. But it is the physical network that dictates the limitations of service.
Anyway, that is all beside my central tenant. This fight over Usage Based Billing and lack of competition is missing the point as far as I am concerned. Due to CRTC meddling (and in this part I agree with Michael Geist), we have a dysfunctionally regulated and implemented communication network. The net effect of the regulations and changes in the market is that Bell has to compete against its competitors on its own network. These independent ISPs are not adding value or innovation to the core physical network. Because they are reselling Bell's own infrastructure in competition with Bell selling that same infrastructure. It is a price war race to the bottom. No one has any incentive to innovate or invest in improving the infrastructure.
Look at it from Bell's perspective. Why would they invest in upgrading equipment if they are not allowed to set the prices to recoup that cost? The CRTC has told Bell that they have to provide competitors access to (current or potential) Bell customers over Bell equipment. It is a stupid setup.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again. If the Internet is an essential service that must be provided at reasonable cost to all Canadians, then we have to decouple the physical infrastructure from the companies selling service. Make it a none-profit monopoly that owns the infrastructure, have public-private partnerships, or have government own it all. I don't much care, but we have to separate the content providers from the infrastructure carriers. Only then will we see true competition, fair pricing and genuine investment and innovation.
Until then this UBB dispute is akin to a pissing into the wind contest where we're all bitching about who's getting more wet.