Bell Canada, Facing Last-Mile Crunch, Introduces Use Caps

Several weeks ago, I reported on Bell Canada’s attempt to resolve congestion issues on its network by throttling heavy P2P users. Some doubted that the ISP was actually suffering from congestion problems. Turns out, it is, big time. The last mile of pipes are so clogged that Bell Canada, facing pressure to end its throttling solution, is now implementing usage caps. Apparently, the ISP will start charging users for any bits they download in excess of a mere 2GB a month.

The move has generated outrage among users, but really they should be blaming Canada – the Canadian government, that is. The state requires Bell Canada to lease its ISP service to small providers. The small companies just pay for the bandwidth they can access, not what they actually use. So, two companies that each have 5Gbps pipes, but one of which uses 1TB per month and the other of which uses 300TB per month, pay the same. Bell Canada is just trying to fix the tragedy of the commons this situation creates.

The optimal solution would be to remove the silly leasing requirements and just let ISPs compete on their own terms. But, of course, that policy is unlikely to go over too well with the lobbying groups.