• Big Ups to Ben Klass



    Now that I live in Winnipeg (not really) it's time to give some major props to forums member and fellow Manitoban (winky face) Ben Klass. I'm waaayyy behind the curve on this, but better late than never, right?

    Back in November of 2013 I posted about Ben's 26-page complaint to the CRTC, making a fairly compelling argument that Bell's mobile TV service was in violation of Canada's Telecommunications Act. To wit:

    Bell charges you $5 a month to watch 5GB worth of their own content. If you want to watch 5GB worth of Netflix on the Bell network, on the other hand, they charge you $40. That’s a markup of 800%.
    In other words, this is very much a net neutrality issue, similar to T-Mobile USA's Music Freedom but actually worse—unlike T-Mobile, Bell has been giving its mobile network undue preference to its own content.

    On January 29th of this year the CRTC decision finally came down: Bell was indeed in violation of The Act. A quote from CRTC Chair Jean-Pierre Blais:

    At its core, this decision isn’t so much about Bell or Vidéotron. It’s about all of us and our ability to access content equally and fairly, in an open market that favours innovation and choice... It may be tempting for large vertically integrated companies to offer certain perks to their customers, and innovation in its purest form is to be applauded... But when the impetus to innovate steps on the toes of the principle of fair and open access to content, we will intervene. [drops mic]
    As big as this news was, it got relatively scant coverage in the mainstream press. Thankfully, here on the Internet all voices are equal—see what I did there? To further celebrate the noble work of one of our very own, I present to you two links—a text Q&A with Peter Nowak and a special episode of Syrupcast, the Mobile Syrup podcast. Enjoy... and congrats, Ben!


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    This article was originally published in forum thread: Big Ups to Ben Klass started by acurrie View original post
    Comments 54 Comments
    1. rogue17's Avatar
      rogue17 -
      Wel,l I followed Ben at DSLR and he was present there often. Ever since the Mobile TV decision he's MIA.Guess he's doesn't want the fame and went into hiding.

      Congrats Ben! Hopefully this will bring some change. Rogers backed out from doing this just months before the decision.

      I'm really interested to see what happens next. Bell has 1.5 million Mobile TV users. By far the most. I don't think Rogers and Videotron combined came close to that.

      Bell Mobile TV is a $5 add-on but the thing is many have it included in there plan. There are plans with very little data like 1 GB but with Mobile included so it will be very easy to go over 1GB, as it now will count against the cap. So I wonder what Bell will do here.
    1. acurrie's Avatar
      acurrie -
      Quote Originally Posted by rogue17 View Post
      I followed Ben at DSLR...
      DSL Reports? You mean he's been cheating on us?!!
    1. rogue17's Avatar
      rogue17 -
      Quote Originally Posted by acurrie View Post
      DSL Reports? You mean he's been cheating on us?!!
      Yep DSL Reports. Guess that's why he went into hiding.
    1. kav2001c's Avatar
      kav2001c -
      Why would anyone be happy about removing services from a group of happy customers and raising costs to them?
      The fact anyone would support Ben in this matter is absurd

      At least in the US the carriers fight back against garbage like net neutrality
      Go AT&T!
    1. edm_tel's Avatar
      edm_tel -
      Quote Originally Posted by kav2001c View Post
      Why would anyone be happy about removing services from a group of happy customers and raising costs to them?
      The fact anyone would support Ben in this matter is absurd

      At least in the US the carriers fight back against garbage like net neutrality
      Go AT&T!
      Agreed. I hope I can keep my bell tv for a while longer. Great service for what I need and I prefer not paying for it . I don't like the fact that some guy who probably doesn't even use Bell can try to dictate what is right and wrong. The CRTC is trying to make themselves relevant and it's
      leading to people like this.
    1. kav2001c's Avatar
      kav2001c -
      Quote Originally Posted by edm_tel View Post
      I don't like the fact that some guy who probably doesn't even use Bell can try to dictate what is right and wrong. The CRTC is trying to make themselves relevant and it's
      leading to people like this.
      Bell never even offered service in MB until very recently (Aug of 2012) so you are correct that the complaint was sour grapes

      http://mobilesyrup.com/2012/07/31/be...on-august-1st/
    1. acurrie's Avatar
      acurrie -
      Readers may also enjoy: The real threat to the open Internet is zero-rated content
    1. rogue17's Avatar
      rogue17 -
      Thanks acurrie. Interesting read.I like that plan in Finland.
    1. kav2001c's Avatar
      kav2001c -
      This is basically communism
      You guys are actually fighting against free content on the basis that all content should be treated equally
      Utterly bizarre

      Even stranger is the fact most people who scream for net neutrality are also the same ones complaining about prices going up
    1. acurrie's Avatar
    1. asharx's Avatar
      asharx -
      Quote Originally Posted by acurrie View Post
      Another Link from Monday,
      Bell is appealing.
    1. kav2001c's Avatar
      kav2001c -
      Quote Originally Posted by asharx View Post
      Another Link from Monday,
      Bell is appealing.
      ...
      Although I strongly dislike Ben's ideas, in a free country he is certainly ALLOWED to voice them (no matter how wrong they are)
      I disagree with Bell trying to bludgeon Ben with their overpriced lawyer fees (lawyers who lost the initial hearing)
    1. ceredon's Avatar
      ceredon -
      Quote Originally Posted by kav2001c View Post
      This is basically communism
      You guys are actually fighting against free content on the basis that all content should be treated equally
      Utterly bizarre

      Even stranger is the fact most people who scream for net neutrality are also the same ones complaining about prices going up
      Umm, no, this is nothing close to communism. Regulation is not communist. It's takes a fundamental misunderstanding of communism and distinctions of different types of economies to confuse the two. Canada is and always has been a mixed market economy, especially our wireless industry. That means both market forces and government involvement. If instead you'd prefer a completely market driven economy, your current utopia would be Somalia. Good luck and remember to bring sunscreen.

      This is not about being against free content. This is about the owner of what is effectively a utility using their control of the utility to disadvantage competitors. Charging less for their own content is the same, effectively, as charging more for other content. It's puzzling that some people can't understand such a simple concept.

      As far as the relationship between people advocating net neutrality and also questioning our uniquely high rates, well it takes a little more thought. If the companies that control the pipes are allowed to hugely disadvantage competing content providers, then we will quickly get to a state where the service providers control all of the content. We are basically already there in Canada, with Bell and Rogers buying up all of the TV and radio and other media and content outlets. That's exactly what they'd like to do with internet content by making competing providers more expensive as a way to squeeze them out. What happens then? Even higher prices.

      Now, if bell and their supporters really wanted free or cheaper content for Canadians, they could simply raise their pitiful data caps. Then this doesn't become and issue at all. But that's silly. That would take away their only tool for ensure an I level playing field, something they have always fought against (even while making ads calming they want it).
    1. dtong22's Avatar
      dtong22 -
      Quote Originally Posted by kav2001c View Post
      You guys are actually fighting against free content on the basis that all content should be treated equally
      Utterly bizarre

      Even stranger is the fact most people who scream for net neutrality are also the same ones complaining about prices going up
      Freebie content bundling , if resulted in suffocating one's competition, should be prohibited.
      The same bunch of people are also complaining about collusion as well. Do you think there is no collusion at all?
    1. kav2001c's Avatar
      kav2001c -
      Quote Originally Posted by ceredon View Post
      Umm, no, this is nothing close to communism. Regulation is not communist.
      Actually yes it is
      Every single analysis since the dawn of time shows a true free market results in reduced rates to consumers and better profit margins to suppliers
      Forced regulation has always led to higher prices, as have most market protectionist policies

      Its the reason free trade is the buzz of the day

      Quote Originally Posted by ceredon View Post
      This is not about being against free content. This is about the owner of what is effectively a utility using their control of the utility to disadvantage competitors. Charging less for their own content is the same, effectively, as charging more for other content. It's puzzling that some people can't understand such a simple concept.
      Ok then explain for the crowd how every other utility (eg cable + home phone + internet) is ok to bundle & ok to offer extra services
      Yet the net neutrality nut jobs seem to think cellular is somehow different

      Quote Originally Posted by ceredon View Post
      If the companies that control the pipes are allowed to hugely disadvantage competing content providers, then we will quickly get to a state where the service providers control all of the content.
      We all know the idea of a 4th national cell provider is dead because our population will not support it (heck the Americans can't even despite much better density)
      To think that Bell offering specific channels, Rogers offering specific channels, and Telus offering specific channels in any way "disadvantages" a competitor by all means give us a name.
      But Netflix (which is who Ben cried for) has far more subs than the big3 combined media despite the "preferential treatment"



      Quote Originally Posted by dtong22 View Post
      Freebie content bundling , if resulted in suffocating one's competition, should be prohibited.
      The same bunch of people are also complaining about collusion as well. Do you think there is no collusion at all?
      Oh yeah
      We can all see how badly Netflix has been hurting since Bell TV launched
      I am sure they would happily accept some charity from you
    1. ceredon's Avatar
      ceredon -
      Quote Originally Posted by kav2001c View Post
      Actually yes it is
      Every single analysis since the dawn of time shows a true free market results in reduced rates to consumers and better profit margins to suppliers
      Forced regulation has always led to higher prices, as have most market protectionist policies

      Its the reason free trade is the buzz of the day
      Whether any analysis show completely free markets lead to lower rates has nothing to do with whether it is communist. Again, you have completely confused regulation with communism. They are completely different beasts.

      But no, a completely free market will not always lead to lower prices. A completely unregulated market can allow monopolies to thrive, which is why we, and most of the industrialized world, have laws and regulations around monopolies and market control and anti-trust. You need to go back and read some real studies because you are very seriously misinformed.

      And again, none of that is communism. It's nothing even close, actually.


      Quote Originally Posted by kav2001c View Post
      Ok then explain for the crowd how every other utility (eg cable + home phone + internet) is ok to bundle & ok to offer extra services
      Yet the net neutrality nut jobs seem to think cellular is somehow different
      Cable and home phone and internet are also all regulated industries. That doesn't mean they will have identical regulations nor does it mean that the regulation of those industries is, in anyway, communist.

      Cable TV, for example, is regulated in terms of their cost structure to consumers. They are regulated in what content they can and/or must provide. Home phone service is also regulated on price. Internet is also regulated, hence 3rd party resellers selling Bell DSL, something Bell fought against for many years.

      Quote Originally Posted by kav2001c View Post
      We all know the idea of a 4th national cell provider is dead because our population will not support it (heck the Americans can't even despite much better density)
      To think that Bell offering specific channels, Rogers offering specific channels, and Telus offering specific channels in any way "disadvantages" a competitor by all means give us a name.
      But Netflix (which is who Ben cried for) has far more subs than the big3 combined media despite the "preferential treatment"
      Bell strongly disagrees with you in this case, which is why they are fighting over Rogers NHL content being exclusively tied to Rogers home internet and wireless services. Of course, Bell only feels this way when it isn't them.

      Netflix has many customers because of their first mover advantage, their pricing and their selection. Bell would like to handicap them by making it more expensive to access Netflix than it is to access Bell's service by using their control of the network. Bell can't figure out how to compete on price, content or service, so they are trying to kneecap other services.
    1. kav2001c's Avatar
      kav2001c -
      Quote Originally Posted by ceredon View Post
      Netflix has many customers because of their first mover advantage, their pricing and their selection.
      Oh come now let's call a spade a spade here

      Netflix engages in all kinds of discrimination on it's own (they have been taken to court numerous times)
      You worry about Bell controlling pipelines, but what about Netflix signing exclusive deals with some ISPs to prioritize higher quality data streams to them (and outright dieing to subscribers on other ISPs)
      You worry about control of media but what about brands like Netflix creating their own content for shows then refusing to license to others

      The thing is if Netflix was an innocent babe in the woods then perhaps they would have a bone to chew
      But this is like watching 2 shady guys trying to cheat each other at poker. Both are corrupt and in the end it is the public that loses.


      You also seem very unsure on what communism is. Trying to force (through regulation) equality is at best socialism, at worst (like this case) communism.
      We are not talking about the bizarre interpretations of people like Stalin (which is far closer to fascism)
    1. ceredon's Avatar
      ceredon -
      Quote Originally Posted by kav2001c View Post
      Oh come now let's call a spade a spade here

      Netflix engages in all kinds of discrimination on it's own (they have been taken to court numerous times)
      You worry about Bell controlling pipelines, but what about Netflix signing exclusive deals with some ISPs to prioritize higher quality data streams to them (and outright dieing to subscribers on other ISPs)
      You worry about control of media but what about brands like Netflix creating their own content for shows then refusing to license to others

      The thing is if Netflix was an innocent babe in the woods then perhaps they would have a bone to chew
      But this is like watching 2 shady guys trying to cheat each other at poker. Both are corrupt and in the end it is the public that loses.


      You also seem very unsure on what communism is. Trying to force (through regulation) equality is at best socialism, at worst (like this case) communism.
      We are not talking about the bizarre interpretations of people like Stalin (which is far closer to fascism)
      Netflix paid for faster pipes because they had to, otherwise the large ISPs were throttling their customers. That is exactly what net neutrality would prevent and exactly why netflix wants net neutrality so they don't have to pay extra just to access their customers.

      As far as the two corrupt guys trying to cheat, right now, that only describes our beloved Bell and Rogers, both of them trying to kill net neutrality on one hand, while on the other hand fighting each other to prevent special access.

      Until we start talking about nationalizing these private companies instead of regulation, then no, this is nowhere close to even being related to communism.

      Like I said, all modern economies are mixed, with both market forces and government involvement. All. If you see regulation as communism, then you don't understand the words.
    1. kav2001c's Avatar
      kav2001c -
      Quote Originally Posted by ceredon View Post
      Netflix paid for faster pipes because they had to, otherwise the large ISPs were throttling their customers.
      This right here is my point
      They WERE NOT being throttled
      Netflix used this as a hammer to force ISPs into exclusive deals (by telling lies to subscribers)

      Tons of press all over the free internet about it
    1. ceredon's Avatar
      ceredon -
      Quote Originally Posted by kav2001c View Post
      This right here is my point
      They WERE NOT being throttled
      Netflix used this as a hammer to force ISPs into exclusive deals (by telling lies to subscribers)

      Tons of press all over the free internet about it
      Exclusive deals? They agreed to pay much more to Verizon and Comcast for direct access just so they could continue to access their own customers. They had no choice. Well, no, they did have a choice. Their choice was to continue to face throttling of their customers or give into the extortion and pay fees that they should never have to pay.

      yeah, lots of companies just begging to have their costs increases. That makes total sense. Then again, in a world where simple, normal and common regulation is considered communist, I guess you can make up anything as facts.