Another case of Bell overcharging on data usage was reported by CBC today. A couple in BC was charged thousands of dollars for data usage. It took them months of fighting Bell and hiring a lawyer before their bill was reversed. And then they were charged a thousand dollar again. Bell claimed that someone might be accessing their internet by connecting to their phone (with their phone acting as a hotspot). They said it is impossible because their phone was off when the supposed data usage occurred. Bell is still investigating the cause of the error.
This is the second reported incident in a month. The first one involved several people who have noticed that they were being charged exorbitant data usage fees when they have not used their internet that much.
UBB (Usage Based Billing) is highly controversial and the excuses being used by the telecom companies and CRTC is that there is a strain on the internet backbone or network. The truth is there is no evidence of internet backbones reaching its capacity. Speed slowdown are usually due to speed throttling by the major ISP. The pro-major carrier policy has lead to mass outraged among Canadians. It has forced the Harper government, who could be facing an election this spring, to take action and stop the CRTC’s lopsided UBB policy. How much effect this would have remains to be seen since UBB were already in place at Bell and Rogers even before the CRTC’s ruling. It might temporarily help prevent the smaller ISP from being metered on the wholesale price being paid to the major carrier.
This might be a temporary relief only and the issue might come back after the election since CRTC is still not backing down and might end up having its way in the end. A signature campaign ran by Open Media have solicited more than 400,000 signatures so far. The petition can be found here: http://www.stopthemeter.ca
Previous blogs related to UBB: