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TekSavvy Notice About the CRTC and Bell Canada's New Usage Based Billing

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Do you dislike the idea of strong and unrealistic limits on your Internet usage? Starting on March 1st, thanks to Bell Canada and the CRTC, many Canadians will see their bandwidth availability drop from 200GB (or unlimited) down to 25GB plus additional fees.

Update [Feb 1st]: According to the CBC, the federal government is going to review the CRTC's decision on usage based billing.

TekSavvy
TekSavvy is an independent Canadian ISP based out of Chatham, reselling connectivity from Bell Canada. TekSavvy has built up a well known reputation for solid Internet service and excellent customer service. Due to a ruling by the CRTC, as requested by Bell Canada, TekSavvy is being forced to implement usage based billing on their customers.

Five Years of Bliss
My data plan with TekSavvy, since choosing to switch from Bell Canada in 2006 early 2007, has been 5M/.8M on 200GB/month. That's a typical high speed connection for most Internet users. In the almost 5 years I've been with TekSavvy, the service has only been down for roughly 1 or 2 hours (not counting scheduled late night service updates). There has never been a billing issue with TekSavvy; the monthly bills always show up correctly and I know I'm paying for quality. My experience with Bell was the exact opposite - inconsistent connectivity, terrible customer service and incorrect billing.

Usage
My Internet usage is definitely above average, but not unreasonable for someone who makes their living via Internet technologies and hasn't had cable for 4 years. My personal usage is roughly in the 45GB range per month. That usage is split between the bandwidth needed for building websites, reading news, podcasts, occasional online television, music, photography, videography, social interaction (Twitter, Facebook, etc.) and, of course, YouTube and Vimeo. This usage, much like everyone else's usage, will only go up in the near to distant future.

The new bandwidth cap starts at 25GB/month. As you can see, I'm already over that total. Many other people will be as well. According to the plans being forced on TekSavvy, I'll have to pay between $5 to $10 extra dollars for my bandwidth usage, to only obtain roughly 1/3 of the 200GB I had available to me before the CRTC's ruling. Some estimates say it costs less than 1 cent to route 1GB of data.

Strombo Explains
If you find all of this confusing or are having a tl;dr moment, then watch George Stroumboulopoulos aptly explain the issue:

TekSavvy Notice
Copied below is the notice I received today from TekSavvy.

Dear TekSavvy Customer,

There are a lot of things going on at TekSavvy that we want to be sure you know about, including the introduction of some exciting new services, and changes to some existing ones.

TEKSAVVY VOIP SERVICE On its way!

The TekSavvy voice over Internet (VoIP) service finish line is in sight! We will soon be launching our hot new VoIP service, aggressively priced to allow our customers to save even more with TekSavvy while you benefit from the cutting edge "technology savvy" options you've come to expect from us! Great pricing with great features, coming soon!

Usage Based Billing-UBB

As some of you know, the CRTC recently rendered a decision forcing all independent DSL and Cable Internet providers to substantially match incumbent (like Bell) usage rate caps. This will influence all of our internet service packages eventually, but DSL residential customers in Ontario and Quebec first, as of March 1. Along with you, we are not pleased with this, and our view is more fully expressed in our press release which you can find here: http://www.teksavvynews.com/

From March 1 on, users of the up to 5 Mbps packages in Ontario can expect a usage cap of 25GB (60GB in Quebec), substantially down from the 200GB or unlimited deals TekSavvy was able to offer before the CRTC's decision to impose usage based billing. Users who were on unlimited package rates will be returned to $31.95 capped rates although larger blocks of bandwidth can be purchased.*

In order to facilitate this transition we have constructed a new easy-to-navigate portal at https://myworld.teksavvy.com where our customers can choose from the amended and new packages.
The details of our new rate plans and charges can be found there. You will be able to register using the account information found at the end of this email. More on the portal below. In addition, in order to accommodate these changes, we have amended our Terms of Service, primarily regarding implementation. The amended Terms form part of your Agreement with TekSavvy and can be viewed at https://secure.teksavvy.com/en/termspolicies.asp.

Please note if you do not choose a new service before March 1, 2011, your existing package will be transitioned into an amended package. Existing packages and the ones they will be replaced with in each case can be found at http://teksavvy.com/en/faq-ubb_on.asp for Ontario and http://teksavvy.com/en/faq-ubb_qc.asp for Quebec.

Content and data like Netflix, YouTube, IPTV, large file downloads or other streaming services can consume large amounts of bandwidth and place your cap limits in jeopardy very quickly. We encourage you to monitor your usage carefully, as the CRTC has imposed a very high overage rate, above your new monthly limit, of $1.90 per gigabyte ($2.35 per gigabyte in Quebec).

The CRTC did however provide an option for insurance usage blocks at $4.75 per 40GB block per month, which can be purchased if you want to reduce your cost for use above 25GB (60GB in Quebec).

Ontario and Quebec up to 5 Mbps users with a monthly limit of 25GB and 60GB respectively:

Insurance Blocks Offered:

* $4.75 - 40GB extra usage
* $9.50 - 80GB extra usage
* $14.25 - 120GB extra usage (maximum 3 blocks)
* $55.00 - 275GB extra usage (maximum 240GB extra usage in Quebec)

To select a new package please visit https://myworld.teksavvy.com
You will be able to register using the account information found at the end of this email.

Unhappy With the UBB Decision? So Are We!-Join Us!

The CRTC decision to impose UBB on the whole market is a big win for Bell and other major carriers, but a big hit to everyone else. To view the CRTC decision, go to:

http://www.crtc.gc.ca/eng/archive/2011/2011-44.htm

Like our customers, and Canadian internet users everywhere, we are not happy with this new development. We will continue our efforts to fight the imposition of exorbitant bandwidth charges on usage with virtually no incremental cost to Bell and other UBB carriers, and we will develop strategies to restore the usage levels and costs our customers have come to expect. But we need your support to succeed, and get back to the cost structure we have a right to expect.

If like us you are disappointed with the CRTC's decision, make your views known on UBB and what it means to you (and Canada frankly) by going to www.stopthemeter.ca, where you will find a petition against UBB. Sign it, get involved, and together we will make a difference! Let everyone you know understand that Canada is about to become the most expensive internet market in the industrialized world!

We will keep you informed of our efforts, and look to you for your help.

If you would like to get more involved go to these links to make your thoughts known and join this battle:

* www.stopthemeter.ca - signing the petition will now automatically send our Minister of Industry, Tony Clement, the person politically responsible for the CRTC, an email.
* Join the twitter campaign at http://act.ly/2kw
* Join the Facebook campaign http://www.facebook.com/notes/openmediaca/stop-the-meter-on-your-interne...

TEKSAVVY CABLE Internet Expansion

The cable Internet roll-out continues vigorously! We now have Cable Internet, at higher speeds than DSL, across much of the Greater Toronto Area, including Richmond Hill and Mississauga. Many more high speed locations are expected soon!

TEKSAVVY CUSTOMER PORTAL

After months of testing and tweaking we're pleased to announce the launch of our new customer portal, where you will be able to view your customer details, Internet usage and if needed pre-purchase additional usage blocks. Go to https://myworld.teksavvy.com to receive your online access information.

To register for portal access you will need to supply the following information:

Street Address: XXXXX
Billing Email Address: XXXXX
CID: XXXXX
OID: XXXXX

We thank you for your continued patronage as we work hard for your Internet enjoyment and future!

Sincerely,
Rocky Gaudrault
CEO

To contact us:

By Mail: TekSavvy Solutions Inc.
330 Richmond Street, Suite 205
Chatham, Ontario
N7M 1P7

By Telephone: 1-877-779-1575
By Fax: 1-519-360-1716
By Email: support@teksavvy.com

For additional information about TekSavvy, see http://www.teksavvy.com

* Taxes extra. Offer and rates are subject to change. Offer only available in those locations that are accessible by suitable facilities and technologies, and that are served by underlying required services provided by other providers of telecommunications services, where applicable. Some terms and conditions apply. See https://secure.teksavvy.com/en/termspolicies.asp.

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