Interventions Phase 2: Intervenor 429

Document Name: 2015-134.226760.2518933.Interventions Phase 2(1hzmd01!).html

[32. The Commission hereby initiates a proceeding to conduct a comprehensive review of its policies regarding basic telecommunications services in Canada and of the telecommunications services that Canadians require to participate meaningfully in the digital economy. In this regard, the Commission will examine how these telecommunications services are used by Canadians, and what prices Canadians should be expected to pay for these services. ]The Commission first needs to define what is 'basic telecommunications services' (BTS) compared to 'advanced telecommunications services' (ATS) or 'minimal telecommunications services' (MTS) are for a proper comment to occur. Proposed defintions as it relates to broadband:BTS - The end user has (1) Access to a wire line broadband service (2) That service be capable of executing all protocols that are an internet standard as defined by RFC 2026 (4.1.3) (3) The end user is able to implement any hardware they choose that complies with Industry Canada standards (4) Data is not manipulated, delayed, or otherwise interfered with to ensure communications arrive as intended (6) Minimum service levels include (a) a speed capable of sustained minimum of 15Mbps download and 1Mbps upload (b) latency of no more than 75ms to a specified destination (c) packet loss rate of less than 0.5% per 1000 packets to a specified destination (d) no usage capsATS - The end user has (1) Access to a fiber line broadband service (2) That service be capable of executing all protocols that are an internet standard, as well as some draft, proposed, or experimental as defined by RFC 2026 (3) The end user is able to implement any hardware they choose that complies with Industry Canada standards and/or hardware which the service provider agrees to allow (4) Data is not manipulated, delayed, or otherwise interfered with to ensure communications arrive as intended (6) Minimum service levels include (a) a speed capable of sustained minimum of 25Mbps and 10Mbps upload (b) latency of no more than 25ms to a specified destination (c) packet loss rate of less than 0.5% over 1000 pings to a specified destination. (d) no usage capsMTS - The end user has (1) Access to a broadband service of any type (2) That service be capable of executing all protocols that are an internet standard as defined by RFC 2026 (4.1.3) (3) Minimum service levels include (a) a speed capable of sustained or bursting 5Mbps and 512Kbps upload (b) latency of no more than 200ms to a specified destination (c) packet loss rate of less than 1% over 1000 pings to a specified destination[35. As well, the Commission will examine whether changes should be made to (i) the various regulatory measures related to basic telecommunications services, such as the basic service objective, the obligation to serve, the national contribution mechanism, and the local service subsidy regime, and (ii) the price cap regimes, as applicable.]It is my opinion that the Commission needs to exhaustively and rigorously re-examine the regulations and submissions by the incumbents as to the fees and costs associated with various services. Even the most basic examination of these costs by a layperson reveals inconsistencies between what is being submitted to the Commission and what is being disclosed in public filings. These costs and resulting retail prices are even more disconnected when compared to other regions around the globe as the CRTC discovered in their own report: http://www.crtc.gc.ca/eng/publications/reports/wall2015/rp150618.htmAddressing Appendix B[Explain how telecommunications services are used to meet these needs. For example, uses may include e-commerce (i.e. the online purchase and trade of products or services), e-banking and/or telephone banking, e-health or telehealth services, telework, and distance education. Which of these uses of telecommunications services are the most important to ensure that Canadians meaningfully participate in the digital economy? ]I believe that this is an inappropriate question for the Commission to be examining. The ability to communicate freely, unhindered, and in private (including 'private in public') are the most important things that is required Canadians to participate meaningfully in the digital economy. Just as personal expression and business take on infinitely diverse forms, so do the ways in which Canadians use telecommunications to interact, conduct business, and express themselves. There is no 'more important' in terms of types of products/services, it is the barriers put up by the incumbents/ISPs that prevent free, unhindered, private communication which derail Canadians. [Explain which telecommunications services are most important to support these needs and uses. What characteristics (e.g. capacity, mobility, high speed, and low latency) should these telecommunications services have? ]The commission ought to require that at least one wired service meeting BTS (as defined above) be available to every property/premises without initial cost to the owner. The cost from the premises to the home/business/etc should be that of the owner. Nothing less will be viable in the long term and the sooner the investments are made the better Canadians will be for it.In today's digital economy, it is my opinion that a minimum of BTS (as defined above) is required to participate fully and meaningfully. MTS is no longer sufficient and should not be considered by the commission to meet the basic needs of users. The majority of the data flowing over the internet is now RTP (Real Time Protocol) which is sensitive to packet loss, latency, and minimum speed levels in a way that HTTP (hypertext-transport protocol) never was. This trend, according to CISCO data, is accelerating and will be in excess of 90% of all data in the next few years (see http://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/solutions/collateral/service-provider/visual-networking-index-vni/VNI_Hyperconnectivity_WP.html). [Identify and explain the barriers that limit or prevent Canadians from meaningfully participating in the digital economy (e.g. availability, quality, price, digital literacy, and concerns related to privacy and security). Identify which segments of the Canadian population are experiencing such barriers. ]Jurisdiction. The CRTC has already had a problem with this and so have many Canadians. Part of being able to participate in the digital economy is being able to hold those you are participating with accountable. That simply isn't possible without the ability to take companies doing business in Canada without having a presence in Canada to court if things go badly. This goes well above my knowledge but something needs to be done on this front and soon.Usage caps are a barrier that limit or prevent Canadians from meaningfully participating in the digital economy. Because of the shift in data patterns and the emergence of video as the dominant volume of data it presents several issues in the way Canadians use the internet and how companies have responded. From the perspective of the consumer, they struggle with usage caps and understanding how much data they are consuming. Realistically, the majority of the time there is no way for a reasonable person to know how much they are consuming until the data is already transferred. Scientific data can eat through an entire month's worth of usage for a single dataset, modern games can consume dozens of GB each, and 4k video require massive amounts of data let alone the terabytes of data required for 8k video. There is no way for a person to estimate this and the result is that people disengage out of fear of receiving a high bill. The problem was exemplified by Teksavvy's now defunct "Zap the Cap" program which allowed users to reduce their maximum bandwidth during prime time hours in exchange for unlimited data usage. Teksavvy hoped that this would lead to a reduction in capacity costs, however, found that when the fear of 'going over the cap' was removed users engaged more and actually increased capacity costs using a fraction of their normal bandwidth. From the perspective of an ISP usage caps are a revenue source and a control on limiting capacity requirements, however, one that severely limits users interaction with the digital economy. Inability to access wired service/forced to use wireless service are barriers that limit or prevent Canadians from meaningfully participating in the digital economy. The Commission currently accepts fixed point wireless/LTE/satellite as 'access to broadband' and this is a very damaging problem. It creates a perception that access is available wherever these services appear to be available on a map. The fact is though that a tree on a neighbours yard or a ridge or too much moisture/precipitation in the air can disrupt/prevent service from being possible at a given location. This distorts the data which the Commission uses to determine access levels. These services also all come with excessive costs of entry, high cost of use, high latency, and stability/consistent access issues. After being forced to use non-wired for nearly 5 years I can personally attest to the immense difference between wired service and non-wired.Latency is an aspect that is rarely discussed but becoming more important than maximum speed in the Gbps era where raw speed is less of a factor. From the stock market (high frequency trading in particular) to online gaming, video conferencing, and so much in between the delay between packets being sent and received is playing an ever increasing role in the success of the digital economy. If your ability to execute trades or communicate effectively via internet telephony/video conferencing/etc is compromised by high latency of connections like wireless/satellite/etc there is a very real chance that Canadians could lose out on business. I am one such case where the latency was so high from the wireless provided by my ISP as to make it impossible for me to run my web design business. The primary method of communication my clients liked to use was Skype and while the bandwidth was available the distortion caused by the high latency made video conferencing all but impossible. As such, high latency was such a barrier limiting me from meaningfully participating in the digital economy that it quite literally forced me out of business.The ability to connect to other Canadians is becoming a barrier. This is especially noticiable with the P2P protocol connections overseas are often easy to make while those to Canadians are nearly impossible. It also affects remote access technologies which are used in technical support, remote medical procedures, and in basic connectivity that allows Canadians to communicate directly with one another. This is beyond my expertise, however, it is a metric which is not currently monitored that may inhibit many facets of the digital economy within the country.Traffic management practices are becoming more of a barrier to participation as ISPs determine what protocol is more important than another, what ports are possible to access, whether or not data streams are altered, whether basic internet standards are followed or not creates all means of havoc both in the ability to access information/services and distribution of digital goods.Initial cost of entry or transfer between competitors, specifically as it relates to install fees/'required modem purchases'/etc is a significant barrier. The cost of switching, especially to a non-incumbent who often do not have the capital to waive install fees charged to them/rent modems, can often take 5 or more years before the savings offered show dividends for the user. This may seem like a barrier to competition more than one of participation in the digital economy, however, incumbents have more restrictive policies/less privacy which provide their own barriers to participation. If one cannot afford the high initial cost of a non-incumbent ISP (due to no fault of their own) then they are forced to deal with the barriers the incumbents present.Differing support levels between incumbents and independent ISPs is a barrier. If a non-incumbent ISP has the policies/services you require it becomes a barrier to have technical support provided to restore a connection no earlier than 48 hours later from an incumbent when that same incumbent will setup a new connection the same day. Meaning the regulation that requires incumbents to 'respond' to a support ticket within 48 hours (which some of them translate as do not respond to the request for help, let alone fix the problem, until the last possible second of the 48 hour window) is not working when they have the ability to fix the problem within 4-5 hours.Ongoing cost of participation (high cost of minimum entry level) is a barrier. While not as significant as other barriers the fact that libraries are lending out hotspots for the poor is an indication that there's a very real barrier present where a lower cost tier of internet services is needed. For my ISP (Teksavvy) the lowest cost is $37.28 after all fees and taxes; the equivalent of 1.9% of a full time minimum wage earner's income. Contrast that with data from Germany (see CRTC report http://www.crtc.gc.ca/eng/publications/reports/wall2015/rp150618.htm) and the equivalent earner need only spend only 1.2% of their income on broadband. One of the most limiting barriers at the moment for myself is the restriction of hardware options via 'incumbent certification', regardless of Industry Canada compliance or industry specific standards certification (eg: CreativeLabs DOCSIS certification). My sole options for hardware are a Sagemcom modem/gateway which does not function properly with 'stingers' or a SmartRG which does not have the wireless capabilities required for my location. Neither of these 'approved' options meet the technical requirements I desire and limit the options I have for my home network. Industry Canada has laid out robust standards in addition to the international standards that devices must meet, however, the many many modems/gateways that could work on an incumbents network are all but banned for business reasons rather than technical ones. This creates a barrier to innovation, access to many digital technologies, and creates an artificial/rather needless barrier for users.The final issue that needs to be discussed is the implications of copyright legislation as it relates to mobility & privacy barriers in the digital economy. The current Voltage v. **** case presents significant threats to the mobility and privacy of Canadians online. First, there is the issue of the widespread monitoring & searching of Canadians computers and online activities by companies like Canipre which, if unchecked, will present a significant barrier to open, free, and private communications both person to person, business to business, and under 'private in public' doctrine. The average Canadian is ill-equipped to understand or deal with these data harvesters or the threat they pose to doing business and living in the digital economy. Second, there's the issue of what happens to mobility if Voltage is successful - the Commission needs to be prepared for the possibility that Canadians may need the ability to access their personal internet connection as a matter of online identity wherever they are. Assume for a moment that, as Voltage claims/desires, an internet account holder can be held responsible for any action taken by any user on their network; Businesses/libraries/home networks/etc may no longer be able to freely share or must severely restrict internet connections/wifi/etc, libraries would no longer be able to lend out hotspots, etc requiring that each user have access to their own personal internet connection at any given moment/location. While that maybe a 'sky is falling' view of one possible outcome, it is a possibility that needs to be considered for mobility, privacy, neutrality of non-ISP networks (hotspots, home networks, university networks, etc). A similar phenomenon is already being seen as a result of lawsuits where the first thing advised to a client is to immediately suspend all use of social media/online public comment until resolution of the suit, in which in cases I am aware of can extend for over a decade. These effects are chilling and may/do create substantial barriers.[Identify and explain any enablers that allow Canadians to meaningfully participate in the digital economy (e.g. connected devices and applications). ]As stated previously, the ability to communicate freely, unhindered, and in private (including 'private in public') are the most important things that enable Canadians to participate meaningfully in the digital economy. Encryption, especially end to end encryption, enables meaningful participation. The ability to access public and private wifi without fear of consequence as both a user and operator is an enabler. The ability to purchase/use hardware on the incumbent's network which meets your technical requirements and Industry Canada's standards enables the participation and advancement of the digital economy.[ As Canada’s digital economy continues to grow and evolve during the next 5 to 10 years, which telecommunications services are Canadians expected to need to participate meaningfully? Specify how your responses to parts a) through d) above would change based on your answer. ]All of them. Every user is different, everyone has slightly different needs that are constantly shifting. The network needs to be adaptable to all possibilities (or as many as reasonably possible) and as such none of my responses would change.[The Commission’s current target speeds for broadband Internet access service are a minimum of 5 Mbps download and 1 Mbps upload, based on uses that consumers should reasonably expect to make of the Internet. Are these target speeds sufficient to meet the minimum needs of Canadians today? If not, what should the new targets be and what time frame would be reasonable to achieve these new targets? ]5Mbps is not sufficient for today's needs let alone the future needs. The BTS definition above is a conservative estimate of the minimum speed for the next 2-3 years. As CISCO's report shows (linked above) as UHD video rises so will that minimum. Within 5 years it will be 25Mbps, within 10 years it will be 100Mbps as a bare minimum, not for full participation. Full participation I would estimate that the current minimum is 25Mbps and within 10 years will be 1Gbps. All of these numbers are also a per-user estimate, not for families/multi-user businesses.[Explain whether the underlying technology (e.g. cable, digital subscriber line, fibre, fixed wireless, mobile wireless, and satellite technology) should be a factor in defining whether a telecommunications service should be considered a basic service. ]The underlying technology is essential to defining whether a telecommunications service should be considered a basic service. Cable, DSL, and fibre are the only technologies which should be considered a 'basic service'. All wireless/satellite do not meet the basic needs of today's internet, they merely allow access to yesterday's internet on today's devices. The reasons primarily centre around latency issues with wireless/satellite, upload speeds, and the bursting nature of these technologies which are not appropriate for the majority of 'real time data' which makes up the vast majority of communications.[Identify, with supporting rationale, the terms, conditions, and service characteristics under which basic telecommunications services should be provided. Should any obligations be placed on the provider(s) of these services? If so, what obligations and on which service provider(s)? ]1) Unlimited use - Limiting use limits participation (see above) - Limiting use increases cost & potentially decreases access, especially for those most vulnerable (families, digitally illiterate, poor, disabled) - Limiting use limits businesses in what they can innovate2) Privacy & encryption is paramount - The Ontario courts have upheld the obligation of telecommunications providers to protect their users privacy, the CRTC has the mandate to protect Canadians privacy, anything that furthers this should be encouraged and enforced - Espionage, both corporate & governmental has long been ignored - making privacy and encryption a priority safeguards Canadians in innumerable ways and insures their ability to participate competitively and fully on the global scene3) Low latency & packet loss - As discussed above, high latency can literally put people out of business - Packet loss is the same problem as latency - if it's 1% or above certain protocols/services just do not work properly and it may as well be as if you do not have access. Currently it's up to each individual company to decide what they'll accept - a rational standard should be in place that applies to all companies (0.5% in my opinion)4) Guaranteed access - If a person needs BTS to a property they ought to be able to get it without being put on an indefinite wait list or ignored by the incumbents. Participation is impossible without access afterall.5) No limitations placed on 'home servers'. - Companies often place this language in their terms to prevent someone from running a business on their home connection. This is an antiquated way of thinking and there should not be a difference between 'home' and 'business' internet as they are one and the same in today's digital economy. This does not mean individuals cannot pay for different levels of support/responsiveness above and beyond what is currently regulated, merely that servers and home businesses are commonplace and should not be restricted/disconnected for how they use their connections. 6) 15Mbps - This is the minimum requirement for a single UHD video stream which is projected by CISCO to be growing exponentially in the near term.7) Must be wire line or fibre - Bursting/high latency/low upload speed are not viable in the modern digital economy8) Must fully support all RFC internet standards - Participation is impossible if the basic protocol you need is not supported (this does not include experimental/draft/proposed protocols)There are probably many many things I am leaving out or simply haven't thought of yet in terms of the terms/conditions. The core principal that should be adhered to is that the user should not be restricted from transferring any type of data (even illegal data) on any port/by any protocol, no one but the intended recipient(s) should know anything about the data being transmitted, and there should be no modification/delay of the data by the ISP. The CRTC has the mandate to regulate for the benefit of Canadians, and law enforcement can adapt as they did with telephones.[Can market forces and government funding be relied on to ensure that all Canadians have access to basic telecommunications services? What are the roles of the private sector and the various levels of government (federal, provincial, territorial, and municipal) in ensuring that investment in telecommunications infrastructure results in the availability of modern telecommunications services to all Canadians? ]No, market forces cannot be relied on. Market forces are to restrict supply to increase demand/profit, meet minimal requirements that people are willing to accept to keep costs low, and charge as much as possible to maximize profits. Government's role is to go against market forces to ensure Canadians have the access levels they need to thrive and control costs to what makes Canadians competitive. This is an essential service and cannot be allowed to be treated as anything less. It is the digital lynch-pin for every business trying to reach customers, every customer trying to reach business, every communication, every social interaction, every person wanting to learn and it is the CRTC's obligation to ensure every Canadian has low cost, high quality access - not to ensure the few incumbents can meet their quarterly stock projections.[What should be the Commission’s role in ensuring the availability of basic telecommunications services to all Canadians? What action, if any, should the Commission take where Canadians do not have access to telecommunications services that are considered to be basic services? ]The CRTC should regulate for the interests of consumers first, businesses second, and incumbents last. Businesses rely on customers, the more customers the more likely businesses are to succeed. The more consumers and businesses, the more the incumbents will succeed. By protecting/regulating for the interests of the consumer you ensure the success of everyone that relies on them. Where Canadians to not have access to basic services the CRTC should require that it be provided by the incumbents within a reasonable time frame. Due to the geography of Canada this will never be entirely feasible so I would propose that guaranteed access to BTS (as described above) be limited to 10-15km from the centre of any population centre of 500 people or more. I would also propose providing long term loans/loan guarantees for the initial deployment costs for any company willing to provide the service. This would allow smaller providers/municipalities to fast track deployment to rural areas where the incumbents have been unwilling to deploy fibre/wire line service to date. [ In Telecom Regulatory Policy 2011-291, the Commission stated that it would closely monitor developments in the industry regarding the achievement of its broadband Internet target speeds to determine whether regulatory intervention may be needed. What action, if any, should the Commission take in cases where its target speeds will not be achieved by the end of 2015? ]The Commission should admit it erred by making it 'through a variety of technologies' in this decision and move on. The ability to service 100% of an area via wireless/satellite was never achievable due to numerous technological limitations and the focus solely on speed without gathering any metrics in other areas made the plan unattainable. The Commission going forward should revise the plan to include other metrics which determine an overall quality of connection, recognize the massive infrastructure that must be deployed and create an ambitious but realistic timeline with incentives for reaching milestones for proper deployment.[Should broadband Internet service be defined as a basic telecommunications service? What other services, if any, should be defined as basic telecommunications services? ]Yes, fibre/wire broadband internet should be defined as a basic telecommunications service, current wireless/satellite should not rise to the level of 'basic' and should be treated as inferior technologies to 'basic'. The CRTC and I may differ on how expansive the definition of 'telecommunications service' is, I do not believe it to be the services which are communicated via telecommunication but rather the infrastructure/technology that enable the communication of services via telecommunication. Any definition that would allow the CRTC to regulate services communicated by telecommunications would effectively render them unelected lords of all digital services provided within Canada. [What changes, if any, should be made to the existing local service subsidy regime? What resulting changes, if any, would be required to the existing regulatory frameworks (e.g. price cap regimes)? ]What little I know of this is that there is hundreds of millions in fraud related to deferral accounts which the CRTC has failed to act upon, however, this is not the appropriate hearing for that discussion.[Should some or all services that are considered to be basic telecommunications services be subsidized? Explain, with supporting details, which services should be subsidized and under what circumstances. ]Subsidized in the form of recoverable loans with appropriate interest (3% or greater) with extended terms as the payback period on such investments is in terms of decades.[f there is a need to establish a new funding mechanism to support the provision of modern telecommunications services, describe how this mechanism would operate. Your response should address the mechanism described in Telecom Regulatory Policy 2013-711 for transport services and/or any other mechanism necessary to support modern telecommunications services across Canada. Your response should also address, but not necessarily be limited to, the following questions:][What types of infrastructure and/or services should be funded? ]Only wired/fibre services.[In which regions of Canada should funding be provided? ]Rural and remote only. Urban has a solid business case, rural/remote will require investment that market forces would not normally allow for.[Which service providers should be eligible to receive funding, and how should eligibility for funding be determined (e.g. only one service provider per area, all service providers that meet certain conditions, wireless service providers, or service providers that win a competitive bidding process)? ]Honestly, the 'last mile' internet infrastructure should be a single company which is barred from selling internet service to customers rather sells it exclusively to ISPs. It's sole job should be to provide fibre access to as many homes in Canada as reasonably possible. They would be responsible for all maintenance, upgrades, new construction, and so on. They would be partly publicly funded but majority funded by ISPs who sell on their network for a fee. ISPs could also pay the new company to invest in specific upgrades as their business requires. It eliminates the duplication that is occurring in fibre build outs, eliminates exclusivity and preferential pricing by incumbents, makes the build out accountable and directed by the CRTC/public rather than by market forces. It'll never happen but it's what's needed and what should have happened decades ago.