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RealTime IT News

Canadian ISP Picks Fight With Bell Canada

One of Canada's leading Internet providers is going to war with Bell Canada over promotional claims the telco is using in conjunction with its new high-speed Internet service.

Internet Direct will ask regulators to intervene to stop Bell Canada's new marketing efforts which are targeting the nation's Internet providers.

Bell Canada's "1-Megabyte Modem" promotion is in conjunction with its DSL rollout occurring in large parts of Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, Quebec City and Hull. The ISP said although Bell's promotional materials indicate it will resell the residential service to other ISPs on a wholesale basis, independent ISPs have received no offer from Bell Canada to offer the service.

"Bell has told me that their ISP customers are a high priority, but we have outstanding complaints before [regulators] over a lack of equitable access to ADSL," said John Nemanic, president of Internet Direct.

"If Bell was acting in good faith, they would have notified us before announcing this promotion and would have given us a firm date for a reasonably-priced splitterless ADSL product, instead of putting us off until next year."

In August, six Ontario-based ISPs applied to Canada's Competition Bureau requesting they look into the pricing practices of Bell Canada affiliate Bell Sygma. The ISPs charge Bell Sygma has attempted to drive its smaller competitors out of business by pricing ADSL services well below its cost.

"Bell is abusing its dominant position in the Internet marketplace and appears to be using its regulated monopoly to prop up an unprofitable affiliate. We can buy the components for this service today at a cost of over $200 per customer per month. Bell is well aware there is no way for us to compete with their current pricing scheme. . .," Nemanic said.

Calls to Bell Canada for comment were not returned.