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
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.