Category Archives: Telecom

Excess bandwidth fees – Bell Canada

I’ve noticed that Bell Canada has recently lowered its bandwidth caps on some of its high speed internet plans. I’m not sure when this happened but do recall that the higher end plans, which now have bandwidth caps of 30 GB per month, were up at around 100 GB last time I looked (perhaps a year ago?). Bell does state that the cap “applies to new clients without a term agreement; $1.00/additional GB, rounded up to the next GB of up to $30/month”. So they may have grandfathered existing customers, or at least the ones that had signed up for a term plan. See this chart to compare the various plans offered. While this seems like a high limit, it would not be hard to reach it for households who use IPTV services or who have kids running bit torrent.

FuturePhone.com offers free long distance

Futurephone.com is offering free long distance to a couple of dozen international destinations for people who already have free US long distance or a bucket of minutes they can utilize for US long distance. No VOIP adapters or softphones required. Instead, callers make a phone call to an IOWA phone number and are then provided with a dial-tone to dial internationally. Right now the company appears to be trying to build up its user base. Next year we may see them introduce commercial messages that are played before a call is put through.

CRTC affirms its VOIP ruling

Canada’s telecommunications regulator, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), reaffirmed an earlier decision to continue to regulate what the major telephone companies can charge for VOIP services – at least until the incumbent telephone companies lose 25% of their market share. In doing so, it ignored the government’s desire to allow free market forces to play a bigger role. From the Globe and Mail.

Wireless Data Comparison

Since I last surveyed Canadian options for high speed wireless data:

– Rogers has raised the cap on its top EDGE plan (C$100) from 100 MB to 200 MB
– Bell and Telus have imposed caps (250 MB) on their EVDO 1x plans (C$100) which can be expected to provide better performance than currently available EDGE technology

Meanwhile, the US cellular carriers continue to offer uncapped high speed data plans at lower rates than their Canadian counterparts:

– T-mobile EDGE (US$49.99)
– Cingular EDGE (US$60 with voice plan, $80 without)
– Verizon EVDO 1x (US$60 with voice plan)

P2P TV Coming Soon?

According to the Business 2.0 Blog, the people who brought us Napster and Skype now want to bring us a peer-to-peer television service. While there are already a number of TV over-the-internet services already available, a P2P based service would save on the huge bandwidth costs.

Zfone for Windows released – high grade encryption for SIP now available

Phil Zimmerman has finally released the Windows version of Zfone. As previously mentioned, ZFone sets up encrypted communications using the ZRTP protocol between two SIP software clients. The Windows version joins existing version already available for MAC and LINUX systems. While this software will be very handy for two individuals that wish to keep their VOIP communications private, in order to truly bring privacy to the predominantly insecure VOIP industry it is hoped that the protocol will be licensed by VOIP handset manufacturers and SIP telephony service providers.