Saturday, September 16, 2006

Ding Dong Bell Canada Is At It Again!

For those of you who are Bell Canada customers, you may have spotted Bell's small notice, in an almost 0 point font, printed on the back of of your phone bill last month.

The notice would have told you that last month, Bell asked the CRTC for permission to eliminate the $55 hookup fee and raise the rates for ALL residential customers by 80 cents a month.

Jacqueline Michelis, Bell's talking head, said that "this will bring us into line with other local service providers who do not apply one-time charges for such activities." ... hmmm quelle surprise. Bell goes on to say that another benefit is that it will keep local phone service affordable for those with lower incomes - students, young people, the elderly, the socially disadvantaged - who tend to move more often. Holy I give a damn batman, Bell has suddenly developed a social conscience! Of course it was those darn CRTC guys in Ottawa that wouldn't allow them to give a break to these folks all along.

Bell insists that this isn't a cash grab ... of course ... but rather that the higher monthly rate is intended to off-set the one-time service connection charge - not to raise additional revenue. Michelis said, with a straight face I presume, "there is no incremental revenue with this proposal."

Let's do the math. Bell has 7.8 million residential lines. This means an increase of 80 cents generates $6.2 million in monthly revenue. Let's say that 1% of residential customers - or 76,000 move each month. The current $55 service connection charge generates a monthly revenue of $4.2 million a month. The net result is a $2 million surplus. Damn Ms. Michelis you're absolutely correct. This is not a cash grab because there is no incremental revenue generated. And of course now you won't have to ask a technician to reconnect service. How stupid of me as a consumer. I must be 6 french fries short of a happy meal!

By the way, why am I paying $55 to connect in the first place? Don't you just throw a switch or reinsert a card at the local central office, or am I missing something? My wife seems to think that it has something to do with someone being stuck in a barrel. I don't pay much attention to her in these matters ... the woman is a right-wing conspiracy theorist.

Oh, by the way ... why is it that under this new proposal, those folks who have been disconnected for non-payment will still pay $55 for reconnection. Ooooops, here goes the wife again. She says, hey schmuck .... how else could they go the CRTC next year for a 40 cent increase so that Bell can help the economically challenged? My neighbour, Rango Tang another one of those crazy conspiracy wing-nuts thinks that this may have something to do with paying down the debt-load quicker for the recent purchase of the CHUM empire. Please......!

Talk about bellying-up to the trough, Telus Inc., the dominant local provider in western Canada wants to follow in Bell's shoes. This means a rate increase is on hold while the CRTC awaits an application by Telus.

Let me put this as politely as I possibly can. If I want a certain orifice on my body invaded, it will be by my proctoligist and not by Bell. I am sick and tired of Bell and its nonsense, and I won't take it anymore! Yes I know ... I ripped the line from a movie. Going through another one of my senior moments, or as my son says ... a sometimer.

Folks there is still time. If you are like-minded, I would suugest that you contact your local MP. In the 416 and 905 regions it will be a Liberal. This will give you the opportunity to determine for yourself whether or not any lessons have been learned or whether they still don't give a flying fadoo about the citizens of Canada. Then I would strongly urge you to contact the CRTC at and let your voice be heard.

It's time to take the clanger out of the Bell ..... continued silence would be deeply appreciated!


Kirk West said...

Absolutely right! It's bad enough that the government decides when and where to pick your pocket, now we're going to let private enterprise do the same thing. Free market competition is the answer! But with the CRTC, true competition in the radio and telecommunications market is next to impossible.

Robert Otto said...

But there is free market competition. Telus owns the west, Bell owns the east with a couple of smaller players thrown in for good measure. In telephony parlance I believe that it's refered to as the Houdini effect.