The CRTC (Canadian Radio-television Telecommunications Commission) gave the green light for network operators to implement usage-based billing to their wholesale customers. With the ruling, operators can charge wholesale service providers a flat monthly fee to connect to the network as well as a defined monthly usage limit for each customer the wholesale provider has.

The ruling is not expected to have dramatic effects on customers who currently subscribe to the major network operators directly – these providers already offer packages that offer combination flat rate and usage based options.

“This is going to pose some large challenges for wholesale providers,” said Marty Lachance, Director of Marketing for LogiSense Corporation. “This was their competitive advantage in the IP world. The ability to market and offer all-you-can-eat services was really only available through those channels.”

Wholesale customers who signed up prior to February 1, 2007 will still be able to offer ‘grandfathered’ usage plans, but Operators such as Bell has been granted the right to raise rates on these grandfathered plans.

“This is likely the end for unlimited use in Canada. Operators and customers are both now realizing that there is less need to deliver and charge traditional telephone, television and internet. This is due to the fact that they very soon will share the same delivery method. Traditional telephony and television are gradually moving into their new digs – the internet. In this digital age, Gigabytes are the new opiate,” added Lachance.

While billing for disparate services may be a thing of past, the need to differentiate and bill for IP-traffic usage will become the new standard.

“Being able to track, report and bill for voice, video and data opens the door for providers to market creative and fair price structures for a variety of user types. Billing appropriately for network access and usage is important, analyzing this data to make informed decisions – both for the company and customer is critical,” said Lachance.

The LogiSense EngageIP software mediates and bills usage for telephony, voice, video or any other IP-based consumption. Using sophisticated reporting methods, EngageIP is able to make decisions for implementing fair access policy. With the software, operators are able to lower costs as well and protect their technology investments – all while ensuring fair access and reliable service.