The Gathering Storm
Usage Based Billing II

Usage Based Billing

I'll be following this evolving story very closely:

A recent ruling that changes how the country's largest Internet service providers charge their customers is raising hackles in the online community amid fear it could lead to higher bills for heavy users.

Joining that chorus of concern Tuesday was none other than Prime Minister Stephen Harper — on Twitter, no less.

I've been using an ISP that charges a flat monthly rate for unlimited bandwidth. However, starting next month this company will be forced to limit the monthly bandwidth at a certain amount (25 GB) and if I wish to download or upload more, then I've to buy additional bandwidth blocks in advance or pay hefty charges for going over the limit.

Today, it's quite easy to go over that limit in one day, let alone a month:

Some lower-end high speed accounts offered by Canada's large ISPs include only 25 GB of downloading a month, the equivalent of about 12 hours of Netflix viewing in high definition, with additional usage charges that can be as much as $5 per GB for the cheapest plan, depending on the provider.

I've been living in Canada for over ten years. I've yet to see a significant improvement in the internet service where I live. It's not that I can't afford better service -- it's simply not available. Now, the whole enterprise is actually being made worse!

Netflix chief executive Reed Hastings recently said the download caps set by Canadian service providers could be "a significant negative" for his company.

Of course. A lot of the ISPs also provide cable TV service. They'd be cutting into their own profit if they offered unlimited bandwidth. It's easier to limit bandwidth and thus smash the online competition.



Around 1996 / 1997, I had a Rogers Cable connection with 10mbps down and 1mbps upload speed, with unlimited data, for less than $40 per month. 14 years later, the same download speed would cost $47 per month, but I get half the upload speed, AND they'd throttle my bandwidth when downloading certain types of data, AND they limit how much I can download per month. 14 years of technological progress, and we've taken 15 steps backwards while all the other countries are sprinting forward.

Our ISP's have been stagnant for a LONG time. Companies like Acanac have worked to try and improve the situation, and are now being muscled out by government regulation at the behest of Bell and Rogers. The Big Boys don't like to share, so they're getting Big Brother to help them out.

Isaac Schrödinger

It makes for a striking contrast with hard disk drive improvements. In the late 90s, I had a 2 GB drive in my computer. Today, I have a 2 TB drive.

Classical Liberal

The one is a regulated utility, the other is all free market.

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