Usage-Based Billing and Our Digital Ghetto

digitalHere in Canada, we still live in a digital ghetto, and it's getting worse.

Our friends at the CRTC have passed new regulations that will force Internet Service Providers to switch to usage-based billing. I'm a web-savvy guy, and I find it all complicated. Essentially, we're talking low data throughput caps and price overage fees.

My current plan with Rogers allots me 60GB / month. I've seen that "you're 75% through your cap" warning a few times, followed by notice I'll be charged when I exceed the damn cap. Rogers knows what they're doing. They sell digital cable services, and most of that data transfer is multimedia that directly competes with their offerings. The same is true with Bell. The conflict of interest here is sickening.

With streaming video services improving, this is awful news for consumers. Even without hitting up the torrent networks, I'm hitting the cap today, with several devices online. There a few laptops, a desktop, an iPod touch, an iPad, the Wii, a couple of Nintendo DS's and who knows what will enter the house next. It all adds up, especially with streaming audio and video. And remember, I'm not even talking about large downloads.

Freddie P is linking to an article that suggests Prime Minister Stephen Harper ordered his government on Tuesday to review this CRTC decision. I'm not Harper's biggest fan, but good on him for this. The decision stinks and we Canadians deserve better.

I'm tired of living in a digital ghetto. Please visit and send a clear message to Ottawa.

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Comments (10 - click here to join in!)


I'm surprised there's not a tax on snow in Canada

February 2, 2011 @ 3:47 PM


The CRTC ruling only applies to selling it to third party ISP's, not directly to consumers.

Removing the cap isn't going to break up the Roger's-Bell duopoly, since it will not create any incentives for other ISP's to build networks. If the CRTC and Harper government want to increase competition, they should remove the restrictions on foreign service providers.

February 2, 2011 @ 5:13 PM


Think about what this means for someone who likes to, say, watch Retro Ontario. Throw in an Explore Music podcast or two-- you get the picture.

This has nothing to do with infrastructure, and everything to do with competition.

And not just Netflix vs. Bell video store (though that's a huge thing).

It's Bell & Rogers vs. independent ISPs. This law buries the competition, and paves the way for a real monopoly.

February 2, 2011 @ 9:01 PM


I don't trust one word out of Harper's Mouth.

February 2, 2011 @ 9:19 PM



Incorrect. Bell's plan was to bill 3rd party end customers based on their phone numbers via the wholesalers. The Indy ISP's wouldn't have made a cent on overages. The overage money would have gone directly to Bell. This was the problem with the entire scheme. They had said that the $5/40GB blocks were available, but the money went directly back to Bell. This was a horrible decision right from the start and would have meant the elimination of the wholesalers, thus eliminating competition and paving the way for Bell to be the sole DSL provider.

However, we need to go one step further, in removing Bell and Roger's ownership of the last mile. Until that's done, there will never be "true" competition.

February 3, 2011 @ 8:37 AM


Looks like 'the rational man' is going to overturn this decision.

February 3, 2011 @ 2:00 PM


Thank you for finally posting this!

Here's a little video for ya:

February 5, 2011 @ 4:17 AM


I hope (read: HOPE) that this is quashed because, in my household, Iternet is the be all and end all for our news, movies, gaming, social networks. My two sons and I each have our own laptop, no TV and are plugged in MOST of the time.

February 8, 2011 @ 9:58 AM


This policy is anti-consumer to the extreme and very regressive. We need to make it a priority to reverse it.

February 8, 2011 @ 10:34 PM

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