Toronto Mike

Usage-Based Billing and Our Digital Ghetto


Here 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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