Usage-based billing (UBB) for bandwidth is a load of crap, especially in a technologically advanced society.
The Internet is so tightly woven into our life that imposing usage limits is like asking people to breathe less or pay more for their oxygen usage. It’s ridiculous.
Slashing bandwidth allowance and increasing Internet costs is travelling backwards in time while the rest of the world is advancing forward. Other countries are not going to slow down to accommodate Canada’s lack of speed and bandwidth. Canada’s plans to restore its leading position in the digital economy isn’t going to happen with UBB. Many Canadian new businesses are solely online-based. All Canadian businesses rely on the Internet to operate. How can a country encourage innovations, new opportunities and international collaborations if video conferencing becomes a luxury?
Closed Internet, Anyone?
While nations around the world are striving for an open Internet – a web equally accessible for everyone – we Canadians are on a path leading to a completely closed and privatized Internet. Back in the old days, giant telecommunication and broadcast companies ruled content distribution. They were the only ones controlling and profiting from the production and distribution of information. That mode is outdated. It has been replaced by anyone who wants to create content and be their own mode of distribution. Movie directors can distribute their projects via YouTube, writers post to blogs, photographers to Flickr. Information is truly free…but not with UBB. Telcos and broadcast giants are doing what they can to regain control because their cake is being sliced into billions little pieces. Limiting bandwidth usage is only the tip of the iceberg. Once Canadians get charged an arm and a leg for being online, we would have no choice but to turn to un-metered services like Rogers On-Demand instead of Netflix, or Bell land line instead of Skype. Clever plan by big Canadian corporations, isn’t it?
The CRTC has stood by their decision to allow usage based billing regardless of disapproval from small to medium businesses; consumers and citizens’ groups alike. This is an outrageous ruling that protects the interests of a few of Canada’s largest corporations at the expense of consumers and small and medium-sized businesses every where. The CRTC’s decision to cease all unlimited plans is a slap in the face for many Canadians and has been met with an intense strike back.
The Heat Is On
OpenMedia, a non-profit organization based in Vancouver, is leading a growing campaign called “Stop the Meter“. Their online petition is receiving much publicity. Notably, a video of George Stombolopous about UBB for the Stop the Meter campaign posted on YouTube has gone viral. In a week’s time, the petition has received 220,000 signatures and counting. We have gotten parliament’s attention. Since parliament resumed Monday, there have been disputes among politicians over UBB. The Liberals are opposing UBB. Liberal industry critic Marc Garneau says he will pressure Industry Minister Tony Clement to throw the decision back to the CRTC. Feeling major pressure from both sides breathing down his neck, MP Clement says on Monday he would re-study the CRTC’s decision.
Looks like we’re winning! But before you jump for joy, do your part. Go to StopTheMeter.ca and sign the petition. Do it now while it’s hot. Remember, there’s strength in number.
Timelime of UBB in Canada
The CRTC receives Bell’s applications to introduce and implement UBB. The CRTC also receives submissions opposing UBB from 20 ISPs and telecommunication organizations.
The CRTC also acknowledges receiving a large number of petitions and comments from individuals opposing Bell’s applications.
The CRTC approves Bell’s request on an interim basis and establishes a date for the implementation of UBB.
The CRTC confirms interim decision but changes the implementation date.
CRTC officially approves Bell’s request for UBB implementation, calling it an economic Internet traffic management practice (ITMP).
The CRTC confirms their UBB decision, mandating ISPs both large and small to charge customers extra for exceeding an arbitrarily set download limit (no more unlimited plans).
The CRTC responds to the strong opposition of their UBB ruling by ordering large incumbent providers such as Bell & Rorgers to lease out bandwidth to indie ISPs at a 15% discount. Rogers also confirms its plan to implement usage based billin starting July.
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