Canadian Anger Over New Internet Pricing

Many have taken the fight to YouTube to express their dissatisfaction of the new system.

For many of us, unlimited internet access is a blessing (or a given right depending on where you live) and we sometimes cringe at the datacaps imposed on people in other areas. A recent ruling by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) however, makes even datacaps seem like a luxury.

Yesterday, the CRTC ruled to allow Bell Canada to implement Usage Based Billing (UBB) as a new way to charge Candian consumers for internet access. In other words, big ISPs can now charge per byte on top of their other fixed internet pricing schemes.

What makes matters worse is that like a significant number of ISPs in the United States, Bell Canada holds geographical monopolies in many areas of Canada, meaning consumers have virtually no freedom of choice when it comes to broadband internet. Added to the fact that only a measly 4 percent of the internet provided in the country comes from small businesses, you end up having a country-wide problem.

Bell Canada states that they are simply making up the cost for the clogging of their internet pipelines thanks to the rise of sites such as YouTube and Netflix. However, as Jared Miller, president of Youmano was quick to point out, this is already covered:

“The CRTC acknowledged that telecom companies already recover most the costs related to heavy Internet use. The commission is saying that from what they know of their infrastructure, their costs are covered by the retail price, so for them to charge above and beyond for usage-based billing is pure profit.”

Some Canadians, frustrated with the ruling, have taken it to YouTube to voice their opposition (and filling up more of their precious internet as well). Many in the form of parodies:

So how would this affect fellow Canadian gamers? Well, aside from having their video streaming nerfed, there is the issue with the rise of digital distribution. Users of services such as Steam and Direct2Drive will be hard-pressed considering the ever increasing file-sizes of new games (Mass Effect 2 for instance was well over 12GB for many) and their DLC.

The CRTC however, has yet to make the final verdict on the matter which will be decided in a few days. There is still hope.

Ars Technica
The Globe and Mail
The Montreal Gazette