02.01.2011 09:06 AM

Big corporations 1, Little Guy 0

As you likely know by now, the CRTC has decided to give in to the cable monopolies – and jack up Internet rates. It’s anti-competitive, it’s anti-common sense, and it will cost you and I – and the “employers” the Reformatories profess to support – a lot more. Unless Tony Clement fixes it, it is going to be an election issue.  Guaranteed.

What to do?

You can make a complaint to the CRTC here.

All of the contact information for Tony Clement is here.

The petition containing tens of thousands of names can be signed here.

Bottom line?  The Reformatories claim employers need a break.  In reality, they only want to give big corporations a break – and they want you and I to pay for it.

19 Comments

  1. Namesake says:

    I actually hope PMS gets all stubborn & draws a line in the sand on & refuses to change his mind about this, as usual, when faced with real Opposition on something: this has been about the only issue in ages that will finally get out the (pissed off) youth vote: they’ve been all a-twitter about it.

    • Namesake says:

      Plus the Lib guerrilla media factory should rush a Youtube video out pinning this one them & tying it to their tax cuts for banks & oil co’s stance, to combat the BS ones the Cons put out a couple months ago & reprised in last weeks, about the Libs supposedly endorsing a $75 ‘Ipod tax’ (when all they voted for was that it should go to committee to study how pirated artists should get compensated now that the CD-ROM levy is obsolete).

  2. Steve T says:

    Please explain why bandwidth should be charged any differently than electricity, natural gas, or water? Those who use more, pay more. With the advent of streaming content on the web, some people are starting to use the Internet as a proxy for television and movies. That’s fine, but it hardly seems fair that a low-content user like myself should pay the same as someone who downloads hundreds of GB of content. Why should I subsidize the heavy user?

    • Namesake says:

      Except that ‘you’re subsidizing illegal downloaders’ isn’t really what’s driving this change: it was folks like Rogers wanting to stop people from streaming video & TV signals legally INSTEAD of continuing to subscribe to their highway-robbery cable services.

      So your objection can be turned on its head, easily enough:

      why don’t the cable-company owned ISP’s provide a discount for you low-usage internet users instead of trying to introduce new fees to try to force all internet users to stop dropping their cable-subscriptions & ruining the public good that is unlimited broadband access?

      • Steve T says:

        I still haven’t heard an argument as to why internet usage should not be pay-what-you-use. A pure metered rate for bandwidth seems the most fair approach. We can debate what the rate-per-GB should be, but is there any debating the approach?

        • Namesake says:

          Well, as I tried to say, they can always go back to the 2-tiered approach they had 5 or 10 years ago as broadband was being introduced: the discounted, low-usage rate; and the unlimited broadband usage we’ve call come to know & love. Presto, your ‘don’t make me subsidize heavy users’ objection is solved.

          • Namesake says:

            good ol’ Michael Geist spells out the issues here, & clearly addresses this point:

            “arguments in support of UBB [Usage-Based Billing] are frequently accompanied by the claim that the approach is like any other service – you pay for what you use. Yet Bell’s UBB plan approved by the CRTC does not function like this at all. Its plan features a 60 GB cap with an overage charge for the next 20 GB. After 80 GB, there is no further cap until the user hits 300 GB. In other words, using 80 GB and 300 GB costs the same thing. This suggests that the plan has nothing to do with pay-what-you-use but is rather designed to compete with similar cable ISP bandwidth caps. In fact, Primus has gone further, stating “It’s an economic disincentive for internet use. It’s not meant to recover costs. In fact these charges that Bell has levied are many, many, many times what it costs to actually deliver it.”

            http://www.michaelgeist.ca/content/view/5611/125/

    • jStanton says:

      … because, while we will in future pay more the more we use, we will not pay less, the less we use.

  3. Liam says:

    A couple points:

    First off, it’s waaaay more than “Corporations: 1”. Badum-ching.

    Second, even though I absolutely agree that this is a completely anti-competitive, anti-consumer, and just plain stupid thing to create any sort of legislation/guidelines around, the pragmatic and hopeful part of my brain doesn’t see any way that this will hugely impact the bottom line for the ordinary consumer (small/large business is another story, but that’s where the strongest lobbying likely comes in).

    Basically, the internet being what it is today, I don’t see any way that something as stringent as the worst-case scenarios being outlined by the tech sites ever coming to fruition on Canadian internet bills.

    The idea of a baseline 25 GB with $2/GB overage charges is so ridiculous that every single internet customer in the country would immediately mutiny.

    The big ISPs (Bell, Rogers) wanted this to throttle down on the subcontractors (TekSavvy, et al) that were offering dirt cheap unlimited internet on their bandwidth. They’ve got that, and TekSavvy has already released their restructured pricing plans. Even with the increased rates, TekSavvy is still offering over 100 GB a month for just over $40, owing to the use of the $4 ‘insurance packs’ that can be offered to allow for an extra 40 GB a month. They just tack two of those packs onto their baseline plan and still beat most of the packages offered by the big boys.

    So again, I am in no way in support of these changes, but the end-of-the-world ravings by some of the sites I’ve read (and some friends I know) is a little bit reactionary.

    Should people sign the petitions? Absolutely. Should this have ever been put into place in the first place (an unfortunate by-product of a couple corporations’ greed and move to snuff out competition)? Hells no.

    But to cry that it’s the end of the internet in Canada is a little premature. I’m of the firm belief that this is something the market would absolutely not abide.

    I hope. Maybe I’m just hopelessly naive to the realities of business this big.

  4. matt says:

    Seems to me that forcing incumbent cable “monopolies” to open their networks to competitors and allowing those competitors to sell unlimited bandwidth at a discounted rate is unfair. Common sense suggests that paying for what you use is fair and is also how other utilities like hydro, gasoline, natural gas, heating oil, etc. is currently priced. Sure, being able to purchase unlimited gasoline for a discounted fixed price would benefit consumers and business by lowering their costs, but it would not be competitive and it would not be sustainable.

  5. jStanton says:

    … correct me if I’m wrong… but isnt the CRTC stacked with Harper appointees with strong ties to the very telecommunications companies they are mandated to regulate?

    • Namesake says:

      Sshh! “They’re an independent, arm’s-length agency and the Government has no influence on their decisions.” Like on potash. And the census. And the broken-down nuclear reactors. And the rootin’, shootin’ jets….

    • Bill King says:

      OK, happy to correct you. You’re wrong.

  6. Curtis in Calgary says:

    The ISPs and Telcos are, simply put, gouging.

    How else would you describe charging an addition cost per GB of between $1.50 – $5.00 when the cost of transmitting that same GB of data is $0.10? That’s gouging plain and simple. It would be more palatable if you were offered a credit for those times when you were under the arbitrary limit. That would at least balance things out a bit. Not so in this market. Perhaps Shaw et al could issue a credit to me when THEIR network goes down. Perhaps Rogers et al could offer me a credit when I watch LESS TV in a month. Perhaps Bell et al should issue a credit to me when I make FEWER calls in a month or send and receive FEWER text messages in a month.

    These are the same companies that charge you $0.15 to $0.25 per message for text messaging on your phone without a plan (assuming your don’t exceed your monthly message limit). What’s the actual transmission cost per message you say? Try next to nothing, minuscule fractions of a penny. For instance, about 50 million or more text messages are sent daily in Canada and if we use an average of 100 characters per message (rather high I would say but …) that totals about 5GB of data in total or about the equivalent of downloading three movies online. At $0.20 cents per text message, that would translate into a cost of about $1468.00 per MB or $1,468,000.00 per GB. Assuming only 5% of the cell phone-toting population doesn’t have a text plan or is not exceeding said text plan, then that results in about $500,000 of profit per day or $182,500,000 annually to actually LIGHTEN the load on their networks as one second of an average quality voice call uses about the same amount of data as 50-100 text messages.

    As for your comparison to utility companies, Steve T, they engage in all sorts of charges that don’t relate to actual usage. No matter how much electricity we use in our home each month, we still must pay the following charges:
    Administration Charge
    RRO Rider (Regulated Rate Option)
    Delivery Charges
    Distribution Charge
    Balancing Pool Allocation
    Trans Access Deferral Account Rider
    Transmission Charge
    Local Access Fee

    So adding the extra fees to our monthly bill for electricity of $56.56 yields a total of $114.50 for my example billing period.

  7. Steve T says:

    Namesake said: “Yet Bell’s UBB plan approved by the CRTC does not function like this at all. Its plan features a 60 GB cap with an overage charge for the next 20 GB. After 80 GB, there is no further cap until the user hits 300 GB. In other words, using 80 GB and 300 GB costs the same thing. This suggests that the plan has nothing to do with pay-what-you-use but is rather designed to compete with similar cable ISP bandwidth caps.”

    Couldn’t agree more. Bandwidth should not be billed in “chunks”. It should be a fixed rate per KB. 80 GB should cost 80/300ths of what 300 GB costs. Plain and simple.

  8. Be_rad says:

    “I” when you are the subject of the verb, “me” when you are the object of the verb.

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