Are you a Canadian Internet user? If you are then there is something afoot that requires your attention. In our beloved Canada, Internet Providers are cracking down on our apparently ‘excessive’ internet usage.
In Canada Internet providers are attempting to monopolize the market, and raise the price of residential high-speed internet access. Providers such as Telus (in Alberta and British Columbia), Bell (in Ontario and Quebec) and Shaw are looking to put a cap on our home internet usage, meter everything you do online and charge you through the roof if you go over your limit. The decision essentially says that unlimited internet plans will cease to exist and downloading limits will be drastically reduced for customers of these ISP’s. Thankfully Canada’s internet regulator the CRTC has launched a review of this decision.
Are you looking forward to a future where your ISP will charge you per byte and bit, the same way they do with your phone? If this happens we will end up in a situation where we pay MORE for LESS internet.
Usage Based Billing, What is it?
“Large ISPs charge their customers based on usage-based caps that specify the maximum amount of bandwidth they can use for internet activities like streaming video and movies, talking on Skype or uploading and downloading data. Customers who exceed the cap pay “overage” charges of up to $2.50 per gigabyte unless they bought insurance.
Bell says usage-based billing is necessary to reduce network congestion and discourage heavy internet users from using an unfair amount of bandwidth.
However, consumer advocates say imposing the caps on small ISPs would lead to higher internet prices, discourage the use of new services such as Netflix and make it impossible for smaller internet providers to offer different packages than large ISPs, utlimately reducing competition and consumer choice. Netflix allows people to stream unlimited high-definition video over the internet to their TVs for a monthly fee and uses a large amount of bandwidth.”
CRTC Confirms Re-Examination on ruling
The CRTC has confirmed that it is re-examining its rulings on the way small internet service providers — and therefore their customers — are billed by large ISPs like Bell, and is seeking public comments as part of that review.
YOU can help prevent this from moving forward by being pro-active and using your voice to let the CRTC know that you’re NOT happy with big ISPs trying to corner the market. How would you feel about having a 25 GB limit on your monthly bandwidth (up and down!)? I know for myself I’ve transferred over 25 gigabytes in the last 30 hours alone. If I was capped at 25 for a month I’d be paying more than triple my current rate to continue using the internet the way I do, (and that may be a conservative estimate).
A Major Problem with Usage Based Billing
One significant issue that threatens the integrity of internet service providers and there eagerness to bill us extra for our metered internet usage, is the fact that they don’t seem able to meter us accurately at all. In fact there are plenty of reported cases of people (smart techy people!) who know how to track their own usage, and are discovering SERIOUS and blatant discrepancies between what their own computers and their ISP is telling them. Plenty of cases in fact that show without a doubt that ISP’s are claiming almost DOUBLE what the actual usage may be. And these aren’t just allegations either, take a look at this screenshot from Bell’s customer service site taken on Wednesday February 9th.
What YOU CAN DO to let the CRTC know how you feel, and put a STOP to this decision.
Go to the CRTC website where you can share your opinion. You have until March 28th to comment. The link to the CRTC review of billing practices for wholesale residential high-speed access is here.
Sign the online petition and stop the meter on your internet use. The petition can be found here and will be submitted to the CRTC by openmedia.ca.
Contact your local MP. You can find out who your MP is and there contact information by using the Government of Canada website, here is a link to the Member of Parliament directory.
Get a hold of your MP and let them know your feeling on this issue.