Our Northern Neighbors “Mind the Cap”

I’ve been reading with interest the news out of Canada regarding internet usage caps under a controversial Usage Based Billing (UBB).

The campaign began last year when the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission agreed with Bell over the right to impose usage-based billing on its Internet customers. But the recent surge in interest stems from last week’s decision by the CRTC that effectively ends unlimited Internet use in Canada. (FinancialPost.com)

While it’s been reported that the Harper government will be taking another look at the ruling that caps internet usage to about 25GB/month, there’s a considerable amount of outrage from Canadians, and justifiably so.

What will 25GB/month get the average Canadian?

About 25 hours of video, which is about 12 movies a month on Netflix—and that’s about it. The “Mind the Cap” Campaign has already received over 220,000 signatures against the internet cap.

So, why does this have my attention?

I’m just trying to imagine what I would do with a 25GB cap. If there’s home computing, VOIP phones, audio streaming, and gaming on multiple devices like an XBox, Wii, iPad, and multiple computers, that 25GB is going to go by pretty fast. Just my job, could have the potential to use 25GB in a week.

The other thing this reminds me of though, is…

It gave me a minute to pause and think about our own shift away from unlimited mobile data plans here in the U.S.—and I have to wonder, how is this type of cap so different? I realize that ATT has quietly given some previous iPhone unlimited plans holders back their unlimited data in reaction to Verizon’s own publicity of unlimited offers. I have to wonder however,  how long these plans will be available; there have already been whispers that they’re in place “for now.”

Finally, with a cap on internet bandwidth…

  • How will it effect the ability to access or find information? How about Current News?
  • Can people visit social sites like Facebook, Twitter or YouTube and connect with others?
  • How might a cap on the internet effect working in the “cloud?”
  • How will streaming audio like Pandora, MySpoonful or GrooveShark be limited?
  • How will a cap on bandwidth effect online purchasing from Amazon or other commerce sites? What about Ebook and MP3 downloads?

In short, how would a cap on internet bandwidth effect the way many of our Northern Neighbors live and work, especially as everything has been shifting toward the Internet? How might the CRTC Ruling in Canada effect Net Neutrality and the access to the Internet for us all?

(Image from OpenMedia.ca.)

4 replies
  1. Jim says:

    I see it as the tip of the iceberg of accessibility. Also, another potential widening of the gap between the haves and the have nots as the Internet becomes more expensive to access.

  2. Louise says:

    I already pay in Quebec from Videotron and I think this is crap and stealing from us. They also are forcing us to have a 1 year contract. I pay alot for just viewing and I dont even download. There is no choice for the downloading to make sure that this is what we want or not. If we click some place there is no way of knowing that it automatically gets downloaded and this is unfair billing. Stop this increase and stop the past years of this charge and make these companies pay their clients back. It is obvious that we are the highest charges in all the world and this will make it even harder for a poor family to become an online user when the CRTC makes these sort of rules. This will mean that internet will only be for the rich now this is not a fair social environment now is it. What happen to this government promise that everyone will be online even the lower class by 2000. This is not happened and the future looks bleak.

  3. ginny says:

    Louise, thank you for your comments. You make some really good points about what a user may, or may not, inadvertently download when going to different web sites.

    I also agree with you in that all countries should be striving to narrow the digital divide, not widen it. I believe that it’s important for everyone to pay attention to what happens in Canada and the CRTC.

    Thanks so much for stopping by.

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