Internet downloading costs to rise
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Following a CRTC ruling that states Internet Service Providers can charge per bit, Canada's internet giants are starting to clock usage and charge accordingly. I happen to be in one of Shaw's test markets, which means that I have the choice of paying per byte or changing to another ISP. The problem: I live in Canada where there is little competition (Only 2 ISPs in my area) and companies are going to score a windfall from good people like me.
Shaw has developed a chart of usage limits and their penalties. Usage applies to any modem activity. If I go above 60GB a month, I'm nailed $2 per gig. This seams like a good chunk of bandwidth until you realize that a social media app like HootSuite or Tweetdeck can burn 8 GB by itself. Throw in usage fees for every video I produce with external aid, upload, view, download, and post to the blog and I'm going to hit 60GB easily. And the thing is I'm not a big gamer, I'm not a music thief, and I don't use Netflix. I have done nothing wrong but give Shaw years of faithful service. I've even written about how amazing their customer service is, because I am honest- they have very awesome people working for them.
And the time could come, very soon, that I have to tell one of the friendly, hard-working folks at Shaw that I can no longer afford to blog about them or anyone else. And I'll have to switch to the oligopoly with the outsourced customer service that always hangs up. And the only reason will be dollars and cents, because I know that it costs 2 cents to deliver bandwidth you plan on charging me $2 for. As someone who has phone, internet and digital cable services with one company, I'm the kind of person service providers wish to keep. Should all companies jump on the bandwidth bandwagon, I'll have to shut this and my other websites down.
Moreover, this ruling could affect other countries. Giving a legal precedent to totally fleecing residential customers is not going unnoticed worldwide. Television companies hate streaming video content because they're afraid people will stop overpaying for their programming. Whether the content is streamed or downloaded legally or not doesn't matter. And the easiest way to punish people for going to Hulu or Netflix is to meter usage and then grotesquely overcharge all consumers. If you are an artist, this CRTC ruling could sink iTunes Canada, iTunes Movies, and Netflix in Canada. If you do internet business in Canada, you're looking at losing 20% of your sales.
Even if you aren't Canadian, aggressive internet monitoring should concern you. Now that you know what this hashtag means, please appeal to Canadian Industry Minister Tony Clement to put an end to this unfair and anticompetitive precedent.