We've been covering at length the decision of Canadian regulatory agency the CRTC to give the green light to usage-based broadband billing
(aka low caps and high per byte overages). As any Independent Canadian ISP will gladly tell you, the move was the brain child of incumbent Canadian ISPs, eager to cash in on Internet video by charging per byte rates entirely detached from reality
, while driving smaller ISPs out of business
. Several readers have sent in a well-rounded report from Ars Technica
, which covers the impact among smaller ISPs. Specifically, they examine TekSavvy, which is being forced by law to lower their caps from 200GB to 25GB starting March 1:
"Like our customers, and Canadian internet users everywhere, we are not happy with this new development," wrote the Ontario-based indie ISP TekSavvy in a recent e-mail message to its subscribers. . .Starting on March 1, Ontario TekSavvy members who subscribed to the 5Mbps plan have a new usage cap of 25GB, "substantially down from the 200GB or unlimited deals TekSavvy was able to offer before the CRTC's decision to impose usage based billing," the message added.
Though Ars notes there's some "good news":
TekSavvy users can now buy "insurance," defined as "a recurring subscription fee that provides you with additional monthly usage." For Ontario it's $4.75 for 40GB of additional data (sorry, but the unused data can't be forwarded to the next month). There are also "usage vault" plans—payments made in advance for extra data. Consumers can buy vault data for $1.90/GB up to 300GB in any month. Where once TekSavvy consumers could purchase High Speed Internet Premium at a monthly base usage of 200GB for $31.95 a month, now they can get about half of that data (if they buy two units of insurance) at $41.45 a month.
Confusing pricing, expensive per-byte overages, and an inability for smaller independent ISPs to offer a service that's superior to say -- Bell Canada's own throttled and capped services. This was all by the design of Canada's largest ISPs, clearly demonstrates a total failure of government to stand up to these companies, and is something that's going to set Canadian broadband and technological innovation back for decades while costing Canadian consumers unnecessary billions. Other than that, it's a smashing idea from the folks at Bell Canada, Rogers, Shaw and the CRTC.
Canadian consumers are still fighting the shift, with a group by the name of Open Media
leading the charge and looking for petition signatures
. If you're interested in more detail, you can visit any one of our Canadian ISP forums
and have a conversation with disgusted Canadian consumers who are struggling to understand how this happened -- and what exactly they can do about it.