Jump to content

Your Internet Is Going To Get More Expensive

Recommended Posts

Basically, here's the down low:


- CRTC passes a law where they can't regulate our internet service providers.

- Your monthly transfer limits are going to go down, sometimes more than half of what it used to be.

- Your ISP can charge you whatever they want per gigabyte you go over your monthly transfer limit.

- Canada is the only country in the world who agreed to do this. We are now the worst country in regards to how much we'll have to pay to use the Internet.


Interesting facts:

- Bell just bought CTV.

- People are starting to buy TV shows and movies directly from services like iTunes or Netflix.

- Bell now has TV shows to sell on "video on demand" services built into digital cable/satellite.

- People are turning to the Internet for their TV shows and home phone service (Skype, VOIP, Vonage, Facetime, etc)

- Companies like Bell, Telus, Shaw, and Rogers provide phone, cable, and Internet services.

- 1 gigabyte of bandwidth costs somewhere around 1 to 2 cents, we'll be paying around $1 to $4 per gigabyte.


Right now, I pay about $80 or so per month to get 15Mbps up/1Mbps down with a 250GB limit. It might have actually dropped down to a 125GB limit now. But that $80 also includes unlimited home phone, caller ID, and whatever long distance plan it was. The ADSL alone is about $45/mo.


Here are Bell's new service plans:


Essential Plus

2Mbps down

800 Kbps up

2GB transfer



Performance/Fibe 6

6Mbps down

1 Mbps up

25GB transfer



Fibe 12

12Mbps down

1 Mbps up

50GB transfer



Fibe 16

16Mbps down

1 Mbps up

75GB transfer



Fibe 25

25Mbps down

7 Mbps up

75GB transfer



Here's some more fun facts:


1 hour of Netflix HD is 1885 megabytes, which means you get just under 40 hours of Netflix HD (less than 2 hours a day).


iTunes is in the same realm on a per-hour level, the bitrates are about the same on rented/purchased content. So if you bought 2 TV seasons of an hour-long show with a full season, including any CSI, House, 24 or Grey's Anatomy, your month's quota would probably be hosed. YouTube I have no idea, but it's probably similar.


For Steam games, it can be as few as three or four games, broken up as follows:


Star Wars: The Force Unleashed = 25400 megs

Age of Conan (no expansions) = 27200 megs

Dragon Age Origins + Expansion = 19200 megs

FEAR 1 Collection = 17000 megs


World of Warcraft with all expansions is 23.6 GB.

There are a lot of games on Steam that are over 10 gigs (Borderlands, Alpha Protocol, DIRT 2, Left 4 Dead 2, and Mass Effect 1 and 2 are the ones I currently have installed)


There's a petition out right now with over 70,000 signatures. You can sign it here if you don't want to pay out your ass for something worse than what you're getting now. http://openmedia.ca/meter


Interesting reads:

CRTC petitioned to stop usage-based billing as Netflix doubts Canadian future


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ok, I have to weigh in a little on this playing devils advocate. First let me be clear that I don't defend nor support big telecos.


I think it's important to consider that UBB is a valid business model. First consider all the services you get to your home that are usage based. Gas, electric, water, sewage and trash (along with any others you might get). So what makes internet different? I don't see how it is that much different, you consume and different people consume at different levels.


If you can accept that there is a valid business model, then I think you get to the real issue. That is that the cost of 1 MBit of internet is pretty hard to determine. With the other billable services, the utility usually has a part in creating or otherwise processing what you consume along with delivering it. Internet is really only a delivery, so it might be harder to figure out what the cost of the service is. As with other utilities, there is amortized cost of infrastructure and infrastructure planning, however there is not cost of production.


I believe that it is the problem with the assigned cost, and not the model that is the real issue that the Canadian consumer is going to face. If ISPs decide to charge you 1cent per GBit, then you are not going to see huge increase. However, if they decide 10cents per GBit, then it might get a little more crazy. So really I think that consumers need to be fighting for ISPs to be regulated on what they can charge, rather than trying to reject what I see as a valid business model.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Gas, power, sewage, water, and trash are basic necessities and their costs are based on fuel and man power needed to function. These are also regulated, I agree with you on the idea that internet related fees should also be regulated as it has become a necessity like telephone service. We're going backwards, we can't all start digging wells and using candles and firewood for heat and light because development and advancements in technology have shown us there are better and more efficient ways of doing things. We'll be the laughing stock of the first world if we keep going this way and discourage people from using a technology so prevalent in our daily commerce. If you want to promote development then you HAVE TO USE technology. In effect, if power and water have become utilities that are controlled by the government, perhaps we should look into nationalizing the backbones themselves?


A first year student in economics knows at least a little about economies of scale. As more producers and consumers adopt a product, more is produced, it becomes for the producer and the prices go down for the consumer. The internet is a lot faster now than it was when we were using it in the 90's and whole industries are now based almost entirely on the internet. Canada has always wanted to portray itself as a leader in technology and research but this move is going to set us back 20 years of progress. We're known for companies like RIM who developed the Blackberry and companies like EA, Ubisoft, Bioware, and Ballard were initiated in Canada.


How is it going to look when we suddenly start being elitist and discourage entrepreneurs and our citizens from fully utilizing the internet? Look at what they did recently in Egypt, it became headline news ALL OVER THE WORLD when Egypt shut off their country's internet access. China is constantly vilified for putting up a firewall and we're essentially trying to do the same thing but instead of putting up a firewall, we're making it expensive enough that people won't be able to afford to fully utilize the internet. You're essentially stifling technology and future development just so a company can make an easy cash grab.


It appalls me that the CRTC didn't even seem to bother asking these companies what their rationale was for their pricing schemes. They obviously didn't think this decision through and clearly didn't realize the scope and scale of allowing these companies an unregulated monopoly on what is now a basic necessity.


I bet Marshall McLuhan, a famous Canadian visionary who was respected around the world for his keen insight and philosophy on media theory and communication, is spinning in his grave right now. We gave him the Order of Canada because he showed us that "the medium is the message" and if you look at his writings about the "global village" you'll see that it really all applies to the internet. If you give a company control of a medium, then you're letting them dictate what you think and forfeiting your right to free speech. This is what McLuhan would call thought control. We're supposed to be a first world nation and a democracy, why are we letting private companies dictate our access to media? Are they taking back our right to legally purchase music, movies, games, and TV shows online? Are we suppose to give up talking or video chatting with our friends and family? Are they going to turn the internet off during the next election or if people are angry at the government? Letting these companies start freely charging exorbitant fees without providing valid rationale is the first step to letting multinational companies start running our countries.


edit: Check this out: http://www.dslreports.com/r0/download/1621...on-Petition.pdf This is the petition wrote to the government.


28. Based on 2010-802 numbers, a user who consumes 80 gigabytes pays $30.00 pf UBB fees. A user who consumes 300 gigabytes pays $30.00. Since there is no additional cost between 80 gigs and 300gigs, there is no incentive for users to moderate their usage above 80 gigs. This defeats the stated purpose of moderating the heavy downloaders.


29. With the pre-paid blocks, it gets worse. A user who buys 3 blocks of 40 gigs ($15.00) ends up paying $45 in UBB fees if he consumes 300 gigabytes. So he is in fact punished for purchasing pre-paid blocks.




30. A proper "user pays" model would see a linear usage curve with constant rates, perhaps decreasing with higher levels due to a "volume discount". What Bell Canada has introduced is not consistent with such a model.




32. Incumbents have repeatedly stressed that UBB is merely an ITMP: Internet Traffic Management Practice. They claim this is a network congestion management, not related to costs.




33. Logic dictates that the punitive level of a UBB scheme should be proportional to the odds of a user contributing to congestion problems.




34. The incumbent's UBB rates implement the exact opposite: more punitive pricing and limits on users with the slower speeds which are far less likely to create congestion. The 640kbs service is to have a microscopic 2gigabytes limit and very high $2.50/gig charge while the 5mbps service, far more likely to cause congestion due to higher speeds has a 60 gig limit with $1.50 per gig fee thereafter.




37. Incumbents pitch their UBB as a network management practice to control congestion requiring exact pricing to ensure proportionate application of the ITMP. Then, they admit their pricing is set by market conditions and are clearly not related to any network management parameters. How can the Commission have the confidence of Canadians when it approves such schemes?




38. Since incumbents exert almost total control over the market, their claim that they are using market pricing needs to be rejected since incumbents set the market prices. By accepting "market condition" pricing, the Commission is granting incumbents carte-blanche to set any rate they want without any justification.





41. While the commercial nature of the internet has changed since its non-profit early days, the internet remains a capacity-based network at its core. Transit links purchased by ISPs to connect to the internet are priced by capacity not usage. The nature of capacity-based networks fosters increased use and makes it possible to develop new applications that are more data intensive with the knowledge that end users will not have problems adopting such new applications.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So, I fully agree that the way the ILEC's have set their pricing scheme doesn't make that much sense. But that doesn't make the idea bad. The only point about that in your excerpt is that the internet is capacity based. I don't agree.


First I'd like to point out that the terms are awkward. So to be clear lets talk about "instantaneous capacity": The amount of data that can be simultaneously transmitted and "integral capacity": the amount of data that is transmitted over a period of time. In reality both are the same thing (integral capacity would be the integral of instantaneous capacity). This is important because ILEC's have to provision for both. If you have a 10 MBit backbone, then you can sell 2 5 MBit lines, or 4 2.5MBit lines. I assume that in practice, the ISP sells more than the instantaneous capacity of their link. They would do this because they don't expect all users to be using full bandwidth at all time. This is the same as how a city only builds a 4 lane highway, even though 400 cars pass a given point at rush hour. A 400 lane highway would maximize throughput at peak, but would cost a lot, and not be running at capacity for a lot of the time. ILEC's want to be running at capacity so that their trenched in fiber is doing it's job.


So the amount of integral capacity you use (your usage) is just as important as instantaneous capacity to the ILEC for provisioning. If all the users are going to be saturating their link at all times, then the ILEC needs to add capacity; if users saturate their link sporadically, then the ILEC might not need to add capacity. So both integral capacity and instantaneous capacity have a real impact to them. Admittedly, even sporadic saturation still has an impact since network traffic models are bursty, unlike phone traffic.


Since both have a real impact, and cost the ILEC money to provision for, then they have a real case for charging you the cost of that provisioning. You don't complain that you pay more for a higher link rate, so why is it an issue to complain that you are paying to be constantly using that link? An alternative for the ILEC's would be for them to provision (and charge) based on 100% saturation. This would force them to deploy much more network capacity, and probably drive your cost up even higher (though at that kind of amortization they wouldn't have any reason to imply limits or UBB).


So, in the end we need to look at the reasonability of the prices, and the plans need to make sense. But UBB as a model is valid.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.