We do not normally get into politics much less Canadian politics since the site is very much an international one but new rules coming down from the CRTC are so ridiculous and outrageous that it would just not be right if I did not bring it up. What I thought was common knowledge for most internet users is clearly not as a campaign to Stop The Meter and prevent cable companies from ripping off their users finally hits the mainstream and starts generating interest. For those who do not have a clue what I am talking about lets take a quick step back.
About 3 months ago I subscribe to Netflix Canada for $8 a month and within a week realized that this is the greatest thing to come to Canada since sliced bread and indoor plumbing. I wrote about how much I loved it and readers started writing in the comments saying ‘hey man watch out for your bandwith bill’ which resulted in me doing some homework and finding out that for whatever reason the CRTC had green lit a program to allow the large internet companies in Canada to charge for use of bandwith.
At just about the same time that Netflix announced it was bringing its service to Canada Bell & Rogers Internet announced a great new addition to our internet service, bandwith caps. Bandwith is basically how much you can download per month and came into effect in my view for no other reason than to battle Netflix and its clear threat to Cable TV business. Who in their right mind is going to pay $50 to $100 a month for cable when you can get it for $7.99 on Netflix? I currently pay almost $180 a month for phone, internet and cable. $60 of that is cable and I can get most of the specialty shows for FREE as part of Netflix. Now admittedly I won’t get everything on Netflix but when you consider I will save $672.00 a year I am willing to miss out on a couple shows.
There has been an excuse given that because users are now using much more bandwith downloading videos, game trials and films we need to pay more for bandwith. This despite the fact that Comcast in the USA has admitted it costs less then $7 to double the internet bandwith capacity of an ENTIRE neighbourhood. Under the new changes to your internet bill according to GeekTown.ca if you exceed the new bandwith cap you will be billed $4 per gig that you go over . If you figure every movie you watch is 1gig to 4gigs in size your looking at up to $16.00 PER movie in punitive fees from your internet provider simply because you chose to watch it online and avoid a hefty monthly bill.
Start doing the math on this and it better make you not just annoyed but outraged and angry! I am unable to nail down exactly what bandwith costs the major internet/cable companies in Canada but small internet companies say that the new fee’s being charged are thousands of times more then what its truly worth. Small service oriented internet companies are upset because they get their internet access from the big monopoly and have no choice but to also charge the fees. Does it seem fair the CRTC is allowing this?
These new bandwith caps are a typical cash grab but also in my view a way to keep Netflix and other online services in check. Under the pretext of protecting some sort of ‘canadian interest’ consumers are being thrown into the stoneage and frankly we are becoming the laughing stock of the internet world. If anyone actually knows why the CRTC is allowing the Cable companies do this sound off in the comments. As it stands it appears the cable companies are using the CRTC to force those of us who have long ago tuned out the TV because of more interesting fare on youtube / Netflix and other services to go back to their commercial filled shows by cutting us off at the proverbial knee’s. In an interview with the CBC Steve Anderson OpenMedia’s Co-Ordinator put it best saying quote;
“The CRTC has once again left the wolves in charge of the henhouse. Canadians have come out in unprecedented numbers and demanded an affordable internet, and while there is evidence that this has moved the CRTC, they have not gone nearly far enough. It is deeply disappointing that the commission has decided to give a few companies a free hand to engage in economic discrimination and crush innovation. Now is the moment for forward-looking, visionary policymaking, not half-measures and convoluted compromises with the companies trying to kill the open internet.”
Just who is the CRTC really looking out for? As of writing this 107,532 canadians have signed a petition to STOP THE METER and I for one think that each and every one of you Canadian readers needs to sign the petition and tweet / share this on facebook. Do not let this injustice continue. The CRTC has no place allowing cable companies make decisions that are vindictive. Just because we don’t watch their cable/satellite service they decide to punish us and prevent us from using internet services which are better priced and offer better service. Seriously CRTC.. what gives?