Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Welcome to 2011 CRTC

I love my country, but I'm always astonished at how good our citizens are at adopting and embracing new technologies while at the same time our governing bodies are absolutely terrible at it.  Canadians rely on debit cards more than any other country; our internet usage per capita is among the highest anywhere.  42% of Canadians have a Facebook profile.  But strangely our governing body for telecommunications, the CRTC, is on the verge of deciding that metered internet billing is a good idea.

Everyone knows the TV in it's traditional role as provider of programing over the airwaves/cablewaves is on the way out--the Internet is the way of the future.  Despite this, the CRTC might allow Bell and Rogers (who conveniently have a HUGE stake in driving consumers back to traditional TV) to bill Internet users additionally for "overages" in their data consumption.  This means when you go to the National Film Board and download free content from filmakers across Canada you will likely be paying extra on your Internet bill.  How about Netflix?  Streaming content on You Tube?  Yep, they'll cost you extra too.

So what can be done about this?  Probably not a whole lot, but I chose to sign an online petition to express my disappointment in the lack of foresight shown by the CRTC and perhaps you might want to as well.  Follow this link to join the over 40 thousand others who have signed the petition.

Get a clue CRTC.  Don't leave us in the dark-ages because Big Business can't figure out a way to make money in the new Internet reality without resorting to billing practices that have no place in 2011.


Sadly, this ended up being a case of too little, too late.  The CRTC has decided to allow the major players to adopt metered billing, which means the small providers who buy bandwidth from Bell will have to stop offering unlimited downloading which will severely limit competition in Canada's already more-or-less monopolized Internet provider market.  A small bone was thrown to the consumer in the way of a reduction in the cost of basic service, but it's little consolation.

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