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Canada Gets Metered Internet
Canada approved usage billing on ISP plans. Here we go...
Lapizuli




msg:4260996
 4:57 am on Feb 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

To put it mildly, this could be a problem for Canadians in business, and if other countries follow suit...ouch.

[arstechnica.com...]
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...


Here's the "good" news: TekSavvy users can now buy "insurance," defined as "a recurring subscription fee that provides you with additional monthly usage."

 

bakedjake




msg:4261351
 6:52 pm on Feb 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

All 2011-24 talks about is the discount rate for UBB for CLECs.

2010-255 is the big one, and it's just a Bell tariff.

This is an astroturf campaign by the CLECs, because they didn't get the 50% discount rate on UBB they wanted. If they would have gotten it, there wouldn't be such an outcry because no one would have known about it until prices went up (considering the relevant tariff decision actually happened 7 months ago).

To be clear: no provider is required, other than Bell itself to its retail customers, to charge based on usage. Bell has decided to, and it affects people who resell Bell DSL. That's it. At least until another tariff is filed.

Further, no reseller is required to charge customers on a usage basis by law or statute or decision. That decision gives Bell the right to implement UBB on a wholesale basis and mandates that Bell implement UBB for its retail customers so that it does not have an unfair advantage. Resellers could conceivably keep unlimited internet plans if their business models supported it.

[edited by: bakedjake at 7:01 pm (utc) on Feb 1, 2011]

wheel




msg:4261352
 6:59 pm on Feb 1, 2011 (gmt 0)


To be clear: no provider is required to charge based on usage. Bell has decided to, and it affects people who resell Bell DSL.

And I guess what I'm saying, is Bell and people who resell Bell? that's pretty much everybody where I sit. There isn't any other effective DSL choice for most Canadians.

bakedjake




msg:4261353
 7:03 pm on Feb 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

people who resell Bell


Aren't required to charge based on usage. They most certainly will because that's how their wholesaler is charging them, but it's not required.

Why don't you switch to Rogers? Dollars to donuts Rogers won't go down this road. They'll sit there and watch how many Bell and Bell reseller customers migrate to them.

wheel




msg:4261364
 7:23 pm on Feb 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

Well, then I just got schooled. I was led to believe that the secondary retailers were REQUIRED to charge this.

Expecting me to read the source document to confirm is asking way to much.

wheel




msg:4261389
 8:22 pm on Feb 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

I did a bit more research. Seems like a technicality. The net effect is that they may not be required, but in reality they are.

Sgt_Kickaxe




msg:4261433
 10:07 pm on Feb 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

Netflix streaming uses up nearly 5G per movie so buh-bye Netflix in Canada, 5 movies and you're over.

Xbox Live uses MUCH less for gaming, you can play online for 2 hours and clock in at half a Gig.

Canadians won't be watching many movies or Videos, what a CAVEMAN move. It's already in place at Videotron too...

Rugles




msg:4261440
 10:15 pm on Feb 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

Canadians won't be watching many movies or Videos, what a CAVEMAN move


Netflix is not the only way to watch a movie.

Sgt_Kickaxe




msg:4261441
 10:20 pm on Feb 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

No, it's not, but a 7.99 a month it's the best in terms of price, well... now it's not an option.

As for throtling, look at Videotron, one of Canada's top providers that goes unmentioned in that article - [videotron.com...]

Notice how 1 movie per day from Netflix would put you over even the most expensive plan ($82.95 a month!)?

As for throttling, look at that link and notice how they magically can increase everyone's speed overnight, as of Feb 1st. They also don't even need to make any residential changes to move you from a 1MBS plan to a 60MPS plan so it's purely throttling, or throttle removal, that you pay for.

What a scam. What do they do with all the unused Gigs they sold but didn't get used? Bonuses for execs.

g1smd




msg:4261464
 12:17 am on Feb 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

The Prime Minister of Canada is on the case...

[twitter.com...]


Sidenote: He only has 48 000 followers?

oodlum




msg:4261486
 12:59 am on Feb 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

We've had metered internet in Australia since the beginning. In the early days it was a chance for the big telcos to trick people into paying exorbitant rates for excess data usage (telling users they could watch movies etc while sneaking in a 200MB limit and $1/MB excess).

Then competition came along and sorted that out, for the most part. The government forced the main telco (Telstra) to resell their services. Now most ISPs throttle after the cap is reached, and there are a lot of reasonably priced plans with high data limits.

My plan is $89 for 400GB (200GB peak and 200GB off-peak) per month . Enough for 2 Netflix movies per night if I want, and plenty left over.

Like a lot of things in life, if you use more than other people, you pay more. Sucks in a monopoly, but that's nothing new either. We accept our electricity usage being metered, but if they historically had unlimited usage and suddenly switched to a metered model, a lot of people would be extremely upset that they had to pay for the amount of electricity they used.

graeme_p




msg:4261606
 9:51 am on Feb 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

As oodlum says, the problem seems to be not metered internet per se (which seems fair enough, provided its network neutral), but with a monopolist setting the prices.

badbadmonkey




msg:4261653
 12:21 pm on Feb 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

ISPs have to fit user's demands in with the bandwidth they have available to sell.

Bandwidth means bandwidth, not absolute data. I.e. a GB/s metric, not a GB metric.

They can't offer unrestricted DSL speeds to their customers on a GBps divided by number-of-customers basis, because that would result in either very slow speeds or very high costs, and inefficient usage regardless. The latter you can find in business oriented plans if you're willing to pay the premium.

So they design plans to encourage users to ration their own usage, using "metered" plans.

Or, they do flat rate, then end up forced to tier services as a way of enforcing rational usage.

Frankly flat rate is retarded. It cannot work except at very high costing if you want net neutrality.

User pays. You get what you pay for. It's honest and everyone wins. Deal with it.

Same goes to mobile broadband. Unrestricted data - what the f* were they thinking? And trying to stop wifi hot-spotting etc. What a farce.

graeme_p




msg:4261655
 12:41 pm on Feb 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

@badbadmonkey, metered is fine, but what seems to be happening here is that a monopolist is being allowed to set excessively high prices. If you allow a monopoly to exist, you must (at the very least) regulate prices tightly.

What North America (and much of the rest of the world) needs is local loop unbundling so the incumbent does not have a monopoly on wholesale DSL.

badbadmonkey




msg:4261661
 1:12 pm on Feb 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

Yes but the topic is metering - you'll have monopolistic problems regardless of the plan structures.

wheel




msg:4261662
 1:19 pm on Feb 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

No, the topic is not metering. The topic is government regulation of metering. Most folks aren't complaining about tiered plans - these are commonly available already. The problem is the government intervention that forces this on everyone - even those companies and consumers who are quite happily doing business without it right now.

There's apparently no real problem with bandwidth. The companies are making lots and lots of money. And consuemrs are reasonably well served. With this change, one company is going to do a lot better,and consumers are going to have poorer service.

bakedjake




msg:4261703
 2:45 pm on Feb 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

The topic is government regulation of metering.


No, it's not. It's Bell making a change in pricing for wholesale. The CRTC hasn't stipulated that any last mile provider must charge on a usage basis.

If you've read something that says that anyone must implement UBB, with the exception of Bell itself selling retail to its own customers if and only if they implement it across their wholesale business, please refute it. It's false. Read the source documents.

The government has approved Bell's request to implement usage based billing to their wholesale customers.

It's VERY important to understand why it's happening. The CRTC sees no reason that they should interfere with a market based pricing mechanism, except to ensure that Bell (retail) doesn't have an unfair advantage over its competitors reselling Bell DSL. The CRTC's decision was one of non-interference.

Unfortunately this is now a political issue which means it will go whatever way the public demands it does, issues be damned. So the public shall get MPs dictating network policy, which is always a good idea!

a monopolist is being allowed to set excessively high prices


"excessively high" is subjective, but you're basically right. All that's happened is that Bell has changed its wholesale pricing model.

What North America (and much of the rest of the world) needs is local loop unbundling so the incumbent does not have a monopoly on wholesale DSL.


What the world needs is last mile competition. Unbundling doesn't do that.

[edited by: bakedjake at 3:04 pm (utc) on Feb 2, 2011]

wheel




msg:4261708
 3:02 pm on Feb 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

That's all fine bakedjake - but there's a world of difference between the technical intricacies, and the real world effect.

The real world effect of this change is immediate higher costs for lower service to Canadian consumers. Nobody's getting better service for lower costs as a result. Lots of people are immediately seeing higher prices for lower service.

I've already received my email. Cost me another $15 a month and I don't download movies or music.

Worse, I've been starting to consider building an internet TV box. This change has killed that idea, it's no longer really viable unless I want to pay rates that I perceive as being gouged.

So my costs went up, and I'm no longer going to use the internet as heavily as I once did.

That's hardly regulation that's contributing to a competitive environment.

bakedjake




msg:4261710
 3:05 pm on Feb 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

So why not switch to Rogers (or your local cableco)?

That's hardly regulation that's contributing to a competitive environment.


How much should Bell be allowed to charge for wholesale DSL? Who gets to decide? Right now, CRTC says they can charge what they want to.

I've already received my email. Cost me another $15 a month and I don't download movies or music.


My gas went up by $15 last month. And the commission that reviewed that decision really didn't have my best interests at heart.

wheel I'm picking on you because you're local and smart. :) But I feel pretty strongly about this. It sucks that prices are going up, but what's the alternative? Government mandated pricing for Internet access?

J_RaD




msg:4261718
 3:15 pm on Feb 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

bye bye cloud!

we'll all be getting our software in boxes again!

Rugles




msg:4261760
 4:48 pm on Feb 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

It sucks that prices are going up, but what's the alternative?


This is exactly where I am at on this issue.

I don't like paying a little more. But I realize if people clog up the tubes watching nearly free movies which will result in more capital expeditures by the phone and cable companies on hardware ...why should I be subsidizing that? If you want all that extra capacity, pay for it yourself.

Pay-as-you-go, sounds democratic to me.

From reading stuff on message boards and newspaper comment pages, the people who are most upset are the bandwidth hogs. They know very well that they have been getting a mostly free ride all along. With the rest of us subsidizing their usage. Game over, pay up or shut up.

Sgt_Kickaxe




msg:4261769
 5:16 pm on Feb 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

Game over, pay up or shut up.

Not really Rugles, just because someone demands you pay up doesn't make what they are charging fair.

Basic internet with 1MBPS speed cap and 4 GB transfer limit (18.95 @ Videotron) is STILL more expensive that U.S. unlimited access, and much faster, plans and if you get that basic plan you've burned through your transfer limit in just ONE netflix movie!?!

Claiming their prices are in line with their costs is a scam, it really is, U.S. carriers would be bankrupt if it was true.

The kicker - you PAY for these GB but they get erased at the end of the month if you don't use them. Money for nothing!

bakedjake




msg:4261793
 6:02 pm on Feb 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

doesn't make what they are charging fair


Look I don't like my bills going up either. But what's fair? And who gets to decide?

I pay $189/mo. or something like that for Internet at home. I think that's fair. You say paying 10% of that isn't fair. Who's right?

It'd probably be half of that in the States for a similar connection. But houses, cars, milk, basic personal taxes, garden sheds, wages for employees, large livestock, firewood, adult novelties, and computers are all more expensive in Canada. You can't compare costs 1:1 between the US and Canada.

You will continue to see a realignment of costs for high speed internet access. The exponential growth in usage but corresponding decline in pricing experienced over the last decade is not sustainable.

I note that this industry is similar to satellite TV: enormous capital cost, market as oligopoly, near zero incremental cost for new customers. If I started a campaign to get the government to lock satellite TV charges in place (as they go up every single year) and claimed that increases were "hurting Canadian families", everyone would think I was stark raving mad. Why the difference?

Also, I find it very interesting that this decision was made nearly 8 months ago, but no one knew about it until the CLECs didn't get the discount they wanted. :)

[edited by: bakedjake at 6:33 pm (utc) on Feb 2, 2011]

Lapizuli




msg:4261815
 6:49 pm on Feb 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

If I started a campaign to get the government to lock satellite TV charges in place (as they go up every single year) and claimed that increases were "hurting Canadian families", everyone would think I was stark raving mad. Why the difference?


The difference as I see it is that satellite TV has not penetrated so thoroughly into the infrastructure of living.

Although TV serves many functions, the Internet is becoming the commercial and social center of people's existence. It's moving into an area people instinctively see as a "right" versus a privilege. So any limitations on it feel more invasive and oppresive.

wheel




msg:4261841
 7:30 pm on Feb 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

I personally have no problem paying what's competitive. I actually don't have a problem paying excessive fees. Quite frankly, I run a home based business with two people on the web all day, run my voip phones, my kids watch videos online, we do research etc etc etc. All for less than I spend on dinner for my family....at McDonalds. It's not the price. It's the regulation.

And in this case, while the pricing doesn't really cause me a problem it will cause a problem for some folks. Students and low income folks for example. Not that I'm some sort of advocate.

I seriously object to the price increase, that I don't feel is necessary, by the gov't. Not private industry - the gov't. The gov't is meddling and making it clearly worse.

And what's worse than that? The fact that a private company, that effectively has a state mandated monopoly, is going to be the beneficiary of that gov't largesse.

It's like mixing the worst of socialism and capitalism and what have you got? Internet access in Canada.

If the government wants open access the smart thing they would do would be to nationalize the hardware and lines and let everyone have equal access on a cost basis.

Gov't shouldn't be involved in many things but internet access is almost to the point now where it's up there with basic infrastructure like roads, power and water.

CainIV




msg:4261995
 1:02 am on Feb 3, 2011 (gmt 0)

Most people rarely ever exceed the cap thresholds on these accounts unless are downloading "specialty vids" all day long.

Fact of the matter is that this hurts that bottleneck up my Internet, and doesn't affect 95% of us. I use my computer 16 hours a day for business and pleasure, and still don't exceed the cap on my current account.

Those caps likely won't charge, only the penalties for crossing them.

wheel




msg:4262206
 12:54 pm on Feb 3, 2011 (gmt 0)

Cain, you've got a lot of positions not born out by facts.

I don't download 'specialty vids'. I download backups from my server. At 3:00 in the morning. That's what I'm paying for. The gov't should mandate that I pay extra for my internet fees?

I want internet TV and am prepared to pay an internet TV company. This move basically prevents ME from doing this in a cost effective fashion (so I'm limited by these measures now) and takes money from internet TV companies (which hurts business). It might affect me now, it will effect your 95% because it limits what your opportunities are in the future.

I see no sign of my useage bottling up the internet. That's another thing that's being touted and is blatantly false. The only thing dropping speed is that the lack of competition means they don't offer high speed alternatives in many places. Besides, when did it make any kind of sense that when a service is being used that the 'fix' is for the gov't to mandate to the businesses offering the service that they have to increase fees?

This makes as much sense as the US gov't declaring that the Best of the Web directory is getting full and therefore anyone who has more than one listing has to pay more for 2+ listings. What? the directory isn't full, and if it is, let BOTW figure it out and charge extra if they're so inclined. If they need more staff and servers to handle the load, let them figure it out how to fix it in a competitive environment.

Rugles




msg:4262285
 4:06 pm on Feb 3, 2011 (gmt 0)

Oh Yeah, this issue has now turned political. The Federal government was already sending signals of an impending election. So suddenly they "care" about how much it costs me for my bandwidth. Ya right.

Of course they did nothing about the increases in my bills over the last 5 years. Now suddenly they care.

It is real easy to be a cynic somedays.

wheel




msg:4262306
 4:23 pm on Feb 3, 2011 (gmt 0)

\The Federal government was already sending signals of an impending election. So suddenly they "care" about how much it costs me for my bandwidth. Ya right.

That's the only way the gov't was going to listen to this issue. If it would've been raised 2 years ago, or a year hence, the response would've been silence.

No need to be a cynic. That's the way it rolls. The public just got lucky in the timing. The pressure that can be put to bear on politicians by the public really only exists prior to elections.

SevenCubed




msg:4262323
 4:34 pm on Feb 3, 2011 (gmt 0)

The decision to go ahead with this is being reversed. The people have spoken loudly and for a change the government has listened. This is going to be rolled back within a week due to a massive amount of petition participation... Ottawa to reverse CRTC Internet billing decision
[thestar.com]

A controversial CRTC decision that effectively imposed usage-based Internet billing on small service providers will be reversed, the Toronto Star has learned.

“The CRTC should be under no illusion — the Prime Minister and minister of Industry will reverse this decision unless the CRTC does it itself,” a senior Conservative government official said Wednesday.

“If they don’t reconsider we will reverse their decision.”

The promise to reverse the ruling comes as CRTC Chair Konrad von Finckenstein is scheduled to explain the decision Thursday before the House of Commons industry committee.

[edited by: engine at 5:48 pm (utc) on Feb 3, 2011]
[edit reason] added link and quote [/edit]

CainIV




msg:4262618
 5:22 am on Feb 4, 2011 (gmt 0)

I see no sign of my usage bottling up the internet.


From everything I've ever read, yes in fact it can bottleneck connections in busier areas on DSL for example.

Downloading server files every night is not a 'standard' thing that most people do. It is, for the most part, a faculty of business.

Businesses pay expenses. Most IPS's have premium business services which offer most bandwidth. Both major providers where I live do.

The average person browsing the average amount of time online not downloading backups of their website every night won't even understand, or be affected by this in my opinion. :)

votrechien




msg:4262881
 6:02 pm on Feb 4, 2011 (gmt 0)

The current government, the Conservatives lead by Stephen Harper, have said they will kill this proposal regardless (great way to get votes- he just swayed my opinion of the conservatives).

There's two problems here:

1) The market, not the government, should determine the viability of tiered internet.

2) Canada prides itself on being an economy, at least partially, that is fueled by it's high-tech sector. Imposing regulations that will provide impediments to accessing the internet, the backbone of a high-tech society, can only have negative consquences.

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