Welcome to the Canadian Internet, now stop using it


Welcome to the Canadian Internet, where extreme concentration in telecoms and a weak, lame regulator have given rise to a nation where your Internet access is metered in small, ungenerous dribs, and where ranging too far afield during your network use results in your ISP breaking into your browsing session to tell you that you're close to being cut off from the net.

The incumbent telcos have successfully petitioned for "usage based billing," wherein their customers only get so much bandwidth every month (they've also long practiced, and lied about, furtive throttling and filtering, slowing down downloads, streams, and voice-over-IP traffic). This will effectively make it cheaper to use their second-rate voice-over-IP and video-on-demand service than it is to use the superior services the rest of the developed world enjoys.

If you were a Canadian entrepreneur or innovator looking to start your own networked business, this would be terminal. How can an innovative service take hold in Canada if Canadians know that every click eats away at their monthly bandwidth allotment? I can think of no better way to kill Canadians' natural willingness to experiment with new services that can improve their lives and connect them with their neighbours and the wide world than to make them reconsider every click before they make it.

Welcome to the Canadian Internet, and welcome to Information Age Canada, a nation whose government is willing to sell the country's future and competitiveness for the sake of a few more points on the bottom line of the creaking telcoms industry. Way to go, eh?

I'm from Canada, this what it looks like when you are close to using your allotted bandwidth. Yes this is real.

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  1. Sorry Cory. But its been like that in Australia since forever. We have boggled at your unlimited quotas and big fat pipes for years.

    1. Australia should have raised hell and highwater a long time ago like Canadians are doing right now.

  2. What’s so strange about this message? You can also get this kind of message in Belgium. When you’ve used a certain amount of your monthly bandwidth, they give this kind of message as a reminder. When you’ve reached 100%, they slow down your download & upload speed. (It sucks, I know.)

    1. In Belgium it is different, it does not 1) show up during your browsing session and 2) we don’t have our connection blocked as we reach 100%, but only lose speed.

  3. Welcome to the Australian fraudband nightmare.

    It’s not so bad. They just take a teensy bit of brain out. *looks into jar* Heeeeey there, little brain! :)

  4. To back up the above poster, I’m from New Zealand and we’ve always had caps. Rarely are they more generous than 25gig a month.
    It has never stop people getting content, you simply learn to police your downloads and prioritise some things over others.

    Sad but true.

  5. Australia here again; I’d have loved to get a message letting me know that I will over quota on my iphone plan. Thanks 50c a megabite, I will be in your debt forever.

  6. The first thing I noticed was how large your quota is: I’m envious. I was surprised to read it was a complaint about there being a quota as it’s a part of life here (Australia).

  7. That looks very like the notifications I get from my ISP, in the UK, when I go close to my monthly limit. Of course there are ISPs in the UK who claim not to have a limit, but if you start to run a webserver and a few torrents on your connection, you’ll soon find out otherwise. I prefer to be told what the cap is, rather than having some vague “fair use” limit.

    The simple fact is that bandwidth costs money, and no one can provide an 8Mbit/sec connection that’s in continual use for £15 per month. £10/Mbit/sec/month would be very cheap for Internet transit, so your 8Mbit/sec connection should cost at least £80 per month if you’re going to use it 24×7.

    1. One of my ISPs have the same thing, over Christmas I was over my limit and throttled down to 128kbps.
      They have recently introduced a webpage on their site giving me a daily quota.
      I dont think this is a bad thing, its certainly make you think about who and how people are using your monthly quota.

    2. So, (theoretical max) 324GB a month at 1Mbps for 10 quid, or 3.2TB at 10Mbps for 100?

      Fair, I guess, if you’re using that connection 24×7.

      Which the vast majority of users aren’t. Most people just need a low-latency, highly burst-capable Internet connection.

      Besides, “fair” loses telcos’ money.

    1. What bullshit. I pay $60.00 for unlimited. No slowing down after a certain peak.
      Why would anyone would pay $89.00.
      Maybe because it also includes phone line rental and free calls and maybe some other perks from you phone company.

  8. You think we’d learn from the past, eh?

    Marshall Macluhan must be gyrating by now.

    The CRTC screwed over the Canadian telephone infrastructure years ago, then radio, TV and the cell phone infrastructure… so we expect them to behave differently with the internet? It’s a wonder it took them so long… I guess their fax machines are working again. Talk about Money for Nothing!

    Here’s a bit of Irony – this morning – on the CRTC website
    http://www.crtc.gc.ca/eng/home-accueil.htm
    February 1, 2011
    Due to technical difficulties, the CRTC website was not available on January 31, 2011 between 7:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.

  9. Cory, what’s the actual story here?

    You’ve got a screenshot of what appears to be a very acceptable notification that you’re closing in on your download limit. And then you’ve got a denunciation of Canadian ISPs with no links and no connection to the screenshot above.

    I’d be very surprised if you’ll find any ISP in the UK that’s genuinely unlimited in their download allowances, and I have to say that I’d rather get a notification like this (together with a “do not send me this message again” option) than have my bandwidth throttled without notification, like currently happens.

    Right now it looks a lot like “here’s a random screenshot of something helpful my ISP is providing, with a rant about the industry”.

    1. The inclusion of the screenshot is one that, while representing what is in essence a reasonable notification, is so familiar to Canadians that it has become synonymous with our spite for Rogers and Bell. Most people follow the viewing of that notice with a good fist-shaking, and sometimes a stiffly worded letter.

      We, as Canadians, hate having to choose between two monopolistic thieves, and we hate even more being reminded that we do it on a daily basis. That notice only reminds us.

      Keep in mind as well that Canadians, per capita, are among those that use network technology the most, yet we are at the bottom of the list when it comes to available services and competition. It may seem at first glance that Rogers and Bell’s actions are reasonable, but little here has ever truly captured the litany of problems prevalent in the system.

  10. I remember when about 10 years ago my Canadian Friends (I’m look at you Dennis Leong) would laugh at me for having “download limits” back in Australia. Can’t believe any country would regress to that model these days.. when I went to the Vodafone shop here in Germany for my DSL & Phone plan they looked at me like I was a weirdo asking about the “download limit per month”.

  11. Since we’re (indirectly) talking about bandwidth – how come the front page of BoingBoing is 2.8Meg in size?

    480k of that is the escherlator animated gif, I know, but 2.3Meg for the rest of the page…? Bloody hell.

  12. I’d be more worried about how it seems they injected HTML into the session to display the warning.

  13. Mike, no offense intended, but pull your head out of your rear.

    The actual cost of bandwidth, on a base provision level is something in the range of *ONE-TENTH of ONE PENNY* (USD).

    So lets go out on a limb here, and say your average *POWER* user hits a peak of 1TB per month, up/down combined (I’m purposely picking an extreme here, bear with me).

    Drumroll please.

    That would cost $10.

    By the proposed / CRTC approved ruling, that would instead cost said user ……. oh, roughly in the range of $2000.

    So yeah. Your ‘simple fact’ and ‘bandwidth costs money’ isn’t terribly accurate. Infact, your example of an 8mbit line would – if ran at capacity 24/7 for 30 days, accumulate ~2.6TB of data. Read above for the base average peering rate of $0.01, and well – my $20 seems to be way out of whack with your $80.

    Just sayin’ is all.

  14. The real problem with Usage Based Billing is not so much the concept of it but the exorbitant rates they want to charge! There’s way too much concentration of telecom and interent ownership, along with television and cable, in this country. The CRTC is clueless and incompetent. However, it looks like the cabinet is stepping in so there is still a chance this decision will be reversed.

  15. Clearly all Canadians need to install Adblock or similar software now if they haven’t already. No point in “paying” to receive ads. See how long it takes for the Ad merchants to fight the metered net then!

  16. I dislike Rogers, but we don’t have much choice here.
    I got one of those notifications the other month, and it gave me a chance to budget the rest of the month. It’s not ideal to have to do this, but most of the time I don’t go over 15GB a month.
    I would also rather they stop hijacking DNS lookup failures. Yes, you can set a cookie to tell them to leave you alone for a while, but what a pain.

    1. ne0x — next time you get a search term hijacked by rogers or whoever, just copy and paste the root directory to your browser’s blocked sites list. Been doing it for years now :)

      Cory — Michael Geist seems to be remaining optimistic that Clement will send it back to the CRTC for review. Everyone needs to keep pressure on their MPs to fight this.

  17. 95GB? That’s generous compared to my 40GB ‘fair-use’ allowance as afforded by o2, here in the UK.

  18. Shocking. I live in Pakistan and every ISP here has an unlimited data option. I have a 1 MB connection (which is probably slow when compared to international standards? You can go for 8 MB max) but having the ease of unlimited data transfer is just amazing. Torrents, Skype, whatever. I never thought how using the Internet could be worse outside PAKISTAN. =/

    Oh, there’s a post related to this on Reddit. Someone from Bahrain posted a picture description of how the Internet runs there. Read that, Canadians/Australians and you’ll love your ISPs.

  19. The issue isn’t just the caps, but that the telcos have successfully lobbied the government to force other, smaller ISPs to enforce the same low caps and high overage fees that they offer to their customers.

    Meanwhile, my ISP, who has offered a 200GB cap on basic services, will now be required to lower their cap to 60GB to match Bell and Rogers and charge equivalent overage fees. My IPS’s business plan is based on differentiating their service from the big telcos, which they will now find much harder to do.

    This is not about unlimited versus capped. It’s about a pricing model of unreasonably low caps and high overage fees being forced on competing ISPs for no consumer benefit, and it’s about Rogers and Bell being able to set that threshold low enough that anyone can hit it through normal use.

  20. Moving from the US (what shall I watch on netflix tonight? the entire 1st season of Rome? Why not? Then some xbox time with friends in Ireland) to Australia ($100/mo for a whopping 80GB) has been a debilitating shock to the system. I’m setting up a bbs on my commodore 64.

    1. Australian here. That seems like a pretty bad deal, for $100/mo you should be able to get far better than that – unless, of course, you’re going with bigpond or optus. If you stick to companies like iinet and tpg, you’ll get 500gb for the same price (or 100gb for $50). If you’re unluckily stuck in an area that’s only covered by telstra, optus, or a reseller…yeah, you can’t do much better in terms of price. But I promise you, even they’ve really improved over the last year or two.

      However, in terms of the discussion, Australia started off from a different position. We’ve always had the combination of high-cost international traffic (due to few undersea cables) coupled with most interesting data being hosted outside the country, which meant that ISPs have been selling plans based on data limits ever since 256/64 dsl.

      Canada, however, has a close and friendly land border with the heartland of the internet. I’d approve if this was a gesture of ‘truth in advertising’, but for that they’d have to grandfather all existing plan members and allow them to remain unlimited.

    2. Damn, that sounds awesome! Please let me know when your C-64 BBS is up and running. I’d love to relive a bit of my 300-baud youth!

  21. Interestingly, while Aussies are happy to complain that we have always had caps, that’s not entirely true.

    Due to increased competition between the wide choice of ISPs, recently a couple of companies (TPG, Dodo) have started offering Unlimited plans.

    Market forces at work baby.

  22. I’m on Rogers. I wanted to go with TekSavvy, who I had a few years back but ours was a new building, and I heard about issues with dryloop DSL. As a web dev freelancer, that could have been an issue.

    Shortly after I moved in, someone got into my home network (which was closed), and ran me 10G over my quota. I ended up paying $40 more. When I told them what happened, they really didn’t care. Fine, my network, my security issue, I guess.

    The thing that gets me with that notice is that I see it, and I’m not using Roger’s DNS servers. I hate mistyping a URL, and ending up with an add, so I switched. I’d like to know how they’re doing it.

    The other thing that pisses me of is that we give so much money to the telcos and cable companies. Given that Canada has a large urban population with a small rural population spread over huge areas, its more profitable to focus on just wiring up the cities. We get around that by funding expansion through tax incentives and direct subsidies. However the telcos also charge us extra, holding the fact that they’re required to build infrastructure into rural Canada as part of the reason. And expansion has happened at a glacial pace.

    The big communications companies have had it pretty good here in Canada, but yet its never enough. Sooner or later one of their blatant cash grabs had to come back and bite them.

  23. If you were a Canadian entrepreneur or innovator looking to start your own networked business, this would be terminal. How can an innovative service take hold in Canada if Canadians know that every click eats away at their monthly bandwidth allotment? I can think of no better way to kill Canadians’ natural willingness to experiment with new services ….

    I’m not even going to try to battle against the BoingBoing tide here, but I do have to ask: isn’t the word ‘terminal’ a little strong? In the physical world, people also have a limited resource — let’s call it “money” — which they must choose to allocate. If an entrepreneur opens a new store, or provides a new service, potential customers must decide whether what is offered is worth that money and the opportunity cost associated with the choice. This arrangement has in no way prevented people from opening new businesses or creating new products.

    I believe moving to bandwidth-as-a-metered resource may make more challenging for entrepreneurs, but not impossible. They just have to convince people what they offer is worth the expense to the customer. Which, they already had to do, assuming they weren’t working for free.

    1. This is the real problem as I see it. The web has afforded almost anyone, with little resources (let’s call it money) to publish and debate ideas and information at a never before seen rate in the evolution of mankind. While this has led to lots of useless information it has had an exponential affect on the education of nations and the accesibility of many various sources of information. Knowledge and information are power. The ability to publish and disseminate opinion and ideas is very powerful. Anyone capable of critical thinking understands the importance and crucail nature of an alternative press.

      This is not the first time this has happened. Ever hear of radio? Telelvision? Ever wonder why it’s so damn expensive and prohibitive for the end user to take part in broadcasting in these mediums? Yes the cost of the hardware is somehwat prohibitive (much as purchasing a computer has been and continues to be for many). But licensing, levies, pricing “standards” and other regulations created by organizations like the CRTC in Canada are the real reason these extremely powerful technologies are not in the power of the average citizen to use.

      I don’t care if they want to charge me for realisitically using more bandwidth than can be expected by the average user in a month so that they can continue to make a profit. All part of the food chain and I’m happy to oblige for the benefits I receive. But the introduction of unrealistic, exhorbitant and prohibitive charges for use (of something like, say, a *server*) are the first step towards something much more sinister in my mind. Maybe I’m just being paranoid but I think we should all look at the lessons history is trying to teach us here.

      Knowledge and informaion = power. Technologies that allow the widespread dissemenation of information and ideas should be kept in the control of the masses, by their vote, not some arms length organization which does not necessarily have to comply with public opinon.

      People in Canada are currently clamouring to point out the obvious collusion between the big ISPs in this country. I wonder why the CRTC seems to be turning a blind eye to it and even worse, encouraging and supporting it. I hope to hell I am just paranoid but educating Jane and John doe that this is more of an issue than just how much they pay to watch netflix is what we should really be doing.

      When there was more competition in this arena the companies that are now controling it won out by offering *unlimited* use because they could and pull a huge profit, which they did. Yes,bandwidth demand has increased with recent technologies in streaming media so I’m ok if they start capping my use and charging by use if needed but from all the evidence I can find we’re far from that being a necessity in Canada at the moment. This is all about greed an power.

  24. Yeah, this sucks dude. It’ll probably happen in the UK soon, since we seem to have a policy of adopting worst practice from abroad!

  25. Now, Cory, no fair picking on the government. The CRTC is fair game, but both the Industry Minister and the Prime Minister himself waded into this yesterday, saying the CRTC decision is under review. Early indications are that they will tell Bell et al to go eff themselves.

  26. It’s always been like that for Belgium and Iceland (the two countries where I’ve had a connection). From shutting you off without warning to html pages that let you buy more bandwidth. Up and Down is added together, so most Belgians don’t run any servers, seeding torrents or make use of many of the internets awesome tools (like putting ALL of your documents on dropbox) because it’s not affordable.

    When we find ourselves on school or company networks, we download like crazy until we run out of hard disk space.

    I pray that the net stays neutral in Belgium, and it will be at least for a while since our political system is, and will be for a while, clogged like a 14.4 dial-up connection streaming a youtube video.

    1. If you get the silly big players in belgium, yes you pay trough the nose or get silly caps like 50Gb /traffic.

      dommel.be uses belgacom backbone.. 12 mbps maximum down/640 kbps up/ 500GB download traffic / month. no upload is counted/ free usenet binary server.
      cost: 35€/month. = me happy… :)

      ok, so there *is* a cap, but if you pull more than 500 Gb/month then I wonder if you get enough sleep…

  27. 95gig is good tbh, in the UK for £15 – £20 per month many have a usage of only 5 to 10 gig.

    welcome to rip off UK..

    1. Dude, if that’s the case you need to change ISPs. I’m in the UK and there are hundreds of ISPS that are more generous than that!

      1. It’s not that easy! I am in L.A. and I only have one broadband connection that is low cost and fast. My cable. DSL is 20K ft. from CO. I am in Verizon city and has FIOS, but my area does not have it. It is either get ISDN/IDSL (144/144 Kb/sec speed for over 100 bucks a month, dial-up (3 kB/sec average), satelitte Internet (too slow and expensive), WISPs (none around here), or the expensive T1 line ($300 per month). :(

  28. I’ve just signed up with O2 again to their ‘All-Rounder’ package. I had to laugh at the marketing double-speak as their site says ‘Download as much as you like’ but the terms and conditions actually say “you can download as much as you like……..up to a fair usage limit of around 100GB”. Which is not really the same. I shrugged and signed up anyway because all the ISPs in the UK are doing the same thing. It got me thinking though – if we all complained and put pressure on the telcos to change their ways- is it possible to give everyone ‘unlimited’ access?

  29. You appear to have the Extreme package, which is “up to 15Mbps” and advertises that you can download a 700Mb movie in 6 minutes 13 seconds. At that rate you can use up a month’s quota in just 12 hours. I think this should feature in their advertising “up to 15Mbps up to 30 minutes a day”.

  30. What o2 don’t tell you is, if you live in a rural area, your ‘fair usage’ drops to around 40GB — for unlimited broadband!.

    Also, although I’m an o2 subscriber, my connection is provided by bethere.co.uk (so says traceroute).

    Bethere are a lot more generous with their policy but try and switch from o2 to bethere.co.uk and you’ll find it nigh on impossible!

  31. I was a bit startled by Cory’s posting this, too: isn’t this sort of thing entirely routine?

    For the record, I’m in the UK, paying £22.45 for 24 GB pcm ‘peak’ usage (0800-0000 Mon-Fri) and ‘unlimited’ (never seriously tested it!) downloads 0000-0800 & at weekends. And have no complaints.

    That’s for domestic use. Wouldn’t a hypothetical “entrepreneur or innovator looking to start a networked business” go for a business-grade package?

  32. I watch nearly all my video content online, surf way more hours per day than is healthy and I have never come close to reaching the cap on Rogers or my new ISP, Cogeco. If you’re getting that friendly reminder from Rogers, maybe it’s time to go outside for some fresh air.

  33. While I do understand the inconvenience here, it seems completely reasonable that a utility business charges different rates for different levels of use. After all, it works the same for electricity, water, telephone. What I DON’T want is one rate for a Netflix gigabyte and another rate for a Youtube gigabyte, with a discount for AOL gigabytes.

  34. I live in rural Canada where Telus has been promising that high speed is coming to us in just three months for 7 years. My local ISP has had download limits from the beginning (I am on a whopping 10G plan for about $100 a month) – it sucks that urban Canada may get throttled down but I never had the option (and never will unless I want to move to town or (yuck) a city). I guess my point is that it’s hard to get irate over something I have never had though I do appreciate Cory keeping an eye on his home country and yelling about it every once in a while – I have registered my dissent on a few of those occasions.

  35. In the UK the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) rules on the acceptability of advertising. In 2009 they ruled that an advert was acceptable even though it promised unlimited data but had a cap. To quote:

    “The ASA noted e2save’s response and the information provided by Orange. We noted that that information showed only a very small proportion of customers on the unlimited data package had exceeded the fair usage data limit of 250 MB per month. We considered that the vast majority of customers were unaffected by the data limit, and we therefore concluded that the fair usage policy did not contradict the claim “includes unlimited data”.”

    I prefer the old days when ‘unlimited’ had a simple meaning.

  36. The only thing to do, the ONLY thing that can be done is to defeat the government in the coming spring general election, and elect a government committed to net neutrality.

    It is LITERALLY now cheaper to SHIP data with a new 160 gig hard drive, and faster, than it is to use the now destroyed Canadian internet.

    They have turned the internet into television.

    This stranglehold control of the internet, for the purpose of enriching a very few, must be reversed, net neutrality must be made a right, and the only way to do it is to remove the bank loving tory minority government, before the do to the internet what they are doing to the environment.

  37. Eh? I’m from South Africa, so here things are far more restricted. hell, I wish I had a 95 GB limit instead of my current 3 GB cap! :)

  38. Rogers does have essentially unlimited plans, if you’re willing to pay.

    I’ve got their Ultimate Internet package, which is $100/month and gets me 50Mbps download speeds, 2Mbps upload, and a 175 GB usage allowance.

    If I go over that allowance, I get charged, but only up to a maximum of $50/month. So whether I blow over the 175 GB limit by 50, 100, or 200 GB or more, I still only get charged an additional $50. So basically I’m paying $150/month for unlimited high speed internet, which I don’t really have a problem with.

    I called Rogers yesterday and asked if the CRTC ruling was going to affect the overage caps, and they assured me the answer was no. How much I trust that assurance, I don’t know, but for now… $150/month gets me really fast unlimited access.

    Note – last month I used 471 GB. An overage of 296 GB. Still only paid $150 total.

  39. I’ve also read the argument that it’s like other utilities…but it’s not.

    If you have a home network it doesn’t cost you to keep it running (outside of electricity). You don’t have to pay a little every month to move data from computer to computer. It’s not like running a generator. Or paying for water. Once you have purchased the equipment you are only paying for the electricity.

    The same thing goes for the telecos or anyone else dealing with this stuff. Sure there are upgrade/depreciation costs, but dealing with a day to day basis things really don’t change. If a router is pushing 10% or 90% of it’s bandwidth nothing has really changed cost wise.

    Now internet access is a tricky thing having to deal with topology and latency. If everyone on my block started torrenting or watching Netflix I’m sure we would all take a hit to some degree. Something like Fios of FTTP would help that, but that adds up front costs.

    All I’m saying is, having a 1Mbit connection with a 100G cap isn’t that unreasonable. You’ll have to push yourself to hit that cap. Now if you are on a 20Mbit connection with a 100G cap, that’s not that hard to hit. Assuming you really need internet that fast.

    I’d like to see some statistics on the backbone utilization and peak loads during the days.

  40. I’m working on starting an ISP in Canada that will get around even more concerns, but Bell already allows other companies to put their own DSLAMS in. As long as the ISP doesn’t choose to just rent modems and Fibre from Bell they are not affected by UBB. (Eyesurf and Yak.ca are examples) Unfortunately, many so-called “independant ISPs” actually just subsell for Bell, and that’s why they now have a problem.

  41. the cheapest plans here in Germany say that above 100 GB, they may throttle you to 1 mbit downstream.

    But when 35 Euro gets you a 50 mbit line, with no setup fee, a free modem, free calls to landlines and absolutely no limit on downloading, I can live with my parents paying a little less.

  42. I’m not sure defeating the government has much to do with this, the CRTC is a bureaucratic wing of the government but no elected official made this decision. In fact both Clement (the industry minister) and Harper (the PM) have signaled that they aren’t happy with the decision … defeating the government over the promised corporate tax cuts is another matter….

    1. Keep in mind the only reason why Harper is actually even talking about “sending it back” is because he smells an election coming. With over 200K people having signed the petition he realizes that this could be an election issue.

      Don’t kid yourself. He’ll send it back to the CRTC, they take their sweet time, the election passes and when the CRTC re-affirms it’s decision he’ll shrug and said he tried, after al the election is over.

      Instead of the CRTC this is actually something Industry Canada should look at, because this is mostly aimed at squeezing out the competition, be it Netflix (who’s a threat to their own VOD services) or smaller ISPs who excel by offering better packages and services.

  43. Cry me a river!

    Only broadband available to me is wireless- 50 bucks/month with a 5 gigabyte cap, beyond that it’s 50 cents per megabyte!

    1. Hmm, i smell a business opportunity.

      you rural? got hills?
      got a bunch of neighbors in the same boat?

      search for dwn2dv8 and get back at me.

    2. Why is it that people on BB scoff when an article isn’t relevant to them? Yes our situation sucks, yes this is how it’s been in Australia, sorry about that but this is an issue that is happening in Canada now. People deserve to hear about it.

      Also, there is a petition for people to sign against UBB in Canada at http://www.stopthemeter.ca

      1. Why is it that people on BB scoff when an article isn’t relevant to them? Yes our situation sucks, yes this is how it’s been in Australia, sorry about that but this is an issue that is happening in Canada now. People deserve to hear about it.

        Because it’s very hard to be sympathetic when people are complaining about their level of service dropping from “infinitely better than ours” to “a lot better than ours”. Sure, it sucks to be you, having to settle for things that the rest of us can only envy.

  44. Here in the States, Comcast has a fairly reasonable 250 GB limit but the kicker? They send you no notifications. Go over your limit twice and they suspend your internet service for a year. No appeal, just lopped off.

  45. I just got the notification that starting March 1st we would be on a bandwidth cap of 25 GB. Since some days I can blow through 6 or 7 GB this is a bit of an inconvenience. I hope the government gets its head out of its backside and reconsiders this. Oh by the way did you know you can request an interview with a CRTC representative?
    http://support.crtc.gc.ca/crtcsubmissionmu/forms/Mediarelations.aspx?lang=e
    Maybe Boing Boing could do an interview with one.

  46. So many of you guys read like chronic domestic abuse victims, or Stockholm syndrome sufferers.
    You’re getting ripped the fuck off, plain and simple.
    Peering and interconnects don’t cost that much, and they’re not offering much more than a dumb pipe.

    If you keep bending over, they’ll keep sticking it in…

    1. Yeah, that’s what people seem to miss.

      The real / heavy cost is in setting up the local loop and the initial hookup (switches etc.). That cost is pretty much fixed, regardless if you get a 1MB or 100MB connection, the data itself is cheap cheap cheap.

  47. For a more through analysis of the issues associated with the UBB decision in Canada, have a look at Michael Geists’ commentary. Much of the dissent stems from the fact the Canada’s telecommunications industry is controlled by 4 major companies. The decision is anti-competitive in that traditional media delivery, delivered by the big telecommunications companies, is favoured over internet based services such as NetFlix.

    http://www.michaelgeist.ca/content/view/5611/125/

  48. We’re on rogers (not by choice), and the real problem with this message comes when the server that Rogers uses to push the message out crashes – then when you reach the 50% or 75% thresholds, every single web page refuses to load (with an “unable to connect to [ip address] message) unless you click on “reload” a few times, because somewhere in the guts of your IP connection your HTTP requests are being redirected through to a server that isn’t there any more.

    Since the same server that sends out the notifications also evidently does the job of providing you with the ability to turn those notifications on or off, we were stuck with crippled web surfing for a week or so, until the billing period finally ended – it took Rogers longer than that to get their heads out of their collective asses long enough to fix the server.

    Lesson: if you are on Rogers, turn off those notifications ASAP. Sadly, they make it hard to find the off switch unless you are looking at the notification message.

    Here’s a comment thread talking about one of the previous times Rogers’ notification server crashed: http://www.dslreports.com/forum/r24029566-Extreme-Rogers-notification-is-hanging-my-browser

    PS: And no, blocking the notification machine’s IP address and switching DNS servers did nothing — evidently the redirect was happening at the level of the thing that monitors your bandwidth usage, which obviously cannot be bypassed.

  49. And *this* is an argument *for* net neutrality?

    The argument against net neutrality is keeping the government out of regulating the internet – because it never stops at the original intent.

    Here we have the *government* imposing this. Not individual companies. Now, individual companies are hiding behind this but they have the force of government coercion at their beck and call. What a competitive environment would discourage is now not only possible but required.

    This is the *perfect* example of what net neutrality proponents claim won’t.

    Thank you Canada. Perhaps now we can stop government control of the internet in the US.

    Oh, but of course we aren’t like those socialistic Canadians and don’t have unelected bureaucracies creating law (ahem – healthcare, epa).

    1. amccann: there’s a small but important difference between imposing and allowing. The CRTC is allowing this practice, the monopolistic corporations are imposing it. Even now, the companies that are practicing internet metering could choose to stop at any time, but they won’t, because it’s profitable (at least in the short term).

      Net Neutrality can only be achieved through regulation, which requires some form of top-down intervention to prevent practices like this from taking place.

      The situation in Canada is the result of allowing the free market too much reign, and is thus still an argument in favour of intervention.

      1. The problem here is that the CRTC are allowing the metering which of course the big telecom companies use, becuase they suck, which forces the indie ISPs to do the same thing. I’m on an indie ISP with great rates, much cheaper and better service than Bell or Rogers and thats about to change because they have been forced to adopt this billing system.

        1. Yes. And as I see it, that’s an argument for greater regulation (i.e. disallow metered internet usage policies) not for less.

  50. I’m not sure if anyone has pointed this out, but Rogers up above there, capping the Internet, also provides cable tv services.

    makes the plot a little thicker now, huh?

  51. Just checked out the web sites for Primus and TekSavvy. The rates don’t seem to be too bad. Basically $30-$35 for the first 25GB, and then $5 for each additional 40GB. So you can get 145 GB for about $45-$50. Defintely less than you would pay Rogers for a plan with additional download allowances. Everybody is making this out like it’s the end of the internet. But really, prices are actually still pretty good. 145 GB is 4.8 GB per day, assuming 30 days. That’s basically a whole DVD every day. A 2 hour Netflix HD stream doesn’t even take up that much, because of the advanced encoding. If you’re using more than 140 GB per month, I really have to question what you are downloading, or if you are either using the stuff you download. I know a lot of people who use a lot of bandwidth, but usually they don’t even need to download have the stuff they do. They just download it because they can, and sometimes delete whatever it is they download before they use it.

  52. There is nothing wrong with charging users for the amount they use, but the way the Canadian telcos are going about it is anti-competitive and unnecessarily gouging the consumer. It also focuses on the wrong resource being “used”, simply because it’s the one most easily measured. Just because you can measure something doesn’t mean it has a cost impact.

    You have two choices: pay up front “insurance” (they may as well have called it “protection”–it’s basically extortion) in exponentially increasing blocks (40, 120, or 250GB) on top of a base price around CAN$40, or play download roulette and pay overage fees of $2/GB.

    But as others have suggested, bandwidth is not a constrained resource. It’s being artificially controlled to simulate a scarcity situation. There is tons of free bandwidth. The telcos have been working on a long-term plan of misinformation to convince people that a) bandwidth is constrained and b) that using more costs them more. Neither fact is strictly true. But what’s really important is that the cost differential is being multiplied by 200 to 500 times when it gets to the consumer.

    This is the exact inverse of how costs grow in information-based technology, where economies of scale are vastly more significant than in physical goods.

    The cost of infrastructure and a healthy profit is more than covered by base monthly charges, since people who use more get better packages and pay more. Usage limits are overkill. Everyone should have unlimited Internet. Those who use more cause absolutely no impact on those who use less. There is no “internet slowdown” problem. People who believe that simply don’t know how the Internet works, and have taken the biased word of interested parties at face value, against all common sense.

    Artificial constraints create artificial behaviours. People who believe they might face shortages in the future hoard in the present (which means downloading stuff they don’t need in case it’s unavailable later).

    But all in all, the simple fact is that people want to consume media and they want it from the Internet, and they want to pay a reasonable amount based on actual costs, not be manipulated by amoral corporations driven by greedy shareholders, and rubber-stamped by clueless and/or corrupt government bureaucrats. The market is currently not able to provide what people want because of the inefficacy of the regulatory environment, which needs to be repaired, and if necessary, the current managers of that environment need to be sent packing.

  53. I got a new laptop on Boxing Day and Windows 7 promptly began downloading updates… Within 2 days, I got the same notification from Rogers. Only I had no idea my limit was 2GB/month.

    I have since cancelled my Rogers Internet. I hate those thieving, conniving assholes.

    1. I had the same package from Rogers – it used to have a cap of 5 GB per month. Then, about half a year ago they sent me a letter saying that the limit was going down to 2 gb/month and the price of the service was rising – by about 20%!
      They were basically forcing customers to move up to the next pricing level (the 25 gb/month level), since you couldn’t just quit because of their ridiculous “cancellation fees.”

  54. Why is it that the justification for why Usage Based Billing is ok, is simply “Hey we have it pretty bad here”.

    Get out and write to your local and federal goverment!

    So Australia has a shit policy on Internet Broadband, which straight up stifles innovation for new technologies, and the answer is to just fucking suck it up and deal with it?

    Sounds like a bunch of Australian boing boingers went belly up.

  55. Shhhhh…

    Don’t worry, only an online extremist would want more bandwidth than our generous Government Sponsored Corporation is able to deliver to us all. You want to be fair, right? Don’t you want to share with those less fortunate than you? Aren’t you willing to sacrifice for your fellow human being? You aren’t that cruel. That, selfish and self-serving. Are you?

    There are lots of countries that follow this exact same model, and they don’t complain, and won’t understand your complaints. Therefore you shouldn’t either, after all, it’s only fair.

    We have only the best of intentions for everyone’s well being.

  56. Yup… I hear ya!
    I now have to go and get a new modem, upgrade to the max package, bla bla bla…
    The caps they apply not only adversely affect us in web project development, but also if you are like me and are a Netflix lover – just ridiculous.

  57. wow .. 95GB .. I recall a place I lived 6 years ago where ISDN was considered high speed and my monthly limit was 500MB (yes, the AU vicinity, but not AU)

  58. Just cos it happens in Australia doesn’t mean its normal or OK.

    Now theres a slogan.

    But seriously, to the people here saying “well, bandwidth costs money”… yes it does. But not as much as they’re charging for it.

    This is because the cost of bandwidth isn’t the reason for these changes. They have come into effect so that Large telecom companies like Bell and rogers can crush the competition of indie ISPs and further monopolize the market. They are the ones who lobbied to get the CRTC to impose these restrictions and they are the ones still lobbying to try and keep them despite public outcry causing the CRTC to back up a little and the government to change its tune about it’s stance.

    http://stopthemeter.ca/

  59. This is simple growing pains of The Net. We have the technology. We have the desire. And we have the votes. Use all three.

  60. Dear folks in australia: living with crappy exploitative internet rules on your part does not constitute a reason to endure the same crappy exploitation on my part.

  61. Just got an e-mail form my ISP informing me of my new UBB billing deal. As a very real option for downloading more than my 25 GB (at high speed) the sent me a link to a company that downloads your data remotely then SHIPS YOU A HARD DRIVE. The future of Canadian internet is apparently not on the internet at all…

    1. This is hillarious .. sneaker net is back .. in a different form … please share a link / screen print …

  62. Dude, that’s over 71GB you’ve downloaded in a month (I’m assuming the screenshot is from near the end of Jan). That’s 103 torrented moves (@ ~700MB each). How on earth are you getting through all that?

    1. >Dude, that’s over 71GB you’ve downloaded in a month (I’m assuming >the screenshot is from near the end of Jan). That’s 103 torrented >moves (@ ~700MB each). How on earth are you getting through all >that?

      700MB? Super low definition maybe. I use up that much in 20 minutes watching Youtube. In the last month I’ve gone through more than double 71GB *without* downloading films or TV series.

  63. here is a n update, i think conservatives are trying to please the public!!!

    http://www.edmontonjournal.com/technology/Clement+hints+feds+reverse+Internet+billing+ruling/4205219/story.html

    so once again, make enough noise and they will reverse it hehehe….i did sent a mean email to shaw as well, since they were trying to feed me the line: ooo it costs soo much to provide internet to the masses….my reply was: you guys are full of shit…no reply since then.

    *please don’t murder me for mis use of periods and horrible grammar*

  64. I agree with some of the earlier posters. Limits, metered internet and throttling are all secondary to the larger issue- PRICE FIXING. The CRTC has basically allowed Rogers and Bell to control the market to their advantage, granting them an effective duopoly and looking the other way as they conspire to gouge the consumer.

  65. So instead of bitching at the whiners, with the marginally higher caps, that supposedly have it so good why don’t you think for a second about what kind of disadvantage you have compared to countries that do have these caps. You guys are getting left behind and you response is “stop whining”? No wonder you guys have unreasonable caps in the first place. Not everyone rolls over and takes it like you.

  66. The whole situation of internet in Australia isn’t nearly as bad as it’s made out to be, with the NBN and the constant hounding of Telstra it could get very bad very fast though. I’m with Telstra Bigpond and while yes they used to charge an stupidly large ammount for a stupidly small ammount of bandwidth now I can get 200gb on a 30mb/s cable line which NEVER goes down for only $100 a month, I’m pretty happy with that considering I used to pay $170 odd for 60gb. Companies like TPG offer less stable and slower net with high caps for a reasonable price too, we have all the stupid usage billing stuff but in the last 2 years it has really improved dramatically and I don’t know why people still bitch about Australian net.

  67. I pay R280 (South Africa) a month for 10gb cap – thats about $50, and its only a 384k line! Sorry, but I’m having trouble having sympathy on this issue.

    To be honest, its almost not worth having a bigger cap here unless you’re downloading movie torrents (which I don’t), or playing online games (which I don’t). Most of the internet video services (Hulu, Netflix) and things like iTunes don’t work in South Africa. I thought the internet was supposed to be global, but apparently most of the good stuff is only for Americans.

    1. Downunder and to the left……

      Don’t even get us started on our smartphone plans.

      $NZ80 per month phone plan comes with 250MB data allowance,

      $NZ132 for 500MB. Additional usage $0.26 per MB.

      $US1 = $NZ1.30

  68. I’m Canadian and Bell is currently my ISP. I have an old, grandfathered Unlimited plan – although I’m betting Bell will be looking to change the terms soon enough.

    I have no issue with metering. If we want to treat Internet access as a commodity utility (and we do!), then metering makes some kind of sense in light of how we pay for electricity, water, natural gas, etc.

    My first issue is that the Big ISPs are trying to use their market dominance to fix prices and set artificially low caps. 10Gb, 15Gb – these don’t reflect any issues with ISP capacity or network planning. These caps are calculated to create extra cash. They see VOIP and VOD as (1) threatening their traditional cash-cow services and (2) success stories they are missing out on.

    My second issue (a little flimsier, perhaps) is that Canadian telcos have largely been protected and allowed to grow to ensure that Canada’s small population and large geography can enjoy tier-1 telco services. The Canadian taxpayer has provided a monopolistic marketplace and direct tax subsidies and our telcos have flourished accordingly. If the CRTC needs to exist, then they should bloody well remember all this.

    Let me close with this: Say you lived in a town where, one Summer, you and all your neighbours figured out a really cheap and easy way to build swimming pools in your backyards. You all knew that it would cost money to fill those pools, but it was part of your cost/benefit. Now let’s say your local water utility, who *also* owned the only local public pool, looked at what you and your neighbours were doing and got worried. The public pool was going to lose some money even though all those backyards pools would need water for filling (and a little topping up now and again). Would the water utility want a piece of the action? Sure, they’d be interested. But what if your water utility used it’s monopoly status to raise your rates all of a sudden. Would that be fair? Would you be suspicious? What would that do the the nascent ‘cheap backyard pool’ industry in your town?

  69. Welcome to my monthly reality… I work online and use Rogers ISP and because I’m locked into a contract I can not change, without penalty, to another ISP until later this year in September. Rogers and Bell own 96% of telecommunications in Canada and have been at least partly funded by government to lay down their expansive network of cables, lines and fiber-op as reported on “Power and Politics” which aired last night on CBC Newsworld.

    285,000+ Canadians have signed the Stop the Meter petition on Openmedia which can be found here:

    http://openmedia.ca/meter

    Be patient as their site is overwhelmed with traffic. They have been instrumental in spreading the truth about the monopolistic nature of the telecommunication industry and conversely the inept ability of the CRTC to regulate it in favour of the citizens of Canada.

    We must stop the meter today.

    Thank you,
    Jessica Doyle from jessicadoyle.com

  70. I can’t help but think this will drive piracy back into sneakernet.

    But not onto large solid-state drives, but small SD cards. They’re easier to hide.

    And since the media is no longer free, piracy actually becomes profitable again.

  71. Cory, there’s one (and only one) factual error in your post: you will never be “cut off from the net”. Instead, when you’re over your monthly allowance, you’ll be dinged at a rate of between $1 and $4 per GB consumed. At those rates – which works out to between 1000% and 40,000% pure profit for the incumbent telcos (last-mile bandwidth costs between 10c and less than 1c per GB to route, depending on original source, time of day, etc) – there’s absolutely no need for the telco to ever worry about having to cut you off.

    To those who claim bandwidth has real associated costs, and you have to deal with those who max out their line speed 24/7 – definitely. ISPs have been handling these isolated cases for about a decade now, by referring to clauses in their end-user agreements which prevent individuals from “abusing” their supplied services to the detriment of other subscribers. This is not about those isolated individuals, it’s about non-ISP IP-VOD finally becoming available in Canada and reigning in that competition. The incumbent ISPs – who in Canada are also media producers, remember – all have their own IPTV offerings, which are or can be made exempt from the bandwidth allowance.

    It’s also about the fact that bandwidth usage by average Canadian households being on the rise, due to VOD, smartphones and tables, video calling, VoIP, video blogging, HD YouTube music videos, cloud backup services, etcetera. Yet, the caps set by the incumbents and imposed by the CRTC rulings are based on /old/ data on bandwidth usage, and so are all the arguments for why this will not impact “average” Canadians. Bell can say that this affects less than 10% of their subscribers, because today only 10% of their subscribers make use of their services and are stupid enough to not have gone to an indie ISP. By contrast, over 50% of TekSavvy (an Ontario and Quebec based indie ISP) subscribers will be affected, and to a very large degree (doubling or tripling their monthly bill – and that’s if they’re careful!).

    “Tomorrow”, virtually all broadband subscribers in Canada will exceed their 25GB cap, and be forced to purchase “bandwidth insurance” and/or pay through the nose for each GB of data they use. A few pennies per photograph uploaded to a backup service, Picasa, or Flickr. A few pennies for every time they send their mom an email with family pictures. A few pennies for every book they download to their eReader. A dollar when they want to download an update to Puzzle Quest for the iPad. $2 for applying the latest World of Warcraft update. $10 when their teenager torrents a high-def porno flick. $50 when they have to install a large MMORPG on a new computer through online delivery. $200 when they subscribe to a new cloud backup service and perform the initial 100GB hard drive upload.

    That’s just the consumer financials. Consider the impact to startup companies with a good idea (as Cory mentions), freelance graphic artists, grassroot journalists and others who use the Internet to deliver products or ideas to other Internet users without a large corporate organization behind them. Consider what this will do to limit the Internet as a medium for freedom of speech on a national scale. Frightening, isn’t it?

  72. It’s funny that so many people are so forgiving of these big companies all in the name of their “rights” under capitalism to charge what they think they can/should/must for their service. However, even the most die-hard capitalist must acknowledge the fact that smaller, competing companies (i.e., TechSavvy) seem to be have been able to operate just fine with much larger limits at lower prices. Isn’t competition at the heart of capitalism? Yes, Bell and Rogers supply the infrastructure for all Canadian internet service, and they should be compensated for this somehow…but not at the expense of our “rights” to choose.

  73. Quickly using numbers from quotes from some of the small ISPs in Canada I came out with a number of 10,000% profit on traffic over the limit. Now those may be form a biased source etc but as a ballpark figure that kind of surpasses: cost, profit, new infrastructure, into look the CRTC gave Telus/Rogers/Etc bags of money.

  74. Indeed this is all part of the grand plan to make the Canadians soft and compliant for the inevitable annexation by the United States. Canada, put down your hockey sticks and pick up your footballs. Letter “Z” is pronounced “zee”. Immediately drop the superfluous “u” from words such as “color”. The war of 1812 was a decisive American victory. Manifest Destiny shall triumph!

  75. These changes came shortly after a study concluded that Canadians are the number 1 per capita internet users.

    We were the early adopters of facebook, of wikipedia, of basically all big start up internet organizations. We log more time per person than any other country in the world. We are the number 1 for downloading, for Voice over IP. If netflix was actually any good in Canada, I’m sure we’d use it far more than our american neighbours would per person.

    The ISPs want to cash in on this, especially since Canadians have jumped onto the online alternatives to the other services they provide. We can’t have people making free calls, when they could instead be gouged in 10 different ways

  76. Geez is it wrong of me to hope a huge company crushes my local ISP so that I can get a larger cap on my downloads? Other smaller ISP’s might be a better deal but my $400 + bill this month begs to differ that mine is (switched HD’s and downloaded game patches). Been through 3 local ISP’s who have crashed and burned because of poor business planning or whatever, might be nice if a big company could figure out a way to make money on rural Canada. Won’t happen though, population saturation is way too low for any sort of infrastructure upgrade to happen unless the government forces it on a big company (which isn’t unknown to happen in Canada).
    Oh and the US doesn’t want us, why would they want a bunch of healthcare believing people causing problems and pulling votes away from the red coloured states.

    1. Depends on the Provincial Government I guess.

      Out here in BC when it’s a crown corporation you can bet you get fleeced, ICBC is one of those things that come to mind.

  77. As a (probably irrelevant) side note: Rogers is the same outfit that’s been looking to import the NFL – preferably the Buffalo Bills – into Toronto as a permanent fixture in the local pro sports scene, pointedly ignoring their current tenants at the stadium they don’t want anyone to call “Skydome” anymore, the CFL Toronto Argonauts.

    Part of a larger pattern of defying their customer base as a matter of routine, perhaps?

    Apologies for the diversion.

  78. Here’s what our provider in Toronto, ZiD Internet, is offering. These rates are absurd. Fortunately, as wholesalers of the centralized Bell Canada system, it’s in their interest to fight this nonsense and included a link to the http://www.stopthemeter.ca petition with their notice.

    Here are the fees as they break down:

    Residential Lite Service 2GB Cap $26.95/Monthly.

    Any traffic above your allotted cap will be billed at $2.40/GB to a maximum of$67.00. Anything above 300GB will be billed at $1.25/GB.

    Residential up to 5.0Mb Service 25GB Cap $31.95/Monthly.

    Anything above your allotted cap will be billed at $2.40/GB to a maximum of $67.00. Anything above 300GB will be billed at $1.25/GB.

    For clients that need more bandwidth than the new cap, we are introducing plans that offer more traffic:

    Residential up to 5.0Mb Service 65GB Cap $37.95/Monthly.

    Residential up to 5.0Mb Service 105GB Cap $43.95/Monthly.

    Residential up to 5.0Mb Service 145GB Cap $49.95/Monthly.

  79. This goes beyond UBB and small caps, since before this CRTC regulation, B3ll has been systematically redirecting wholesale ISP customers to further COs affecting their speed margins with high noise frequencies. You can find examples of this from the complaints on http://www.dslreports.com/forums/all

    This was one of the reasons I personally had to move the away from TekSavvy and succumb to UBB plans prior to this ruling and I’m not fond of it; The overage charges are ridiculous.

    No one has brought it up but look at the pricing differences per GB for local VPS service and your ISP. I for example pay $20/month to a Toronto DC for a VPS with a reasonable 200GB cap.

  80. I think the real point here, is that the government regulators are helping already large telcos shore up their monopolies.

    Forcing 3rd party ISPs to restrict their bandwidth offerings reduces competition.

    Allowing the throttling of specific uses of bandwidth; uses that compete against the telcos own services; stifles competition.

    Why are tax dollars being used to prop up already overly large corporations?

    I think that is the real question that needs to be addressed, world wide, and not the math behind bandwidth costs.

  81. Welcome to effective internet censorship. The next step will be to tier websites like channels. One price for access only to domains owned by large companies and institutions, another price for access to “the little people” and a third price for access to the “shady” internet.

    And yes, this may be seen as “internet censorship” “only for poor people.” Let’s not forget that more and more people are starting to closely watch their spending and make choices. Also, let’s not forget that historically the poor go to the streets before the “well-off.”

    The spirit of the internet (information moving around freely) creates an issue for everyone whose business it is to oppress or control others. Control without ignorance is difficult.

    Am I paranoid? Is there no secret intention apart from greed? Well, here’s the news: infinite greed inevitably leads to oppression.

  82. I pay $49.95 per month for unlimited. I’m guaranteed 10Mb download speed, but almost always get around 40Mb. Yay Time Warner. If they can do it, why are the rest of you getting screwed?

    1. I’m a mathphobe, but I’m supposed to be getting 5mbps (highest available where I live) but I’m lucky when I occasionally get 3.
      In Canada nothing is “guaranteed”.

  83. I’m from Canada. You can see why the general reaction on facebook was along the lines of: “What’s this? I have “Internet Extreme” right? I’m not doing anything EXTREME; why are the f****rs trying to screw me? What happens when I hit 100%? I NEED the internet!”, etc.

    Dropping caps most customers didn’t know about, imposing them on those who left cable/telcos to avoid them, and rubbing everyone’s face in it with hamfisted warning messages – perfect storm.

  84. Internet caps, particularly low ones, are both bad and uncalled for. If you live somewhere that has them, you should be fighting it, not telling Canadians to shut up and suffer. If you have low caps, you are being screwed. Bad is bad. The smart countries are making it easy for their populace to go online.

    I’ve been learning a lot about how the Internet works and Usage Based Billing since I first heard about it in 2009. When first proposed it, they were talking about 60GB caps; however, now that it is happening it will be 25GB caps.

    What is so outrageous is that this is not being imposed by the ISPs, it is being imposed by the backbone Internet carrier on the ISPs that they sell wholesale bandwidth to (invalidating existing contracts) because the carrier also is an ISP in competition with their wholesale customers. Convoluted? Youbetcha. Anti-trust anyone? Bell is CHARGING USAGE to people who ARE NOT BELL CUSTOMERS. Because our regulator is allowing them to.

    To those Canadians who don’t think it will impact you? Just because your carrier says they aren’t going to do it today is no guarantee they won’t do it tomorrow. Especially once all the Independent ISPs have been forced out of business. When our economy takes another kick in the head as a result, even Canadians who don’t use the Internet will feel it.

    To those rural Canadians on dial-up… the Independent ISPs were beginning to expand out of major metropolitan areas, but have essentially spent the last few years in court fighting this. If UBB puts the Indies out of business, you won’t likely ever get high speed. If the Indie’s had been left to get on with it, you might well have DSL today.

    25GB is ridiculous.

    Particularly since it’s not a luxury anymore. My high school child has been expected to do schoolwork online. My bank has stopped sending statements: they are online. Public utilities want to do everything online.

    Caps are for an address. Particularly when you start looking at families. For families, not just individuals.

    I’m one of the lucky ones who gets to keep my existing service. Stop Usage Based Billing: Grandfathered UBB account. Why should I get to keep a cheap connection while so many other Canadians are being charged way more for the same thing?

    Bad is bad. There is nothing behind UBB but greed and ignorance.

    Tell the government to Stop UBB!

  85. The World Is Watching, Canada: The Petri Dish Experiment: http://www.2writewithpassion.com/2011/01/31/petri-dish-experiment/

    I wrote this post two days ago, somewhat concerned about the polite apathy of Canadians. It’s amazing what has taken place since then. The troops are mobilized, the fight is almost on. The opposition has taken a stand – on the side of Canadians, of course. The party in power, including the Prime Minister, is reviewing the decision of the CRTC (Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission),expressing their concerns. Maybe the CRTC is going to be called to task on this one.

    And I got a notice from my Internet Service Provider yesterday saying they were updating their pricing structure and would be flagging those who had gone over their Internet usage allotment (I didn’t know I had an allotment).

    It’s wonderful how something that hits the pocketbook like this gets people fired up. Oh, to fire people up as much for other things, like the injustices done to humanity. I write….

  86. Oh, psh! The bandwidth cap in [my country of origin] is lower than that and costs [dollar value]!!!

    Stop whining, you have it easy!

  87. Boondies USA here. We use Hughesnet, a satellite internet company since we’re so far away from town it’s either that or dial-up. We pay 70 USD for 300 MB of download per day, except between the hours of 11 PM and 4 AM when it’s unlimited. I HATE satellite internet.

  88. I used to pay $25 a month for unlimited high-speed in Toronto. Now I’m in the country and we pay $25 a month for unlimited DSL, by choice. I think high-speed is around $40 if we wanted to upgrade, but we don’t need to.
    I’m honestly bewildered by this post. It’s called shopping around?

    1. The point is that “shopping around” will no longer be an option. Because those places that offer “unlimited”? Do so by wholesaling Bell/Rogers lines. And the recent ruling now says that Bell/Rogers can force THEM to charge in the same way and roughly the same amounts as Rogers/Bell.

      So the little guy that gives great unlimited service now CAN’T, even if they want to. The big ISPs don’t like people to have a really competitive market.

  89. Alaska here.

    Our sole cable provider for the whole state, GCI, just axed their Unlimited Package and put in a 250GB bandwidth cap – and the Unlimited Package was only available for people who had phone and cable TV through them, which runs about $150/month for the whole package.

    My partner and I were doing audio work from home last year and signed up for a stand-alone cable modem with a 15GB bandwidth allotment which we ate up in the first week and a half. What was supposed to be $80/month ended up being $120/month.

    Now we’re on DSL, which is unlimited, but slow (1meg up/ 512 down) and $70/month.

    This is what you have to deal with when you have a limited amount of throughput coming into an area and there is very little incentive to change. GCI is busy building up their rural infrastructure to the native villages around the state and don’t have the time, resources, or desire to put in additional undersea cables to Seattle or Oregon.

    The rest of you yahoos in the Lower 48 don’t know how good you’ve got it. At least you have choices.

  90. >I’d be very surprised if you’ll find any ISP in the UK that’s >genuinely unlimited in their download allowances

    Welcome to Cable and Wireless LLU!

    Sadly it’s not that widely available, but if you can get it in your area, it really is unlimited. I use UKFSN; there are a few other resellers as well. £18 a month and I can leave bittorrent going for every second of that month if I like without any throttling, shaping, or capping.

    I’m sure this can’t be sustainable forever, but I’ve been using it for a year so far…

  91. I think this comments thread is pretty clear evidence that “the rest of the developed world” does not include a significant portion of the developed world.

  92. @illiterati – dude, check out your media entertainment complex, banking industry and real-estate – it’s all being quietly taken over from north of the boarder – we shall prevail

  93. Japan here.

    I just smoked a cigar made of unlimited usage plans while I streamed 100 simultaneous videos, mirrored wikileaks, and grabbed a torrent of Adobe CS8 from the future because our bandwidth is slicker than a slippery tentacle of happy!

  94. What I haven’t heard any discussion of here is the fact that the big ISPs are also the content PROVIDERS here in Canada — they own the major TV stations, as well at the cell phone networks. Is it any surprise that, with the release of Netflix in Canada, the ISPs have lowered their bandwidth caps? I don’t think so. The ISPs are trying to maintain their hold on ALL Canadians’ viewing choices.

    If they make a Netflix movie prohibitively expensive, then paying $4.99 to watch a movie on their crappy Video on Demand system (which comes into the house as IP traffic too — but is NOT changed against your cap) seems reasonable.

    This is nothing more than the big ISPs controlling Canadian’s access to media and if they can make big money by changing $2 a gigabyte while screwing us, they will.

    As a side note, just because Australia, et al., have caps, does NOT make it right. I have no problem paying a REASONABLE amount for overage, but on the order of 3000% is not what I would consider REASONABLE.

  95. Cory, It’s even worse than you suspect – I guess you haven’t been home in a while.

    You might find this hard to believe but I think I get charged more for gas to heat the house in the winter than in the summer and I get charged more for electricity to cool the house in the summer than in the winter. And I suspect I even noticed a blip in the water bill when I filled the pool in the spring (its a big pool;)! Add all that to this Internet pricing business and I think you may have uncovered something nasty here – do we have a conspiracy of utility companies plotting to charge us for what we use ??

    What’s next ? Will they look in my cart at the grocery check-out and start counting stuff? Will the clerk at the bookstore try to grab my cash just because I’m taking a few nice tomes out the door with me??

    Thanks for bringing this to our attention!

  96. Late to the party, but echoing my compatriots, above: welcome to our world Downunder. Considering the Draconian squeezing of our tubes, it’s amazing that you have this many Australian readers.

  97. More than half the world has download limits. And I mean, just look at that first picture. 95 gigs? What, granny send you a lot of big emails?
    People using day to day browsing will never hit their limits. People accessing flash content wont hit their limits. People using programs that need an internet access to function like WoW or whatever? Won’t hit their limit.
    The people hitting their download limits are people downloading gig after gig after gig, ie, you’re not kidding anyone, we know you’re annoyed that your piracy is going to be a little hampered.
    But I guess $2 a gig is just RIDICULOUS right? You could download a whole video game for $14?
    Rip off!

    I suggest you all try moving to countries where not only is there a download limit, but you can’t pay for more and the limit is closer to 10 gigs that 100.

  98. This is absolutely shocking. If Canadian Telcos had a single decent bone in their bodies the message would read:

    “You have used 75% of your 95Gb monthly usage allowance: Please go the f*ck outside.”

  99. I am a Canadian living in Ghana West Africa. Here, up to 18 months ago, 1Mbps of dedicated bandwidth, uncapped would cost you $6000 (USD) a month!!! No joke. It was only for the huge corporates.

    Now it has come drastically down, with the introduction of new fibre cables between Africa’s West Coast and Europe – today the same bandwidth costs about $1000 per month.

    Those in Western countries just don’t realise how much capacity they have!!! Everything is relative I guess…

    http://hollisramblings.blogspot.com

  100. I believe this is about more than the actual download limit. Cory is trying to show the systematic degradation of the Canadian telecom industry. The CRTC just sits back and allows it. Someone above said something about first the telecom itself, then cell phones, now internet. That’s exactly it.

    Cory also talked about the VOIP issue, with random disconnects. My husband and I learned this first hand while Skype was our only method of constant (inexpensive) communication. My husband is American, I am Canadian and while 3200 miles seperated us waiting out the American immigration process we got to contend with ISP throttling every 15 minutes. Like clockwork. I spent 3 solid weeks determining the problem, and was finally told by an inside source at my telecom company (telus) that it was a regular throttle scheduled for accounts that had high VOIP usage. 9 months of Skype disconnecting every 15 mins.

  101. they triesd to pull this thing off in argentina and brazil as well, There was such a wave of complaints to every single isp who was willing to apply the method that they finally cancelled it.
    So, as always, if you dont just put your head down and go with it, its solvable.

  102. It is time to boycott these telcom companies and punish them, and tell them why. Do you really need cable TV? Do you really need all of the cable channels? Do you really need a data plan? Do you really need a land line telephone? It is time to nickle & dime the telcom oligopolies back.

  103. I live in Ontario and I don’t have a cap for my usage :S At my house for school and home town. We have Unlimited and neither costs over $75. I do suppose my traffic is throttled at certain times of the day.

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