Metered internet sending us to the online dark ages

By Mike on 1:06 pm

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More people than ever are looking to cut the cord. With the rise of services like Skype and Netflix, people are beginning to wonder why they need separate services at all. Just pay a small fee to each company and get everything online at a bargain. That's the beauty of net neutrality, and that's why big telecom companies want to quash it.

The CRTC, Canada's telecom regulation body, ruled this week on internet metering. Companies such has Bell Canada Enterprises have been fighting for this for some time. What metering does is allow these businesses to charge consumers per byte rather than in lumps of data. Every consumer would get up to 25gb of data per month, then pay through the nose after that's gone.

The idea is to put the breaks on heavy downloaders. You know, all those nasty pirates out there stealing software. It's unfair to other people, they say, because it snarls online traffic. That may have been the case five years ago when YouTube, iTunes, Pandora, Netflix and Skype didn't exist or weren't popular. Today, everybody is a heavy downloader. They want their content available exclusively online. Nobody can justify paying $120 a month for TV, and $60 for telephone on top of everything else. That's what has the likes of Bell and Rogers scared.

"Smart" hydro meters were intended to save money.
Like these, metered internet will end costing you more.

What the ruling does is threaten to send us back to the digital dark ages. The CRTC has long ensured that Canada's big telecoms are given monopolies. They do this by giving beneficial rulings to them which restrict consumer choice and keep foreign competition out. Netflix, for example, is already expressing concerns that this ruling could threaten their Canadian operations.

However, if you think this is only limited to Canada, think again. Big telecom companies around the globe have been trying to cut service through stricter caps, metering, and a la cart internet premium packages.

Canada already has the most expensive monthly rates for internet in the developed word. Internet speeds and service quality aren't keeping up with everyone else either. This is yet another big blow to cash strapped consumers. Paying more money to use an aging network is little more than a cash grab.

If you would like to voice your concern on the CRTC's metered internet ruling, send an email or letter to Minister of Industry Tony Clement. His contact information can be found here. For more information on internet metering in Canada, visit and sign their petition.

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