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CRTC Approves Usage Based Billing In Canada

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the weigh-your-bits-at-the-counter dept.

Canada 381

qvatch writes with this from CBC News: "The CRTC has approved Bell Canada's request to bill Internet customers, both retail and wholesale, based on how much they download each month. The plan, known as usage-based billing, will apply to people who buy their Internet connection from Bell, or from smaller service providers that rent lines from the company, such as Teksavvy or Acanac. ... Customers using the fastest connections of five megabits per second, for example, will have a monthly allotment of 60 gigabytes, beyond which Bell will charge $1.12 per GB to a maximum of $22.50. If a customer uses more than 300 GB a month, Bell will also be able to implement an additional charge of 75 cents per gigabyte."

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381 comments

Got it (1, Insightful)

hampton (209113) | more than 4 years ago | (#32121536)

So in otherwords prices for all Bell broadband customers are going up $22.50 a month.

Re:Got it (0)

blackraven14250 (902843) | more than 4 years ago | (#32121608)

No, you didn't get it. It's going up by $22.50 per month for the (insert small percentage of customers here) that use >300GB per month of transfer.

Re:Got it (5, Informative)

yotto (590067) | more than 4 years ago | (#32121652)

actually it's 60+(22.5/1.12)GB, or about 80GB.

From 0-60GB, you pay a set amount X.
Between 60-80GB, you pay an amount between X and X+22.50
From 80-300GB, you pay X+22.50
Over 300GB, you pay more.

Good concept, bad rates (5, Interesting)

davidwr (791652) | more than 4 years ago | (#32121804)

What it is:

1st bit = $X, presumably $CAN
2nd bit through 60GB = free
60GB - 80GB = $1.12/GB
80GB-300GB = free
300GB+ = $0.75/GB

What it should be:
First bit = $X
2nd bit through 60GB = free
Each GB thereafter = less than $X/60.

In other words: consistent per-GB charge with a monthly minimum and possibly a small fixed charge, meaning your initial allowance per-GB cost is more than your per-GB cost for usage beyond your allowance.

Re:Good concept, bad rates (1)

blackraven14250 (902843) | more than 4 years ago | (#32122112)

Actually, I would consider that a decent rate from a business perspective. You'd expect any overhead spending to be accounted for in the first portion rather than in the overage charges.

Re:Got it (1)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 4 years ago | (#32122090)

and it's complicated enough that it's going to piss people off. You forgot that part.

Re:Got it (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32122124)

If you look at bandwidth costs at most hosting facilities in North America it costs about $0.10/GB. The hosting providers undoubtedly make a nice profit selling bandwidth which means Bell Canada is charging over an order of magnitude more than the service costs. They also have no incentive to reduce the price.

Re:Got it (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32121702)

No, you didn't get it. It's going up by $22.50 per month for the (insert small percentage of customers here) that use >300GB per month of transfer.

I know it makes you feel good to assume that everybody else is stupid, except for you of course. But let me burst that diahrrhea bubble of yours and explain to you what happened there in that post to which you are responding. You see, he realizes that the $22.50 applies to people who use more than 300GB/month of transfer. He is saying that this is an arbitrarily low limit that is very easy to reach within a month's time, so their customers can all expect to end up paying it. In case that confuses you, or makes you feel smart for objecting to the word "all", I'll explain further: "all" as used here is an example of hyperbole. It is a deliberate exaggeration that is nonetheless fairly accurate.

Do you see now how regurgitating the summary in order to feel smarter than someone else by convincing yourself that they didn't "get it" contributed nothing to the conversation? You do see that, right?

Re:Got it (1)

muindaur (925372) | more than 4 years ago | (#32121842)

Low limit?

I rarely pass 20GB, and that's only if I get a new game on Steam or download an old one. Sixty gigs is a low limit only if you download tons of games, music, and movies each month.

I'm just being honest that, on some level, someone has to have an obsession with downloading everything they can; not likely watching, listening, or reading it.

Re:Got it (4, Informative)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#32121990)

My new TiVo box streams Netflix in HD when available. It seems to average around 5mbit/s for the duration of the program. That works out to ~2.2 gigabytes per hour of programming.

It's not really all that hard to exceed 20GB in this day and age. Looking back at my Cacti logs I seem to average around 55GB per month. And no, I don't download stuff for the sake of downloading it.

Re:Got it (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32121874)

I say, you are quite the chatty douche bag, aren't you? That's not a deliberate exaggeration and yet is nonetheless extremely accurate.

See how your douche baggery contributed nothing to the conversation? In case that confuses you, or makes you feel smarter than someone else, you're still a douche bag. You do see that, right?

Re:Got it (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32122134)

I say, you are quite the chatty douche bag, aren't you? That's not a deliberate exaggeration and yet is nonetheless extremely accurate. See how your douche baggery contributed nothing to the conversation? In case that confuses you, or makes you feel smarter than someone else, you're still a douche bag. You do see that, right?

How original. Tell me, did you get that style from someplace? Ah well, your inability to take a correction and the sad attempt at mockery that it led to gave me a laugh. Obviously you think I randomly responded to you just to pick on you and don't want to look at how your own actions directly inspired the response you got. That's weak, pathetic, and unbecoming. Oh and by the way, you can post AC but your username isn't too hard to figure out. Hmmmm, let's see, I wonder what person participating in this discussion would have had a egotistical reason to get offended at my post...

Re:Got it (1)

tpstigers (1075021) | more than 4 years ago | (#32121926)

My current uptime is about a day and a half, during which time I've transferred (up and down) just over 400 mb. Doing the math, this means that I transfer about 8 gb a month. And I'm an advocate and user of bittorrent, I watch tv and video online. In fact, in all ways, I am a bandwidth hog. But this plan wouldn't touch me. Hell - it wouldn't even get close to me. In fact, it sounds to me that it would only really be a problem for spammers.

And learn how to spell: diarrhea

Re:Got it (2, Informative)

DirtyCanuck (1529753) | more than 4 years ago | (#32121610)

I guess everybody should start getting a little more worried about their open wifi connections.

Hopefully Cogeco will continue to charge overage fees to residential customers only. Us "Business" on commercial accounts aren't subject to such fees, yet.

I think Bell needs to work harder on providing Broadband to all Canadians rather than ripping off those who already have it.

Re:Got it (2, Informative)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 4 years ago | (#32121898)

The CRTC has approved Bell Canada's request to bill internet customers, both retail and wholesale, based on how much they download each month.

I think Bell needs to work harder on providing Broadband to all Canadians rather than ripping off those who already have it.

CRTC = Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission
In other words, the Government regulators approved this.
You have a problem with it, take it up with them [crtc.gc.ca]

Re:Got it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32122008)

I guess everybody should start getting a little more worried about their open wifi connections.

I don't know which province your in, but here in Alberta they seem to be locking up new accounts during installation by default. They print you out a paper with your networks name (your choice) and a password based on your name and year of birth. Thing is, they aren't informing the customers that they can unlock it if the want to and the average user doesn't know how to or would care to.

Re:Got it (2, Interesting)

PhotoJim (813785) | more than 4 years ago | (#32121632)

I'm a computer geek and I only use about 30 gigs a month (on a different provider). I don't really see what the problem is.

A friend works at a local ISP and he tells me that 0.1% of the customers use as much bandwidth as I do. That's a very tiny percentage.

If people want to use the Internet to download massive amounts of p2p content, do they really expect they should pay the same as Grandma who checks her email once a day? Bandwidth is a finite resource, even if we don't believe it.

Re:Got it (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32121720)

The problem is that you are a computer geek living by yourself. When you factor in the average family size of about 3 people, that 30GB usage of yours would be 90GB for a geeky family.

At 90GB, that hits the $22.50 mark which is about 70% increase at the fees with NO additional improvement in services. What else in the IT world has rates going up without major improvements/speeds/capacity?

Re:Got it (3, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#32121812)

The problem is that you are a computer geek living by yourself. When you factor in the average family size of about 3 people, that 30GB usage of yours would be 90GB for a geeky family.

Well, if you buy into the notion that bits cost money, why shouldn't that family pay more? They pay for the increased electrical consumption of multiple people, why not the increased data consumption?

Re:Got it (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32122044)

The rest of the modernized world are flat rate. For the same $30 a month, people in Hong Kong have unlimited 1Gbps internet. So wise one, please explain to me how can they make money even assuming that 100% of that $30 goes into just transporting bits at 200X times faster and potential 200X usage than the 5Mbps of DSL in Canada that is under this decision?

CRTC's reasoning of approving UBB is it is an economic measure of "traffic management" and not so much as a cost recovery.

Re:Got it (2, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#32122060)

Australia and South Africa aren't part of the 'modernized' world?

Besides, I wasn't condoning this pricing practice. I was just pointing out the fact that the "I have a family, we need to use more" justification really wouldn't fly under a metered billing system for any other product, why should it fly for data?

Re:Got it (1)

Neoprofin (871029) | more than 4 years ago | (#32122234)

Belgium generally caps users as well and yes I consider them to have a lesser standard of living in this respect because of it.

they pay a lot of employees a lot less? (1)

way2trivial (601132) | more than 4 years ago | (#32122160)

in my industry, labor is manual, and 45% of costs...

if I could cut payroll to 1/3rd- by paying $3.00 an hour-
  I could drop my prices in half.

what are tech salaries at ISP's in hong kong?

how much wire do I have to run per 100 customers in hongkong vs. canada
7million people in 426 sq miles vs
vs 34 million people in 3.8 million sq miles..

ya-- it just doesn't add up-- why are prices different in hong kong....
the expenses should be the exact same....

Re:Got it (1)

julioody (867484) | more than 4 years ago | (#32121912)

Bandwidth is a finite resource, even if we don't believe it.

That's not what pretty much every ISP is advertising though. I still see the word "unlimited" everywhere I look at an ad.

I take Bell Canada will have to be clear about what they're selling in this case. If they do, no problems at all.

Just understand that the grudge most people have (myself included) has a lot to do with the recent wave of ISPs doing "traffic management" despite having been left under the impression they were getting what they're seeing on the ad.

Re:Got it (1)

tagno25 (1518033) | more than 4 years ago | (#32121946)

If people want to use the Internet to download massive amounts of p2p content, do they really expect they should pay the same as Grandma who checks her email once a day? Bandwidth is a finite resource, even if we don't believe it.

First "Grandma who checks her email once a day" should be getting the internet for $1.99 per month with a $50 install fee.

Second "Bandwidth is a finite resource", it is not. The ISP I work for currently pays for 20Mb/20Mb and expects to be able to use 20Mb/20Mb 24/7/364. When we NEED more we will upgrade, but not until then. If our customers started using 19Mb/19Mb most of the time, not just 6-9 (when they use 19Mb/5Mb), then we would upgrade immediately. As it is we are upgrading to a 100Mb/100Mb circuit, of which 40Mb/40Mb is for our customers and the rest is to expand when needed.

Re:Got it (5, Insightful)

Korin43 (881732) | more than 4 years ago | (#32122018)

First "Grandma who checks her email once a day" should be getting the internet for $1.99 per month with a $50 install fee.

This is the problem. I think it makes sense that the people who use the most should pay the most, but the prices only go up, not down. So if you want a fast connection but only plan to download 1 GB of data per month, you still have to pay full price, but now the ISPs want to say "Well we'll keep charging everyone the same price as before, but now we'll charge certain people more". In other words, it costs more, but there's no benefit for consumers.

Re:Got it (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 4 years ago | (#32122102)

I'm a computer geek and I only use about 30 gigs a month (on a different provider). I don't really see what the problem is.
A friend works at a local ISP and he tells me that 0.1% of the customers use as much bandwidth as I do. That's a very tiny percentage.

That is neither here, nor there.
Even your local ISP data is anecdotal, at best.

If people want to use the Internet to download massive amounts of p2p content, do they really expect they should pay the same as Grandma who checks her email once a day? Bandwidth is a finite resource, even if we don't believe it.

Now you're misrepresenting the past and present of internet usage.
In the past, grandma was subsidizing the heavy user, and this was perfectly fine.
In the present, grandma is the problem, because she's suddenly accessing media intensive content.

Keep in mind that present day grandma might not be using a lot of bandwidth, but the sheer number of 'light' internet users who've upped their usage by a few GB/month has changed the equation for ISPs and is leading to the bandwidth caps and metered internet usage.

Re:Got it (1)

nmb3000 (741169) | more than 4 years ago | (#32122104)

I'm a computer geek and I only use about 30 gigs a month (on a different provider). I don't really see what the problem is.

A friend works at a local ISP and he tells me that 0.1% of the customers use as much bandwidth as I do. That's a very tiny percentage.

The problem is that while right now few people use a ton of bandwidth, it's pretty much certain that trend won't continue. The "average" person is starting to notice services like Netflix streaming (how many gigabytes for a 2-hour movie on a megabit-class connection?) and Steam (two games I just downloaded: Bioshock is 7GB and Mass Effect is over 10GB alone!). Now think of a family of 4-6 each using this connection. All of a sudden that 60 GB monthly limit starts looming close pretty fast.

Services that utilize internet content distribution are only going to become more common with only two real solutions. Either (A) ISPs start putting down billions of dollars in new infrastructure to support these demands, or (B) ISPs start charging a premium for bandwidth. Which do you think they'll choose (at least initially)?

Re:Got it (1)

SilverJets (131916) | more than 4 years ago | (#32122110)

If people want to use the Internet to download massive amounts of p2p content, do they really expect they should pay the same as Grandma who checks her email once a day?

Yes. Especially when the broadband ISP touted it as unlimited when I signed up (not with Bell). Then my ISP introduced caps (and subsequently attempted to change the definition of "unlimited"). But the price never went down, in fact it has gone up almost every year since.

Re:Got it (0, Troll)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 4 years ago | (#32122210)


A friend works at a local ISP and he tells me that 0.1% of the customers use as much bandwidth as I do. That's a very tiny percentage.

Ever heard of TV streaming? It's here, and it's cool. You don't have to be a techno-nerd to use a lot of bandwidth. I've got netflix streaming, and it chews up about 900 megabytes/hour. Even "Grandma" might want when her son buys her a cheap streaming device for Christmas. This internet thing isn't going away, and bandwith usage will only increase rather quickly. Your 30 gigabytes/month will look like 640k of memory in about 10 years.

Bandwidth is a finite resource, even if we don't believe it.

Bandwidth is an ever expanding resource. It's finite in the same sense that processing power is finite. Someday the increase will be over, but that's unlikely to happen for quite some time.

Re:Got it (1)

muindaur (925372) | more than 4 years ago | (#32121662)

Not necessarily. I don't even come close to that much bandwidth a month. If you download a ton of games on Steam, and stream many movies on Netflix then you might: or lots from BT ETC.

My government doesn't listen to me (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32121538)

So the majority of canadians don't want this but the government goes the other way... nobody listens, oh joy

Re:My government doesn't listen to me (1)

Great Big Bird (1751616) | more than 4 years ago | (#32122178)

I don't see what is wrong with this in general. I might not like the rate, but I think I would rather have a usage based internet anyways.

Re:My government doesn't listen to me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32122186)

So the majority of canadians don't want this but the government goes the other way... nobody listens, oh joy

Your telling me. [michaelgeist.ca]

People are going to whine and bitch, but... (4, Informative)

Nutria (679911) | more than 4 years ago | (#32121544)

net neutrality means "treat the ISP like a utility", and guess what???

Most utilities (even some PPTs) sell metered service: the more you use, the more you pay.

Re:People are going to whine and bitch, but... (5, Interesting)

cowwoc2001 (976892) | more than 4 years ago | (#32121636)

You're wrong. If Bell was a utility then it would sell the infrastructure, not the service. Bell sells its internet service at the same cost as its competitors, but then turns around and says "If you order extra services, your internet bill will drop by $10/month". This gives them an unfair advantage over smaller companies.

Bell should be split into two companies: one providing infrastructure and one selling services on that infrastructure. Bundling should not be allowed.

Re:People are going to whine and bitch, but... (2, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#32121836)

This gives them an unfair advantage over smaller companies.

Bigger companies have all sorts of advantages over smaller companies. Why is this particular advantage unfair in your mind? Would you object if a smaller ISP was offering breaks on additional services?

Bundling should not be allowed.

Why? Here in the states so-called "triple play" (phone/data/tv) packages are popular. You really think it would be to the benefit of society to force those consumers to pay more?

Re:People are going to whine and bitch, but... (2, Insightful)

camperdave (969942) | more than 4 years ago | (#32122184)

Bigger companies have all sorts of advantages over smaller companies. Why is this particular advantage unfair in your mind?

Because Bell owns the wires. The smaller ISP has no access to its customers except by going through Bell. Bell can thus force the smaller ISP to raise its rates until it goes out of business.

Re:People are going to whine and bitch, but... (1)

failedlogic (627314) | more than 4 years ago | (#32122260)

Technically, don't Canadian Taxpayers own the lines? With all the tax subsidies Bell has been receiving over the years, I think its Bell that owes *us* money.

Re:People are going to whine and bitch, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32121646)

I couldn't agree more.

It would be just terrible if they ran out of bits to serve!

Re:People are going to whine and bitch, but... (1)

by (1706743) (1706744) | more than 4 years ago | (#32121692)

True. However, one key difference is that the experience of other utilities is such that bandwidth past a certain threshold buys you nothing; if I can have my fridge, computer, stereo, microwave and toaster on at once, then that's good enough for me (electricity "bandwidth" is sufficient). Likewise, if I can run the dishwasher and take a shower at the same time, then my water "bandwidth" is sufficient.

Currently, internet access is very different with regards to bandwidth; the more the better! This difference isn't really an argument in favor of one method of billing over, just an observation...

Re:People are going to whine and bitch, but... (2, Insightful)

sjames (1099) | more than 4 years ago | (#32121710)

The problem I have with it is that that's an outrageous amount to charge for moving a gigabyte of data. You can pay to have the data PHYSICALLY CARRIED on DVD or Blu-Ray cheaper than that (high latency, outrageously high bandwidth).

Re:People are going to whine and bitch, but... (4, Insightful)

mirix (1649853) | more than 4 years ago | (#32121808)

Price it like a utility then.

$8 "connection fee" for 100amp err... 10Mbit service

$0.07 per GB.

But then people that just check email would only net them $8.07... can't have that, can we?
$1+ per GB is insane. In civilized countries you can get 3G internet for that sort of money.

Re:People are going to whine and bitch, but... (3, Insightful)

Nutria (679911) | more than 4 years ago | (#32122128)

But then people that just check email would only net them $8.07... can't have that, can we?

We should.

The powerco doesn't "rate limit" me depending on what I do with the electricity I use, and neither should my ISP.

Your logic is flawed (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32121968)

That's a cute idea, but it is wrong.

With utilities, you are using consumable resources. Water costs per gallon. Gas costs per cubic foot. Electricity costs per ton of coal. If you don't use these resources in your home, then the utility doesn't burn up these resources at their end.

With the internet, the "utility" uses bits whether customers data are in those packets or not. As a second goes by, X number of Mbits are used and gone forever. You CANNOT save them like the other utilities I mentioned. It doesn't matter if anyone was using the network then or not, the resource is available and then gone forever.

That's why I think you should pay for a data RATE. Not a data QUANTITY.

Re:Your logic is flawed (1)

Nutria (679911) | more than 4 years ago | (#32122256)

You CANNOT save them like the other utilities I mentioned.

Yet the ISP must still pay for the same fiber no matter whether it's Grandma checking her mail, or Dweezil streaming HD video 16 hours a day.

That's why I think you should pay for a data RATE. Not a data QUANTITY.

Low rate customers transfer "little" amounts of data use just as do infrequent users with high-bandwidth pipes. The multiplication statements are just different.

So, someone who constantly transfers a little data will pay the "same" as someone who occasionally transfers lots of data. And the first guy still has the capacity for that odd time he really does need the speed.

Re:People are going to whine and bitch, but... (1)

Nitrodist (1791378) | more than 4 years ago | (#32122048)

net neutrality means "treat the ISP like a utility", and guess what???

Most utilities (even some PPTs) sell metered service: the more you use, the more you pay.

I didn't realize that I payed a minimum every month for my use of electricity or water; I thought I just payed for what I use. I guess the definition of utility is changing all the time to suit anyone's views!

Re:People are going to whine and bitch, but... (1)

ocop (1132181) | more than 4 years ago | (#32122114)

Actually, you do, and utilities have always done this. Maybe you just never understood what you were paying for? Your electricity bill (if you are in a traditional monopoly regulated market) consists of a fixed base rate and a variable energy charge based on usage. More complex rate structures take into account required capacity (the analogue here would be max bandwidth available).

Re:People are going to whine and bitch, but... (1)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 4 years ago | (#32122132)


Most utilities (even some PPTs) sell metered service: the more you use, the more you pay.

Let's put that to the test.

Electricity: Check
Natural Gas: Check
Local phone: No.
Cable/Satellite TV: No.
Internet: No.

So no, most utilities don't sell metered service.

Re:People are going to whine and bitch, but... (1)

Nutria (679911) | more than 4 years ago | (#32122182)

Water: Check
Local phone: depends on where you live.

So, that's 50/50 (or sometimes 40/60).

Metering internet service would be a big stick that we can beat Big ISP with to say, "Let me do what I want with my Internet service!!!"

So... (1)

shellster_dude (1261444) | more than 4 years ago | (#32121546)

This is what government run, net neutrality gets you. I am sure glad the FCC is working to fix the system in America!

North North Korea (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32121558)

Canada is the only democratic country which has an organization whose mandate is to control what people see, hear and read. The CRTC is an affront to freedom and democracy and needs to be disbanded.

improvement (1)

Feyr (449684) | more than 4 years ago | (#32121570)

this is actually an improvement over their current practices.

they've been billing based on usage for years now, but they charge 8$/GB instead of 1.12$.

unless the article meant Gb, in which case it's meaningless and just validates their current business model

Re:improvement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32121616)

they've been billing based on usage for years now, but they charge 8$/GB instead of 1.12$.

You're lying. [sympatico.ca] http://service.sympatico.ca/index.cfm?method=bandwidthMonitor.plans [sympatico.ca]

Re:improvement (1)

TermV (49182) | more than 4 years ago | (#32122080)

It's not an improvement over their current practices. Bell can charge you $100 a gig if they want. You've always been free to buy cheaper service from a competing ISP. Except now Bell is requiring competing ISPs who lease their DSL lines to charge the same rates as Sympatico.

The sky is falling! (2, Insightful)

cowwoc2001 (976892) | more than 4 years ago | (#32121578)

What is the CRTC thinking? Bell should be split into two companies: one responsible for the internet infrastructure, another for selling internet service to end-customers. It makes absolutely no sense for Bell to be able to rent its lines to Teksavvy, then tell it how to run its business. Bell is abusing its monopoly power!

What can we do about this?

Re:The sky is falling! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32121766)

More likely, bell is selling a block of services out to teksavvy and they are turning around and reselling them. Teksavvy gets paid and they in turn pay bell.

Pretty common actually.

The internet wasn't always unlimited. (4, Insightful)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 4 years ago | (#32121604)

For those of you just joining us, it may be easy to forget the days when consumer Internet access wasn't unlimited. Dial-up connections were called "56K" but actually around 40-53K in practical use, and services like AOL and Prodigy billed by the hour to look at your e-mail, post on limited message boards, and use their clunky early Web browsers.

Unlimited service isn't a right, it was just a trend that started when a price war broke out because there were far too many ISPs. There were even a few national ISPs back then that offered free access if you were willing to look at ads on your screen. Natural selection shut these companies down and a string of mergers leave us basically back where we started with the Bells dominant and their upstart competitors being the already-hated cable TV providers.

If this leads to a $20 a month 5 GB at 1 Mbps plan I'd have it installed at my grandmother's house where there's no computer and no cell phone service in an instant for the family to use while we're visiting. Right now, the cheapest non-dialup plan is an $35 for 1 Mbps DSL that isn't worth it.

Re:The internet wasn't always unlimited. (0)

MrShaggy (683273) | more than 4 years ago | (#32121690)

Your right.

But look at AOL now.

I never used AOL, I was using my friends university login.

The price war was because of cable modems. So I went from dial up to cable-modem for 50$% a month.

That was the death-knell for AOL styled pricing schemes.

We are just moving backwards now.

I think that this stupid conservative gov needs to go.

Re:The internet wasn't always unlimited. (-1, Offtopic)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 4 years ago | (#32121736)

Uhm... the liberals are running the show in the USA right now. The only power the Republicans have left is the threat of filibuster in the Senate. They can delay, but they can't stop anything.

Re:The internet wasn't always unlimited. (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#32121872)

Uhm... the story is about Canada, which is not yet the 51st state (57th if you use our President's math.... ;)

Re:The internet wasn't always unlimited. (2, Insightful)

sjames (1099) | more than 4 years ago | (#32121772)

Looking at your data differently, it means that at one time competition was sparse and prices high. Then competition popped up and drove prices down. Now the big players have strangled the competition and prices are heading back up.

Re:The internet wasn't always unlimited. (1)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 4 years ago | (#32121888)

When dial-up was unlimited... it required you tie up a phone line while you were online, and in some rural locations it also meant a per-minute phone call charge.

When it comes down to it now... there's The Regional Phone Company and The Regional Cable TV Company. They own the wires connected to your home... and we've proven internet over sewer pipe and power line just isn't effective. Anybody providing DSL has to rent access to the phone company's copper. Earthlink has deals to borrow some cable wires, otherwise you must go through the cable company. Nobody but the phone company has access to the FIOS/U-Verse style networks, in the few places they exist.

Yep... competition has gone down dramatically, but service quality has gone way up. Gotta take what you can get.

Re:The internet wasn't always unlimited. (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#32122006)

Internet over sewer pipe?

Re:The internet wasn't always unlimited. (2, Funny)

catalina (213767) | more than 4 years ago | (#32122122)

Internet over sewer pipe?

Aha! So that's why I usually end up with a really shitty connection....

Re:The internet wasn't always unlimited. (1)

julian-lam (1797678) | more than 4 years ago | (#32121942)

This. Bell and the CRTC are in cahoots to stifle conpetition in Canada, and allow their monopolistic decisions to reign over telecommunications in Canada. The general public sits back and lets Bell rape 'em up the ass because they mistakenly believe that the CRTC is "on their side". Frig - fun while it lasted though.

Damn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32121612)

As I Canadian, I feel strongly against this.

Fuc \n [Internet Quota Exceeded, please insert 75$]

Usage based fees? (5, Insightful)

TouchAndGo (1799300) | more than 4 years ago | (#32121614)

Unsurprisingly no mention is made of reduced fees for people consuming less bandwidth. I guess "usage based pricing" sounded better than "we're capping monthly bandwidth and charging if you go over".

Re:Usage based fees? (3, Interesting)

MrShaggy (683273) | more than 4 years ago | (#32121726)

From the rumor is that the cap is set at 60 a month. You start your bill at 30$% and add to that by going over the cap, until it maxes out at 22.50. So there is no discount for anyone using less.

Re:Usage based fees? (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 4 years ago | (#32121930)

I have no problem with this as long as they advertise it honestly, and don't slap you with fees after telling you that you have unlimited usage. This is much better than throttling based on traffic type or traffic destination. I've payed by the megabyte for data before.

Re:Usage based fees? (1)

joe_frisch (1366229) | more than 4 years ago | (#32122004)

I think there are 2 independent issues: Lack of competition and usage dependent pricing.

Lack of competition will continue to produce problems, but is somewhat difficult to solve.

Usage dependent pricing actually seems like a good idea: it removes the incentive for companies to block bit-torrent and the like. If the pricing system is fair, then the low volume users will not need to pay to support the high volume users or vice-versa. I understand the argument about adds, but I think most volume probably comes from large scale downloading, not web-browsing.

Welcome to the backwaters... (1)

!eopard (981784) | more than 4 years ago | (#32121650)

Australia internet usage - we've had these for a decade or so now. At least significant competition (even with consolidation) between ISPs has seen usage plans increased as infrastructure is built.
Where I was once on a 3GB/month cap, I'm now on 200GB/month. Unlimited is on the (distant) horizon for certain areas.
Oh, get ready for some massive internet bills too.

Bye Bye Bell (1)

whisper_jeff (680366) | more than 4 years ago | (#32121656)

This is one of many reasons why Bell will never again see a dime of my money. I know they're all corrupt, greedy bastards but Bell seems to take it to extreme levels. Their sense of entitlement has led to them losing massive quantities of customers (beyond what would have been expected by the enforced competition rules). They have failed, utterly, to view their customers as anything of value and it's starting to show. They may be making cost cutting decisions and taking steps to increase revenue but, until they realize that keeping customers satisfied is important, they will continue to lose money and continue to be forced to lay off massive portions of their work force.

Welcome to the end, Bell. It is of your own making. I hope you enjoy the ride.

This is a joke right? (1)

psycho12345 (1134609) | more than 4 years ago | (#32121660)

Customers using the fastest connections of five-megabits per second, for example, will have a monthly allotment of 60 gigabytes, beyond which Bell will charge $1.12 per GB to a maximum of $22.50.

Haha.... this is a joke. In said example, a person would blow past that "allotment" just maxing their connection for a little over a day. To hit the money cap takes only another 20 gigs, so less the 10 hours at max speed. They should of just said "We get to legally jack up prices another $22.50/month on top of our monopolistic prices"

Re:This is a joke right? (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | more than 4 years ago | (#32121840)

hopefully, since this would double my current internet cost.

Hello 1995 called, (0, Offtopic)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 4 years ago | (#32121674)

they want their internet plans back.

Non-convex/concave Prices (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32121682)

What's up with that?

What's new? (1)

Chelmet (1273754) | more than 4 years ago | (#32121684)

Tons of ISPs already do this. Is there something new here that I'm missing, or it is actually just a flat fee for what you're allowed, and a price per Gb for what you're not allowed?

Hell, I live in the UK and was hit by this (HARD) by two ISPs before I moved to VirginMedia, who just throttle me between 4pm and 11pm, but let me download what I want (I've hit over 500Gb this month after a failed RAID array).

Exact Opposite in Australia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32121688)

Virtually all internet plans in Australia have download limits, many even count uploads in the montly allowance. And excess usage can be as high as $150/GB beyound your allowance. 60GB/month plan costs me approximately $70/month.

This kind of thing (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32121746)

will only lead me to block more advertising. They eat up most of the bandwidth..

More competition needed (1)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 4 years ago | (#32121754)

How much competition is up there? More competition would not hurt [the consumer]. Trouble is consumers do not know that things could be better for them.

No wonder places like Malawi or Uganda, that are thousands of miles away and much poorer, receive gadgets like the iPad, iPhone and Droids much earlier than Canada which shares the border with the mighty USA.

Wake up Canada...wake up!

I'm sorry, how is this new? (2, Informative)

56 (527333) | more than 4 years ago | (#32121756)

How is this new? This is already being done in Canada - I have a 60gb limit with my Rogers internet service.

Re:I'm sorry, how is this new? (1)

smozoma (896231) | more than 4 years ago | (#32121886)

Same. $2/GB if you go over, too. You get a warning page at 75% and 100% (and the one time I went over without realizing it, I really wish they'd given another at 110%, if only so I wouldn't be so surprised by the bill)

Re:I'm sorry, how is this new? (3, Insightful)

TermV (49182) | more than 4 years ago | (#32122038)

Bell Canada is imposing their caps and pricing scheme on customers of all independent ISPs selling DSL connections. So say an ISP is selling an account with a 200 gig limit for 30 bucks. Now Bell is saying that each ISP must pay them a $21 fee for leasing the DSL connection and a surcharge of $1.25 for every gig of usage above 60 gigs. The numbers are approximate but they're close enough.

Require advertisement of the capped rate (2, Interesting)

RichMan (8097) | more than 4 years ago | (#32121792)

I say if they want to do this the capped rate has to be stated before any peak rate in advertisements

IE 60GBytes/month cap == 0.185Mbits/sec

Or they can state how long you can connect at your peak rate.

IE 5Mb/sec with a 60GB cap == 1.11 days of actual usage per month

Not really affecting Bell customers... (5, Insightful)

CoffeeDog (1774202) | more than 4 years ago | (#32121822)

The real point of this is that Bell is allowed to impose this pricing on their wholesale customers, IE other ISPs that lease Bell's ADSL lines. For example my ISP is not Bell, however my ADSL line runs through a Bell DSLAM which then pushes the traffic to my ISP, thus my ISP will be forced to start billing me for usage because Bell will be billing them per GB instead of just for my line. Basically the CRTC just sounded the death knell for the smaller ISPs who stand next to no chance at competing against a giant company that already is allowed to throttle their traffic and limit bandwidth to 5Mbit, and now is allowed to set their bandwidth costs.

Nailed it. This destroys captive competitors. (3, Informative)

guidryp (702488) | more than 4 years ago | (#32122086)

Usage billing was already being done by most ISPs.

This move just let Bell (completely ridiculous) lets bell impose bandwidth charges on the competitors who get their local loop from Bell.

These guys generally are paying for their own backbone to the internet so it is ridiculous that they have to pay bell again for that bandwidth.

Anyway more monopoly supporting moves from the CRTC, not a real surprise.

Where's the choice? (1)

thegarbz (1787294) | more than 4 years ago | (#32121908)

I am from Australia and I have lived with caps and over charges for many years. I've seen everything; hard limits, throttling, reduction of service, and over usage charges. But what I really want to know is Where is my choice?

If Bell want to put in place a system whereby they charge for usage then so be it. Heck if they price it competitively (or the rest of the government monopoly jumps on the bandwagon) then it'll probably work ok for them. But I as a consumer who's stuck between a rock and a hard place want the choice between being capped and throttled at 60GB or paying over usage.

When Telstra first implimented similar policies they where hammered by the consumer watchdog for not giving customers information nor choice. I personally received a $1600+ bill for one month of internet usage where the Folding@Home client managed to get stuck in an infinite loop of attempting to download a new core. I got out of that one, but nowadays the system here is that we have a choice of plans ranging from caps, to overusage charges, and where companies offer such things they are forced to provide usage meters to their customers so they may accurately track how they are going.

Despite what you think of this (I think the same), I really pray that the Canadians don't have to go through the hurdles of what we went through for the first 10 years of internet caps. Though at least a capped pricing scheme between 60GB and 300GB is a great start to an otherwise turd idea.

Force them to share if they're getting free $$$ (1)

mykos (1627575) | more than 4 years ago | (#32121976)

I'm pretty sure their lines are capable of carrying far more bandwidth than they're putting out, and with these bandwidth caps, they'll be able to make even more money while providing less service.
Since people don't have much choice on who to go to, it would be nice if they allowed competitors to use the same lines.

How is this news? (1)

SilverJets (131916) | more than 4 years ago | (#32121996)

Rogers already does this. I thought Bell already did this as well to customers that went over the monthly cap.

Ridiculous (1)

jgreco (1542031) | more than 4 years ago | (#32122002)

Ridiculous to charge 75c per gigabyte when wholesale bandwidth costs are less than $1/megabit.

Makes sense, really (1)

KingAlanI (1270538) | more than 4 years ago | (#32122012)

While the exact limits and overage charges can be argued over, the core concept seems to make sense, and it's a relatively sensible way to address massive BitTorrenting and the like.

Medicare Drug Plan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32122098)

This is precisely the same scheme that the republicans used for the medicare drug plan.

The plan costs x amount of dollars, the first x amount of drugs are "free", then there is part in the middle you have to pay for, and then everything onto of that is paid for, up to a certain point, and then you have to pay for them again.

Brilliant!

Korea (1)

jonoid (863970) | more than 4 years ago | (#32122136)

As a Canadian living in Korea, where I pay $25/mo for 100Mbps/100Mbps, this sort of news gives me further incentive to stay in Korea.

North American internet users have been spoiled. (1)

srodden (949473) | more than 4 years ago | (#32122146)

It's not a simple case of the telcos raking in more cash, it's a complex arrangement of supply and demand. Businesses will charge what they can get away with and people will only pay as much as they're prepared to pay.

At the end of the day, it costs money to install and maintain the internet infrastructure. That money must come from *somewhere*. Just like higher prices for bigger pipes, consumption charges put a market driven limiter on the demand which helps the existing infrastructure last longer thus reducing the need to raise more money to build ever-bigger infrastructure.

For those that argue cheap, fast internet is a "Right" and say the govt should pay, then the infrastructure costs come out of taxes and either taxes go up to compensate or more likely other services will suffer so that the politicians don't get seen hiking taxes again.

For those who say the ISP wears the cost, well they're businesses, not charities so we'll skip over that. So if the costs are spread across the whole user base, light users are subsidizing the heavy users. And if you think that's only right and fair, perhaps I can interest you in this Communist Manifesto I have here. Why should I pay $3 for "access to bananas" if I only want 3 when this other guy also pays $3 for "access to bananas" but takes 40?

The only way that's fair to all is to charge by usage. The light users only pay a bit, the heavy users pay more. Wouldn't you agree it's more fair that bananas are priced per banana and you pay for what you consume?

The concept of the bottomless cup of coffee only works when your profit margins for the donuts cover the cost of water and coffee grounds. It doesn't scale to international infrastructure. North Americans have been spoiled by so many years drinking a bottomless cup of internet but it simply is not a sustainable business model. It's the reason we have a net neutrality debate at all.

One further thought: North American users are blessed with a high population density that permits economies of scale that we can only dream of in other nations. I'm currently paying $100/month for an ADSL2+ connection with 70GB/month. The idea of 200GB via a 5Mbit connection for $23/m is pretty appealing from where I surf! Look at the bigger picture and realise how blessed you are and enjoy the blessing. No one likes a spoiled rich kid crying because he hasn't had his daily foot massage!

Bad Idea... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32122156)

This particular scheme will encourage people to use more bandwidth than they already do. I wouldn't call that a great idea.

The Problem isn't what you think. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32122166)

The problem isn't that they are charging regular users on a scale, it's that they are charging their wholesale customers this way. All of the ISP's in Canada are required to sell their pipes to other companies, this is to create competition, as many of the companies are working off former legal monopolies, (crown corporations), and competition is few and far between. What this means is that competition is going to be COMPLETELY shot in the ISP world.

This has been going on for a while. (1)

Cathoderoytube (1088737) | more than 4 years ago | (#32122266)

I take it the previous billing Bell Canada did based on downloading was actually illegal. And, now it's not? What am I missing here? I remember quite clearly getting hit with extra 'usage' charges on my internet bill every month. That was well over a year and a half ago.

Don't let them kill off Teksavvy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32122270)

Please don't let Bell kill off Teksavvy - they are one of the few bright spots on the blighted landscape of Canadian internet access (sent over my 300GB/month ADSL line...).
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