Monday, April 4, 2011


If you haven’t heard about this yet, and even if you have but are a little shaky on the details, watch this video about something that could negatively and severely affect Canada:

If Usage-Based Billing goes in to effect, you’d have to decide up front if clicking play on this video was really worth the data-cost.

In a flagrant act of corruption, the CRTC betrayed the Canadian public by letting things get this far.  100,000x markup is insane.  If this goes through, Canada will literally be at the bottom of the list for internet rights.  And there are several serious implications that may not be immediately apparent.

Imagine a world where you were paying for every link you click.  You’d second guess clicking every link, and only the safe ones would be used regularly.  This means true online innovation will slow down heavily in Canada.  This is what UBB is.  Charging the user for every gig of data they use, forcing the user to ‘ration’ their internet usage.

Services like Netflix would probably eventually be forced to pull their services altogether, because a single movie is over a gig, sometimes several.  If you’re on a meter, that’s a hefty chunk of your monthly data allowance.  Many people who watch their media online would go back to Television (who those same Telecom companies own, what a coincidence…)  If you DO continue to use Netflix, you’ll only watch the movies you KNOW you want to see, no more experimenting with that weird indie movie that looks kinda interesting, not worth the risk.  All this would mean less income for Netlifx.  And companies/services that have yet to set up shop in Canada would now know it wasn’t worth trying.

Online gaming on your pc or console would go towards your monthly usage allotment.  This may not be much for gameplay, it means every time an update comes out for your favorite game, sometimes over a gig, you’ll have to bite the bullet.

Video streaming sites like Youtube and Vimeo become dangerous time-killers.  Streaming your music on Grooveshark is suddenly too expensive.  No more using Dropbox for syncing files between work and home freely.  In fact, the fast approaching “Cloud” based future of the internet would be a burden to Canadians instead of evolution.  Every time you do something online, you’ll feel your wallet lightening.

It goes against everything the internet is supposed to be.  Unlimited available information.  Freedom of exploration and expression.  An open market for new ideas.

This is on top of the points the video made about UBB being designed specifically to run independent ISPs out of business and place the major Telecom companies into a full on monopoly, to then increase prices however they want with no competition using an age old technique called artificial scarcity

And these companies have been at war with Net Neutrality forever.  If they were the only companies left to offer internet, they’d have no reason not to petition against Net Neutrality further.  For those who don’t know, Net Neutrality is a principle that ISPs cannot discriminate services based on content.  ISPs should not have any say on what sites you are “allowed” to visit, what files you are “allowed” to download, or how you’re “allowed” to download them.  There are legal exceptions to this of course, but that’s up to law enforcement to deal with, not a major Telecom company that has a vested interest in which sites you visit and which you don’t, or which files you download and which you don’t.  It’s a major conflict of interest.

This is becoming an election issue.  While there are several factors that decide who I vote for, this will definitely be one of them.  I do not want to see Canada become the backwater of digital progress.

If this concerns you like it does me and many I know, and if you haven’t already, sign the petition that brought this issue into the spotlight, half a million strong!

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