Bell was just recently granted “permission” by the CRTC to introduce Usage-Based-Billing (UBB) based on what Bell thinks is an “a-ok” limit on internet usage. And that limit on their standard (most common) 5mbps DSL plan is the infamous “60GB.”
Rogers also has an arbitrary limit of 60GB on their normal plan too. But Rogers didn’t have to apply to the CRTC for permission to start screwing their customers over. Bell had to do it because Bell not only wants to screw over their own customers by charging them a really high rate for bandwidth usage; but they also want to charge customers of their resellers. And that’s just awesome.
So, while this UBB is a steaming pile of bullshit that the Bell paid the CRTC enough money to approve, that’s not what I’m really going to go on about. I’d like to introduce to you the reason why Bell and Rogers (henceforth known as ‘these guys’) are so damn scared of allowing people the true unlimited services they once provided.
It has nothing to do with their networks or how much bandwidth people use. Their networks run fine. If they were actually having trouble with their networks users would notice. They would also have provided in the past some facts and figures proving their networks were “over saturated.” They never have and they never will, because quite frankly these guys have huge, high capacity networks which can handle what they’ve offered users in the past and much more.
The reason they are scared shitless of allowing people freedom to use more than 60GB of data per month is one word: VIDEO.
And let me get this straight out of the blocks: It has nothing to do with legal or illegal. It’s simply the fact that these guys do not want you to replace your paid cable or paid satellite service with online streaming. And if you do choose to do this, they want your money regardless of where you get your TV from.
60GB is a magic number. 60GB is approximately equal to the amount of TV the average person watches per month. Normal people watch about 60 hours of TV per month, give or take a few. And as far as streaming technologies go, that 60 hours will cost you about 60GB while getting almost near HD quality. It’ll cost more bandwidth for better – true HD – quality. And these guys don’t want you to have the luxury of getting true HD over the internet. Unless you pay them.
These guys have their cash cows. TV services in Canada for the regions that Rogers controls, is worth multiple billions. For Bell TV alone is worth about a billion dollars (based on an average $50 bill, I’m being generous) and the only reason it’s worth that much is because of their archaic bundling of multiple channels, which I’ve said time and time again must go. Also, Bell has a bigger future with TV. Maintaining their same archaic methods of serving over priced bundles to users, Bell is rolling out “VDSL” (in small markets) which includes TV over IP. Ironically, it uses much of the same network that they claim is “over saturated.”
Enter the customers right to choose. You can watch all of your favourite TV shows (for the most part) on their originating channels website. CTV, CBC, Global, and others all provide you with the ability to stream near-HD quality, full length shows on demand. You can also buy TV shows and movies online – enter iTunes, Playstation, Xbox (Zune) Marketplace and others – all of which can provide you with full HD goodness that you pay for. Legally. These services are all direct competition to Bell and Rogers’ television service. Because of that, Bell and Rogers want you to pay more on your internet bill. Especially since you’re not paying to watch it on their TV services: Pay Per View or other.
CTV has also shown, with great prowess, their ability to give users multiple choices for live online streaming, with full archives. In case you missed their olympic showcase; they could very easily give away small set-top boxes to users and charge smaller fees bypassing the carriage from Rogers or Bell TV — if only the users could stream unlimited video. But I digress. Technology is supposed to make things better.
When a user is given the ability to choose what they want these guys freak out. They lose control. They lose the power they once had to control what you watch and how you watch it. They lose the oligopoly that they’ve worked so hard to contain for many years. They fear competition.
How do these guys prevent this from happening? Enter the arbitrary limit. Enter the fear they pass into their customers. Nobody wants to pay more for their internet. This is 2010. It should be costing far less. This idiotic behaviour on their part is driving Canada‘s communications and economical well being back into 1994. Besides, most people still think they’re on unlimited plans. As their usage naturally progresses the number of people these guys claim the limit affects will start building up.
Once a user has to start thinking about what they’re doing on the internet – or with a service in general – that service is no longer convenient.
It’s just so sad that the government organization that is supposed to protect us, the users, as well as potential competitive businesses has yet to ever do so.
Thank you CRTC, Bell and Rogers for ruining everything.