Usage-Based Billing Hits Canada: Say Goodbye To Internet Innovation
O, Canada, what have you done? The countryâ€™s Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, the CRTC, has passed sweeping new regulations that will force Internet Service Providers to switch to so-called usage-based billing—metered pricing, in less flowery language. That means ISPs there will charge customers by the gigabyte for Internet access, and thatâ€™s on top of a flat service fee. Thereâ€™s nothing particularly new about metered pricing, but the fact that itâ€™s being implemented on a country-wide basis surely merits a quick discussion.
t should be obvious that the only â€œwinnersâ€ here are the ISPs (and even then, only the big ISPs who have established, old methods of content delivery to protect) who now stand to make a cool mint as a result of the new fees. Data caps have been drastically lowered—one small, independent ISP was forced to slash its cap from 200GB per month to 25GB per month—and the CRTC has set overage rates at CAD$1.90 per gigabyte over the cap. (Heaven forbid you live in the French-speaking region of the country, as youâ€™ll be expected to cough up CAD$2.35 per gigabyte.) All that means is that youâ€™re free to browse the Internet to the tune of 25GB per month, but the second you break through that barrier youâ€™ll have to pay through the nose. Not fun.