Monday, January 31, 2011

Canada: land of the un-free, home of the Special Deal!

Well my friends, its time once again to discover why Canada sucks.  Why nobody here seems to be able to get ahead no matter how they twist and turn.  I give you, the brand new CRTC regulations for Internet billing.
Metered Internet usage (also called "Usage-Based Billing") is coming to Canada, and it's going to cost Internet users. While an advance guard of Canadians are expressing creative outrage at the prospect of having to pay inflated prices for Internet use charged by the gigabyte, the consequences probably haven't set in for most consumers. Now, however, independent Canadian ISPs are publishing their revised data plans, and they aren't pretty.
Starting on March 1, Ontario TekSavvy members who subscribed to the 5Mbps plan have a new usage cap of 25GB, "substantially down from the 200GB or unlimited deals TekSavvy was able to offer before the CRTC's decision to impose usage based billing," the message added.
I have yet to get a note from Bell Canada regarding my Internet plan, but I have no doubt there's one being drafted right now.  Basically if you do any music downloading, Netflix, Apple Store shopping, YouTube, Skype, pretty much anything other than plain vanilla surfing and email, y'all are about to get CRUSHED.  Obliterated.  Stomped on.
The big question now is how these kind of billing changes will impact 'Net consumption patterns. Many subscribers use minimal data, but that's changing as Internet video becomes the norm. If these new plans simply discourage data hogs from backing up their 120GB pirated movie collection over the 'Net every night, there's no sleep to be lost. But if they scare consumers away from legitimate non-ISP affiliated movie and content sharing sites, that should be a firebell concern to consumers, entrepreneurs, and regulators.
Well, calling it a "question" is being overly generous.  These regulations are obviously designed to protect entrenched interests, namely television networks, music labels, long distance carriers and the very lucrative video rental industry.  That is their entire purpose, and the only reason for them to be implemented. 
The peasants (that's us) have been getting fractious with this new interweb thing, finding ways to get around paying astronomical sums for things like music, movies and long distance telephone service, so government will just have to step in and protect the profits of their good friends at Bell Telephone Company.
And that my friends, in a nutshell, is what makes Canada SUCK.  Bell Canada getting hurt by new technology, new consumer patterns?  No problem, we'll just change the rules to frack over the business models of these upstarts, and then things will go back to the way they should be.  Get those peasants back in line, by God.
If you look into -any- field of endeavor in this country, from mining to manufacturing to education to publishing, you will find exactly this pattern of behavior.  Ever wonder why there's no Canadian car companies to rival the Big Three?  Because once upon a time the Big Three got a Special Deal, that's why.  Why's there no private universities?  Special Deal.  Why our movies and music and radio and TV and books are all such gawdawful liberal crap? Special Deal. Why we pay FOUR TIMES AS MUCH for cell phones here as they do in the States?  Special. Freaking. Deal.

Time to call our MPs again and make another USELESS protest against the inevitable, I suppose.  This is one example of action by the Conservative government that would have been no worse and really no different under the Liberals or even the NDP.  The Ottawa Mandarinate have spoken, and all shall bow or take a kick in the head.  Fascism, pure and simple, in your face.  Pay up suckers.

The Phantom

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