Anti UBB Wants You

February 1, 2011 -

Are you a Canadian ticked off at the newly concocted scheme to charge you based on the bandwidth you consume? Then you might want to check out Anti UBB, an organazation dedicated to stopping "usage-based billing" in Canada. As a consumer in the U.S. this should scare you, because if usage-based billing is implemented without complaint from consumers, it will most definitely make its way here.

So what exactly is usage-based billing? From the site:

"With Usage-Based Billing, large Internet Service Providers (ISP) provide you with a ridiculously-low download cap, and charge you as you download more than it. Caps recommended have been as low as 25GB. As Bell is losing its fixed-line telephone customers and soon television customers, Usage-Based Billing is yet another way to increase profits and gouge customers."

ISPs have already started crying about the cost of supporting services such as Netflix and YouTube and want to pass the cost directly to those services or end users. It won't be long before it becomes a reality, really. This is just the sort of thing that true net neutrality was intended to fight, but the FCC caved into stakeholder concerns while ignoring the will of the people.

So I urge all Canadians to join the site and follow the links therein to start the fight against this horrible practice.

[Disclaimer: The opinions in the story are mostly my own and do not necessarily reflect the view of GamePolitics or the ECA.]


Comments

Re: Anti UBB Wants You

I don't have a problem with limiting speeds to plan X,Y,Z at 10,20 and 99 prices. Bandwidth itself I dunno 10$ per 100GB sounds resonable that way most users wil pay less than 35$ a month while some will spend 60-90$.Anything beyond that is just redicoulous.


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Re: Anti UBB Wants You

Hmm... seems hell hasn't frozen over... no airborne pigs in sight... and yet I agree with you Zippy.

I too have no problem with paying for a certain data rate.  And I'd have no problem paying based on usage if the prices were reasonable.  But paying the full price I'm paying now, plus $1-2 per GB above my cap (whatever that ends up being (no news from Shaw that I've heard yet)) is ridiculous.

It costs pennies per GB to support the lines and the installation of the lines was subsidized by tax dollars.  The ISPs, phone companies, etc have already made back their investment.

It would be reasonable to have a low initial price ($10-20 based on how fast you want) and then charge purely based on usage at a reasonable price (~$0.10/GB) on every byte transferred (no silly caps).  Even that price is several times what it costs them for maintenance.  Barring that kind of system (and I'm sure we wont see that kind of system pop up) I'd be quite happy with the status quo.

I see one way to turn this around.  The CRTC has no requirement to listen to consumers.  We can file complaints, but they don't have to care.  We need to make it an election issue.  Every MLA and MP has published (e/snail) mail addresses.  Get writing.  I know I will.

===============

Chris Kimberley

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Chris Kimberley

Re: Anti UBB Wants You

I would have NO PROBLEM WHATSOEVER with monthly metering charges, if the basic monthly charge was a small amount, and the usage charges were in line with how much it actually cost the ISP to get the bandwidth.

The fact is that most ISP's already charge enough to more than purchase their connections, and they don't need more money to cover the costs which, on average, don't change from month to month!

Re: Anti UBB Wants You

It's really simple. The internet is a luxury item. If the ISP's are going to "triple dip" at the money troth then I will just cancel and use the internet from work.

I do agree with the poster above me though. Netflix, Steam, OnLive, and any other company that relies on net neutrality needs to step it up. Since us consumers dont have a voice as far as the ISP's are concerned then these companies need to represent our wishes for us.

I am already part of every group and petition I can sign up for, it time for corporations to start backing these efforts as well.

Re: Anti UBB Wants You

For whatever reason, GP seems to cover a certain subset of Slashdot-type articles that don't really fall under the GP header.

However, in this case, you could have actually tied the issue back to games yet you only mention Netflix and Youtube as examples of affected services.  You're completely overlooking the shift to digital distribution for a lot of modern games, some of which can chew up a third of the monthly quota for a single download.

Here's an (admittedly low content) reddit blurb from one poor Canadian saying goodbye to Steam: www.reddit.com/r/gaming/comments/fbvje/good_bye_steam_i_hardly_knew_ye/  One interesting comment from someone in Australia:

"As an Australian, I feel your pain. A few years back, it was a choice between two options - have moderately decent browsing speeds for a month, or, grab that Steam game you picked up on sale, and endure a month of snail-slow internet (or ridiculous per-MB-over-cap costs)."

 
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