By Lindey Pinto
December 23, 2010
Shaw quietly lowers bandwidth allocations; DSLReports, Reddit cancel services to protest caps
Why do this? For one thing, it means more money for ISPs like Shaw, Bell, and Rogers. More charges to customers mean more revenue for major industry players, especially as Canadians increasingly incorporate broadband into their everyday lives.
We must additionally note that the ISPs who control most of Canada's Internet infrastructure are also in the business of delivering content and services. Those endeavours are threatened by competing services offered on the open Internet. By imposing caps on Internet usage, ISPs can coerce consumers into rationing their online experience, which means sticking with the familiar and staying away from innovative but "bandwidth-hogging" independent services.
Proponents of the open Internet are furious. Online communities like DSLReports and Reddit are "voting with their wallet" and cancelling services offered by Shaw, and other offending ISPs, in protest of this usage-based billing. Their efforts are separate from those of OpenMedia.ca, but they stem from the same frustrations.
The CRTC must step up and reverse the decision that allows incumbent ISPs to impose usage-based billing on their individual and wholesale customers. Canadians who agree can sign the Stop The Meter petition at http://stopthemeter.ca/
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