Consumer Information

Must Reads On Usage Based Billing

The following documents dispell many of the claims used to justify Usage Based Billing : “Canada’s Usage Based Billing Controversy: How to Address the Wholesale and Retail Issues” by Michael Geist and “Myths and Fallacies about Usage Based Billing (UBB)” by Bill St. Arnault.

The later was commissioned by Netflix, who have recently decided to offer additional video quality settings to their customers because of this issue.

For additional information on Usage Based Billing, consult Michael Geist’s blog.

Bell Canada Drops UBB

Bell Canada has decided to drop usage based billing in response to the consumer backlash. They have decided to propose an alternative wholesale internet service pricing scheme, “Aggregated Volume Pricing“.

Details on Bell Canada‘s proposal can be found by clicking here.

Online Retailer Adapts To Usage Based Billing

Netflix Canada has decided to offer additional options to their customers in response to the usage based billing issues.

Canadian subcribers will now be able to access additional options when it comes to the quality of the videos they stream from Netflix in order to reduce their consumption of bandwidth.

According to Netflix, they will now offer three levels of video quality to their Canadian customers :

  1. Good – Max. 625 kbps Video/64 kbps Audio, which translates to about 9 gigabites of data for 30 hours of content.
  2. Better – Max. 1300 kbps Video/192 kpbs Audio, which translates to about 20 gigabites of data for 30 hours of content.
  3. Best – Max. 4800 kbps (1080p HD video) and 384 kbps (5.1 audio), which translates to about 67 gigabites of data for 30 hours of HD content.

On the Best setting transfers will fluctuate depending on if the content is in HD and/or whether there is congestion. This means 30 hours of non-HD content on the Best setting will translate to about 31 gigabites of data.

It should be noted that American and Canadian television episodes from before 2009 are not likely going to be available in HD, so people who enjoy watching this content can use the Best setting. And several films on Netflix are not available in HD as well, including many by Paramount, who have just signed onto the service in Canada.

HMV Canada For Sale ?

The CBC has reported that HMV Canada may be sold by Maidstone, England based HMV Group PLC to pay for a $200 Million dollar debt.

The company claims that they have not discussed the sale to a potential buyer yet.

Government Fails. Bill C-32 is Dead

The Copyright Modernization Act has died because of today’s non-confidence vote.

Bill C-32 had been proposed by Tony Clement, the Minister of Industry, and had referred to a Legislative Committee headed by Gordon Brown, MP for Leeds—Grenville (Ontario).

Hopefully it will be re-introduced minus some of the more questionable Digital Lock restrictions.

An Interesting Video On UBB

Click here to view an interesting Youtube video explaining usage based billing and the related issues.