Canada

The Fleecing of Internet Users In Canada

As you may or may not already know, the days of the unlimited internet died in Canada this month.

Gone are the days where one wouldn’t need to worry about limits and extra charges because Shaw and Primus have decided to go the way of Bell and Rogers. They have decided to use caps and extra fees.

When I had originally joined Bell Sympatico years back I had a relatively inexpensive plan and unlimited internet for years.

The speed of the connection was o.k but this was prior to the higher resolution videos on Youtube, the site I frequent the most, and eventually I wanted to upgrade to a faster connection.

Unfortunately when I was offered the faster connection, at a cheaper price, I was introduced to capping. I was limited to a 60 gigabite amount with optional extra gigabites for a few dollars more.

I was not informed that I would have my uploads and downloads limited to 60 gigabites so I was disappointed. But I had never surpassed 40 gigabites anyway, so I managed it.

A year or two back Bell contacted me once more. They were offering a faster connection and more discounts. But this time I scrutinized the offer and found out they were going to reduce my uploads and downloads to 40 gigabites.

Yes, they were going to take $10 off my bill. But I would then need to pay $5 of it back to get extra gigabites to cover the higher amount of transfers I was now at because of chatting and the 720p videos on Youtube.

I of course explained the situation and the salesperson concured that it wasn’t in my best interest to take this offer.

If I had taken the offer I wouldn’t have able to try Netflix. I wouldn’t have had the chance to view many of the 1080p videos on Youtube, which can add up quite quickly.

To save broadband I view most of the videos at 480p. But since the introduction of widescreen video it still adds up. And I would find it impossible to limit my usage to 25 gig cap that is currently being offered to some Bell customers so I wont be changing my plan soon.

Unfortunately for us Canadians, it appears that we are doomed to have the most expensive Internet fees in the world, as determined by Harvard in eary 2010.

Our infrastructure is aging, resulting in additional expendatures, and WIMAX will not be possible until 2012, well after the Analog to Digital transition of Canadian television networks.

Then there’s the issue that WIMAX could be controled by many of the major players like Bell and Rogers, who own some of the television networks.

Are they going to offer competitive rates with WIMAX or play monopoly to pad their stock value ?

Will they play the illegal download card as an excuse to cap WIMAX transfers and/or whine about their landline expeditures ?

I don’t know but i’m sure we’re going to need to fight at least one of these issues to try to keep our prices from skyrocketing.

So much for the promises of inexpensive access.

Liberals Respond To iPod Tax / Bill C-32

It appears that the Liberal Party do not support the so called iPod Tax after all, according to a press release found on their web site.

Like the conservatives they do not see any future for such levies. The Liberals would rather “introduce a new Private Copying Compensation Payment of $35 million to be transferred to Canadian artists each year, through the Canadian Private Copying Collective (CPCC)” according to the press release.

The funds for this compensation, for “uncompensated downloads”, would not come from ISPs or from a levy, the party having recognized that the consumer wants neither.

They also recognized the bill’s digital locks provision restricted the consumer’s ability to make personal copies of material they’ve purchased and would alter this provision to allow copies for personal use.

The other general alterations they propose are the clarification of the definitions of “fair use”, specifically the education use and “mash-up” provisions. They want educational institutions to qualify for the exemption.

Bill C-32 has been referred to a Legislative Committee headed by Gordon Brown, MP for Leeds—Grenville (Ontario).

Please contact your local Member Of Parliament to voice your comments and concerns in regards to the proposed amendments to the Copyright Act.

Thank you.

Black Friday/Cyber Monday in Canada ?

Several Canadian online stores have decided to have Black Friday and/or Cyber Monday sales.

Like their American counterpart Amazon.ca has decided to have both a Black Friday sale and Cyber Monday sale. Amazon.com had already begun their sales, including a DVD sale I might be taking advantage off because of our strong dollar. But the Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales at Amazon.ca will only begin at Midnight, Pacific Time, on November 26th, 2010.

Computer and electronics retailer Tigerdirect has also decided to follow their American site’s lead and have Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales of their own. And I’m assuming Best Buy’s Canadian operations will offer their version as well shortly.

I guess I’ll be busy looking at sales this weekend. 🙂

Update: Sears Canada has also decided to have a Black Friday Sale: Electronics Extravaganza!. I’m browsing the site as I’m posting this message. And no, their specials are not limited to electronics.

Once You Know, You Newegg

Cineplex Now Offering Online Movie Rentals

Film rentals and purchases are now available to Canadians via the Cineplex store site, some of them discounted, or even free, with Scene point redemption.

But to view this content you will need to install the Cineplex Media Manager, which is not available yet for Mac and Linux machines, and have Windows Media Player 11 installed.

The content downloaded from this web site is therefore limited to Windows machines (Windows XP SP2/newer, Vista or 7), Plays for Sure devices that can sync a 1500K video and the Xbox 360.

The site states they will be expanding their compatibility shortly.

Blockbuster Canada Unaffected

Blockbuster Canada has published a press release re-assuring their customers that the Canadian operations are unaffected by the Chapter 11 Process in the United States.

Apparently the Canadian subsidiary is still profitable, at 440 stores through-out Canada.

Netflix Now In Canada

Netflix is now online in Canada and offering unlimited film and television downloads at $7.99 per month.

Unlike their American counterpart, they are not currently offering rentals by mail. But Canadians can now stream videos to their desktop and laptop computers, Wii, PS3 and mobile devices like the iPad and iPhone.

The company promises to add the XBox 360 and internet compatible Blu-ray players and televisions shortly to their service. And the service will be available on the Apple TV device soon as well in Canada.

BTW, those wishing to try the service can do so for one month, for free. Details can be found on the Canadian Netflix site.