internet

Internet Usage Based Billing To Stay

As you may know the CRTC ruled that Internet Usage Billing was fine on Tuesday, provided that a 15% discount be given to the smaller internet providers.

Unfortunately this means that unlimited internet access will likely disappear, as soon as March 2011 in some cases, reducing the customer’s ability to rent High Definition films and concerts online.

Yes, it is possible to change the settings on Netflix to only watch material in Standard Definition, and to only rent films on iTunes in SD. But most people who have invested in HD televisions and the nessesary internet compatible equipment had expected accesibility to the higher quality video and audio formats.

I, for one, am quite content watching DVD quality films and concerts. But even Standard Definition film streams add up so I will likely continue renting films at the local store or from a mailing service, both of which are owned by one of the larger internet providers mentioned in the CRTC ruling.

I just hope that more automated movie dispensers will make their way into Canadian neighbourhoods to drive the price of rentals down because the prices of HD rentals on my cable box are ridiculous. I refuse to pay $7.99 when I can rent it from a store for two dollars less.

As you can tell I am getting quite annoyed with my cable company, especially now that I know they’ll be raising my rates in March. I am serioulsy considering ending my 20 year relationship with them and going for IPTV or OTA television.

Actually “relationship” isn’t really the most apt word to describe it. After all, I had no real choice but to be subjected to their excessive, stock value padding rate hikes until satellite came in, which has its drawbacks as well. But I digress.

I knew unlimited internet wasn’t going to last in Canada as soon as the broadcasters started posting their material online. This distribution is a threat to the television distribution monopolies of this country, who could cry foul and call this downloading illegal prior to this transition.

They had also resisted digital television in Canada via the networks they own, claiming the analog to digital television expendatures were too great. They’ve even managed to delay the transition for some of their stations beyond the August 31st, 2011 deadline set by the CRTC.

Internet usage based billing will be subject to the same consistant hikes we saw in cable and satellite fees, as the monopolies transition from their traditional distribution to an on demand service.

I believe they are raising their cable and satellite fees as quickly as possible to establish high rates to then sell the illusion of savings to the Canadian consumers who are not aware that we are already paying significantly higher than average rates for internet access according to a October 2009 study by the Berkman Center For Internet & Society at Harvard University.

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.

Cloud Film/TV Distribution

Six major film and television studios have partnered to bring a new technology to the market, allowing users to view television episodes and film on multiple devices with the ability to share this programming with six friends or relatives.

Ultraviolet is the industry’s response to a reduction of sales of DVDs and Blu-rays in the United States in 2010, down 3% to 18.8 billion.

Starting this summer, they’re hoping to transition from DVDs to this more flexible online distribution to take advantage of the booming digital downloads and streaming sales and rentals. And they have 46 retailers and device manufacturers on board, including Best Buy, Comcast, Samsung, and Toshiba.

There are two major hold outs at the moment though : Apple and Disney.

Apple had its own service but they are expecting to sign on because they allow Netflix already on some onf their devices.

Disney, on the other hand, has their own plans, for a similar technology called KeyChest, which is partly owned by Steve Jobs.

According to Mitch Singer of Sony, Ultraviolet will be fully implemented by 2011, allowing people to view material on cell phones, tablets, video game consoles and computers. And by 2012 they expect to have Ultraviolet software built into portable devices.