Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Stop the Meter!

Greetings Friends,

While many people are accepting Jesus Christ as their saviour, mine turned out to be the Internet. This is a tool which is crucial to my making a living, and I'm fairly certain this is the case for a lot of you out there. The Internet changed the world; it is not perfect now, nor do I think it ever will be. Regardless of that, it is here, and we are all, in one way or another, dependent upon its existence.

Recently, the CRTC, the Canadian Radio-television Telecommunications Commission, has decided that metering your Internet usage might be a good idea - along the same lines as metering your gas, water and electricity usage. Now that people are downloading and uploading music, movies, games, pictures, pretty well anything and everything, they've decided that we need to keep track of our gigabytes, much the same as we do kilowatt hours of electricity. That proposal hasn't gone over well here in Canada, mostly because (and I agree with this 100%), we've been told to embrace technology and do everything online. Now, it will cost us much more than we bargained for.

In two weeks time I am moving into new digs. In preparation for my move, I spent well over an hour on the phone with Rogers Communications, my favourite evil Canadian empire, negotiating a package for my Internet and cable television services. Sadly, what I will be paying for high speed Internet, cable television, and my mobile phone, will top out somewhere in the $200 range on a monthly basis. And that's not for their top of the line services. If I wanted those, the bill would be more like $400 a month. If we were to truly live in a virtual world, that would mean eating virtual food, sleeping on virtual beds, and breathing virtual air. Until then, $200 a month is about all I can afford. And barely, if you want to know the truth.

The CRTC's proposal wants to slam Internet users with astronomical "per gigabyte" charges if they go over a certain allotment. Rogers is already doing that with their usage packages, forcing you to cover your virtual ass, unless you want to pay even more for their services. I signed up for 60GB a month, so I think I'm safe. I do not aspire to be a bandwidth hog, but when you consider the fact that there is an entire generation that grew up with the Internet, I can see how that might be a problem. But, that doesn't mean that the solution to the problem has to involve beating people over the head for fees. Cable companies have been doing that for decades, and now that practice is being considered by the Canadian government. As if taxes weren't enough.

I often find myself lamenting how the speed with which technology advances can be pretty scary. Twenty years ago, we barely knew what the Internet was. Now, it is ubiquitous. Maybe we need to categorize it as one of life's certainties; you know, like death and taxes. Death, Taxes, and the Internet. The three things that will always be for certain. How comforting.

Check out to find out more about the CRTC's plans for Internet usage. And sign the petition to stop them from metering usage. 


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