01 February 2011

You get what you pay for

There is much discussion surrounding the possible change to Canada's internet billing; enabling ISP's (Internet Service Providers) to charge users by how much they use... Usage-Based Billing.

Normally, I'm all for most user pay systems, but not in this case.

The internet has become much more than just entertainment, it is our library, our information repository, our connection to friends, family and culture, the web has become indispensable.

Access to the internet is not a luxury, nor a flippant add-on to a busy day, it has become our day.

As a consumer, you use the internet to shop, learn and communicate thoughts and even help others - it's no longer just an encyclopedia with 'buy' buttons, its a meeting point for ideas and commerce.

And, this access is as important to business as it is to the consumer. In a pay for what you use system, businesses would have even more trouble luring potential customers into their web space - if you're paying per megabyte, you may consider twice before clicking on a link to an interesting sounding web site, you may hesitate on clicking that ad, no matter how compelling it is. Who knows what it will cost you when you land on a media rich site... and sit through a useless splash screen before entering a site. This will effect businesses in a very big way.

The increase in entertainment and the demand on bandwidth has really help make this an issue - it was bound to happen, as more and more of what we do and rely on becomes web based.

Just think of how many things you do that rely on the web now. I know that just between Netfli
x, Sony Playstation 3, Wii, 2 iPads and 2 desktops - the internet is continually being used in our house... not to mention all the iPods that are connected to wifi. But, does it really cost the ISP's that much to serve up this content? I mean, why has it taken them 16 years of offering this service to realize their business model is doesn't work... seems daft.

My bet is on the money grab theory. Whatever the reason behind this push; I encourage you to sign the petition posted here and hopefully we fill their inboxes with enough displeasure for the proposed new billing structure that they abandon it and go back to listening to Dire Straits.

I guess if it does come down to it and a pay by use system is initiated, our hope would be that it is deemed a necessary service and the ISP's become much more heavily regulated.

But, let's hope it doesn't come to that.

That's my two cents... just think, in the future, your two cents may only get you through the first paragraph of this post.

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