Bell, Rogers Give Reasons Why Unlimited Data Plans are Bad

Internet advocacy group OpenMedia is calling on the telecom regulator, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, and has also launched an online petition to support its cause (via CBC News).

Crtc logo

OpenMedia’s Katy Anderson dreams of “uncapped, unlimited, affordable plans”, as reported by CBC News, which also highlights how internet usage and bills have increased in Canada. The CRTC has data from 2013 and 2014 only, which already show a notable increase in average bills.

While a cell phone bill was, on average, $79 per month in 2013, this jumped to $83 in 2014. The 2015 numbers aren’t available yet, but they will likely show an increase, just as did telecom company revenue.

The Canadian wireless market was worth $22.5 billion in 2015, up 7.5% compared to 2014, according to the available CRTC report.

CBC News cites a Vancouver cell phone user who pays about $100 per month for a Rogers plan with 3 GB of data. The problem is that he often pays extra for going over his limit, with the bill going as high as $250 a month. Since he refuses to change his monthly plan to one with a larger data allowance (he wants to stick to his $100 per month budget!) he dreams of a perfect world where he can keep his costs down without having to censor his phone use.

But that’s not how incumbents see it.

“For many customers, the usage-based approach is by far the most economical option,” said spokeswoman Caroline Audet in an email to CBC News.

Rogers’ take is that unlimited data would be detrimental to its customers. “The network capacity isn’t there and it would weaken performance for everyone,” said spokesman Andrew Garas in an email.

Technology enthusiast, rocker, biker and writer of iPhoneinCanada.ca. Follow me on Twitter or contact me via email: istvan@iphoneincanada.ca

  • DonatelloNinjaTurtle

    I can understand not wanting to offer unlimited and having many people abuse the network…

    But, most plans (if not all) below $100 are at the most 6GB? 8+ years later, all these network improvements, and we still haven’t had much change at all in data allowances?

  • Michel Plante

    We pay too much for what we have ????????????

  • swotam

    If that guy is really paying $100/mo for a 3GB data plan he should really consider switching plans, or switching carriers. He could switch to Fido and get their 10GB/$80 “retention” plan which would give him more than 3x his current data, plus unlimited Canada-wide calling, unlimited texts, blah blah for $20 less than he’s paying now.

    That said, you just know that if the carriers offered unlimited data they would charge both arms and both legs for it. The current costs from most of the major carriers are pretty ridiculous, so this would just up the ante in that regard.

  • Chris Kim

    Yes, the common argument by the networks is that there is a very small subset of people who will abuse the data limits and take up a disproportionate amount of the data / bandwidth, hurting everyone else.

    I think a reasonable solution is what you see by many of the US carriers now – you get full LTE speed up to a certain “reasonable” limit, and then everything after that is at a capped speed (ie. 256kbps or something), so that you can still do normal use cases (ie. check e-mail, browse websites / social networks), but not use data-heavy video streaming.

  • Salinger

    How about this as a compromise… allow us to rollover unused data. I have a 5GB plan. If I go on vacation for a couple of weeks and don’t use my phone much, I can use as little as 1GB or so meaning I paid for 4GB I didn’t use.

    The next month, if I use my phone a lot and use 5.5 GB, I get dinged horrific overage charges for that extra ½ GB even though I paid for 4 I didn’t use just last month.

    If data is this finite resource, as the carriers seem to be saying, then we should get what we pay for no matter when we use it.

  • xeronine992

    I agree with Salinger and DonatelloNinjaTurtle 100%. I think unlimited data could be seen as a bad business move because 1) abuse and 2) it leaves no where else for them to go.

    Rolling over would be nice. I feel like even small annual data increases would be nice. After all, our home internet typically has speed bumps from time to time (for more or less the same amount of money. I remember paying like $55/month for 1.5Mbps internet back however many years ago. Now for $80 I’m getting 250Mbps. To me that’s acceptable.

    So yeah I had 6GB back when the iPhone 3G came out with HSPA. Now with LTE, shouldn’t the network be that much more efficient that maybe they should offer me more now?

  • Rollover data would be nice. But I don’t know if it’ll ever happen.

  • mike12

    The only problem is the companies are greedy and they want everything they can.

  • Si2k78

    Greed is subjective. They are just maximizing profits. I’m in no way advocating for the big 3, but they are a business, and like any business, they shareholders demand profits.

  • FragilityG4

    ‘Overages is how we pay the bills’ is a quote I remember. They don’t care about network abuse as long as we’re paying for it.

  • RickV

    Ok, so in US, T-Mobile can offer unlimited data on their network, for all theirs customers, while having less frequencies than Rogers for 70$/with limitation and they say that the network is still rocking solid.

    In Canada, the Big3 always say that we have the best networks. So if the 3rd best network in US can offer Unlimited LTE data and still have a great network, why can’t the same thing happen in Canada? We can’t have the best networks in the world and a bad network when we compare to T-Mobile in USA. So if our networks in Canada are so bad, why the price of the plans goes up every year?

    If our networks are really the best: offer unlimited data
    If our networks are really that bad: reduce the price of plans.

    Rogers will say whatever they can to justify more profit even if there is some contradictions to what they say.

    And 70$/US would be 93$/CAD so 100$ for a standard unlimited plan and 125$ if we add extras (HD, double speed abroad (so Roam like home), LTE speed instead of 3G for tethering)

  • Alex A

    Summarize in one word…”Bullshit”

  • Salinger

    I would think it’d happen long before we’ll ever see unlimited data with the Big 3. 🙂

  • iGard Anderson

    “The network capacity isn’t there”… will it ever be there? :/

  • MrXax

    “For many customers” is not a valuable phrase. That could mean 100 out of 1,000,000 customers.

  • If network abuse is the concern, why not change the plans to throttle data speeds once you go over your data plan, but not charge extra? This would be a great option for people on a budget like the person in the article. My guess is that they LIKE people going over their limits because they make so much money on overage fees.

  • Aleks Oniszczak

    Companies such as Bell and Rogers are always going to try to extract as much money from their customers as they can even if it’s detrimental to society. The REAL problem is that our government isn’t doing its job in reining them in. It’s the GOVERNMENT’S job to do what’s right for its citizens, as Bell and Rogers certainly aren’t going to. Stop voting these idiots in.

  • it’s called an excuse not to give us any.

  • JP

    More garbage excuses from the nickel and dime bunch.

  • Aldo

    The max overage that can be charged in Canada is 50$ per month so I don’t see how a bill hoes from 100 to 250

  • raslucas

    I don’t think unlimited makes sense. I understand data caps. My issue is that the data caps are too low. LTE is a more efficient network, but it will also use more data because it’s sooooo much faster.

    We need a break the way LTE gives their networks a break.

  • Dominic

    If you’ve watched CBC marketplace, a professor from the U of Waterloo pointed that out immediately the fiscal profits they amass from overages compared to the cost.

  • Dominic

    Simple, once you’re at the 50 $ mark they message you and ask that if you want to consent to more data just follow the instructions for more data

  • John To

    What are the big 3 thinks ? always the financial intention. Unlimited data is good for consumers. But the big 3 always find reasons for excuse.

  • John To

    Canadians already paying more compared to US and other countries. Why other countries can do.but not the big 3.

  • Branden Jensen

    So here’s the thing. I’ve worked for Rogers, Telus, and even Sprint (the US carrier). I can say beyond a shadow of a doubt that all providers take advantage of the industry “standard” pricing to gouge customers.
    That OpenMedia petition isn’t just about cell phones though, it’s about home internet as well. Just a couple years ago I saw a report on Rogers’ Internet service that showed they could easily charge $0.10 per GB of overage and still make a profit. Yet they charge $0.25 or more if you’re not in an unlimited package.

    Some might argue that cell phones are different, because the infrastructure is so much more expensive, but here’s the thing with that.
    The towers can be pricey to initially raise depending on the land and the company building them, but almost all of that will remain a project cost, and never become an operating cost.
    Additionally, if you’ve ever seen a cell tower with a bunch of parabolic antennas(satellite dishes) on it, that’s because it’s a primary station for other cell towers. The provider will, instead of setting up a proper base station, use parabolic antennas to wirelessly route traffic through that primary station, in turn cutting operating costs.

    Except we as users never see the savings from these cost cutting measures…

  • mola2alex

    Some ppl seem to be incapable of shopping around I guess. Rather complain than switch

  • mola2alex

    There are operational costs to a tower. Ongoing tuning, maintenance and upgrades happen. Adding a new tower close by may require adjustment to neighboring cells. Want to upgrade to support more capacity, maybe you run a fibre circuit. To think it’s one and done is ridiculous. You also need to factor in core network capacity and upgrades that support more towers. Working for many carriers, you would think you had a better understanding of all this.

    Now your other point you mentioned that other prices may still generate a profit, well that may be true but many companies can reduce prices of goods and still make a profit but why on earth would they do that? What would shareholders think? Heck bottled water could be sold for 10% of current prices and still turn a profit but if people are willing to pay more, why would they ever change. The key here is shop around, don’t get subsidized devices that lock you in. It really is the consumers fault for wanting a shinny new device, if anyone could leave at anytime with an unlocked device, you would see prices for plans drop as carriers would be forced into competing. But people don’t want the hit of a 1K device purchase.

  • Dave

    First off I have no love for either Rogers or bell. I was at a telco conference once and one of the speakers said Canada was the second most expensive place to build and run a cell network. But there are some challenges to offering unlimited everything to everyone. When unlimited voice plans first started, the time slots on the towers were filling up quickly. Having worked for a company that sold cell tower equipment, I know it is not as easy as you think to simply add( i.e. Adding data capacity) towers everywhere, especially in large urban centers like Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal. Even if you can find a place to put a new tower, there are always implications to your network. In fact, one of the biggest problem we run into is actually finding a place where you ideally want to puta tower but the building owner or municipality may say no. So what I am saying is that this isn’t just a cost issue and you can compare us to other countries but it isn’t apples to apples.

  • Dave

    Well said.
    People will always tell you they are underpaid personally while if a company attempts to make a profit, it is bad. Again, I make no attempt to defend. Well or Rogers because they are both truly terrible companies.

  • Joanne

    Really sounds like they’re creating a nice-sounding platitude there, doesn’t it? “Of course your plans are expensive… You’re paying for the best networks in the world!”

    Please don’t try that BS with us. We’re not North Korea. We can spend 5 minutes online and prove that false. One thing I’m offended by is that taxpayers’ money went to setting up Alberta Government Telephones, and to this day these private telcos are using infrastructure that, to my understanding, they didn’t pay for and have the gall to say we should thank them for and be grateful they don’t charge us MORE.

  • Joanne

    This makes sense. I have an unlimited phone plan with Wind Mobile that I got a few years back. I know they’ll throttle my speed if I go over 3 GB, I believe, but I’ve never come anywhere close to that because I usually have a Wi-Fi network available. I almost never stream or download music on data. But yes, this is the obvious best option except that they’re clearly concerned about the loss of profits.

  • samsvoc

    I have unlimited data with Rogers and I never go over 14GB a month. They do have a fair usage policy after 10GB but I’ve never been throttled. My nephew hits 40GB on occasion and never got throttled. If everyone was allowed unlimited data, the price would go up and the BIG 3 would need to spend money on capacity.

  • johnnygoodface

    They do that with satelites

  • Dan Kastodio

    This is bull… The big three got scared when rumor said Verizon was coming. Spreading lies. Then they said the network could not handle unlimited internet… The third party networks and the people complained and the CRTC ruled they must offer unlimited to wholesalers.. guess what? Immediately after the ruling, the big guys started offering unlimited internet too.. the network that couldn’t handle it, magically could in an instant.

  • Dan Kastodio

    Exactly… Just like when they say the price gouging is to subsidize the phones… Well, I have a paid off phone.. why don’t I get a discount? You aren’t subsidizing my phone, but I pay as much as I would if it was subsidized.

  • Ipsum Hominem

    As far as I know the way that corporations operate is to generate profit, can we please forget about all this talk ” maybe they can give us this or that ” as long as there is no objective competition, is no incentive to lower the price or extend the bandwidth.
    So the only pressure we can apply on them for now, is to keep going through retention or keep switching and keep asking for better deals.
    Cheers and good luck.

  • Dan Kastodio

    They don’t complete at all in Canada. They are protected by the government through the CRTC. Which rubber stamped everything they requested. Look online and you’ll see research saying how expensive we are in comparison to the rest of the world. When Verizon was rumored to be coming.. guess what? The big guys took the same research and only showed them compared to the more expensive guys and claimed they were cheaper than the US. How? They took mobilicity and wind pricing and compared it to the most expensive US offerings they could find. But compare Bell, Rogers and Telus with the US and you’ll find is not much better.

  • Dan Kastodio

    Makes sense for the rest of the world, just not Canadians… Why are we inferior to the rest of the world?!

  • raslucas

    Largest land mass to cover with the smallest population. That’s a big reason.

  • Branden Jensen

    There’s a similar logic applied here as with TV packages. The idea that people forced to buy an expensive package that they’ll never use all of, only to be told it’s to subsidize their new phone (which is too expensive for most people to buy outright), and then be stuck with that same price even after the subsidy is payed off.
    TV packages are overpriced and stuffed with channels that no one wants, yet are stuck with.

  • Branden Jensen

    Well, you displayed some mental gymnastics there, to assume that I had not considered other variables.

    See, on top of having worked for these companies, I’m also a trained IT professional with knowledge in all aspects of hardware, networking, configuration, et al.
    This means that I’m fully aware of design, implementation, and operations costs involved with the cellular industry.

    None of that has any baring on the fact that project costs are always a larger upfront cost than operational costs for what you’re implementing.

    I could have written a multi-page essay on just the design and implementation of a single cell tower, but it wasn’t my intention to leave readers a bloody essay. Instead, I highlighted key factors and drove home the point that companies like Rogers and Bell price gouge and get away with it.

  • Branden Jensen

    In fairness, Aleks, the CRTC has been stepping up to the plate finally. At least I’m the past few years.

  • Branden Jensen

    I would find this a reasonable middle ground.
    Granted ,we’re only two individuals, but I made a similar deal with TekSavvy and their ZapTheCap program…except because of the costs being incurred by them for using the Big 3’s networks, ZapTheCap is now defunct.

  • Branden Jensen

    There’s some important details to be addressed there.

    Granted, Bell and Rogers are responsible for much of the phone line and coax network infrastructure, but they didn’t build much of the fibre optic network.
    Sure, they’re expanding on fibre with fibre-to-the-street, etc, but Google has been doing fine with fibre-to-the-home and offering internet packages for free, so Rogers and Bell are bordering on used car salesman behaviour at this point.

    Also worth noting, is that I have lived in the same house for roughly 20 years now, and despite being a well developed neighbourhood with a lot of expansion in the past 6-8 years, Bell’s lines are still unable to give me half of the 10/1 I’m paying for.

  • mola2alex

    Of course upfront costs are going to spike vs ongoing maintenance but your initial assertion was set and forget which is not true at all, there are some true ongoing costs for each incremental tower you add not to mention updates to support things like volte and core networks. You can’t deploy a tower without a backbone.

    The key point here in your initial note is why is the report about profit relevant? Are you suggesting Rogers should leave money on the table out of kindness? Companies are highly incentivized to charge as much as the market will allow so the break even point is not at all relevant. The cost of software is $0 to replicate but should a developer not be allowed to make a profit? Business doesn’t work that way.

  • Nicola Di Silvio

    My. Issue is if I pay for 4 GB of Dada por month and I don’t use all of it why are they aloud to take it away at the end of the month

  • Branden Jensen

    I’m remiss to understand why you think my original statement suggested that there’s no operating costs. I even referenced that the child tower system cuts costs, but I didn’t say it removes them entirely.
    I can only deduce that you either didn’t read my post in its entirety, or you lack a proper understanding of English. I won’t knock you for lacking an understanding of my native language, but I will ask you to take more care when replying, lest you offend.

    Absolutely nothing in my statements suggest I want any of these companies to merely break even. A reply I made to a post on this article was to agree to an amicable parameter that would be fair to all parties.

    To use your software analogy, if that software was priced 5, 8, or 10x it’s actually value, and then you had to pay that per month, but the company said the high price was for ongoing improvements to the software, which came intermittently over several years and required you to constantly but new updates from them to use those features.

    Are you really going to argue that this is a fair and balanced practice? It’s price gouging, and the fact that people are running campaigns to get the CRTC to force change (and on occasion succeeding), is frankly a partial win in any sane-minded Canadian’s head.

  • mola2alex

    I don’t speak English, right. Thats funny. I suggest you can’t hold a job given your ‘experience’ at multiple carriers and lack of business sense.

    Capitalism, heard of it? I can only deduce that you haven’t. Apple can get away charging whatever they want and people would buy it. It’s called being smart and knowing the market, not price gouging. As far as I know, a company is allowed to set their price, it’s up to consumers to make decisions. Just because Rogers can make a profit charging less is completely irrelevant to anything and shows you lack any business sense by stating as much. You think they sit around a boardroom and try to make more or less profit? ‘How can we shrink our profits’ – said no one ever.

  • Yami

    Google fi is 20 a month call text and 10 per 1 gb data if you don’t use your first gb they credit you for 10 bucks.

  • Branden Jensen

    Hmm, it appears you’ve not only taken offense by my attempts to be reasonable with you, but also that you now see fit to sling insults at me rather than legitimately debunk my opinions on the matter. Ad hominem is hardly the best practice, but certainly a common tactic on the internet.

    As for Rogers and their perception of capitalism…well, it’s antiquated at best. Companies have been rewriting the rules on how to be a capitalist since the turn of the century, in ways that do not involve gouging the consumer for their hard-earned cash.
    You certainly seem to hold Apple to a high standard, and I suppose that is the easy route to take, to admire a company with billions upon billions of dollars in their coffers. Except they got there because of the brilliant marketing of someone I grudgingly admire and respect (Steve Jobs), which is an impeccable record they’ve been throwing away since his death. Please, continue to worship the dying carcass that is Apple.

    Regardless, you seem to be far more emotional about this discussion than I am, and certainly less prone to informed logic. I suspect that’s because you have a personal investment in this discussion from the opposing side. I could be completely off base with that, but it’s a valid theory given just how much you’re arguing in favor of the carriers being justified.

    In any event, I don’t feel like we can discuss this further in a civil manner, so I’m going to bow out.

    Good luck all, and let the chips fall where they may.

  • mola2alex

    I call it like I see it. You say that English isn’t my native tongue and act like I am the one throwing insults or that you are being reasonable.

    Bottom line, i really care less about this, I am calling you out on what you said. You stated a report that Rogers could turn a profit by charging less. How is that at all relevant to anything. It’s baffling how you can’t grasp that point, so yeah at this point I think you have very little business experience because you wrote it and can’t substantiate why this report matters at all. It’s not about carriers per se but why in any business would that point matter.

    I don’t hold Apple to any high standard, it is what it is. People line up for their products and overpay blindly for the next ithing. I’m trying to illustrate how ridiculous your point sounds. Apple could still turn a profit if they charge less, why is that of any significance? You want me to debunk your opinion but that’s not what I am trying to do, I’m actually trying to understand why you think that is at all important to the discussion? Because in ANY business no one is trying to make less profit so a report showing that it’s possible to lower profits by lowering price is a pretty dumb report – isn’t that just stating the obvious? I’m not emotional, I am curious why you feel that is an important point to make. It’s like saying a report found a company could cut costs by cutting back staff or increase revenue by selling more products. It’s stating the obvious. So thanks captain obvious for your contribution and let the chips fall where they may. Lol

  • Peter West

    Just so you have an idea what you are talking about you are compairing canada to a country that as about double our population of canada and still only has half our speeds with a 80% population coverage. Bell top speed is 300mbps coverage of 98% population. We pay for what we get the most advance network in the world. The is no other country has 75mbps as a slow speed. U.s. is top out at 80 mbps. That is just the fact and you can look them up if you want.

  • Brian

    Right. And maximising profits means maximising sales and in order to maximise sales, you need to be price competitive. A company can actually increase it’s net profit by lowering it prices and capturing more of the market.

    In a healthy market, this is what happens.

    So that begs the question: Why don’t any of the big 3 lower their prices to capture more of the market?

    What makes this question all the more interesting is that in the two or three markets in this country that are healthy (most are not), the prices are lower. Up to 50% lower!!

    Why is this? What makes these two or three markets where prices are substantially lower so much more healthy?

    These healthy markets have a fourth carrier that is willing to actually play the game of lowering prices to capture more of the market and that forces the big 3 to do the same to compete.

    So why don’t one of the big 3 lower prices in the rest of Canada to capture the market like that 4th carrier in a few markets (Saskatchewan and Manitoba) is doing?

    That’s also a very good question.

    You would think that in a healthy market one of them would, wouldn’t you?

  • Si2k78

    But we did have healthy competition. Mobilicity, public mobile, and wind offered much more competitive prices, but like all things in life, you get what you pay for. Lower prices also meant lesser services. With these lower cost competitors, Canadians still chose to stick with their contracts with the big 3. So ask yourself this, if your a company that offers a service, and your customers chose to continue to pay the prices you are charging rather than switch to a lower cost alternative, would you be incentivized to lower your own prices? It’s a no brainer.

  • Brian

    Except that new entrants have no hope in hell of ever catching up to over 100 years of network building on the public teat.

    Take the tax-payer owned networks away from those now private companies and put them back into the public trust where all entrants may use them and the playing field will be much more levelled.

    But as long as those private companies continue to get to control the networks that the Canadian tax-payer paid for, it will never be fair.

    An alternative to the (will never happen) reclamation of the public network is to allow new (mobile) entrants access to the mobile network in the same way ISPs have been mandated access to the copper and coax plants that the incumbents have been building for the last century.

    This could be done in same form that it has been done in the US through the allowance of MVNOs. MVNOs should be allowed the broad coverage of the incumbents (whose networks are the result of the public teat) networks while they build their own.

  • karinatwork

    Give me fast data to my paid allotment, and then throttle the speed but don’t cut me off. This is how “unlimited” is done successfully elsewhere in the world. It’s beyond me why they can’t do that here.

  • Brian

    Have you not been paying attention? 🙂

    The reason is exactly because just throttling after you hit your cap doesn’t get them any more revenues. Charging outrageous prices for “overage” does get them more revenues.

    Why do you think the amount you have to pay per GB when overage kicks in is much more expensive per GB when still inside your allotment? Why doesn’t it get cheaper. Almost everything else you can buy gets cheaper the more you buy.

    Once again, revenues. Setting really low allotments and then charging when people go over them is a cash-cow.

  • karinatwork

    It was really more of a rhetorical question. But I can see how that may have gotten lost.

  • Aleks Oniszczak

    If you think “the CRTC has been stepping up to the plate”, it is certainly at a stadium named Rogers Centre. What evidence is there that they are doing anything substantive? The caps are demonstrably not based on any real need – but they affect almost everybody. There is a chilling effect to what people feel they are able to do. A kid in a Mississauga basement will think twice before trying to create the next Netflix. I guess we’ll leave the innovation to the other countries.

  • Brian

    They actually have been stepping up. The current CRTC chair is very pro-consumer. What have they done?

    They gave us net neutrality.
    They passed on taxing over the top services like Netflix (even though the current Liberals are starting to rumble about doing so).
    They opened up Bell’s fibre to the wholesale market so that you can get fibre from the likes of Teksavvy.
    I predict (without much need for a crystal ball) that that same fibre will bring you cable-tv alternatives.

    You talk about the caps as if they are product of the CRTC. They are not. The caps were introduced by the industry without any involvement from the CRTC.

    The fact that the CRTC is currently holding hearings about differential pricing/zero-rating, and even went to reddit to ask “the people” what they thought about that should demonstrate to you that they are not just all about listening to just the “old boys” under this current chairman.

  • Aleks Oniszczak

    I’ll reserve judgement as to if their heart is in the right place, but I don’t think they are being effective. In some ways they are doing more harm than good. It’s a well known tactic to provide a place to allow angry people to blow off stream and then do very little in response. Instead of wronged Canadians channeling their energy getting together to actually do something about the situation by boycotts or other methods, the CRTC says, no come here and tell us all your problems, blow off your steam, and we’ll fix it. And then they don’t. But the anger and energy has now dissipated.

    Example: Their solution to crazy cable TV prices: allow the companies to keep everything just the same as it was, but now they offer a $25 plus tax plus rental fees etc. plan that they don’t need to tell their customers about. This fails in so many ways:

    1. Now the CRTC can point to this and say Canadian voices have been heard and they did something about it. Even though what they did is a joke. So now what? What are we supposed to do now?
    2. The companies can keep this plan a secret and not mention it to customers or market it or anything.
    3. $25 plus tax and rentals etc. isn’t really that affordable to the poor – especially since most of those channels can be received free with an antenna anyway. How about the Government give people antennas instead of inventing ways the poor can give even more of their money to Rogers et al.

  • Aleks Oniszczak

    Also, I have no idea why it makes sense to tax movies in theatres, movies on DVD, books about movies or even books in general – but not Netflix! They shouldn’t be taxing ANY of those things as it has been shown that consumption taxes affect the poor more than the rich – which leads to a bad society as the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.

  • Brian

    Oh yeah. Thanks for reminding me of skinny-basic. That was another pro-consumer thing the CRTC did.

    Did they get it completely right the first time? Not exactly. They could have done more to ensure that consumers were being made aware of the packages. Sure. I can see how it can get difficult trying to force companies to sell things they ultimately don’t want to sell. Maybe more public-service type advertising telling people about skinny-basic is needed.

    But ultimately, we are being given the choice that we have been screaming for for years, if not decades. Skinny-basic, when it is complete (Dec. 1) will be a complete pick-and-pay where you buy only the channels you want and don’t have to buy any bundles to get what you want. Do you know how long Canadians have been wanting that?

    The rentals issue is separate from skinny-basic. It is a problem, to be sure. But it needs to be addressed outside of the skinny-basic implementation since it affects everyone, not just skinny-basic users.

    You clearly live in a big city given your rose-coloured view on antennae. Sure, they work in big metropolitan areas, but they don’t work outside of them, so even skinny-basic is useful to the many people who can’t get OTA.

  • Aleks Oniszczak

    Also, you say, “The caps were introduced by the industry without any involvement from the CRTC.” Well that’s my point – why are the CRTC not involved? Caps have been shown to be both artificial and detrimental by experts. All the CRTC needs to do is google for the info – its all out there. Most people on the street may not know that caps are artificial – so why is the CRTC pretending to care by asking the population a question they should be asking the experts?

  • Brian

    You are referring to sales taxes. The “Netflix tax” is not a sales tax. You can’t really compare them.

  • Aleks Oniszczak

    As of 2011 81% of Canadian are urban. So why do you want our policies based on the other 19%?

  • Brian

    Because the CRTC has to give the industry some freedom to provide services. They can’t require that the industry stop and ask them about every single thing they might do. We’d never get anything because everything would be tied up in red-tape if that were the case.

    The CRTC works on a reactionary basis because the amount of changes they need to react to is much smaller than the number of changes going on in the industry. The industry can make many changes before one needs to be questioned by the CRTC. Imagine if every one of those changes needed a hearing to determine their applicability.

  • Brian

    Uban does not equal rich OTA access. I am urban (I live in a city of 150K), but not large-city urban enough to get OTA television.

  • Aleks Oniszczak

    Of course, I agree that they cannot question every decision. But the proof is in the pudding – we have some of the highest fees for services of any country. We have caps that hinder innovation and we have pricing that is indistinguishable from price-fixing.

    If the CRTC works on a reactionary basis – I submit that they need to see a doctor to have their reflexes checked.

  • Brian

    So, yes. We have some of the highest prices. There are a number of reasons for that that that all circle around lack of competition. What the CRTC does need to do is open up the MVNO market. They have so far refused to do this.

    What the CRTC don’t do is get involved with retail pricing. They do set tariffs for wholesale pricing which is what MVNOs would come under.

    If you feel like there is retail price fixing, you should talk to the competition bureau. That’s their domain. Pretty sure they will tell you there is no evidence of that going on despite it looking quite like it is.

  • Aleks Oniszczak

    I chose my words carefully – I do NOT think there is price fixing. It’s worse than that, there doesn’t even NEED to be price fixing as they just look around to find the highest price – and copy it – since there is no meaningful competition.

    Remember, it’s the government’s job to set up the rules so that companies can compete as this is supposed to be a capitalist society.

    Ever wonder why Rogers and Bell don’t compete in other countries? It’s because they have become fat and lazy in the easy money they rake in here and couldn’t hope to do well with REAL competition elsewhere. The CRTC should whip them into shape – the results would be lower prices and better service at home and a greater GDP as our the corporation find themselves able to take on the likes of Verizon and Orange.