CRTC Urged to End Internet Data Caps as They Price Gouge Says OpenMedia

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Data caps have been nothing more than pricing tools disguised as network resource management, and this practice needs to end now, according to OpenMedia, which has looked deeply into the matter underpinning this statement with hard facts in the Canadian Data Caps Summary Report released in June.

The timing is important: The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission’s (CRTC) upcoming consultation on Net Neutrality and Zero Rating represents a great opportunity for Canadians to urge the regulator to end this practice and ban telecom providers from capping customer’s Internet usage. The CRTC has already set a deadline for June 28 to collect comments from Canadians.

“Canadians need relief from oppressively low data caps, and the punitive overage charges associated with them,” said Katy Anderson, OpenMedia’s digital rights specialist. “There should be no such thing as ‘too much Internet’, given how essential affordable online access has become to our everyday lives. If we don’t tackle this now, Canada will fall even further behind.”

The OpenMedia report examines the factors that play a part in the adoption of restrictive data-cap policies. As it turns out, “the argument for data caps as traffic management practice simply don’t stand up to scrutiny”, the report concludes. As an example, when Bell bundles Internet services with TV, its monthly Internet data caps vanish, making third-party streaming services less attractive.

In the light of the upcoming CRTC consultation, OpenMedia urges Canadians to endorse an open letter asking the regulator to end Internet data caps, ban zero-rating, develop a strong transparent mechanism which ensures service providers comply with the rules, and, finally, to uphold net neutrality.

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

  • Aleks Oniszczak

    Yeah no kidding. If caps were truly necessary, we’d have caps on the length of time we watch TV each month via cable TV. It’s all going through the same cable, so why just cap internet and not TV?

  • ipostic

    I don’t think you can compare TV cable with the amount of technology that goes into the Internet service. I still agree with you on the caps but I don’t think your comparison stands strong.

  • Aleks Oniszczak

    Well it’s all digital data going down the same coaxial cable. Increasing the bandwidth of one restricts the bandwidth of the other. If the technology they chose to use doesn’t allow for the flexibility to cap TV digital data vs Internet digital data, then that’s the artificial choice they made and can be changed if they wanted to. Back in the days when TV was analog this would not have been possible. But it certainly is now.

    The bottom line is that they CAN cap TV, but people wouldn’t accept it (rightfully so). But somehow people don’t think it’s equally rediculous to cap Internet. We’re too accepting.

  • Brad Fortin

    Given that data isn’t a commodity (no “data farms”, no “data mines”, no “data hatcheries”, etc), it shouldn’t be sold in limited amounts like a commodity.

  • MrBambinoDent

    It’s the same cable carrying both signals, not to mention some services like Telus Optik TV is basically streaming over the internet, so how is it any different?!
    Like they assign about 30Mbps for TV service and of course it’s unlimited while whatever bandwidth they assign for regular internet usage is capped, that’s the whole point here!

  • MrBambinoDent

    I just gave up and signed up for unlimited access for extra $15 a month after months of paying overage premium! As if we don’t pay enough, also what’s the point of having 100Mbps speed if you can only use it for a limited amount of time/data?!

  • SV650

    Interestingly, the report is entirely silent on this option, instead choosing only to discuss wildly expensive overage rates.

    How would it be interpreted if there was a fee for internet service with a discount for those who use lower volumes of data?

  • MrBambinoDent

    Telus started offering that option not so long ago, probably within the last year!
    Overage rates are $5 for the first block of 50gb of data, then $10 each afterwards! Last bill I paid $25 of overage fees, so $15 isn’t as bad!

  • BigCat

    Aleks, could not agree with you more! It’s just a pure money grab.

    Internet service is a combination of both speed and capacity. When things get busy and your 100 Mbps service slows down to 70 Mbps nobody is giving you money back.

  • Aleks Oniszczak

    Well it’s all digital data going down the same coaxial cable. Increasing the bandwidth of one restricts the bandwidth of the other. If the technology they chose to use doesn’t allow for the flexibility to cap TV digital data vs Internet digital data, then that’s the artificial choice they made and can be changed if they wanted to. Back in the days when TV was analog this would not have been possible. But it certainly is now.

    The bottom line is that they CAN cap TV, but people wouldn’t accept it (rightfully so). But somehow people don’t think it’s equally rediculous to cap Internet. We’re too accepting.

  • Tim

    The oligopoly has gotten used to certain ARPU’s and overall margins. If we force them to sell unlimited data with every plan they’ll all just raise prices in lockstep. Remember when we forced them to end three year contracts? Price plans all went up everywhere. The only thing that can help the consumer is more competition. Most business experts believe the space needs fourth and fifth network operators (not MVNO’s or data re-sellers) to really affect prices, and that seems to hold truth in the limited markets that have this dynamic. If the CRTC makes it easier for competition to operate, that’s the best way, otherwise the incumbents with find another way to maintain and raise their profits.