links for 2011-01-31

  • Metered Internet usage (also called "Usage-Based Billing") is coming to Canada, and it's going to cost Internet users. While an advance guard of Canadians are expressing creative outrage at the prospect of having to pay inflated prices for Internet use charged by the gigabyte, the consequences probably haven't set in for most consumers. Now, however, independent Canadian ISPs are publishing their revised data plans, and they aren't pretty.

    "Like our customers, and Canadian internet users everywhere, we are not happy with this new development," wrote the Ontario-based indie ISP TekSavvy in a recent e-mail message to its subscribers.

    But like it or not, the Canadian Radio-Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) approved UBB for the incumbent carrier Bell Canada in September. Competitive ISPs, which connect to Canada's top telco for last-mile copper connections to customers, will also be metered by Bell. Even though the CRTC gave these ISPs a 15 percent discount this month

  • Some ISPs want to start charging customers by the gigabyte, or they want to set low data caps and charge overage fees. Netflix has a word for this idea: ripoff.

    In the company's most recent financial report (PDF), released today, Netflix made clear its view that the move to usage-based billing is about ISP profit, not actual costs.

    Wired ISPs have large fixed costs of building and maintaining their last mile network of residential cable and fiber. The ISPs’ costs, however, to deliver a marginal gigabyte, which is about an hour of viewing, from one of our regional interchange points over their last mile wired network to the consumer is less than a penny, and falling, so there is no reason that pay-per-gigabyte is economically necessary. Moreover, at $1 per gigabyte over wired networks, it would be grossly overpriced.

    Netflix notes that it already delivers much of its traffic to "regional ISP front doors"; that is, it uses content delivery networks to get streaming video

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