I currently have no caps with TekSavvy and pay $39 a month. Starting from March 1st, I will pay $31.95/mo with a 25 GB cap. Any gigabyte over the limit will cost about 2 bucks.
Now, you can buy a block at discounted prices. According to TekSavvy, based on my internet usage, I will need to buy at least a 275 GB extra block. Believe it or not, I don't torrent. I simply like to watch NetFlix, HD movies from iTunes, lots of educational videos online, and backup data in the cloud.
That 275 GB block costs $55/mo. So I suddenly go from paying $39 for unlimited data to paying $86.95 per month, and having to be careful about what I download and what not.
Oh, and the first thing I need to do is stop backing up my data, videos, and photos in the cloud. That's pretty much out of the question with the risk of paying $2 per extra GB. I'm buying an additional external hard drive instead.
How is that for innovation?
But imagine this: on mobile networks, instead of voice minutes, text messages, data caps, fees for tethering, and every other scheme the Telcos are concocting right now (with regard to charging for individual services), we instead have a single measure of our usage — data — and our bill starts at something reasonable like $5 or $10 a month.
The problem with "unlimited" in my view is that it conditions us to think that said resource really is unlimited, versus, say, electricity where we are incentivized to be aware of our usage. Now, if they're going to charge $2 per GB above some arbitrary cap — that's clearly absurd. But to start the bill very low (for the basic connection), and then charge, say, 10¢ or 15¢ per GB? Sign me up.
Now, if the line from the CO (where the DSL terminates) to the internet was a significant bit of the cost, I'd agree with you. But my understanding is that the line from the CO to the 'net is a very small cost compared to the cost of all those copper pairs.
You also have a point when it comes to shared-loop technologies like cable. Metering is probably the most fair way to decide who gets what percentage of the limited fixed loop. (and probably the best way to get the telco to add more capacity when a loop becomes overloaded)
I'm just saying, the last-mile has many situations where running the connection, regardless of how much you use that connection, dominates the cost. And in those cases, "unlimited" (up to your port speed) billing makes a whole lot of sense.
That's a somewhat naive view of things. It only works if all the upstream equipment has infinite capacity. If you (and others like you) use 275GB instead of 10GB then it absolutely does cause more equipment to have to be installed upstream, which I don't think is an insignificant cost.
I'm like the GP - I wish every connection was metered, the problem is not metering, but the rate which invariably seems to be way above what is reasonable. Metering seems to always just be a cynical strategy to exploit naive users who don't know how much bandwidth they consume (bill shock, etc) rather than a rational economic way of sharing a limited resource.
After the connection hits the DSLAM it goes onto fiber, which starts at 1 Gbps capacity and goes up to either 40Gbps or 100Gbps per port. Only in the smallest markets would they use a T3/DS3 connection.
Actual bandwidth costs for 200GB (which is about 1Mbps) over the course of a month are about $1 USD in almost any major US city.
Even assuming 4x the cost for Canada's smaller market size, we are talking about a ($4 into $55 upcharge) 13 times markup once the cost of the basic connection, tech support, marketing, etc. is covered by the initial $31.95.
So, a sensible approach by the government would be to review the actual access costs - whether it's $2 / 100GB or some other figure - then fix the price at that level. Review it every year. Fair for all. I am sure the guy using 275GB/month wouldn't mind paying $4 for it.
Unlimited access is unrealistic, as is gauging the public for 10x the fair value _when you're a monopolist_.
If its no trouble, could you please contact me at email@example.com?
It was made because I was planning on writing a book on immigrating to Canada from the perspective of someone that has gone through the whole process, and this was to become one article (a blog post) and / or a chapter in there.
The whole thing had as working title 'movingtoca'.
Canada is a fantastic country but some things there are just - how to say this without insulting Canadians - peculiar.
The system works for the most part but if you don't dig in to Canada's history and do your best to understand the way the various interests interlock there is no way you're going to understand how things got to be the way they are.
To an outsider they'd make no sense at all and to people living there that do not have the historical perspective they probably also do not.
Some of these things date back all the way to the prohibition days of Capone!
How do you explain to an American that the same bottle of wine costs 50% more in rural Canada than in New York City :) ?
Shipping cost? If anything, I'd have thought the LCBO, keeping prices uniform across the province, helps rural areas at the expense of higher density areas (though perhaps not strict downtowns where store lease cost might be significant).
Pure nonsense. ISPs have to pay data by volume to upstream providers.
Yes, they do. The question is how much. Chances are it's nowhere near $2.... charging whatever you want is fair game in a free market, but not when you're a monopolist.
Do you think all ISPs are running off the ancient network equipment they were originally set up with back in the day?
I'm honestly surpised that on /Hacker News/ of all places, so many people thing that the only thing contributing to their bandwidth cost is in-ground copper.
At /my scale/ I can buy bandwidth at around $1 per megabit/sec. 1Mbps is, uh, around 320 gigabytes of data. Even at half utilization that's less than a penny per gigabyte, and any but the smallest of local ISPs are going to dwarf my bandwidth usage. This is the sort of market where cost scales down quite a lot as you scale up, so I would bet quite a lot of money that comcast pays less than I do.
sure, if I wanted to double my usage, I'd have to buy some new network equipment, and spend some network admin time, but generally speaking the cost of your network equipment (at least at my scale) is fairly small compared to the cost of buying the transit in the first place. It certainly doesn't double the cost of bandwidth; and even if it did, bandwidth would still be cheaper than the local loop to your customer's home.
So yeah, uh, your average dsl is what five megabits/sec on a really good day? are you seriously trying to tell me that you can buy a copper loop for less than five bucks a month?
(Actually, I've been in the industry all my life and I've never been involved in buying copper loops; I guess it's possible they are that cheap; If they are, and I find out (oy, the costs of almost everything in this industry are guarded like state secrets. It's such a pain in the ass.) I'll start a DSL ISP. but I'd be very surprised if that were the case. )
That the latter company somehow gets 'cheaper' overalleven though it requires newer network equipment to handle the load?
That the light internet users cause as much support issues as the heavy internet users?
Of course they don't - for the same number of users, heavy internet use increases backend costs. Those 100k users aren't causing congestion with torrents or video, for example. And just like in-ground copper, exchanges, datacentres and the like aren't cheap to install or maintain. Sure they get a bit 'cheaper' with scale, but they're still not 'cheap' - especially if you've got to keep upgrading your equipment to handle load.
Costs in a business rise in things other than directly-related items. Take an example: I've spent the morning doing an emergency repair on an RMA'd item that the service boys don't have the time to do. This has meant that the other critical tasks I've had to do have been pushed back. Sure, you can say that the repair of the RMA'd item is just my wages + spare parts, but you'd be wrong. It's had knock-on costs elsewhere in the system.
Assuming the same customer port speed for both? actually, yeah. costs would be almost the same, ignoring upstream bandwidth costs (really, costs would be pretty similar including upstream bandwidth.)
1000 customers, 10Gigabytes a day, you are looking at something like 1 gigabit, if that 10gigabit is even, and anymore, all modern networking gear does at least one gigabit.
edit: I'm assuming a smooth distribution and that you are willing to run the thing full on, both of which are bad ideas. give yourself 50% headroom, and buy two. Gigabit hardware is so cheap, you might as well.
You seem to imply that older networking equipment is cheaper. It's not. Sure, if you come by the office, I'll offload some crap on to you for free. This doesn't mean that it's cheaper than new stuff in production. There are many places in my network where a 10mbps switch would be plenty fast, hell, I even sell 10Mbps ports to some people. but I don't want the headache of dealing with ancient crap. I'd rather pay the up-front costs to get new(er) stuff than deal with the operating expence inherent to using old hardware. If I sell someone a 10Mbps port, I'll take a gig switch and step down the port speed.
Anyhow, I guess at this point we're just arguing to personal authority, and I don't even know who you are or what you do. If you have knowledge of what the cost of a copper pair is, let me know.
Really, running off old kit is the sysadmin equivalent to the "technical debt" talked about here in the context of messy spaghetti code. It's cheaper now, but will have to pay later. Usually with usurious interest.
You should keep servers closer to 3-5 years Your SysAdmin will say 3, the IRS says 5. It's generally agreed that after 5 you should give it to your little sister or use it in the test lab. I mean, I know people who run old servers for fun; a good friend of mine runs his website off a .com era 10 CPU sun enterprise. but that's hobby work, and even so his co-lo provider is loosing money on the deal he's getting. If he was paying for his own power, he'd probably step down to a single-socked 12 core opteron which would have more compute power and more ram, and use approximately 1/10th the power.
At my company, I estimate a reboot to cost me about a thousand dollars, that is, if everything comes up cleanly afterwards. Right now, we're debating if we should extend the servers out to four years rather than throwing them out after three. But in this case, I own the whole thing, rather than one department, so I feel it on both ends; both the problems caused by old garbage and the cost of buying new stuff.
Network hardware, generally speaking, lasts longer than server hardware, but depending on the badness of downtime on that particular network, a 5 year cycle still isn't bad, and running 10 year old kit is kind of crazy. (and if we are talking 100Mbps stuff, you are starting to talk about 10 year old kit.)
I remember at another contract gig, I was getting paid around seventy five bucks an hour (this was really a full time job in all but name, so they paid closer to full time job rates than short-term contract rates)
A lot of my time was spent repairing or cleaning up after 10 year old servers. Most of the time when I touched something? for what they were paying me alone, not counting downtime costs, they could usually have bought new kit. And half the time, these were critical dev servers; one of the hard drives failed years ago, and now the second was returning read errors. It was absolutely crazy that they didn't just replace all of this garbage at once.
I mean, they eventually did, I was actually hired on to help virtualize all these tiny 10 year old servers on to much larger, newer servers. But the job would have been quite a lot easier if they had replaced these servers after 5 years rather than 10. I suspect that the downtime and cleanup ended up being more expensive than the capital cost of new servers would have been.
Metered is out, flat-rate is the future. The only hold-outs will be the mobile carriers and even there I already see flat-rate offerings.
$5 or $10 / month would not work due to fixed costs and write-off on equipment higher than that. But once the equipment is paid for you might as well use it to its full ability without being penalized further.
I have 110/10M (cable-tv network) in Finland for $53.
More widely available 24/1M DSL goes for $46. Usage caps are unheard of in cabled internet.
Cheap, non-capped mobile internet has recently exploded - caps will be introduced. Our biggest telco TeliaSonera has only capped versions since the launch of iPhone (they were were forced and willing to pay extra).
Other companies haven't introduced restrictions, but since Android-based smartphones became popular in 2010 and currently log the most data usage per unit, this will soon change.
Mobile internet is also very popular with plain computers by using 3G usb-dongles, which telcos give free of charge when you sign up for 12/24 months. Typical offer is uncapped 384k for $6.7 or 1M for $12 (actual rates vary often due to congestion - p2p users are a major pain in the butt with 3G networks). These are available nationwide with no geological price differentiation.
In Sweden broadband is quite much cheaper. The government has been heavily involved in building fiber with subsidies, tax breaks and legal requirements to municipal providers. (IT Bill 2000) http://www.broad-band.gr/content/events/docs/Swedish_broadba...
But it's a good way of solving some of the challenges. But more and more people will start hitting that throttling soon, as people start using LoveFilm streaming, etc.
The piece of pie in Canadian market didn't shrink, it evolved slightly out of bounds of Bell and Rogers oligopoly, and UBB attempts to push you back into that fold.
What's even worse, there can't be any competition as firms are not allowed to lay competing cable infrastructure.
You honestly think the rate will be within an order of magnitude of your guess? Pardon me while I get a hernia from laughter.
Without a meter system in place the flat rate will penalize small bandwidth users and let high bandwidth users get the bargain.
I agree that if the pricing were completely up to the telecoms they would ravage our wallets until we are eating ramen noodles 7 days a week. However, given their position of power they will have to openly defend their claims to raising unit prices in court.
This is the problem that telcos have been struggling with in terms of mobile data for years - they don't want to give up their fat margins on voice, but the actual bytes used by voice calls is trivial.
There's arguably a lot of room for MVNOs only offering data. (In Australia DoDo offered such for the lowest price per GB).
Besides, doesn't Adblock work client-side? You'd still download and pay for the ads, you just wouldn't see them.
What you want is spot prices dependent on congestion, but that creates a different problem, opacity in pricing, where people will be fearful to use owing to uncertainty in how much it will cost.
I think the fairest mechanism is probably some kind of QoS by inverse usage: where congestion occurs, drop packets belonging to users who transfer the most. Unfortunately, I'd expect that to be computationally infeasible, as it would require fairly complex dynamic and stateful logic in routers to process the accounting and make decisions on a packet by packed basis fast enough.
I'd like to pay for internet like I pay for electricity. We pay by the kW*h and that's it. I think it'd be nice to pay a higher rate for electricity / internet during the day if it meant that we'd pay a lower rate during the night.
I keep hearing about how europeans get the mobile phone services waaaay cheaper than we do here. Some guy in a TED Talk said that cell phones were common in poor regions of Africa. There's no way that these poor people are paying what I pay for texting on a mobile phone. :P
I came to Canada from the UK and I reckon it's about 50% more expensive for DSL/cable data over here, but faster speeds are more common (in the cities at least). Usage caps are not unusual with the larger ISPs in the UK, nor is traffic shaping/blocking, but at least the carriers are obliged by law to resell to other ISPs at a reasonable rate.
Mobile phones are, IMO, in a completely different ballpark though. Canada is literally years behind Europe and the same companies that are monopolising the landline networks have been abusing their mobile monopoly for years. For the end user, the phones are old, the networks creaky, the contracts long and the cost astronomical.
A mobile contract costs 2-3 times what it would in the UK for less: Caller ID, voicemail etc. all come as standard in the UK, I don't know of any exceptions. Not only that, but a contract locks you in for 2-3 times as long and the phones still cost more.
Nice use of passive voice.
In addition to purchasing less of online services, many people that I know refuse to buy anything from Bell and Rogers. No cable, no landline phone, no satellite tv. In fact, with the new mobile companies popping up in the last 12 months, you can save quite a bundle.
There is an angst growing amongst customers that spreads like wildfire. In past few years, I converted almost every one of my friends and relatives to Teksavvy internet. At that moment in time, it made sense. It no longer does and I wish that this turns up the heat enough to make it an election issue. It is, pardon my french, a fucking racket.
The only thing keeping me from doing that is that I don't think people would make the connection and understand the reference.
I don't know how Jews feel when they hear someone say that they've been "jewed" by their ISP or some other company ripping them off. Probably something like that.
I don't envy the US at all, I envy Sweden, Japan, South Korea. No offence but I'd sooner move to many places before the USA.
Don't get me wrong, the CRTC is worse than useless actively harming the tech landscape. We have zero competition with Internet and phone pricing at all, the big guys basically just fix prices because it's more profitable for them to collude than compete. We have a lot of major problems.
($2.00/GB for each GB used above plan’s limit)
AFAIK, Telus isn't doing yet, but I've heard that this is a technical limitation rather than lack of desire to do so.
If you want decent internet connectivity, move to Europe or Japan or something. They're rolling out 100mbps broadband in the UK.
It isn't necessarily about the size of the pipe, but rather unnecessary restrictions that negatively impact the way people use the internet. Here I'm on Comcast and have a fairy generous cap (250GB). If people start penny-pinching what they do with their bandwidth it will be the end of web-based industries as we know it.
More accurately for Canada - it never began. Folks like myself who specialize in web-related development, either frontend or backend, basically have no future in our home countries.
I hate to be so down about my own country, but it's the damned truth, though many Canadian developers are too proud to admit it. The software industry in Canada is anemic, grossly underpaid, and that goes doubly for anything web-related.
Seriously, a mean without a standard deviation? That's a failing grade in a first year statistics course.
Not quite yet.
Some already have it. (My brother for one)
Schedule of when areas will get it from Virgin: (Other providers may be different).
This is excellent news, most places covered by the end of this year. Sadly Bristol is lacking!
I'm with Teksavvy as well and currently pay $31.95 + tax for a 200GB cap. I'm using less than half of that, or about ~80GB/month. Under the new rules I will have to pay $40.45 + tax for 105GB cap. In the rare (for me) case that might exceed this cap I'll pay $2/GB for additional traffic.
If I cancelled Netflix I'd probably come in just under the 25GB cap. Bell has effectively doubled the price of Netflix for me.
What do most people torrent? Movies and TV. And yet there you are doing lots of HD video while claiming you're not a heavy user ("I don't torrent", "I simply...").
Out of curiosity, what level of bandwidth usage do you think quantifies a heavy user?
My normal usage, downloading updates for my PCs (Arch Linux, so heavy ones come often), browsing, watching a handful of videos, doing git pulls, lots of text-heavy sites like HN and docs, etc. plus my wife's normal usage, which is YouTube and Facebook, usually ends up somewhere around 700MB-1GB of usage per day. When I torrented from home, the average consumption was maybe 2GB-4GB per day, so Netflix is even more taxing than that for me.
As the web becomes increasingly media intensive, the "normal user" threshold of <100 MB per day is going to shoot up to something around <10-15 GB per day, especially once everyone in the house gets TV and movies over web-based services instead of cable/air/DVD.
The cable companies, which incidentally are usually the only good residential ISPs, are going to lose cable subscriptions to Netflix subscriptions and on-demand rentals to iTunes rentals, and consequently we'll see moves like this one seeking to penalize net-based media providers since they take customers away from their TV offerings.
What really sticks out to me here is that the various ISP's have much less to compete with. The only real motivation for me in Montreal to switch to one of the smaller ISPs was the unlimited bandwidth option.
My fiancé was between semesters at school this winter, and decided to finish watching Battlestar Galactica, among a couple dozen other movies to occupy her time through Netflix. My router's bandwidth logs show that she consumed about 35GB a day for 12 of her 15 days off. We hit somewhere under 500GB of data that month. Using TekSavvy's upcoming rates listed in this thread at $32.00 per month for 25GB with $2.00 per additional GB, we would have had a bill approaching $1,000.00. How the fuck is that justifiable?
Our current model takes in account that occasionally, users will blow through their caps with no regard for the sky, but most other months are way below the cap. My current plan, of which was negotiated over 4 years ago and has not changed since, still serves my needs perfectly. I could cut out Netflix and my VPS backups and use 4GB a month, but why should I move to a service plan that is lesser than my 4 year old contract? Did I mention my current ISP service plan was negotiated 4 years ago? ISPs have had 4 years, in my case, to upgrade their equipment to accommodate an increase in users, of which they have been pushing, because as a company, they like having an increase in subscribers. Realizing now that they are at the peak and want more money for the increased traffic is entirely out of line since they have had years of growth in their subscriber base and years of blind profit, but none of that was spent ensuring that they would have additional room to grow.
I would gladly pay a flat fee per GB of data, since theoretically it is more fair. I will not pay a flat fee that is approaching a 15 times increase profit for my ISP from what they paid for that GB. They gave me and every single other subscriber 250GB to use per month, and for the past 4 years, my habits have evolved to be aware and use 250GB of data per month. Cutting it back to 25GB and additional at $2/GB is entirely ridiculous. Moving backwards is not a solution.
EDIT: I just read in another comment that it's Bell Canada metering charges for bandwidth resellers. That's a bit more complicated. Hm.
Thus there won't be any competition on the bandwidth side, and in fact the line owner has an incentive to maximize charges, which is exactly what we're seeing.
But as I said in another comment, ISPs got a whole 90 days to deal with this, which runs out about today. That's a pathetic amount of time to tender for alternative suppliers, especially over the holiday season, in Canada. (I hear it gets cold there???)