Why usage based billing is unfair

By Reprobus
February 12, 2011
Usage Based Billing
Usage Based Billing -
I think for anyone to choose a side in this debate, they must understand why "data usage" is not the same as "bandwidth". Gigabytes have no cost/value in this context. The Internet Service Providers (ISPs) push that concept because it's the only measurable flow they can use against us in this scam.

Bandwidth is a speed, not a volume of data. No customer can exceed the speed of the connection they paid for. If Bell sells a 5mbps connection, Bell is accepting the responsibility of providing that 5mbps for the month. If Bell oversells, it is not the responsibility of the consumer. How dare they demonize those who make more than a few hours use of the connection.

Gigabytes should not be monetized! With a fixed rate infrastructure, the more gigabytes are transmitted, the lower the perceived "cost/gig". It collapses under its own logic, despite the spin put on it by ISPs.

The amount downloaded in a month does not relate to congestion. This is simply creating a revenue stream by unfairly and unjustifiably taxing people's growing internet habits, because it threatens their own content assets.

The utility comparison to water/electricity is flawed (for the simple reason that data is neither produced nor consumed).

I think the suitable analogy is Public Transit. Customers buy a monthly metropass. Some use it more frequently than others. Obviously some times of day are more congested (peak times). But the frequent riders would be using the service during uncongested times too. The frequent rider is riding an existing scheduled vehicle (not "hogging" or negatively impacting anyone else's ability to ride).

UBB is akin to the transit company deciding that halfway through the month, they would charge the more frequent riders per kilometre travelled.

If the transit company is concerned with congestion at peak times, why would the blame lie with frequent riders? Those riders simply provide a consistent baseline showing where support is needed.

It's time to nationalize the last mile, if Bell is only interested in exploiting its ownership at a ludicrous cost to Canadians.

Bell has recently publicly stated they will rethink their approach, but Bell's senior vice-president of government and regulatory affairs said “We're going to put our thinking caps on as well and see if there isn't a different way to address this, but we believe fundamentally that what is ultimately ruled on by the CRTC has got to accept the principle that those who use the most, pay the most.”


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Comments (27)
ttc's Avatar
ttc    Feb 12th, 2011
Using your analogy, then the flaw is then in the price of the metropass. Anyone knows that a monthly metropass is expensive, and to get full value of it, the rider needs to use it nearly 40 times in that month (twice a day, 5 days a week, for 4 weeks).

Those riders in a way do negatively impact the system, as everyone complains about how crowded it is, how there isn't enough buses, whether they are metropass users or not. And because the metropass is a fixed income, unless the capacity of a bus can be completely paid for by the amount of metropass riders are on it, including the cost of the making the bus, the driver, the fuel and the management and maintenance of it, each trip, then it's not enough. The price of the metropass would be astronomical. Furthermore, metropasses are designed to be a "break" for the rider, and people will complain if it goes up even a little.

In this situation, the cost of the metropass in relation isn't close to a "token/ticket/cash rider". The ISP's are simply pricing their metropass close to what an occasional rider would pay, therefore, undermining and devaluing the cost. Once again, I see mismanagement on the part of the independent ISP and furthermore with recent actions, an immature gesture.

I still find it odd, that as UBB is approximately 4 years old, that the semantic theorists are only now speaking up because they believe their options are drying up.
eh1eh's Avatar
eh1eh    Feb 13th, 2011
You need to download and run scripts from third party providers. This is a dubious site.
TenPenny's Avatar
TenPenny    Feb 13th, 2011
Look at electricity. Your house has an entrance, rated for whatever, 100A, 200A, 400A. The utility provides a system that can deliver the power your entrance is rated for, but the bill you get reflects what you consume, not what you are capable of consuming.
gerryh's Avatar
gerryh    Feb 13th, 2011
Quote: Originally Posted by TenPenny --

Look at electricity. Your house has an entrance, rated for whatever, 100A, 200A, 400A. The utility provides a system that can deliver the power your entrance is rated for, but the bill you get reflects what you consume, not what you are capable of consuming.


Unlike electricity, when you DL a file you have not "consumed" anything. That file is still available for anyone else.
TenPenny's Avatar
TenPenny    Feb 13th, 2011
Quote: Originally Posted by gerryh --

Unlike electricity, when you DL a file you have not "consumed" anything. That file is still available for anyone else.

Oh, okay. I didn't realize that downloading files required no resources or infrastructure. Sorry that my understanding of how IP works is incorrect.
DaSleeper's Avatar
DaSleeper    Feb 13th, 2011
I would have to guess that if you compare it to hydro you also have a delivery fee which the basic (in my case in the summer time when I'm away is about $20 dollars with only about $5 of actual hydro used)
I don't know what the formula is but my last bill I have a $40 delivery and $40 for energy used + hst..
(numbers approximate)
If you compare that to internet usage????..............
taxslave's Avatar
taxslave    Feb 13th, 2011
Look on it as a fee for more content delivered. Since we don't use that much computer time we should get a discount by your logic.
gerryh's Avatar
gerryh    Feb 13th, 2011
Quote: Originally Posted by DaSleeper --

I would have to guess that if you compare it to hydro you also have a delivery fee which the basic (in my case in the summer time when I'm away is about $20 dollars with only about $5 of actual hydro used)
I don't know what the formula is but my last bill I have a $40 delivery and $40 for energy used + hst..
(numbers approximate)
If you compare that to internet usage????..............


The delivery charge is for the infrastructure. THAT could be compared to present Internet charges. We pay for the infrastructure and delivery. Other than that there are no "consumables" with internet usage.
DaSleeper's Avatar
DaSleeper    Feb 13th, 2011
Quote: Originally Posted by gerryh --

The delivery charge is for the infrastructure. THAT could be compared to present Internet charges. We pay for the infrastructure and delivery. Other than that there are no "consumables" with internet usage.

I understand that...There must also be a minimum fee whether I use any or not.
And possibly since I don't buy directly from Ontario Hydro I pay a lot less than people out of town who pay Ontario hydro directly.. But the line usage fee does go up if I use more.
So if I use more internet I should pay more.
petros's Avatar
petros    Feb 13th, 2011
Oh yeah? Go right ahead and raise your rates. Who will buy when it's free?

PROVINCE TO PROVIDE FREE WIRELESS INTERNET ACCESS

Residents and visitors to the downtown business districts and post-secondary institutions of Saskatchewan’s four largest centres will soon be able to access the country’s largest wireless Internet network, free-of-charge. Premier Lorne Calvert and Minister responsible for Information Technology Andrew Thomson made the announcement today in Saskatoon.

The Saskatchewan! Connected initiative will offer users basic Internet service in Saskatoon, Prince Albert, Regina, and Moose Jaw via a wireless Wi-Fi network to be operated by the government Information Technology Office, SaskTel and other partners. The service will also be available in select business districts in close proximity to downtown Saskatoon and Regina.

“Expanding the province’s information technology infrastructure was one of the many ideas presented by Saskatchewan youth at the recent Youth Summit in Saskatoon,” Calvert said. “This exciting initiative is just one more way of enhancing the progressive image of Saskatchewan’s communities as the best place for young people to work, live and build strong futures.”

Saskatchewan! Connected means users will no longer have to switch from service to service as they roam around the coverage area. It will also help to bridge the ‘digital divide’ by providing no-cost Internet access to residents of the areas who may be unable to afford monthly rates for Internet access. Any existing desktop or laptop computer can be configured with a Wi-Fi adaptor for under $100 and then connected quickly and conveniently to the free service.

Work on the project will begin shortly, with the service expected to be available to users this spring. As a publicly-accessible network, special provisions will be made to prevent access to inappropriate materials.

“The service will help businesses attract customers, while also benefiting business people visiting our province, youth and others,” Thomson said. “Saskatchewan! Connected will be the largest free Wi Fi network in Canada, demonstrating once again that Saskatchewan is a leader in innovation and technology advancement.”