The Canadian Radio-Telecommunications Commission approved Canada’s largest ISP, Bell Canada, to implement Usage Based Billing (metered internet). Instead of paying a flat rate for all-you-can-eat internet service, or around 200GB of monthly transfer, you pay $31.95 for 25GB worth of internet usage, and at least $1.90 per gigabyte if you go over that limit.
And here’s the fun part: Bell Canada owns most of the “last-mile” copper connections in Canada, so competing ISPs that use the same lines will also be metered by Bell.
To put this in perspective, let’s take a look at just how much data 25GB is…
- Netflix streaming uses about 1GB per hour. So you could watch 25 hours (10-12 movies) in a month, assuming you did nothing else.
- A 45-minute TV show or video podcast downloaded via iTunes is about 200MB in size. So, about 125 in a month.
- A 1-3 minute video from YouTube is around 5-10MB in size, depending on the quality.
- A one-hour (standard definition) stream from Hulu is about 350MB. You could cram about 70 hours of Hulu streaming into one month, again, assuming you only did that.
- Online gaming, whether a console game or an MMORPG on your PC, uses very little data. In order to get around network latency issues (to keep the game from lagging badly) games send frequent, but very small, data packets. You probably wouldn’t use more than 50-70MB per hour of gaming, though it could vary greatly depending on the game. Also, voice chat would increase the number significantly.
- Streaming Last.fm music will use 30MB per hour using a low-quality 64kbps stream, and 60MB at 128kbps. You would eat through 25GB in 375 hours.
- iTunes AAC music downloads generally range from 70MB-200MB per album. That’s about 128 albums per month.
One can’t help but wonder if Bell Canada wishes to prevent Netflix—which just recently became available outside of the United States—from being widely adopted in Canada, so more people will continue to use their cable television service.
- 200GB to 25GB: Canada gets first, bitter dose of metered Internet
- Tech News Today 169: Sandybridge Over Troubled Water
- What does 5GB (Gigabytes) Get Me?
- Stop The Meter Petition
EDIT: Apparently petitions work in Canada. UBB is being rescinded or overturned by popular demand.