"A nation that spends its time worrying about bandwidth caps is not a nation that leads."

Tim Yu in the Globe and Mail:

Any rule that asks the consumer to guess at usage, and punishes you if you’re wrong, is abusive. Imagine being asked to guess how much electric power you need every month, with a penalty for mistakes. Yes, that’s what cellphone companies do – or get away with – but that hardly makes it a model. It’s a system of profit premised on human error, and this begins to explain Bell’s deeper interest in usage-based billing. Bell wants to make the horrors of mobile billing part of the life of Internet users. And that’s a problem.


For me, this gets at the crux of the usage based billing debate. Many reports and writings on UBB have mentioned the stifling of innovation as an outcome, but Tim captured clearly and exactly how this pressure on innovation would happen. In order for a knowledge based economy to thrive in Canada, all Internet users need to be free from even thinking about bandwidth.

Many arguments for UBB use electricity or other resource pricing as an example. I've heard very few "experts" catch this inconsistency. Bandwidth is not a finite resource to be consumed like gas, water or even electricity. Yes, there is a cost to build infrastructure, operate routing equipment and perform maintenance. Of course internet service providers have costs. These costs need to be passed on to consumers fairly and transparently. We need to pay the fair cost. Full stop. Only then will Canadians be free from the predatory and frankly evil business models employed by Canada's major telecom corporations.

I'm glad Mr. Yu wrote his article for the Globe and Mail with such candor. The UBB debate needs more focus on exactly how these companies are trying to turn a profit at the expense of true digital freedom in Canada.