Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Companies Rule The Conservatives

In anticipation of shoving more CRTC/UBB/Internet garbage in my reader's faces, I have eaten the same meal for the past six days, so now that I am ready to exude spaghetti from my pores, here is some more news on the usage based bilking.(See, I can suffer for my art.)

As should be the case in situations where businesses and the federal boards that love them grow too large for their communal britches, the greater federal government is stepping in to smack people's hands away from the cookie jar of Canadian citizen's pockets. Or at least it plans to posture like it will. ("M-Muh-Muh-Mission accomplished, folks!") Before I get to the cynicism that you all know so well, I have to point out one other thing.

It is not called the Opposition party for nothing. It is one of the perks of being the antagonist is you can pick and chooses the battles to finger-wave at, purporting to support the populous, while your real motivations, intentions, and goals remain hidden behind a veneer of hand-wringing impotence. The very fact that the Liberals and the NDP are linking arms to heckle and molest the Tories about the CRTC's ruling is hilarious because I have got twenty dollars that says if the situation were reversed, the Liberals would have allowed the CRTC to do whatever they wanted (the NDPs would still be hungover from the massive love-fest they had for being elected, so their actions are pretty indeterminate). I hate that newspapers still publish about the opposition's reaction to government rulings as if it changed anything.

Anyway, on to the reason why the Conservative government will hem and haw, scratching their chin and adjusting their glasses while peering at the CRTC issue until such time as the population has calmed a little, then do nothing about it: it is saving them money. Well, sort of. The reason being waved around for the higher billing is to disincentive people from using the Internet for frivolous activities since the companies' systems are unable to handle the high demands and so everyone is slowing down, even the people that the bourgeois consider "important" (Not sure why my thirteen hour cheezburger marathon does not qualify). This means the people that the Internet companies want to keep happy are getting grumpy. To combat this, they jack up the cost of surfing, making people really consider whether they need to stream that video of the funny ostrich. Which is, understandably, infuriating, because what they should be doing, if they were good companies that wanted to continue making money, is expand their system to accommodate for the increased traffic, but the siren call of gouging current customers was better than the possibility of gaining new customers or offering better service to existing ones.

That whole decision making tree means one of two things to me, however: one, the breadth of the Internet empire has become so large and unwieldy that it is unfeasible to grow it any further, or two, the government finally said they would no longer subsidize the growth of the industry, which is also why they will not do anything about the CRTC's ruling. They tired of giving tax money  to the Internet companies to expand their areas, and so figure they will just look the other way past the blatant money grubbing that will finance the expansions from now on. I mean, there is only so long you can keep giving your kid money to build a lemonade stand for until eventually you have to wonder why he does not just build an Orange Julius. Like, seriously, kid, you are fifty.

You bet they are going to keep jerking our chain until past the theoretical might-be-an election, though. No sense spoiling all their fun too soon.

 UPDATE February 2nd,  2011
Holy crap I never thought they would do it. But it looks like they are actually going to do it. Be advised; they have not actually done it, but they have pledged to do it unless the CRTC does it first, but that could be a bluff...
UPDATE February 3rd, 2011
What did I say? What did I tell you? I love gloating so I am going to repeat this; the CRTC is going to debate the decision until May. How convenient. Bookmark the petitions people, because we are going to be kicking asses again in May.

UPDATE February 5th, 2011
Hold my seat, I have to get popcorn for this.


Andreanna said...

Add TV tax to the whole mess. Public television funded by public dollars.

I got more notices about fighting tv tax for the "freedom" of television from Shaw than I did that they were going to cap and charge extra next month. Zero notices on the cap, in case you wondered.

Anonymous said...

OK, wait. Two things:

1. Subsidizing the growth of the internet means, in effect, that the government is taking my taxes and using the money so that someone else can cheaply surf the web for hours. I'm OK with ending that!

2. Not subsidizing the growth of the internet means that companies will be forced to really look at what they are offering and for what price. Actual competition may occur. I'm good with that!

It's not like there's a real monopoly in supply, especially in the larger population centres. If even one company holds out or offers a significantly different price structure (as everyone seems to think they have the financial resources to do) and a wave a customers leaps to them, the other companies will change pretty darn quick.

If, in fact, the companies don't have the financial wherewithal to do this, then the choices are to keep picking my pocket to fund them or take away something that people have been getting for free. And that, I think, is what people are really yelling about: kids always yell when you take away their candy.
lol, mapa

Michael said...

Problem: The CRTC decision does not just open the door for bandwidth-related charges, it has a lot more implications:

1) The ISPs don't need to provide detailed billing. So... The people who want our money decide how much we have to pay them, that's going to end well, yep, totally. Trust them.

2) The ruling isn't just giving the ok to bandwith-related charges, it means they can charge Per Service. And don't need to provide records. "You used youtube! Pay more! Google searches cost 10cents more than Bing!" So yes they can demand payment for us accessing third party sites. Wonderful. And they know we did. Trust them.

3) (slightly tangential) American concepts of "competition will lower the prices!" don't work in Canada. We have 1/10th the population, significantly more scattered geographically. Compare what you get charged on your cellphone bill with what typical American plans cost. Rage for 10 minutes, and when you calm down, look at educational funding. Rage for another 10. I'll be here when you're done.

Back? Great. Now start loking at your cellphone bill again. See that entry for a "System Access Fee" that they say they are just passing on? CRTC stopped collecting that years ago. Newer carriers don't charge it. But we can trust companies to bill us honestly, yep, especially the big ones. Or the market will... oh wait. Crap.

Canadians: Politeness is one thing being quiet while getting stabbed in the wallet because some jackass thinks your money belongs to him/her is quite another. STAND UP ALREADY. Sheesh.