I just had to weigh in on this subject! 358,000 Internet users have signed a petition against the CRTC decision to allow Internet Providers to charge for the use of their service. No doubt consumers don’t want to pay more for anything BUT, who should?
I do consider myself somewhat of an expert in this field, having owned an ISP for the past 14 years. I was a pioneer in Manitoba in providing “highspeed” service to rural Canadians. I put the highspeed in quotes because that benchmark keeps moving – almost daily.
How did I fund a roll out of highspeed in Manitoba? I received a very small grant from a very crooked organization called the Eastern Region Development Corporation who proceeded to cause me endless legal problems for years afterward, but mostly I took the money out of my pocket.
When I first started providing highspeed, I set the speed to 512 kbps – or roughly 10 X the best possible dial-up speed. The customers were ecstatic! I set no limits on downloads because I felt customers would not appreciate the extra bills for something they didn’t even understand. That move was so dead wrong for my business! All the companies that came after me: No Limits, High Speed Crow, I-Net Link,.. etc. went another way. They set their speeds higher – and then allowed only a certain amount of downloading for free.
So what do you think the #1 complaint Granite got on their highspeed? Of course – too slow!! Why was it too slow? I’ll tell you why. In 2002 when I started building the network, people were using the Internet to browse web pages. By 2011, people use the Internet to do everything – telephone, television, movies and even security systems are all being run over the Internet now. So why should you cancel your other services and not pay more to me – so that I can take your money and build a better, faster network. Why doesn’t that make sense? Well, it does make sense – if you understand it, but explaining this to the average user is like explaining an internal combustion engine to me. It works, it doesn’t work – that’s all I know.
I am involved in another Company that recently received a $7,000,000 grant to build a highspeed wireless network in Manitoba. I believe there were some $250,000,000 awarded across Canada for the Federal Broadband Initiative. While I am happy to have the grant, and it will be a great network – just remember that you and I are now subsidizing (through federal tax dollars) the Internet service. Where will this stop? Rogers recently reported a 40% increase in Internet usage per year. Keeping up with this could be the responsibility of the service companies, through reasonable usage fees – or the government through tax dollars, but someone will have to do it. I vote for the industry. 358,000 others have voted for my tax dollars.