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Who Pays for High-speed Internet?

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?

What do I know?

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 “high-speed” service to rural Canadians. I put the high-speed in quotes because that benchmark keeps moving – almost daily.

How did I fund a roll out high-speed in Manitoba? Although I did receive 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, mostly I took the money out of my pocket.

Internet Payment Models

When I first started providing high-speed, 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 high-speed? 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.

Public Funding

I am involved in another Company that recently received a $7,000,000 grant to build a high-speed 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.


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