Canadian Netizens: UBB stands for “usage based billing.” If you use an independent ISP, you might have received an email last month explaining how new CRTC regulation would impose a 25GB monthly bandwidth cap and additional fees. If you didn’t hear about this, then maybe it’s because your ISP is among the big media interests (Bell, Rogers) that are pushing for these fees, since they are the beneficiaries of UBB.
UBB would be devastating to localshow.tv in Canada. Youtube video is typically 5MB-20MB per minute, so localshow.tv could easily consume 500MB-1GB per hour. Netflix, which delivers high-quality video, is even more bandwidth-intensive. In other words, you would end up paying Bell or Rogers for the privilege of using my website, effectively turning localshow.tv into a premium cable channel. In the case of traditional music television, Bell and Rogers collect money from consumers and give some of it to the content creators, but localshow.tv would receive nothing. This is de facto robbery! In contrast, localshow.tv directly benefits the artists who created their music videos by promoting their concerts. Concerts are one of the most direct ways to support the artists you love.
They want to “sell less”?
Bell and Rogers realize the Internet is more attractive than traditional media, but instead of using the free market to capitalize on this, they want to manipulate regulations to profit from my work. UBB is bad for consumers, but the CRTC is slow to realize how it is bad for business. My business, localshow.tv, is just one example of how free markets are a prerequisite for a thriving economy that facilitates innovation. I want my audience to grow as rapidly as possible, but the CRTC claims their goal is to encourage people to use less bandwidth, which would negatively impact my audience. Bandwidth rationing is an insane proposition in a world where bandwidth is increasing and bandwidth costs are dropping. A key component of my business is encouraging people to use more bandwith, which is typically great for broadband providers. You know it’s fishy when a profit-making business like Bell or Rogers claims they want to “sell less.”
Support Canadian Innovation
If you are a Canadian Internet user (and you probably are if you’re reading this) then please sign the “stop the meter” petition on openmedia.ca. As of March 7 2011, 1.5% of Canada (470,000 and counting) has already signed, which is an enormous proportion for a word-of-mouth campaign. I encourage you to become the next signer. It’s obvious how UBB is bad for consumers, but I want to make it clear that UBB is bad for innovation and business as well.