I spoke with Steve Anderson of OpenMedia.ca this morning about the CRTC’s recent ruling that open’s the door for Usage Based Billing. OpenMedia.ca has really led the grassroots (digitalroots?) charge that has seen a massive number of people sign an online petition that has, at least in part, prompted political action. Or at least as much as the Liberal opposition and a promise for Ministerial review counts as “action.”
I’m a bit torn on all of this: on the one hand, I think that it is more-or-less reasonable that heavy users should have to pay for what they consume, and think that there are pricing plans out there that can readily accommodate the vast majority of home users. As an example, I get 90 gb/month with Rogers, and even with Netflix and torrents, rarely get much above 50 gb/month. On the other hand, Bell, Rogers, and the other main ISPs have built a massive infrastructure advantage in large part because they had protected utility monopolies for decades. Startups and smaller competitors really can’t build an alternate set of wiring to compete.
Anderson’s real beef seems to not be that there is metered billing, but that overage fees are too high and kick in too low. He concedes that former upper limits were reasonable, as people rarely hit them, and argues that there isn’t a connection between the cost of providing bandwith and what they charge.
Again, that might be the case, given the infrastructure advantage carried by the status quo companies. But I’m reluctant to tell any business how much their services are worth without great cause, and I have a hard time getting exercised about a $4.75 charge for $40 GB of bandwidth, as TekSavvy suggests is likely.
This morning I spoke with Roger Greenberg, CEO of Minto, one of the three organizations behind the Lansdowne Live proposal. You may recall that I spoke with Clive Doucet (who I presume is the Councillor that Mr. Greenberg refers to) about this matter back in April.
In any case, the proposal goes before Council this week. Expect a mess of public delegations on Thursday, and I can only presume a heated debate amongst Councillors on Friday. I presume that efforts will be made to change the staff report suggesting that this plan move ahead, making it unclear what might actually be accepted in the end.
For what its worth, I am very much concerned that rejecting this proposal will just leave Lansdowne in the state that it is for the foreseeable future, which would be the real tragedy. I think that any development needs to be mixed-use, and think that a lot can be done to make any retail component something more than just a mall and benefit neighbouring businesses in the Glebe. How successful we are at this will determine how successful the new plan is. I also worry that we are developing a nasty habit of comparing every tangible proposal with every imaginable ideal one (and dread when we start to talk about the transit tunnel in greater detail.)
While regular topics will come later tonight, I figured funding drive deserved it’s own post.
CKCU is in the midst of its annual funding drive, where over 16 days we raise 1/3 of the station’s operating budget via donations from individual listeners. This year’s goal is $108,000, as of this posting they had raised $22,000 and change.
The station does lots of important work in the community- offering the broadest range of programming, the widest and best selection of music, and top-notch spoken word programming (to which I contribute through the Tuesday Special Blend.) So, if you enjoy CKCU (or even if you just enjoy the podcast variant of Adam’s and my show), please consider making a donation – every little bit helps, and every dollar goes directly to keeping CKCU on for another year.
We’ll have a series of giveaways for those that call and contribute during the show tomorrow, but as an added incentive for every $50 raised during our program, Adam will run up 1 level of stairs at Dunton Tower while discussing some finer point of the topic of the day. I was the lucky bastard last year, and Padraic Ryan suffered the year before. You can here Padraic’s ascent here. So, even if you don’t listen to CKCU much, if you want to help make Adam’s lungs explode, donate a little bit.
Here’s how to donate:
Email me! email@example.com. I can take pledges, and then the station will send you an envelope to send a cheque.
Phone! 520-CKCU between 7 and 8 this tuesday (Tomorrow!) or next (next Tuesday!), 520-3920 or 877-520-3920 between 8 and 9am.
Internets! Go to ckcufm.com and click on the donate button. No need to talk to people! Be sure to list “Tuesday Special Blend” as the show you are supporting.
Sleep in tomorrow? No worries- just pledge online and/or drop me a note, and I’ll be sure that your pledge is counted against the show.