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02/07/2011

Majority of Canadians against usage-based Internet billing

If you thought that the people protesting usage-based billing for Internet service were a fringe of geeks and movie pirates - you might want to consider the results of a new study.

According to an Angus Reid poll, 76 per cent of Canadians disagree with the CRTC's ruling that would impose usage-based billing - aka UBB.

About 17 per cent agree with the idea of metered Internet billing.

The poll, as reported by the Globe, was conducted from Feb. 2 to Feb. 3 - before the CRTC decided (under growing pressure) to delay the decision by at least 30 days. 

UBB has been hugely unpopular because the CRTC's previous decision required smaller Internet Service Providers to bill customers for the amount of bandwidth - or data - they use over a limit, aka "cap."

Not surprisingly, the age category with the strongest opposition to UBB is 18-34. For those who download and/or stream lots of video from the net, the suggested 25 GB cap and pricey penalties for exceeding that limit would be as welcome as going back to dial-up.

The debate about whether people should be charged based on how much Internet they use continues both amongst politicians at Parliament Hill, amongst businesses and amongst ordinary citizens. Even Perez HIlton stepped into the discussion.

The NDP's digital critic Charlie Angus started an online campaign against UBB. 

Groups advocating against the bandwidth caps have also stepped up their campaign against the CRTC's ruling in hopes that UBB gets squashed permanently.

As it stands right now, the telecom regulatory body is just re-visiting its decision - the issue isn't over yet. 

Should people be billed based on how much Internet they use like a hydro bill? Or should it be like TV, where you pay for the feed but enjoy as much as you want?

- Maurice Cacho, MSN Tech & Gadgets

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Danny BradburyDanny Bradbury

Danny Bradbury is a technology journalist with 20 years' experience. He writes regularly for publications including the Guardian, the Financial Times, the Financial Post, and Backbone magazine. Danny also writes and directs documentaries.

Maurice CachoMaurice Cacho

Maurice Cacho is a Toronto-based journalist mixing his love for tech with a passion for news. He's also CP24's Web Journalist and appears daily on CP24 Breakfast and weekly on the channel's tech show, Webnation, discussing tech news and trends.

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