and our hearts and minds will follow…

Rogers Marketing Department Welcomes YouWhy is it that cell phone and Internet service providers make us so cynical?

For  me, it is the little things, like the monthly system access fee that I dutifully pay each month on my cell phone bill.  Or the helpful message from Rogers that popped up this morning when I logged in to let me know that I had exceeded my bandwidth allotment for the month and that in a few months it’s going to cost me. 

Somewhere in the back of my reptile brain I seem to remember Rogers’ ads promising things like “unlimited bandwidth” and “super, high speed service”.  But that was before a lot of their customers decided to really put those claims to the test, by downloading large files, viewing videos online and setting up VOIP phone service.  All of which has cut into the core business of both Rogers and Bell, who also sell phone and cable television services.

Now, faced with the very real possibility of facilitating the cannibalisation of their core businesses, these two principal suppliers of Internet service decided it was time to change the rules of the game. 

First, they decided to “shape” transmission of data so that service would slow significantly for heavy bandwidth users.  This in itself is a direct violation of the concept of net neutrality.  Suddenly, and without any formal announcement from either Rogers or Bell, certain groups of users are now finding that their file transfers are significantly affected.

Oh well, that only affects those people who like to use peer to peer sharing to illegally download music and movies right?  No, not really, it also affects anyone who likes to listen to streaming music over the Internet, or watch CNBC online, or listen to Internet radio stations, or watch the latest videos on YouTube.  Because these all hog bandwidth and there is only so much bandwidth to go around, right?

Or is this concept of limited bandwidth just another myth created by the telecommunications industry so that they can ration out the supply.  It’s kind of like air, there is a limited supply of that as well so why shouldn’t we have to pay for each breath over a certain limit? 

ISPs such as Rogers and Bell do not sell bandwidth, sure they may own a few of the pipes that it travels along, but their pipes are joined to billions of other pipes around the world to create the Internet – that is why it is called the world wide web in the first place. 

All that Rogers, Bell and the other ISPs sell is access to the pipes, so they are just the pair of hands around your throat that loosen enough to let you take an occasional breath.  And in Canada’s highly regulated and non-competitive telecommunications sector, they can get away with it.

My guess it that, like the sheep we are, we will pony up the extra cash each month like we do with our cellphone system access fees and the other charges that their marketing departments can come up with. 

Or we can just go squat on top of a long greased pole, which, when you think about it, might be less painful.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.