Is the CRTC ready to reverse position on UBB?

Michael Geist sums of last week’s developments in the ongoing UBB saga, from the Toronto Star:

The CRTC commissioners appear to have recognized that proposals based on limiting the volume of Internet use are not only bad policy — discouraging Internet use benefits no one — but are ineffective in dealing with network congestion. The reason is that the amount of data consumed has very little to do with whether the network is congested.

He goes on to explain network congestion in with the most straightforward analogy I’ve read:

Consider a four-lane highway that can comfortably accommodate 24,000 vehicles per day. If the vehicles are spread evenly at 1,000 per hour throughout the day, there is no traffic congestion. But if 20,000 of the vehicles attempt to use the highway over a four-hour period, the highway becomes very congested during that time frame. The aggregate volume of traffic may be the same, yet the congestion implications are very different.

The same is true of networks, which can be used to capacity without congestion concerns.

‘Geist: Competitive conditions prompt Web data-cap debate’, Toronto Star.

Shaw’s Movie Club

First rule of  movie club… backpedal.

Earlier today the mainstream media jumped on Shaw’s new Netflix competitor “Movie Club“, a service that would allow you to stream movies without running up your bandwidth meter.

I wrote a blogpost that echoed what quickly became the resounding verdict of the internet, Movie Club was anti-net neutrality and therefore, anti-competitive.

Shortly after I wrote that post, Shaw posted a series of tweets and an official “clarification” on Facebook.

Shaw Movie Club is intended to be watched through your set-top box…watching movies on your set-top box won’t affect your included Internet data. However, you can also stream your Movie Club movies online to your computer – this WILL contribute to your Internet data.

While I’m glad they’re not breaking net neutrality, this position is even more damning. Bandwidth is bandwidth, regardless of whether it’s being sent to your cable box, or your cable modem. If Shaw can afford to send the data to your cable box for free $12/mo, then they can afford to send the data to your cable modem, there’s no difference… and so the UBB argument unravels further..

Shame on Shaw

The new service, dubbed Movie Club, will cost $12 per month and will allow Shaw customers to watch movies and television shows on their TV and their computers over an Internet connection. However, Shaw said that movies streamed using its own service will not count against a subscriber’s monthly Internet data caps, unlike movies streamed from competing outlets like Netflix…

“There should be some advantage to you being a customer,” Shaw Communications president Peter Bissonnette told the Calgary Herald on Thursday.

And so begins the slow death of net neutrality in Canada.

[via CBC News].