Canada rethinks metered Internet, as U.S. pushes ahead2011.02.07 09:25 by Daniela
Keywords: Canada, Internet, U.S.
As U.S. Internet service providers move to metered plans with the blessing of federal regulators, the Canadian government is reconsidering its own controversial rules that allow for usage based billing instead of flat fees.
Canada's decision could determine the success of Internet video providers such as Netflix, YouTube, Hulu and Vimeo there, consumer groups say. Depending on where caps are set and how much is charged for going over, viewers may be reluctant to get their bandwidth gobbling video entertainment and news from the Internet, they say.
In the U.S., analysts say the same scenario can play out. So far, Comcast has a 250 gigabyte cap for broadband, which basically allows for unlimited video viewing. But other broadband providers have long eyed caps that may not be as generous and the Federal Communications Commission's net neutrality rules opened the door for such practices.
Verizon Wireless said last week it would periodically slow down videos for the biggest data users of its unlimted plans, those in the top 5 percent. T-Mobile does the same, slowing down service when users get near their limits. AT&T moved toward tiered pricing this year for new smart phone customers; Sprint Nextel still offers unlimited data plans.
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