Download limits draw protests
High-speed clients riled by Bell, Rogers
Friday, June 14, 2002 – Print Edition, Page B5

Nearly 10,000 people have signed an on-line petition, protesting against the download limits for high-speed Internet access that Bell Canada and Rogers Cable Inc. are launching.

This week, Bell Canada introduced three monthly digital subscriber line (DSL) plans of $29.95, $44.95 and $69.95, which impose download and upload caps of one gigabyte (GB), five GB and 10 GB, respectively. Sympatico surfers who exceed the monthly caps have to pay about $7.90 per GB on top of their rate plans.

It is expected that Rogers, a unit of Rogers Communications Inc. of Toronto, will impose similar caps when it launches its new cable modem rate plans by the end of the year.

Many of the 9,570 people who signed the petition at argue that the new concept unfairly changes the rules on them because they were sold on the concept of unlimited high-speed Internet access.

"Why should I pay extra for bandwidth when that's what we're paying for in the first place?" Steve Stone wrote.

Others complain that it will take only a couple of downloads of movie files or several hours of Internet radio listening before they get dinged.

Bob Carrick, an Ottawa-based consultant who started the petition and is a member of the grassroots group Residential Broadband Users' Association, said that to have his original Sympatico rate altered "is not necessarily a very fair business practice."

Mr. Carrick, who wants a cap of 20 MB, said there are still many customers who really don't know what the limits will mean.

"If you use your connection to its fullest, it's only 22 minutes of use per day over a month," said Mr. Carrick, who has completed a chart comparing the hours per day it takes to reach the download limit for Internet radio, television and video games.

Bell Canada, a unit of Montreal-based BCE Inc., said that five GB of bandwidth is the equivalent of downloading or uploading 1,000 music files or 50,000 digital photos, or 70 hours of Internet radio.

Spokesman Andrew Cole said the bandwidth level the company has chosen is "reasonable for a majority of users," adding that 92 per cent of its high-speed Internet customers on average use 1.5 GB a month.
Bob Carrick, an Ottawa-based consultant who started an on-line petition objecting to download limits for high-speed Internet access that Bell Canada and Rogers Cable Inc. are introducing, wants caps of 20 gigabytes. Incorrect information was published yesterday.
(Saturday, June 15, 2023)
(Page B2)

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