Love is in the air this month, and we know how much everyone loves their technology. So here are some interesting news, tips, and deals on your beloved technical environment. For those of you male readers a section on what to buy your special someone on Valentine’s Day, courtesy of Harling’s Jewellers.
CANADA REVERSES COURSE ON USAGE-BASED INTERNET BILLING
The Canadian government says it will overturn a decision by the CRTC that would impose usage-based billing charges on the country’s small ISPs and eliminate unlimited internet packages for their customers.
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission stirred up a serious pot of trouble last week when it ruled that Bell could begin charging its wholesale customers in Ontario and Quebec with the same usage-based schedule it charges its retail customers. In a nutshell, that means that small, regional internet providers would no longer be able to offer high-cap or unlimited access packages to their customers; rates would inevitably be driven up and customers, presumably, would be driven away from high-bandwidth applications like Netflix.
The furor that erupted seemed to catch everyone by surprise. A petition at stopthemeter.ca quickly hit more than 250,000 signatures by February 1, both the federal Liberal and NDP parties called for the ruling to be examined or overturned and Minister of Industry Tony Clement issued a statement promising that the decision “will be studied carefully to ensure that competition, innovation and consumers were all fairly considered.”
A Parliamentary committee is set to examine the matter today but the government has apparently already made its decision about how it will proceed. “The CRTC should be under no illusions,” an anonymous senior government official told QMI agency. “The Prime Minster and Minister of Industry will reverse this decision unless they do it themselves.”
Clement later confirmed the statement on Twitter, writing, “True. CRTC must go back to the drawing board.”
The CRTC now has the option of either reversing course on its own or holding position to see if the government will overrule it. It is an independent regulatory body but it does fall under the sway of Cabinet and there have been instances in the past when its decisions have been overturned.
The news is welcome but it remains largely a matter of optics. As Professor Michael Geist pointed out on his blog, 96 percent of the Canadian internet market is controlled by major ISPs who already impose relatively restrictive caps on their retail customers, so even if the CRTC abandons its position entirely the actual impact on consumers will be negligible. “Politicians and policy makers must recognize that this particular decision is only a small part of the broader concern over an uncompetitive broadband marketplace that has led to near-universal use of bandwidth caps,” he wrote. “Overturning the CRTC decision is necessary, but by no means sufficient to address the current problems.”
According to the Financial Post, Canada is one of only two countries out of 30 in an OECD survey that does not offer its citizens internet subscription packages with unlimited downloads.
Sources: The Escapist, The Toronto Sun, The Globe and Mail
FEBRUARY ELECTRONIC DEAL
Tricks to know your wireless is on for your laptop.
1. Common logos to look for when finding a wireless button/switch:
2. Feel around the outside of your laptops’ base there is sometimes a small switch or button to turn your wireless on/off.
3. The function key (Fn) + F(num) key can also turn your wireless on/off. Depending on the brand of laptop it can be any of the F1-F12 keys just look for the logos shown above.
Harling’s Jewellers is a client of ours and their products are exquisite. We are so happy to have them as a resource for finding the best collections of jewellery. They have Tacori Heart Pendants for Valentine’s Day that would be an incredible gift for someone special in your life. Click image to go to their website.
RIDE TO CONQUER CANCER
Our Tech Jason Cramer is participating in the Ride to Conquer Cancer. It is a 250 KM ride from Vancouver to the U.S. and back. The object of the ride is to raise money for the BC Cancer Foundation. If you want to sponsor Jason for his ride please use the following links for more information and to go to his donation page! Go Jason Go!
For more information on the ride:
To sponsor Jason Cramer:
Thanks for reading, we’ll send you off with some IT humour: