In Context: 5 Web Perspectives On A Story In The News

Controversial internet billing decision delayed

(CBC) The CRTC will review its decision to allow large telecoms to implement usage-based billing for smaller providers. The ruling would effectively put an end to flat-rate pricing for unlimited Internet usage that smaller companies were able to offer. Bell Canada, who leases its Internet lines to smaller providers, says the new scheme is fair because it makes heavier users pay more than people who only use their connections for email and occasional web surfing. Customers say the ruling would be anti-competitive because it would limit access to services like Netflix, which are in direct competition with services offered by the providers. Originally scheduled to take effect March 1, the CRTC announced it would delay implementation after it received a petition signed by almost 400,000 Canadians opposed to the ruling.

1.

An introduction to net neutrality

LifeHacker
Lifehacker has taken information about the concept of net neutrality - giving all Internet traffic equal priority - and simplified it for the average user. The article explores arguments for and against net neutrality and looks at the implications of getting rid of it. Users are also directed to information on how to contact the government regarding their concerns regarding net neutrality. Lifehacker takes a pro-neutrality stance but acknowledges the concerns on each side of the debate. Although the article is geared at American Internet users, the concept is equally applicable in Canada, where large service providers are seeking to curb the amount of traffic consumed by users of Netflix and other bandwidth intensive websites.

2.

The evolution of your Internet experience

CBC
After the initial decision by the CRTC to allow usage-based billing, CBC put together an FAQ aimed at Canadian Internet users. It explains the principles of usage-based billing and what users can expect with the associated data caps in place. Most useful to readers is the explanation of data metrics. To many users, "gigabyte" is a vague term, but CBC explains it by measuring it with emails, songs and movies. For people seeking additional information, the page also links to charts that evaluate Canada's global standing in the high speed Internet business.

3.

Find the right provider

Canadian Internet service provider locator
Canadians seeking Internet providers can use this site to discover what options are available in their location and compare them based on costs and services offered. The site allows providers to submit and update their own information, and is consequently one of the most up-to-date resources available to consumers. The information is aimed primarily at customers seeking alternatives to major providers - it allows the user to refine the search based on several criteria, and offers data on a quarter of all providers serving several thousand locations within Canada. The site is run by Marc Bissonnette, who owns InternAlysis, which is an Internet marketing consulting company. He claims the site is the only one to offer search and filtering capabilities coupled with user reviews and free access.

4.

Netflix performance on top ISP networks

Official Netflix blog
Netflix charts the performance of its video streaming service across top Internet service providers in North America. Customers can use the graphs provided to see how well their Internet provider handles the service's on-demand video. The data allows customers to see if Netflix is performing up to their connection speed - if it isn't, it could indicate providers that are throttling connection speeds to deliberately handicap performance. The incentive for providers to hinder Netflix is to drive revenue of their own on-demand video services, which are often priced well-above Netflix's fixed-price monthly rate. Netflix has indicated its intention of updating the graphs monthly.

5.

A case for net neutrality

The Open Internet
Although there is little in the way of text, the visual exploration of network neutrality offers the most simplistic explanation to users. The site is pro-neutrality, but not a lot of new ground is covered. The site offers a host of links to better understand net neutrality. The main attraction is the large graphic depicting the difference between a content-neutral internet and what the site claims Internet service providers would prefer. The site is run by Michael Ciarlo, who designs websites for a living. He says the site was created to raise awareness by depicting a future in which service providers control the Internet.

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