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Data caps are back for Telus customers in as arbitrary fashion as you would expect
Telus Mobility announced last week that internet users would soon be charged if they exceed their monthly data allowance. Previously, Telus had data caps but never enforced them. Now, they will be enforcing them.
Starting March 30, the company will automatically bill customers for additional 50 gigabyte “data buckets” if they slip past their allowance, according to its website. The first “bucket” will cost $5, subsequent pails of data will go for $10 apiece up to a monthly maximum fee of $75, and any unused data will expire at the end of the month. – Vancouver Sun
According to Telus, internet data has gone up in the last year and they were forced to “re-examine” its policy against data caps. Telus also made the point to note how “internet capacity is not infinite.” Then there is Telus in the past describing such data caps as “customer friendly” with nothing actually “customer friendly” about it.
All of these excuses are utter garbage. Telus wanted more money from the same revenue stream. That is it. As one writer told the Vancouver Sun, some of the Telus data caps for heavy video gamers may not even last them a week if they need to download game patches that are around 10GB-15GB each. Of course, this is what Telus is hoping for as now those people will need to switch to higher plans, with higher monthly fees and still a chance for Telus to net some overage fees from some of these customers.
One would think that at a time when fixed-line bandwidth is cheaper than ever to provide, Telus capacity would continue to grow. Instead, Telus has for years been going in the opposite direction with customers seeing their data caps reduced rather than increased.
As Karl Bode has pointed out for years, the broadband and cable industry can’t seem to keep their story straight as to why they implement data caps. First, we heard that companies such as Time Warner Cable, AT&T and others needed to implement data caps or else the internet would slow down on massive proportions. Unless, of course, if the companies could raise rates, impose caps and eliminate regulation. Then, multiple people began researching the congestion issues and noticed that “well-run fixed line networks don’t have serious capacity issues, and that looming video growth was easily handled by even modest network investment.”
Years later and we had former Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman and now top cable lobbyist Michael Brown admit during a speech that data caps had nothing to do with “congestion” and everything to do with “fairness.”
National Cable and Telecommunications Association president Michael Powell told a Minority Media and Telecommunications Association audience that cable’s interest in usage-based pricing was not principally about network congestion, but instead about pricing fairness…Asked by MMTC president David Honig to weigh in on data caps, Powell said that while a lot of people had tried to label the cable industry’s interest in the issue as about congestion management. “That’s wrong,” he said. “Our principal purpose is how to fairly monetize a high fixed cost.” – DSLReports
Fairness? Is that why customers who want but rarely use their cable and broadband packages are still charged massive amounts per month, even though they visit the Weather Channel several times a month? What about the elderly who likely use a fraction of their package every month, are they allowed to purchase cheap and inexpensive packages that accurately reflect their minimal at best usage?
Then there is the “fairness” of the laughably low data caps, high overages, multiple yearly rate increases for all even though many of the telecom companies see 90% profit margins. I am sure it was “fair” when Telus announced in 2013 that they would be raising rates and reducing their data caps from 150 GB a month to 100 GB, while customers on the company’s Telus High Speed Turbo 25 tier saw their data caps cut in half from 500 GB to 250 GB.
I am curious, what will the next excuse be when they are forced to find new ways to squeeze consumers for even more money from the exact same network?