I’m staying with my aunt and uncle in Ottawa (the capital of Canada, get it right!) over the summer. Now they have four kids and lead incredibly busy lives. The last thing on their mind is probably how much their kids download and staying below artificial bandwidth caps. This all lead to them, as a family, reaching the 60 GB cap that Rogers imposes on broadband subscribers.
Now the cap didn’t surprise me, nor did the fact that a family of six can use up such a relatively small amount of bandwidth in a month. The really interesting part to me is how Rogers warns you about it: they integrate a warning straight into whatever web page you are viewing. I find this a little disturbing because it’s a blatant admission that they have and use technology to modify the code that any web page is sending out to you.
I also noticed that smaller websites… Mine *cough* *cough* aren’t affected. It is possible that Rogers is modifying pages that get cached on their servers and then feed out the cached page. Now caching isn’t so much of a concern and it is in fact used quite routinely in order to reduce latency and bandwidth use. And yes, I know what you’re thinking: it’s nice of Rogers to at least make it clear that you will be getting a surcharge rather than just charging quietly which would presumably be well within their rights.
But for those who haven’t heard – many have not, this sort of thing has been one of the primary concerns of net neutrality activists who believe that the internet should be free, open and left untampered. When content holders with monopolies get to modify or distort the original contents of a message while in transmission it’s pretty scary. What’s more, there is currently no legislation that prevents this sort of thing from happening in Canada.
If you want to learn more about net neutrality and get in touch with people which are trying to fight for it in Canada, you should check out SaveOurNet.ca.