The always-serious Heritage Foundation thinks that our freedom requires that Internet oligopolies be free of the onerous burden of net neutrality. Luckily, this glorious social experiment is already unfolding in Canada, where their weak version of the FCC, the CRTC, recently green-lighted ridiculously low Internet caps.
Unlike their world leadership in universal healthcare,
corn whisky and one dollar coins, Canada’s communications market has always been high-priced and uncompetitive. The two biggest telcos (Bell and Rogers) are cable, Internet, cellular and phone providers with a vested interest in restricting video delivery over the Internet. Their rent-seeking behavior has led to situation where some ISP customers are having their bandwidth cap cut from 250 GB to 25 GB.
25 GB is enough to watch a few movies, or download Grand Theft Auto once. Canadian ISPs will charge $2.00 for every GB over the cap, even though they pay at most $0.02 per GB wholesale. With the cap, it will probably cost more to stream a movie on Netflix than to rent it from the cable operator’s on-demand service, which is the goal of this whole exercise.
If this is the future they want for the US, the Heritage think tankers might want to devote a some gray matter to perusing the Globe and Mail, because this whole mess has been nothing but bad press for the Tories, who are signaling that they will overrule the CRTC. But if Heritage had any brain power, they’d understand the difference between a government-sanctioned oligopoly and a free market in the first place.