In this article on the politics of UBB, I saw this quote from the Liberal party:
“We fundamentally disagree with the Commission’s description of the Internet as analogous to a utility or the provision of electricity or water. Electricity and water are both limited resources. The transfer of electricity and water are limited both by supply of the good and size of the pipe. Data over the Internet however, is unlimited. While the size of the pipe may be constrained, the amount of data is not. A more appropriate analogy is a highway, in this case an information highway.”
The only thing that’s worse about people who don’t know about technology trying to talk like they do is people who don’t know about technology trying to set policy on it.
Even looking at their supposed analogy – a highway – this is still ridiculous. It costs significantly more to run and maintain an 8-lane highway that handles 1 million cars a day compared to 1 thousand, right? Maintenance costs, policing, monitoring, etc. It’s not free to add more cars once the road is built. The cost to add one more car can probably be considered to be zero (which isn’t exactly true – we’re rounding it to zero), which I think is why people incorrectly assume you can add any number of cars for free.
The same is true for data transmission. The infrastructure and costs associated with increasing data capacity at a data center aren’t just the fixed cost of adding more lines. Hardware needs upgraded and maintenance and monitoring all go up. Again, transferring 1 more byte is free. Transferring 100 more terabytes isn’t free.
I still think some form of UBB is fine and inevitable (almost all of us already have it) but the rates are way too high, especially those proposed by the CRTC to charge resellers. They proposed charging $2/GB and I’m sure it doesn’t cost Bell anywhere close to that to move a GB, all costs considered.