Rant: Why ISPs shouldn't also provide TV service

Posted by avatarErik last updated April 9, 2008 at 9:26 pm

If you live in Canada and are a Roger's Internet customer (for you Americans, think Canadian version of Comcast), then it's very likely that you recently received a letter in the mail announcing Roger's new "improvements" to your Internet service. Roger's will now be capping and billing you for download overages. They've got a strange definition of improvement. Depending on your level of service, your monthly allowed usage is between 60 - 95 GB before incurring overrages of $2 / GB.

In their mailing they referred to how many thousand songs you can download, or how many millions of photos, and so on. What they fail to mention, is how much (or how little) IPTV you can watch using services like Vudu and Apple TV. I've taken the liberty of doing the math assuming a 95 GB limit (I've added Cable HD and Blu-ray for reference purposes):

Video Bandwidth (Mbps) Daily Viewing Limit Monthly Viewing Limit
Vudu/Apple SD 2 3 h 36 m 108 h
Vudu/Apple HD 4 1 h 48 m 54 h
Cable HD 19 24 m 11 h 24 m
Blu-Ray 40 12 m 5 h 24 m

Is 1 hr 48 min. enough daily HD viewing enough for you? Likely not. Especially not when you consider that this does not include your actual Internet use (you know, that thing your computer is connected to). What this implies to me is that Roger's is less concerned about your quality of service, but more about making sure they secure the future of their digital cable TV service.

For you Americans, if you think that this isn't relevant to you, think again. Time Warner has been exploring similar billing schemes south of the border. You should already be familiar with Comcast's imposed caps.