Up to 1,000 people were expected, but closer to 50 actually showed up to demonstrate against usage-based billing for Internet access on Parliament Hill Saturday afternoon.
The protest comes after a volatile week during which the Conservative government pledged to overturn a recent CRTC decision that would kill unlimited Internet use across the country and impose UBB on small service providers.
The move means bigger companies such as Bell could begin metering bandwidth to independent providers who buy it wholesale and then resell it to consumers at a bargain price.
That would spell the end of unlimited Internet plans. Usage would likely be capped at 25 gigabytes, “which is about 10 hours of streaming HD video on Netflix or like one video game download,” said University of Ottawa student Sarah Douglas.
“On top of that 25 gigabytes, any overage fees can range from $1.90 to $2.50 per gigabyte per overage. In reality it only costs one to three cents per gigabyte … so it’s a ridiculous profit margin.”
West Ottawa resident Shawna True attended the rally with her 10-year-old daughter, Breanna, the youngest protester there.
“Her generation is going to be most affected by this, with Netflix and YouTube and schoolwork and all that,” said True.
Breanna held a hot pink sign reading KIDS AGAINST UBB.
The decision will be reviewed this week.