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Concerns over cell-phone data usage: expert

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – As Americans try to figure out what a recent court decision means for “net neutrality”, a Canadian expert argues there are issues we need to monitor on this side of the border.

Michael Geist of the University of Ottawa says the concern used to be a two-tiered system based on speed, but now it’s about data usage.

It’s already happening in the States where companies like AT&T call it “sponsored data.”Where if somebody pays for that data, you’ve got the ability to have that excluded from your data cap. That sounds a lot like a two track Internet or a two tier Internet,” he explains. “Here in Canada, we’re seeing many of the providers also create effectively a two-tier Internet, where certain of the mobile services, some of those count against your cap whereas others don’t”

He says it creates a system where ISPs can influence your online choices if you’re getting close to your data limits.

The recent American court ruling has led to concerns about added costs or slower streaming for companies like Netflix, but Geist doesn’t expect a huge impact here in Canada.