Evidence that innovation will work-around seemingly dubious regulation.
…Canadian Download gets around 25-gigabyte bandwidth caps by asking its visitors to simply type in the web address for a download. Canadian Download will then burn the information to a CD or DVD and mail the disc for free. The idea has become pretty popular — it’s even the top link on Reddit.com’s front page, a site that recently announced gets around 1 billion hits monthly.
The site was launched as a protest against Canada’s new laws that enforce usage-based billing for its Internet service providers. The new laws have basically forced independent ISPs that were able to outmaneuver the country’s largest provider, Bell Canada, with faster services and higher bandwidth caps to limit the amount of data they can offer. Bell Canada can now meter independent Internet service providers using its copper wiring to homes and businesses, and charge any independent ISP that wants to provide more bandwidth. The after-effects range from some Canadians losing the chance to download large games through digital distribution services like Steam to inadvertently using up an entire month’s worth of bandwidth on Skype.
At face value, the business actually makes a lot of sense. It’s quite expensive to download large amounts of data quickly, and ISPs might even benefit from offering their customers the chance to get their large files on disc form through the mail — which is actually pretty cheap. In some cases, postal mail could be cheaper and faster than what many broadband companies can offer.
Amazon.com offers the same kind of service with portable storage devices, though the service was mostly started in protest to some ridiculously slow download and upload speeds that ISPs were offering at the time. There was even a test at one point that showed a pigeon delivery service could transfer data “faster than broadband” in South Africa.