Many of the close to 90 per cent of Canadians who subscribe to home internet plans will begin to see their monthly bills go up this month by, it appears, $2 to $9 a month.
It could be more and if you're on a locked-in plan you might not feel the impact right away. But you will feel it eventually.
Some of it will be just because costs the companies incur — wages, employment premiums, carbon taxes, etc. — have to be passed along to subscribers if companies are going to maintain or attain the profit levels they require.
Another factor, not insignificant, is that companies continue to pour billions of dollars into expanding and upgrading their networks to meet Canadians' voracious demand for high-speed, high-quality internet. According the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), average monthly high-speed data use increased 30 per cent from 2016 to 2017.
Bell, according to a recent CBC report, is dealing with a 500 per cent increase in internet usage by its subscribers over the past five years. Internet, according to the CRTC report, is by far the fastest-growing communications vehicle in Canada — as it has been for many years.
So, in a way, it all makes sense: if you use more of something you'll wind up paying more for it, right?
Well, maybe not. Some people, like yours truly, consume data as if it was among the necessities of life. Others watch a couple of Netflix shows a month and send a few emails. There are plans designed for all levels of usage but it is and alway has been the high-volume users who drive the growth in the industry.
These increases will lead to another round of demands for governments and the CRTC — which appears to have reinvented itself as some form of consumer affairs bureau — to "do something" about these increases. Appeals will be made on behalf of those on fixed incomes and on the downside of life's advantages for mandated low-cost plans. It will be pointed out that schoolchildren now require internet access to do basic homework and the cost of those subscriptions should be covered by provincial welfare agencies.