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The Globe and Mail

Debate: Should we have a metered Internet?

An internet usage meter is displayed on a computer screen in Ottawa on Feb. 1, 2011.

Sean Kilpatrick/THE CANADIAN PRESS

Should we meter the Internet? Should consumers pay for the gigabyte by the dollar? The recent CRTC decision around usage-based billing, and Tony Clement's announcement (via Twitter) that the federal Cabinet would overturn the decision if the CRTC didn't do so first, has shone a political spotlight on an obscure issue, previously buried in consumers' monthly bills.

Today, The Globe and Mail kicks off an "Our Time To Lead" series on Internet metering. Leonard Waverman, Dean of the Haskayne School of Business at the University of Calgary, says that continued investment in Internet infrastructure depends on metering. "It is simply unfair to have the heaviest users of anything not pay their share of the costs," he argues in a commentary piece for The Globe.

David Beers, Editor of The Tyee, has a very different perspective. He calls a metered Internet " a regulatory failure," arguing usage-based billing would "stifle digital creativity in Canada."

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Waverman and Beers debate the issue in an online chat here at 3:30pm eastern time. Join the chat them or e-mail your questions and comments to them in advance to moderator Karim Bardeesy, editorial writer at The Globe and Mail, at kbardeesy@globeandmail.com.





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