Bell to charge you $3,600 per hour for Wireless Internet access

Have you seen what the carriers in Canada charge for EVDO access? A great service that many in the US and elsewhere rave about. get a little card for your laptop and “Life is good—it’s like the whole world is one big Wifi network with this card. If you own a computer that can use an EVDO card, you have to get one.” (Guy Kawasaki). Great! I’m sold… so what are Bell Canada’s rates for EVDO wireless data transfer?

Monthly Rates Data Volume Additional Volume Voyageur U.S Data Roaming
Light $25 4 MB $12/MB $6/MB
Standard $40 8 MB $8/MB $6/MB
Premium $60 30 MB $6/MB $6/MB
Ultimate $100 250 MB $3/MB $3/MB

Now for the math. EVDO has a maximum advertised speed of 700kbs (downstream). Assuming I remember how computers work, this is 700bits/8bits perByte, 1024kBytes/MB or 0.0854 MB/s. and there are 3600seconds in an hour. So bell “recommends” that you get the 100/month plan with EVDO. What you get for $100/month? Say you want to download a large file (gasp) or (god forbid) watch some streaming video or something. At maximum speed your 250MB monthly allowance would last you exactly less than 49 minutes*. And after that, at 3/MB, Bell will let you surf the Internet for the low low incremental price of only $923/hour (or $15/minute). And you thought printer ink was expensive.

And wait for it, do the math on their “lite plan” and at $12/mb that works out to a theoretical maximum charge of $29,531/hr. wow, great! where do I sign up?

Of course another local carrier Telus also offers EVO. It’s funny because, in what must be a truly remarkable coincidence of free-market capitalism, Telus is also advertising the *exact same* prices and pricing structure as Bell Canada.

not that it matters for switching anyway, our country seems to be the last in the civilized world to offer number portability.

Oh Canadian telecom regulators, what have you done for me recently?

*assuming that maximum speed is attainable, assuming you pay for actual and not just effective bandwidth used including packet overhead and such, but not even counting corresponding upstream bandwidth used which would jack up the cost even further

update: just for fun, lets say you signed up for the lite plan and left a bit torrent (for example) running and they allowed you to saturate your bandwidth for the entire month. What is the maximum bill you could theoretically see on your monthly statement? $3691/hr x (up to) 744 hrs in a month = that would be a 2.746 Million dollar phone bill.