updated 10:00 am EDT, Thu September 20, 2007
Bell Canada Unlimited Data
Bell Canada today revealed its unlimited data service, allowing notebook owners with a free ExpressCard or PC Card slot to connect to the Internet without worrying about the bandwidth limits that often hurt cellular access in Canada or having to look for a Wi-Fi hotspot. The plan is not specific to any one connection type and includes the company's faster EVDO Revision A network, providing 3.5G transfer speeds closer to a home broadband connection. At its theoretical peak, the connection can download as quickly as 3.1Mbps and upload at 1.8Mbps, Bell says. The service is available now for $75 Canadian ($74 US) per month plus a $9 access fee and the price of an adapter card; no mention has been made of extending the feature to cellphones.
Several conditions are attached to the claim, warns legal expert Michael Geist. Despite claims of unlimited use, the company's usage policy specifically includes clauses to block services that the company deems "excessive." This includes hosted servers, but also media streaming, VoIP calling, and other bandwidth-intensive software -- usually features that compete with Bell's cellphone service, Geist says.
"In other words, you pay for unlimited bandwidth, yet can't use many of the services that make affordable unlimited bandwidth such a necessity in Canada," he notes.