At Home: CRTC to allow usage-based Internet billing
As more and more people turn to downloads to buy popular items like films and software, It’s no surprise that Bell Canada wants to start billing customers based on usage.
They got their wish this week when the CRTC approved their request, but that permission came with one important condition. As the CBC reports, Bell must start per-usage billing for its own retail customers before it can impose the new rules on its wholesale customers.
While Bell currently offers its retail customers plans with unlimited downloading, it also rents lines to smaller service providers such as Acanac and Teksavvy. Under the CRTC ruling, Bell cannot force those smaller providers into charging per-usage billing unless it first eliminates its own unlimited-download plans.
Although the ruling seems to level the playing the field, many smaller providers opposed the decision, arguing that “it will make them indistinguishable from Bell.” However, Bell has defended its move by saying that it “needs to implement usage-based billing to curtail the congestion caused on its network by heavy downloaders.”
If Bell accepts the ruling and goes ahead with per-usage billing, it will also be required to offer smaller ISPs the same “usage insurance plans” it gives its own retail customers. Those plans provide customers “extra monthly usage for a small fee” if they exceed their download limit.
In Foreign News: Left-handed students struggling in school
There have always been prejudices and urban myths surrounding left-handedness, but a recent report details the very real struggles that many left-handed children experience in school. As The Telegraph reports, “thousands of left-handed schoolchildren are struggling in the classroom because of a failure to meet their needs, according to experts.”
Some of the issues students face are purely mechanical, due to a lack of left-handed equipment for subjects like cookery, science, computing, and technology. In other cases, according to the author of a book on left-handed children, those students “were also more likely to be diagnosed with conditions such as dyslexia as schools misinterpreted common writing difficulties.”
Lauren Milsom, author of the book Your Left-handed Child, told a conference that “there is still a lot of ignorance about this issue. Many teachers think it is enough to just tell left-handed children to rest the paper on the left of the desk and give them some ambidextrous scissors.” Although an estimated 10 to 15 per cent of the population is left-handed, most tools and utensils are still made for right-handed use, including scissors, scientific instruments with controls on the right, and “heavy machinery and power tools” that have safety overrides on the right.
“This isn’t a special needs issue,” Milsom told conference attendees, “it is about equal opportunities.”