Canada's Internet is crap

Jesse Brown from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's Search Engine has written a stirring editorial about the ways in which Canada's internet infrastructure is being turned into second-rate cable TV by greedy telcos and incompetent regulators.

Every time I think about moving back to Canada some day, I remind myself of how miserable the national Internet infrastructure is -- and how awful the big telcos are, and how weak-kneed and ass-licking the telcoms regulator is -- and I realize I can't possibly move home. The Internet's where I live, it's how I earn my income. Living on Canada's Internet would be better than living on China's Internet, say, but that's a pretty low bar to hurdle.

1. Last week the CRTC sided with Bell against a group of small Internet Service Providers who want to offer their customers unthrottled connections where what they download is their own business and not subject to interference.

2. In last week’s throne speech the Conservative government renewed their intention to “modernize” Canadian copyright law. Their effort to do so last session was Bill C-61, a woefully unbalanced and retrograde piece of legislation that led to the greatest citizen backlash to any proposed bill in recent memory. Yet there has been no indication from new Industry Minister Tony Clement that a much-needed public consultation will take place. The best he has offered is the possibility of a “slightly different” version of the bill.

3. Twitter has just announced that they are killing outbound SMS messaging in Canada due to exorbitant and constant rate hikes from Canadian cell providers (former Industry Minister Jim Prentice vowed to get tough on SMS price gouging, then backpeddled). Cell phone rates in Canada are among the highest in the world, and the result is that mobile penetration is pathetically low and that emerging new cultural platforms like Twitter are being hobbled.

Is Canada becoming a digital ghetto? (Thanks, Jesse!)


  1. repost from throttling thread

    #15 posted by Takuan , November 20, 2008 11:38 AM

    interesting quote, think it true?:

    “It’s a simple scam. Big corporations needing special favours from the CRTC hire CRTC employees to manage CRTC regulatory affairs for them. That’s why all these interventions from major corporations are signed by former CRTC employees. The salaries that these ex-CRTC employees earn wildly exceed any possible amount they could ever make at the CRTC :!:

    Present CRTC employees ass-kiss the corporations doing the hiring because getting hired for a big super paying job for a CRTCer is like you or I winning the lottery.

    I wrote this intervention in May 2001, five years ago, sadly nothing has changed and we have more evidence of CRTC corruption.”

  2. As a Canadian who (sadly) spends probably more time online than I do with my wife and kids, I heartily endorse this statement of how crappy the technological landscape is here north of the 49th.

  3. looks like the current Canadian government may fall in a few months anyway. The Mumbai attacks with attendant Harper generated vulnerability through Afghanistan entanglement (together with upcoming Olympics terror target) may ensure success of non-confidence vote bruited. That might provide a very slim chance to improve Canada’s internet before the next gang of elected thieves gets comfortable.

  4. Here in Nova Scotia, the premier promised to have everyone high speed internet access by the end of 2009. For a lot of us in rural areas, it looks like that means long range wireless (Motorola Canopy or some form of 802.11). So far this isn’t working very well where I am. But, I’m sure when the whole province is “theoretically” covered, no matter that there will still be lots of areas where terrain and trees block the signal, we will have the usual round of political back patting for “a job well done”. And I’ll still have an internet connection that costs 50 bucks a month and won’t download a 25mb podcast without crapping out!!!

  5. We’re a small (non-internet) start up company, and after a few months of sluggish, mediocre service from Bell here in Toronto, we started getting these intermittent outages. 5 minutes here, an hour there, an afternoon here. We called, we complained, we requested repairs, and as they became more and more frequent it became clearer and clearer that Bell was absolutely NOT interested in doing anything about it. They reminded us we had no uptime guarantees and were only entitled to credits for the outages.

    We finally cancelled and connected with Acanac, a 3rd party DSL provider.

    Earlier this month, our DSL line went out – no dial tone. We called Bell to fix it, and they reconnected us to an analogue line – so no internet. Bell refuses Acanac’s reconnection requests because “we’re only paying for phone service” (even though Acanac is paying for a digital line) and and refuses to talk to us because “we need to go through our ISP”.

    So they’ve literally made it impossible for our ISP to provide us with service and claim that it’s not their problem. We called the CRTC who confirmed that yes, this is against the law, and no, there was absolutely no recourse to file a complaint, sue, start an investigation or anything else. I got the bureaucrat on the phone to literally admit that Bell had free reign to break the law in cases like ours, and there was nothing anyone could or would do about it.

    We’re thinking of leaving Canada for other reasons, but in the back of my mind there’s a certain thrill at the thought of NEVER having to deal with Bell Canada again.

  6. The CRTC has never been on the side of Canadians. They’ll rubber-stamp anything the corporations come up with, no matter how odious.

    Ten years ago it was “negative-option billing”. A bunch of new cable channels were introduced – and everyone was automatically subscribed and billed. We had the “option” of figuring out who to contact, getting on the phone and waiting an hour on hold to “opt out”.

    The CRTC saw no problem with this. No sir, none at all.

  7. I live and work in China, and China’s internet infrastructure is fantastic–highspeed 3-8 mbps ADSL is available in even the smallest towns, and fiberoptic 10 mbps is available in many neighborhoods in the cities. And it’s only about 10 USD/month. Yes, China has a national “firewall”, but it’s easy enough to circumvent through proxies as needed.

  8. This has happened to both myself and a couple of friends…They got Rogers Hi-Speed internet service via cable as they are ubber-gamers, and can’t afford any lag…and then their connection to the net starts getting worse and worse, and it cuts in and out all the time…It seems that Rogers has over-sold their capacity in places like Apartment buildings and townhouse complexes, and needs to upgrade the wiring…but will not do it. So all of the people who used to use Rogers now use Teksavvy, Acanac, or anyone else but Rogers or Bell…and they get good service, as long as they don’t do anything like download via bittorrent…something I do all the time because I make may living supporting and knowing about Linux, I am downloading and trying new and updated versions of Linux all the time. But that’s another gripe…Ma Bell is a Cheap mother….


  9. Ah wotever, eh. As long as they don’t use up all their tubes, there, as we need ’em fer makin’ our tubesteak, eh.

    Although, a wide netwerk of the internet tubes, or “intertubes”, might just double as an intra-continental tubesteak delivery system. I can imagine the extrusion of such succulant sandwich fixings along with the plethora of information from my glowing ember of computronics, eh.

    I can’t wait fer the upgrade. This will make connecttions to our coastal bretheren easier and provide greater access to digitized historical documents from the Canadian archives.

    Like classic Beachcomers and Littlest Hobo episodes.

    My Baloney has a first name,

    it’s: C-A-N-C-O-N, eh.

    My Baloney has a second name,

    it’s: I-S_I-N-E-V-I-T-A-B-L-E

    Heh, internets 2.O Canada, indeed!

  10. I’ve been a client of a 3rd party DSL provider and I’m sick this lack of regulation. My options are Rogers cable who I refuse to deal with (after having directly screwed me over on three separate occasions and whose management policies are worse than Bell’s), Bell who are almost as bad, or third party DSL. Now that Bell is throttling my connection when I don’t even deal with them, I don’t have any choices.

    To add insult to injury, I have a line condition that makes my connection drop when ever it rains. I’ve been working on Bell for over a year now and all they do is slow down my connection. I once heard a crackle of static on my land line and called repair, who replaced by drop from the pole, but that’s not the problem. Anything internet related has to go through my ISP, who is as helpless as I am.

    I’ve been keeping my eye out for a fibre provider, but nothing exists that I could possible afford.

    I email the CRTC after their idiotic finding favouring Bell. They replied with a stock answer:

    On November 20, 2008, based on the evidence provided, the CRTC found that the measures employed by Bell Canada to manage its network were not discriminatory in that Bell Canada applied the same traffic-shaping practices to its wholesale customers as it did to its own retail customers. However, the CRTC indicated that, in the future, Bell Canada will be required to notify its wholesale customers at least 30 days in advance of making changes that impact the performance of the internet service. By way of further information, I have provided a link to the News Release:

    In order to address the broader field of internet traffic management practices that affect both end-users and service providers, the CRTC has launched a proceeding to examine the current and potential traffic management practices of internet service providers operating in Canada. This proceeding will include a public hearing scheduled to start on July 6, 2009 in Gatineau, Quebec and an online consultation for the public to engage in discussion on issues and questions relating to internet traffic management. If you wish to participate in this public proceeding, you can do so by submitting your comments to the CRTC by February 16, 2009. For details, please note paragraphs 14 and 15 of the Public Notice:

    I’ll be at that public hearing.

  11. My parents live between London and Chatham Ontario, (not an extreme backwater area) and they can still only get dial up. It is enough to make me pull my own teeth out! They were only able to get off of a party line about five years ago for their phone. Bell tells them they have what is called a “country” phone line. But they still pay full price?!

  12. Thank goodness someone just CAME OUT AND SAID THIS! I’ve been holding my breath for SOME major news broadcaster to raise this debate.

    The cellphone/wireless industry is an obvious monopoly here which would have been opened up to outside competition by an regulator with a backbone years ago.

    Oh, Canada…

  13. I’ll just say that when I went to Vancouver, I was surprised at how many pay phones I saw. I even saw a fully-enclosed Clark-Kent-style phone booth once.

  14. IMHO the lack of highspeed internet in rural Nova Scotia is holding back any real economic development. Imagine the creativity that’s being squashed? I think more people would stay in those areas and do well if they could start up their own small online businesses, and have their innovative products reach the big wide world.

    Right now it takes 30 minutes to upload 5 photos to Facebook…

    A friend of mine works for Eastlink, Bell owned Aliant’s only “competition” in NS. When he’s driving through rural areas people will literally chase him down and ask if highspeed is on it’s way…

    I hate Bell, quite passionately and for many different reasons.

  15. This is old news- whenever I check out books these days from a library they count the number of words I might read and tell me if I’ve gone over my readable word limit. Also, if I speak too fast on a long-distance phone call, my line goes dead.
    But, my government-issued information subsidy covers it! No worries!

  16. While I (Vancouverite) wholeheartedly agree that we get raped for all of our digital services (telephone, cable, internet), and that regulation is a bit of a joke, I also see that whole “10% of the US population (hence potential customer base) spread over rather more than 10% of the US land mass (hence required infrastructure installation)” as being something of an impediment to the kind of service and pricing available in other, more densely populated, places.

    Also, Takuan, I fail to see what the horrible situation in Mumbai and Canada’s involvement in Afghanistan have to do with Harper’s government falling (pretty sure the economy and their auto-erotic non-stimulus, er, package will take care of it).

  17. I’m wondering if anyone has had negative experiences with Shaw in the west? My internet is rarely out and when something goes wrong they have been prompt with repairs. My connection is ~4mbps. I’ve never had any negative experiences dealing with Shaw over the past seven or so years.

  18. @ Vellon: I’m on Shaw (in Alberta) and I haven’t had many problems at all. However, I do use bittorrent on a regular basis, and I have found that my transfer speeds are lower at certain times of the day (peak evenings) than others. I also am not very happy with my upload speed, as I often upload larger (100MB+) files to my webhost, and it can take ages.

    That being said, I have several options here in Alberta: Telus (DSL), Shaw (cable), Rogers, and whatever varied DSL or cable independent providers there are.

  19. @16: without digressing too much from the rape of Canadian consumers by large corporations, aided and abetted by their government – Canada is in Afghanistan due to Harper’s sniffing Bush’s buttocks. Bush is out, the exposure created by being in Afghanistan guarding potential pipeline property is going to to come home to roost in Canadian consciousness with the latest atrocities in Mumbai. The coming Games are a ripe target for al Qaeda style terror and Canada is the softest of targets to penetrate. The Canadian people will make the connection soon. On top of that is the economy.

    1. we’re talking a minivan full of “tourists”, not a division of shock troops.

      Don’t underestimate snow-blindness.

  20. Canada already *is* a digital ghetto. There’s no need to ask the question.

    But are the Big Brother antics of the government in the UK make it any better a place to live?

  21. I have no complaints about the internet. I live in a small city of 12000 16 hours north of the US border. Most Canadians would say that I live in the middle of nowhere.

    Not everyone in Canada has shit service. I rarely hear any of my co-workers and friends complain either. This post and most of the comments have a lot of validity, especially about how the CRTC is the lapdog of the industry and not the watchdog of the people like they say. However, it’s a broad brush many of you are using.

  22. #25 Takuan: Yes, let’s start talking about that. I think most internet users in Canada have a sad story to tell about their connection. Let’s stop just bitching and start trying to do something.

    Any ideas, clever internet folk?

    Maybe a larger section of the population needs to know that their connections are being throttled. I think many people just assume that the interwebz is a little slow that day, like traffic on the 401.

  23. It’s taking forever to post this because the net is so fucking slow here in this Metro Toronto high-rise (a brand new development, not even on Google Maps yet).

    Canada just plain sucks for anything telecom. I’ve heard all the excuses – “population density is too low”, “what we have is good enough”, “bla bla bla bla”. Sck my dck.

    I’m only back here because it’s easier for me to operate my company in Canada – as soon as that changes I’m gone. Canada is lame. There, I said it.

    Good thing I left a Mac Mini under the floor of my old office at MIT so I can proxy in and at least get access to Hulu and Netflix from internet backwater Canada.

  24. It’s amazing what we(the consumer) let the ISPs get away with. What you cite in #1 is a prime example. The general rule should be content is not the concern of the ISP. You should be able to buy bandwidth – period. Throttling and/or filtering run contrary to the very core of an ISP’s function.

    The very fact there is a debate about net neutrality(in the US or elsewhere) demonstrates how little so many understand.

    If an ISP sells a xxx bandwidth connection they should be prepared to provide that bandwidth regardless of what the traffic/content is. My ISP should be completely unconcerned with how I use my connection – telent, torrent, http, ftp, gopher, some custom UDP application – not their concern.

  25. @ #4, #14, and possible others:

    How rural in Nova Scotia are you? I have good friends living in the Valley (in or around towns of a few thousand) with faster cable connections than my friend on Bell DSL in the core of Montreal.

    Canada in fact has *excellent* internet penetration on a per capita basis when compared to the US, or at least we did a year or so ago when I last checked. And the bandwidth capabilities are (or recently were) at least on par with what you’d get in the States.

    I’m not defending the telco’s as a whole, but is the internet access situation really *that* bad?

    @ #28:

    Geographical restrictions on Hulu and Netflix has nothing to do with Canada’s internet, and everything to do with the fact we live in a country other than the U.S.

  26. that Facebook group that instantly gelled (big too) when Prentice tried to sneak in DRM frightened the pants of them. A coherent, single Facebook entity that calls them out?

  27. Facebook group needs a snappy name…
    I’m no good at that.

    Beyond the facebook crowd (which is a large one) I think businesses having to deal with crappy internet might be a good angle to take. Get all the business that feels like they are being limited, or just frustrated, by shitty internet connection and lack of choice and start making a fuss.

  28. I’ve been yakking about this for years. Ten, actually.

    We need a new kind of internet. Wireless, mesh, and extremely fast and cheap.

    That TV channel white space they are threatening to auction off? That TV channel space they will eventually also auction off? Just give us one, just one, of those channels.

    A new kind of router that uses that bandwidth, software to mesh them all ad hoc, processor power that is up to the task, and eventually thousands of cores communicating by light should be able to handle the data flood. Encrypted to hell and back. As for backbones, well, perhaps the mesh can be powerful enough to be its own backbone.

    We will make our own network, if we don’t let them take our frequencies away from us and give it to ISPs and phone companies for pennies.

    What I’m describing IS the internet as it was originally meant to be! It has been stolen by business and government and turned into a TV network and population monitoring tool.

  29. I don’t begin to understand what #35 catbeller is talking about, but I’m all for *that*! (Whatever it is).

  30. @Vellon: I have had only one connectivity issue since I switched to Shaw six months ago, and it was over pretty quickly. Telus ADSL was much, much worse.

    @Takuan: you may have noticed that we had a Liberal government at the time Canada became involved in Afghanistan. Neither Mr. Chrétien nor his successor, Mr. Martin, is someone I would describe as being particularly interested in Mr. Bush’s butt. But hey, you go with your conspiracy theory or whatever.

  31. a little bit pregnant? Don’t know the details but I’m sure it will emerge as two guys handing out first aid slowly sliding into heavy casualties in pitched battles with full battalions. C’mon, Harper was always Bush’s bitch.

    Anyways, Catbeller, do expand please.

  32. @38

    Sorry about the post-and-run before, but I’m usually in a hurry.

    I’m talking about using the frequencies, or rather, one channel of the frequencies used for TV broadcasts for wireless mesh networking on a huge scale.

    For the frequencies will eventually be chopped up and auctioned off, or at least some will. At the moment in the US, so-called “white space”, frequencies nominally assigned for TV broadcast but are not in use now (or ever) are being wrangled over. The guvmint wants to do it’s Friedman thing and auction it off for not-very-much, as usual. Some, as I do, want at least one of those patches of bandwidth assigned to public use, ie wireless networking.

    These frequencies are extremely useful, and penetrate walls quite well. The bandwidth is expansive and can carry a lot of traffic, far, far more than current solutions using lower frequencies.

    Now, there is a tech called wireless mesh routing. The XO computer, whÃ¥tever they are calling it now, uses it, and so does a Bay area solution used by hundreds or thousands of people. The idea is thÃ¥t there is not a backbone, or an ISP at all — just nodes in a mesh, maintained by the users themselves. The more the merrier, the more, more robust. Instead of using the phone system or cable TV lines, the network ad hoc uses all the nodes to create a para-backbone. Put them into enough homes along a highway, or on light poles, whatever, and you could cover the country. And no one company, no company at all, would control the network. The network backbone becomes software, a metasuperpipe of distributed nodes.

  33. Now that I recall where I’m posting in, the idea was used in “Little Brother” as the X-Box wi-fi network. I’m expanding it and saying that we use the white space frequencies in the same manner, only with greater coverage and better building penetration.

    There are also tricks one can do with lasers and LEDs to set up point-to-point backbones between towns and up and down hilly terrain. But radio is the way to go.

    It would take an act of many gods to keep the business interests currently eating from our collective plates from burying the idea in the cold, cold legal ground.

    The core idea here is that we don’t need the phone companies or any companies at all to have an internet. What we have is an accident of history. What we could have is something without a proper name, a truly free means of communications.

  34. suppose some tech savy types set up some nodes using those frequencies by squatting on them? A time of economic chaos can be good for the people to just take what is theirs.

  35. When I arrived in Vancouver, just over a month ago, one of the first things I did was get myself a pay-as-you-go SIM for my cellphone. It’s not too fancy, but can run quite a few nifty apps (Opera Mini, Google Maps, Gmail, etc).

    I discovered that, outside of getting a 3-year, binding “data contract” (introduced specially for the iPhone), you pay by the kilobyte for mobile data. By the kilobyte, at 5c per kb (at least on Rogers). A fairly basic web browsing session, or even just checking directions on Google Maps, would cost tens of dollars. I suspect that that’s worse than most third-world countries.

    I’ve resigned myself to not being able to use my phone to access the internet in Canada.

    Fortunately, the broadband in Vancouver seems to be OK, although I’m sure the bandwidth is shaped.

  36. @takuan, it’d better be damned chaotic. No matter how messed up the economic system, the top boys always can get the “cops” to hop.

    Best we do it by insisting those space be opened to public innovation, not “leased” in perpetuity to AT&T.

    I’d be happy if just, at last, Google managed to win the space, tho they gave up a few months back. The white space has been given to the telecoms again.

    But when the TV channels go on the block, we should be ready to fight for at least one of them.

  37. The court also ruled that it was legal for Bell to slow the connection of their high speed internet for existing customers!

    Bell kept promising people internet connection but fail to provide them because they cut their work force to save money. They simply don’t have enough physical infrastructure to support the customers they brought in from their ads. So they decided to slow it down for existing customers so that free up some connections to sell to new customers.

    I once waited 9 months for their internet service. (Actually, you can get connected within days in China. So I doubt it is better than China.) Those lairs kept saying there is something wrong with my phone jack. I had to call the headquarters to find out that they don’t have lines in my area!

    Anyway, I moved from Miami to Toronto. Except medicines, I find that a lot of things are unreasonably overpriced. (I sent fax at Canada Post today, it cost $7.50 for 5 pages) It seems that everyone feel entitled to getting a lot of money without necessary providing more.

  38. We Canadians know how to sit in Tim Hortons and bitch, but when it comes to doing some action that doesn’t involve beer or Hockey Night In Canada, we are clueless.

    I would guess 99/100 Canadians who bitch about internet services, cellphone and landline services couldn’t be bothered to send a letter of protest to the CRTC or to write to their MP or MLA or MNA.

    Sigh. When will we stand up and walk the walk for a change?

  39. Takuan,
    Actually these days that means “we have millions of people across Canada using theses services, but we’ve only ever heard one complaint”.

  40. @Kieran O’Neill – not much better here in Europe. I’ve got a (UK based) T-Mobile account – fine in the UK, but woe betide you if you use it “abroad”. I worked out that, at October’s exchange rates last year, if I used the internet in Continental Europe via my phone I’d be paying US$10,750 a gig. Not $10.75; $10750. For a gigabyte. £7.50 a megabyte. The contract I had with the company didn’t tell me this anywhere so I rang up and asked when I was going to to be told – I was advised that I wouldn’t be told “after all, how do we know where you are going to go on holiday?” Oh well of course….
    Not only are the mobile companies ripping us off, but what is also interesting is that belonging to the EU has, in this area as in so many others, no tangible benefit for members of the public. Sure, if you’re a large business conglomerate you probably benefit in all sorts of ways but if you are a public citizen you still have all the disadvantages of perverse and illogical security measures at airports and the like (even for intra-europe travel),in addition to expensive, opaque and tiered data charging plans.

  41. Interesting discussion.

    Just to add a couple data points, I use both Shaw (at home) and Telus (at work) and both are very good in terms of service.

    The larger point is valid however, as time passes access isn’t getting easier/cheaper as it should. The system has been constricted.

  42. @ 31

    Some areas of the Valley are ok, however my family lives on the North Mountain where the internet (as well as cell phone service) are mythological creatures that live in far off lands.

    The bottom half of the province has extremely poor service of all kinds (i.e. no hospital with obstetrics).

  43. Wow I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw the topic of this article! I live in Ottawa, Ontario and I couldn’t be happier with my internet.

    Im using Rogers cable and very very rarely (if ever) do I lose service and right now my current max download speed is 1.2MB/second with an upload of about 123KB/second, and this is on the service that is one lower than the best.

    Now maybe I’m just lucky or something, and maybe the rest of Canada has terrible internet, but to read this article it sounds as if anyone using internet in Canada is suffering under some terrible regime or something.

    Now maybe my standards are just lower than Americans, but I’m a very heavy internet user (gaming, uploading, downloading games off steam etc..) and downloading at over 1MB a second (off a good server of course) seems pretty good to me, I dunno maybe I’m wrong… Here are my results from

  44. Also I’d just like to add that as of yet there are no such organizations like the RIAA randomly suing Canadians and other such nonsense, I’m not saying there won’t ever be a situation like that, but for the time being I can download anything I want with impunity, can you say the same about the States?

  45. I had Rogers for a while too, and after they misapplied my payments for three months and sent workmen to the house to drill a hole in the exterior wall (I refused to let them, since we’re renters), I switched to Primus. They suck too, but they charge less than Rogers (or anyone else I’ve run across), so I can put up with it.

    Oh, they also make you rent a modem instead of supplying one for free like every other company does. And trying to get the modem back to them is not easy, and they keep charging you for it until they figure out how you can return it. No, Rogers sucks ass. But I’m glad you’re so happy with your service, Palmlix, that you created an account here just to talk about it! That’s a satisfied customer.

  46. Ok anything besides child porn I guess, thankfully I’ve never had the urge, but I see what your saying, censorship that starts somewhere logical can easily end up somewhere else that infringes on our rights, as far as the bit torrent throttling is concerned, I’ve never actually encountered it, and I use a private bit torrent site that allows me to reach very high speeds with that. As far as the other stuff is concerned (this is all under the controversy section in that wikipedia link) I’ve never had any problems with any of it, I don’t mind getting a warning message pop-up when I’m getting close to my download limit. All I’m trying to say here is that you can read all the articles you want that make it sound like Canadian internet is a diabolical system, but I’m actually living under this regime making full use of the internet and I think all these problems have been blown way out of proportion.

    1. PalmliX,

      Boing Boing has lots of interesting posts. You should check them out. Your sudden appearance here to cheerlead for Rogers might give people the misimpression that you’re being paid to comment.

  47. hmmm, sounds like Harper might be in the dumper within days. There could be a window of opportunity opening for Canadian internet users to force their way past the telcos and cable hydras and make some demands. Better act quick, the vampires will be vulnerable only for a short time while lying promises can be extracted from the latest crop of ambitious political mud-wrestlers.

    A coalition government? Which small bloc is most anti-monopoly?

  48. Man I wish I was getting paid to comment… I’m actually not too fond of Rogers as a company, I once volunteered there for a while and didn’t have a very nice experience, and I hate dealing with any large company like that over the phone. I guess the reason the I felt prompted to sign up and voice my opinion was the title of the article ‘Canada’s Internet is Crap’ I felt was a terribly broad statement that didn’t apply to my experience(s) at all. I felt that as a Canadian whose been using the internet for almost 10 years with no real complaints that I should at least give people the other side of the story.

  49. “A coalition government? Which small bloc is most anti-monopoly?”

    NDP? Charlie Angus, Minister for Information Technology?

  50. When I lived in Canada, I had the usual gripes about internet. I didn’t like Shaw because they’d have blackouts up to 48 hours, wouldn’t provide you with any information about what the problem was or when it would be fixed. It wasn’t frequent, but when you’re paying $50+ per month and it happens a couple times, you’re annoyed. That was in BC.

    In Alberta, I lived a twenty minute drive from Airdrie, thirty minutes from the edge of Calgary, and we couldn’t get high speed when I first moved out there – 2004. Telus dial up, frankly, sucked. The minute we could move to a dish we did.

    There were still occasional blackouts.

    I think Canada has mastered the art of nickle-and-diming consumers to death. In July Bell and Telus announced they would charge for incoming text messages. It seems every time you turn around they’re coming up with a new way to charge people, while they reduce services. If this is allowed to continue it won’t be long before people are regularly paying through the nose and getting next to nothing in return.

    Since I came to the US I’ve been stunned by how much cheaper most things are, and in six months of being here there hasn’t been one internet blackout, which is something of a record for me.

  51. I thought that North American carriers were “receiver pays” for SMS traffic.

    If that’s the case, why would Twitter care, they pay their ASP charge and their traffic gets injected into the network like all the rest.

    Now, for European or Australasian networks, where the sender pays, twitter would have trouble.

  52. Most parts of Canada have have two cellular carriers (Rogers and Telus / Bell), though they both sell service under a few other brand names to create the illusion of competition.

    A duopoly is not a competitive marketplace. Nobody in their right mind would suggest otherwise, especially not when it would take billions in capital for a competitor to emerge, if that were even possible… and it isn’t, because there isn’t any spectrum left for a third network.

    Now, both members of this duopoly decide to simultaneously raise their prices on text messaging from $ripoff to $ridiculous. Repeated for emphasis: the two members of a duopoly both increase their prices at the same time, for the same service, which incentally costs nothing to provide. I think this is actually the literal definition of price fixing, and what does the CRTC say?

    “Given these undertakings by Bell Mobility and Telus, I would encourage consumers dissatisfied with existing plans to seek alternatives. The telecommunications market in Canada is dynamic — choice is available.”

    Give me a break. The CRTC is pathetic.

  53. In regards to various issues – bill C-61 and censorship of Canadians’ internet connections being the most recent examples – I have written to the CRTC, to my MP and MLA, to other MPS, MLAs, ministers and candidates, and even cornered the (now former) industry minister at a private Conservative Party barbecue I attended with my folks (oh, the look on his face was f@cking priceless!) but all to no avail.

    Frankly, I see no way through the quagmire that is corporate interest in Canadian telecommunications and technology regulation. I was initially hopeful that the collapse of the Bell acquisition deal might shake the playing field up enough to allow some new players into the business, but the more I think of it the more I believe that the big boys are here to stay and there’s nothing anyone can do about it.

    I was very hopeful that the Harper government would get its comeuppance on Monday but it looks as though that’s just not going to happen. I thought the idea of a coalition government might just shake up our ‘democracy’ enough to allow the right people (and more importantly, a multitude of individuals with differing opinions) to engage in real, thoughtful debate on these issues.

  54. What does Twitter’s SMS cancellation have to do with the Canada’s internet problems? That has to do with our shitty cell phone providers, which is a whole other kettle of fish.

    Having said that… I’m with Cogeco for my internet at home, and they have been totally awesome. Knock on wood. :)

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