Archive for Broadband

Globe And Mail Posts A Response To Harvard Internet Study… Talk About FUD

Posted in Commentary with tags , on March 7, 2010 by itnerd

Man. The Globe And Mail has really changed their tune. You’ll remember that when this study came out from Harvard [Warning: PDF] that showed that Canada was way behind the rest of the world when it came to Internet access, Rogers and The Globe And Mail traded shots of the accuracy of the study. Now there’s an essay that has The Globe And Mail singing from a different song sheet:

Canada has a true broadband penetration rate of close to 70 per cent of households. And North Americans use the Internet somewhat more intensively than do Europeans, according to Cisco Systems data on Internet traffic. Further, business Internet traffic in North America appears to be at levels substantially higher than elsewhere in the world. Sadly, there is little systematic effort by international agencies to measure the intensity of Internet usage.

Instead, we see comparisons of advertised speeds and “price per advertised megabit,” which are especially misleading. Advertised broadband speeds vary from actual speeds. In North America, this is largely a result of “network overhead,” and is quite modest. In Europe, however, the variation is often dramatic.

Hmmm…. Let’s think about this for a second. The Globe And Mail which bills itself as “Canada’s National Newspaper” is owned by CTV/Globemedia who has Bell Canada Enterprises as one of their owners. Bell Canada Enterprises in turn owns Bell Internet which was indirectly ripped by the Harvard study. I’m guessing that someone within Bell Canada Enterprises dialed up someone in the management level of The Globe And Mail and gave them heck. Thus the appearance of this rather dubious essay after they traded shots with Rogers using some fairly good arguments. I don’t have any proof that this happened. But when a really reputable newspaper like The Globe And Mail does a one-eighty like this and puts out the FUD that’s in this article, you have to wonder.

Shame on The Globe And Mail!

Here’s the reality. I have a client who lives part time in Japan who gets DSL for an amazingly low $5 a month for 14-16mbps. IF that isn’t fast enough for her, she has the option of 100Mbps or 160Mbps fiber is about $40 a month. I have a German customer who pays 29.90 euros a month for 32Mbit/s DSL Where is that in Canada? The fact is that compared to the rest of the world, Canadian consumers are absolutely getting hosed by ISP’s like Rogers and Bell. The only way this will get fixed is if the Canadian federal government follows through with their promise to open up the Canadian telecom industry to foreign investment. That’s because the incumbent telcos are too busy hosing Canadian consumers by providing less service for more money to do the right thing. So if you’re Canadian, e-mail your local MP to say that the Harvard study is proof that change needs to come sooner than later.

Rogers And The Globe And Mail Trade Shots Over Broadband Study…. Canadian Broadband Users Still The Big Losers

Posted in Commentary with tags , , on February 26, 2010 by itnerd

Earlier this week a study came out from Harvard [Waring: PDF] that basically highlighted what everybody in Canada already knows (and I’ve pointed out on a couple of occasions). Canada is behind the curve when it comes to broadband. This lead to a rather interesting editorial in the Globe And Mail this past Sunday. Here’s a sample of what they had to say:

In the economic race among nations, widespread Internet access, and its fast, reliable and cheap provision to the most people, is a prerequisite for success. And Canada is falling behind. If we are to compete, it will take new policies, new vision from corporations, the federal government and its regulators, and a national collective will to compete.

That’s something that I’ve been saying for a while. Rogers for one doesn’t see things that way and shot back a very terse response to The Globe And Mail from Rogers V.P. of public affairs, Jan Innes on Wednesday:

For Canada to win in a global digital economy, our country needs to establish a national vision that looks beyond the often-flawed statistical rankings of broadband infrastructure. What we need to understand is why so many Canadian households still don’t have computers, why Canada is lagging in scientific research, and how we should best promote the development of Canadian content and applications.

You know, every time I keep hearing about a study that highlights the fact Canada is behind the curve when it comes to broadband access, the number one excuse that I keep hearing from Canadian telcos is that the study is flawed. If you the telcos think that’s the case, then show us an independent study from a source that everybody respects that supports your view that the Harvard study is flawed and maybe some points of view may change. But in the meantime, here’s my $0.02 worth. I’ve got customers in Canada, the US, and several European countries. I’ve used broadband Internet services in all those countries and from my perspective, Canada sucks when it comes to broadband Internet services. Compared to what is available in places like France and Germany, we’re in a digital wasteland. The only reason that it’s being denied by telcos like Rogers is that they really don’t want the federal government to wake up and say “You know, we need to take control of this before we fall too far behind the rest of the planet. Let’s pass some legislation to make this happen.” But legislation is the only way that this issue will get fixed as the telcos have proven that they want to give consumers less product for more money.

The only question, how long will Canadian broadband users have to wait for this to happen?

Obama’s Stimulus Bill Includes $7.2 Billion For Broadband Access

Posted in Commentary with tags on February 18, 2009 by itnerd

When President Barack Obama signed that $787 Billion dollar Stimulus bill earlier this week, it had one item that should interest tech loving Americans. $7.2 Billion will be used to ensure that every American has broadband access:

The bulk of the funds directed at broadband–$4.7 billion–will be distributed through a program run by the Commerce Department, while $2.5 billion will fall under the jurisdiction of the Agriculture Department, giving particular emphasis to broadband deployment in rural areas.

The final version of the bill maintains that projects funded by the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration must adhere to nondiscrimination and openness principles. The funds must also be distributed before September 30, 2010, to projects that can be completed within two years.

This is great, but there is one downer to this bill:

The NTIA’s “Broadband Technology Opportunities Program” is intended to “award competitive grants to accelerate broadband deployment in unserved and underserved areas and to strategic institutions that are likely to create jobs or provide significant public benefits,” the bill says.

No part of the bill, however, defines the terms “broadband,” “unserved area,” or “underserved area.” The NTIA is instructed to work with the Federal Communications Commission to define these terms.

So, there still seems to be some work to do. Still, this is a major step forward for the US, assuming that it actually happens as planned.

Japan Is Ready For The Future Of Broadband…. U.S.A. Sort Of…. Canada Not So Much

Posted in Commentary with tags on September 13, 2008 by itnerd

I tripped over this study conducted by Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford and the University of Oviedo’s Department of Applied Economics that looked at the state of broadband in 42 countries. The study determined that although a lot of the countries are up to speed when it comes to what users need today, Japan is the only country that is ready for the future of broadband demand. The future being things like visual networking, HD video streaming, “consumer telepresence,” and large file-sharing.

Where does the U.S.A. rank in this study? They rank 16th. Not bad. Canada? They do horrible in this study. Canada not only ranks 27th, but Canadian broadband ranks BELOW the minimum standard for today’s broadband needs.

That’s just plain pathetic.

Canadians should be pissed at their telcos for being this far behind Romania, Bulgaria, Latvia, and Lithuania. Never mind being behind Japan and Korea. Bell, Rogers, Telus, Cogeco, Shaw, are just some of the telcos that should be embarrassed. The only thing that will fix this is making broadband a priority in Canada, and that requires some amount of government intervention. Since there’s an election going on in Canada right now, Canadians should ask the candidates where they stand on this issue and cast their votes accordingly. While Canadians are at it, they should get their views on copyright reform and net neutrality as those are important issues as well.

Just for giggles, I’d love any candidates or political parties in Canada to leave a comment to let readers of this blog where they stand on these issues. Alternately, drop me a note at and let me know where you or your party stands on these issues.

International BroadBand Rankings Out…. Sucks To Be Canada

Posted in Commentary with tags , on May 2, 2008 by itnerd

Canadian Industry Minister Jim Prentice once mentioned that Canada’s broadband offering is among the best in the world. However, he’s really mistaken.

New data released by the ITIF (the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation) shows that Canada ranks 11th in the world. While that’s better than the US who clocked in at 15th place. It shows that Canada isn’t as advanced as it thinks it is and a lot more work needs to be done.

To take a look at the rankings click here (Warning: PDF). The full report can be found here (Warning: PDF). Both links are REALLY SLOW right now.

Of course Jim Prentice is the same guy who has done nothing about throttling by Canadian ISP’s, so the fact that he thinks that our broadband is among the best in the world shows how far his head is stuffed up his rectum out of touch with reality he is.

It’s time for him to enter the real world.