Archive for ISP

Netflix ISP Index Shows A Lot Of Change In Canadian Rankings

Posted in Commentary with tags , , on February 9, 2015 by itnerd

The last few ISP Speed Indexes published by Netflix showed that Canadian ISPs were all bunched up with roughly the same levels of performance. That’s changed with the Speed Index For January that was released today. Here’s the highlights:

  • SaskTel – Fiber Optic jumped up two spots to 4th.
  • Shaw dropped two spots to 6th.
  • Telus and Bell each went up a spot to 11th and 12th respectively.
  • Teksavvy dropped two spots to 13th.
  • The kings of the hill were Bell Canada’s Fiber Optic service.
  • The spread between the top ten was .46 Mbps which is a bit wider than last month.

You can bet that there’s some explaining going on in the boardrooms of those who dropped in this ranking.

Rogers Updates Policies Related To Lawful Access Of Customer Info

Posted in Commentary with tags , , on July 16, 2014 by itnerd

About a month ago, I wrote about Rogers and Teksavvy releasing transparency reports that show how often law enforcement requests customer data and what data is handed over. Rogers today reached out to me with an update:

After hearing feedback from our customers and reviewing the Supreme Court ruling from last month, we’ve decided that from now on we will require a court order/warrant to provide basic customer information to law enforcement agencies, except in life threatening emergencies. We believe this move is better for our customers and that law enforcement agencies will still be able to protect the public

We’ve updated our blog post on Rogers Redboard to let customers know about the change.

Transparency Report blog post:

The Supreme Court ruling that’s being referred to is this one and it states that Canadian ISPs cannot hand over customer info to police without a warrant. What I like about this is there is no ambiguity as to where Rogers stands on this subject. I would like to see other ISPs in Canada do the same thing. Strangely, I have not seen anything like this from any other ISP other than the transparency report put out by Teksavvy. I can’t say why that is the case, but I hope that changes.

Supreme Court Of Canada Says Cops Need To Get Warrants To Get Info From ISPs

Posted in Commentary with tags , , , on June 13, 2014 by itnerd

This morning in a major victory for those who want some semblance of privacy, the Supreme Court Of Canada ruled Canadian ISPs cannot hand over customer info to police without a warrant. Here’s what the CBC had to say:

Friday’s decision concerned the case of Matthew David Spencer, of Saskatchewan, who was charged and convicted of possession of child pornography after a police officer saw illegal files being downloaded to his IP address — a series of numbers representing a person’s internet identity.

The police officer went to Spencer’s internet service provider (ISP), Shaw, and asked for the real identity of the customer attached to the IP address. The police officer did not have a search warrant, but was given the address of Spencer’s sister, allowing police to track him down. 

Spencer appealed the decision, arguing that the search was unconstitutional and his rights were violated.

The Court of Appeal ruled there is no reasonable expectation of privacy for basic internet subscriber information, prompting Spencer to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada.

However, there is a catch. Mr. Spencer didn’t get off the hook:

Although the Supreme Court set limits on when internet providers can disclose customer information, it dismissed Spencer’s appeal.

It said police should have obtained a warrant before asking Shaw for the customer information. But it also said police acted reasonably and in good faith, so the administration of justice would be impaired if the evidence gathered by searching Spencer’s home were thrown out of court.

This is something that I like. The court protected privacy and the bad guy didn’t get away. It’s a win-win.

One thing that this decision does do is it throws the future of Bill C-13 which is the Canadian Government’s anti cyber-bullying bill. It contains a provision that allows cops to access to the same sorts of information that was mentioned in this case. My guess is that this bill will have to be modified to avoid the possibility that the Supreme Court may strike the bill down. But I am a computer nerd, not a lawyer. Perhaps a real lawyer would like to comment on that?


Hey IT Nerd! What Does It Really Cost For My ISP To Deliver My Internet Service?

Posted in Commentary with tags , on April 3, 2011 by itnerd

This is another one of those questions I get a lot. Here’s the reality. The cost for your ISP is dirt cheap. I’m basing that on this rather revealing article from the Financial Post:

“The cost associated with transmission and switching on a modern network is a non-issue — less than five cents per gigabyte and dropping fast,” David Buffett, chief executive of Radiant Communications Inc., an independent ISP, wrote in the Vancouver Sun this week.

So. What does that say about Rogers, Bell or any other ISP who charges you for going over your bandwidth cap?:

Depending on who you believe, the cost for a large incumbent ISP to deliver one gigabyte of data — when you factor in fixed costs like fibre optic cables and networking gear, as well as operating costs such as technicians and electricity — can range anywhere from a few pennies to between 10¢ and 15¢ per GB.

Netflix, for example, has claimed the cost is about 1¢ per GB. Other analysts told the Financial Post the rough average is closer to 10¢ per GB. Incumbents contend it’s much more than that. The truth likely lies somewhere in the middle.

But even if one assumes that it costs Bell or Rogers between, say, 15¢ and 25¢ per gigabyte — an estimate which many experts would peg as too high — with overage fees of between $1.50 and $5.00 for each additional GB a user downloads beyond their cap, such a pricing scheme still ensures a healthy profit margin for the provider.

Translation: The bill for your Internet service could actually be lower, but your ISP is likely padding their profits at your expense. Now you’re likely thinking that I’m against a private enterprise making money. I’m not. But when there’s a markup of 3000% – 4000%, that in my mind is a bit excessive. Perhaps the word needs to get out there about your ISP’s dirty little secret. I wonder what the reaction would be if that happened?

Oops…. Too late.