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The Internet

Canada Splits Local Phone, DSL Services 445

s20451 writes "Running counter to the recent string of pro-consolidation FCC rulings in the United States, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission has ruled that big Telcos like Bell and Telus must offer ADSL service even when local phone service is provided by another company. Effectively this ruling splits local phone and net services, opening both up for competition and lower prices. Press release here."
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Canada Splits Local Phone, DSL Services

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  • yay canadians! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Machine9 (627913) on Monday July 21, 2003 @03:11PM (#6492903) Homepage
    such sensible people!

    maybe next they'll force computer manufacturers to offer alternative OSses on computers, to open up competition and lower prices.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 21, 2003 @03:12PM (#6492912)
    The phone companies are already basically monopolies, and here they were willing to sell their DSL at a loss for a few years to put other DSL providers out of business. Sure, they had to share the lines under the law, they just made it difficult and expensive.
  • A word of caution: (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Meat Blaster (578650) on Monday July 21, 2003 @03:15PM (#6492946)
    We split our national phone company, and it turns out the rates kept going up while the level of service went down. Apparently, there's some sort of economic force called "scale economy" that reflects the fact that having multiple companies providing the same service means a lot of costly redundancy.

    Some monopolies should be broken, but others are better off regulated. We got Unix out of AT&T, but I'm not even getting reliable Caller ID out of the local tel.

  • Re:Canada (Score:2, Insightful)

    by kurokaze (221063) on Monday July 21, 2003 @03:16PM (#6492966)
    Actually, it's a compliment.

    Although his logic is wrong, taken literally
    (albeit incorrectly)


    would mean that Canada is 1 up on America.

  • Two edged sword (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 21, 2003 @03:17PM (#6492973)
    Effectively this ruling splits local phone and net services, opening both up for competition and lower prices

    This also opens up the possibility of finger-pointing and blame assigning, instead of problem resolution. A couple of years ago, I had difficulty getting DSL from DirecTV DSL over BellSouth's phone lines - rather than solving my problem, the two companies used me as a message carrier in their blame war. I gave up, got a cable modem, and haven;t looked back.
  • by Zathrus (232140) on Monday July 21, 2003 @03:18PM (#6492987) Homepage
    That's fine. As long as they offer it to everyone, indiscriminately, at that price. Including internal customers.

    Anything else is price discrimination, which I'd bet is illegal in Canada.

    Offering it at absurd prices will merely kill it outright and drive customers to alternate providers and/or services. This is the entire idea behind deregulation, and if it's implemented properly it can work.

    When it's implemented improperly, however, it becomes a nightmare and causes far more problems than existed previously -- for examples on badly done public utility deregulation see California's electric power dereg or Georgia's natural gas dereg. Either one is a case study in how not to do it, and between the two they've frozen dereg pushes on power or natural gas across the US.
  • From the article:

    ...by refusing to provide retail high-speed Internet services to competitors' customers, incumbent telephone companies are unjustly discriminating against their competitors and giving themselves an undue preference.
    Now don't get me wrong, I'm all for more competition. But "unjustly discriminating against their competitors"? And "undue preference"? Since when is it bad to give your own company "preference", and who are they to say it is "undue"?

    This looks to me like socialism at work under the guise of capitalism. In the one hand, they uphold the virtues of competition, and in the other, they take away the rights of businessmen to decide how they compete. *shrug*
  • by Supero100 (664946) on Monday July 21, 2003 @03:19PM (#6493000)
    Interesting - let the competition begin.

    However, we'll all be wireless before too long, and there will be no place for DSL - unless this market competition drives the overall costs down. Who wants to pay for local phone service (if you're already paying for it with your wireless plan) if you just want DSL, which would then be an additional cost to the local line?

    $30 local phone
    +$60 DSL service
    ($50) Digital Cable + ($45) Cable Internet

    Assumption: You already pay $35 for a cellphone.

    Sure, I'll take 125 channels as a perk for my decision making skills.

    I hope this will make it harder for my decision making skills, it's amazing how quickly you learn that you have 125 channels and nothing is ever on!
  • by syberanarchy (683968) on Monday July 21, 2003 @03:26PM (#6493084) Journal
    Amazing how US governmental organizations only "reign themselves in" when massive corporations benefit as a result...
  • by Realistic_Dragon (655151) on Monday July 21, 2003 @03:26PM (#6493086) Homepage
    We split our national phone company, and it turns out the rates kept going up while the level of service went down.

    We split up our ADSL providers in the UK, and service went up while costs went down with the exception of the services offered by the old monopolist.

    They offer the worst service with the worst reliability at almost the highest cost - now imagine how bad it would be if they had no competition at all?
  • by CausticWindow (632215) on Monday July 21, 2003 @03:28PM (#6493098)

    Most people would consider it a good thing to have more than two media companies in a country as large as the US.

    Mass media equals power. Concentration of power is bad.

    Don't forget that a diverse and critical media is one of the pilars of modern democracy.

  • Re:so... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 21, 2003 @03:32PM (#6493154)
    Cable will always be faster than ADSL, but Sympatico now offers unlimited bandwith.

    Why is high download speed important? As long as pages load, I have no problem. Most websites and download locations don't even offer what you can get from a 1.5mbps connection anyway, why would you need 4mbps? You're not downloading illegal stuff from Kazaa arn't you?
  • Re:yay canadians! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Machine9 (627913) on Monday July 21, 2003 @03:36PM (#6493203) Homepage
    I think you're on to something there...
    what a wonderful place the world could be.

    you think we can convince RedHat to press 3.000.000 cardboard-sleeved 1 CD editions of their flavour of linux? I'm sure at least SOME people would pay for support after installing that.

  • by LordYUK (552359) <jeffwright821@nOspam.gmail.com> on Monday July 21, 2003 @03:37PM (#6493213)
    "Assumption: You already pay $35 for a cellphone.
    Sure, I'll take 125 channels as a perk for my decision making skills."

    One. Phone providers offer a 3-10 (I forget what it was after tax) dollar a month dial tone, which is fine for DSL. If your wonderful "decision making skills" can do the math on that one, you'll realize that if you DONT need actually need the land line, its cheaper to get that instead of paying for a 30 month "DSL connector" (so to speak).

    Two. I wouldnt trade my land line for a cell phone any day. I can call anywhere I want in the US, I dont pay long distance, and the calls are crystal clear. I dont have to worry about charging my phone, or is it "off time (night/weekends)" or is the call going to be disconnected. I can hear the other person, the phone isnt the size of a used bar of soap so I can cradle it without holding it to my ear (and I have a headset too, in case I need "hands free", ie, gaming). Plus I'll never be tempted to drive with the fucking thing stuck to my ear.

  • Re:so... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Malc (1751) on Monday July 21, 2003 @03:37PM (#6493217)
    In my area (Toronto), DSL is much faster than cable. I get 3.5Mbs/800Kbs for about CAD$50. Cable isn't an option as it is only offered one company (Rogers), and it's a horrible one at that.
  • by Z0mb1eman (629653) on Monday July 21, 2003 @03:44PM (#6493272) Homepage
    >and in the other, they take away the rights of businessmen to decide how they compete

    The rules are different when you're a monopoly, and the government is the only one who can enforce that. I don't see how this is socialism while crying foul about Microsoft's actions isn't.
  • Re:so... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Jucius Maximus (229128) <eg3wjmytaz@sn[ ]il.com ['kma' in gap]> on Monday July 21, 2003 @04:02PM (#6493473) Homepage Journal
    "In my area (Toronto), DSL is much faster than cable. I get 3.5Mbs/800Kbs for about CAD$50. Cable isn't an option as it is only offered one company (Rogers), and it's a horrible one at that."

    That DSL is a sweet package, but cable is not quite so 'horrible' as you describe. Rogers cable is 1.5M/256K for $45 and it works just fine. (The intro rate for the first 4 months is $25.) In the short intervals when I lived in Toronto for business purposes (about 7 months) I *never* had a problem with it except ones that were related to my own cable box. (Some assclown tampered with it.) It worked up to the advertised speeds and my bittorrent client was very happy compared to the ultra-lame 28.8 dialup at home. (There is no broadband or even 56K available at home from any provider. Stupid rural areas.)

    Clearly rogers cable is less cost effective than your DSL, but I DSL's hidden cost is that you have to pay for a phone line as well. I just rely on my cell and forego the landline. I only needed rogers long enough to scrap it at the end of getting the intro rate and then move out of TO again, but I can say for sure that it was not 'horrible.'

  • Re:so... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Ominous Coward (106252) on Monday July 21, 2003 @04:04PM (#6493500)
    as a web designer, you should maybe make your files a bit smaller? It'd take less time to upload, regardless of connection, and your site would be more user-friendly, no?
  • Re:so... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Malc (1751) on Monday July 21, 2003 @04:06PM (#6493530)
    "When I need to VNC to a server I wouldn't mind a decent response, rather than an extremely choppy connection.

    Latency, not bandwidth affects VNC the most.
  • by Tumbleweed (3706) on Monday July 21, 2003 @04:10PM (#6493572)
    > But the biggie is socialism. Bad bad bad socialism. Socialism is authoritarian communist crap.

    No. Socialism is socialism, and communism is communism. Equating socialism with communism is typical American ignorance.
  • by asscroft (610290) on Monday July 21, 2003 @04:27PM (#6493725)
    to emigrate. The real land of the free. Issues like this seem to always favor the consumer and small business rather than the conglomerate. Pot is not-illegal. Gays are free to marry while in the US they have to fight to keep the police out of their bedrooms. Not everyone is considered a terrorist until proven otherwise. Unfortunately you are still amazingly too anti-gun for my tastes.

    Seriously, why didn't the big guys win? They always win here. Are your politicians not for sale? Or are your corporations too cheap to buy them?
  • Anti-handgun. They've got more rifles (per capita, obviously) than we do, right?
  • by gobbo (567674) <wrewrite&gmail,com> on Monday July 21, 2003 @06:41PM (#6494749) Journal
    "An uneducated populace is unable/unwilling to go out and provide for themselves, hence you have income disparity."

    I'd like to test that theory, but don't have the time right now to do the literature search. My experience (hanging and working with millionaires and entrepeneurs, hanging and working with ne'er-do-well artists and slackers, living and working with the homeless/street kids/multi-generation impoverished) suggests to me that there are many educated loafers, and that many of the wealthiest are not there by merit; and that an education can often lead to pursuits other than the acquisition of personal wealth.

    I've seen lots of folks who work their asses off doing fundamentally crucial work, and make $22K/yr, and I know plenty who make +$100K but mostly cruise, or put in long hours but it isn't really crucial work. This is the old problem of exchange value (for labour) not being rationalized with use value... never mind danger pay.

    No-one's disproved the industrial theory of skimming surplus value of labour for profits to my satisfaction, if you know of such disproof please direct me to it.

    "I also find the assertion of socialists that the government knows what's good for me better than I do insulting and extremely condescending." I couldn't agree with you more, except that I see that it is primarily 'conservative' governments who tell me what substances I can put in my body, who I can sleep with or marry, what I can watch or read, and who I can worship (or not).

    On the other hand, since any society is implicitly interdependent, we share some of the costs of idiots who dump PCB's in their back yard or can't drive properly, so I'm glad that there's at least some regulation, e.g. the rules of the road! Stay on the right of the yellow line, eh! It's good for you!
  • by Edward Scissorhands (665444) on Monday July 21, 2003 @07:42PM (#6495118)
    Actually if you read the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms [justice.gc.ca] you'll notice that where the Americans believed in "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness", the Canadians wrote "life, liberty and security of the person".

    This is, in many ways, a fundamental concept of socialism. In political thought, the debate between the weighted merits of positive and negative freedoms is seen as elementary and fundamental in law. In Canada, I'm happy to say (as a Canadian) that our judiciary has more often than not interpreted the Charter in such a way so as when ruling on laws that affect the individual only they err on the side of liberty. At the same time, they understand the concept of the "greater social good" and so work to protect society as a whole and, in particular, those who are at the bottom rungs of the economic and social scale.

    I think it's an excellent country that has really gotten it "right".
  • by gobbo (567674) <wrewrite&gmail,com> on Monday July 21, 2003 @10:02PM (#6495923) Journal
    Uh ... RTFP

    You're right, I equated freedom from interference with a kind of protection. In fact, that is what Chapter 11 of NAFTA [citizen.org] is all about -- expansive new rights [canadians.org] for investors [corps, really] wildly beyond the rights of individuals, neighbourhoods, municipalities, regions, civil powers, and even nation states. A lot of people are freaked out [google.com] by this trend of non-interference.

    On the one hand, they regulate (er, interfere), on the other they protect from interference (er, award radical new freedoms). Splitting hairs, I guess.

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