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Canada May Name High-Speed Access "Essential" 346

BurpingWeezer writes: "Whoa. Here's something that caught my eye. The CRTC (Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission) is considering designating high-speed Internet services provided in Canada an essential service. Now before you blow your top that CRTC designation would only set "minimum standards for " ... "service because it is deemed essential to the quality of life in Canada." On the other hand look at what the designation has done for phone service. (Now you can blow your top.) The focus is on the needs of business customers but with residential users in mind. I guess there are enough complaints against Rogers@Home and Bell Sympatico that the CRTC is thinking of flexing its regulatory muscles. Before our American cousins to the south start on government intervention remember that it's because of the CRTC that no high-speed Internet company in Canada is able to charge residential customer more than CAD$50 per month. (I'm told that dirt cheap compared to the U.S.) Many Canadians will welcome this."
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Canada May Name High-Speed Access "Essential"

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  • that's $50 Canadian. (about $32.5 US). Also, note that this is (apparently) the maximum cable & DSL companies can charge for residencial access. I am paying $40 per month (that's $26 US).

  • That's a fine point. I pay $34.95/mo for my cable access (about US$24) with static IP, no port restrictions, unlimited usage and about 400Kb/s. That's all fine and good, but the service absolutely sucks. In the last couple of months the DHCP server has gone down countless times, meaning no IP address for me and so no access. Calling tech suport is no good since you'll stay on hold for an hour or more. So, yes, our access is cheap, and generally really fast, but there are fairly frequent service interruptions for one reason or another. Then again, I suppose that if I had to pay it sounds like people pay down south, I wouldn't have high speed access at all, so maybe this isn't so bad.
  • The original post is a little misleading in that home consumer usage is always under C$50, and is generally only widely available from a handfull of customers. Business access is more expensive, but has more competition - there are many more companies willing to offer a small company ADSL access for C$150/month and up, only a handful of ISP's have tried to compete with the phone company to offer home ADSL for C$40 or less.
    If you want more and are willing to pay for it, there's someone willing to sell it to you. But in the mean time my home ADSL works pretty well and is C$30/month on a promo for 3 months, then it goes up to C$40. That's about US$20 and US$27 respectively.
  • This scares the life out of me. The CRTC has no clue whatsoever about the real world, its a facist organization from hell. My opinion... but my tax dollars help fund their idiocy. The biggest problem I see with CRTC action being motivated by complaints from customers is just that. Customers. Customers who view a failure in routing within some other backbone providers' network as the fault of their ISP. Customers who blow failures out of proportion for their own benefit. Don't get me wrong, I know there are some MASSIVE problems with Rogers@Home (the GlobeandMail.com site is a great research tool for this.. just search for Excite or Rogers or Shaw)... but many people making complaints to the CRTC about "poor service" don't care whose fault it is. They simply want to blame the ISP as a catch-all, and that's wrong.

    It also scares me that the CRTC will listen. They don't care about fault either, they simply want to mandate and legislate. Government intervention will be the death of freedom on the Internet, and it will be the death of many Internet businesses.

    That being said, I have it relatively easy. Rogers customers are apparently getting assraped. I live in a Shaw@Home city, and my service is pretty damn good. Too good for $39.95/month. That's very little money for the kind of bandwidth I get. Its annoying hearing people complaint about how expensive that is. They don't know how good they have it... the impression that comes to mind is "spoiled brats".

    ... my 2 cents.
  • I am:

    1. An Ottawa resident.
    2. An ADSL (3Mb down, 1Mb up) residential customer.
    3. Paying $64.95 CAD / month + tax (that's including the $5 rebate for subscribing on a yearly basis).

    The only reason i can get this service at the speed i do in my area is because i signed up for it very early (when ADSL was brand new). Sympatico won't offer the service to anyone anymore, because they are "loosing money on it" (their words). If i ever cancel it, i can't get it back. I can't even change my phone number (since Sympatico and Bell are so tightly coupled).

    Anybody out there think i should complain, and by so doing, risk loosing what i have?

    P.S. Rumors i have dug up (and am 99% sure are accurate) say that Sympatico will be rolling out a new DSL service in Dec or Jan that will be 3Mb down, 1 Mb up, will cost the same as HSE, and be available to a 3x wider area. They'll be utilizing Alcatel "modems" (hate calling them that).
    Anybody out there want to confirm this?
  • That's why most of the other Western countries have had an ADSL service available for sometime now, and the BT one has only just arrived.
  • For the record, we don't have regulated broadband in Canada. What we have is on near-monopoly that controls the phone line into my house and one near-monopoly that controls the cable co-ax into my house and they both seem to be more interested in competing for signing up new users than competing on the basis of quality of service.
    I haven't had much trouble with my ADSL connection, but when I do (can't connect to the server, etc) I find that they don't even answer the customer support phone #. Likely because they know they have a problem and they're getting too many calls, so they just ignore them. Great, the wonder free-market theory says I should take my business elsewhere...except the only option is the cable company whose reliability is worse and service is equally as bad.
    Perhaps this is because the residential broadband market is newer in Canada but other companies have not rushed into the market, perferring to compete for the business market which has better margins. In the mean time the home market is a pooly served duopoly and while it probably won't be regulated in this way, the threat of regulation may be a motivator for the phone/cable guys to get off their duffs and invest in their infrastructure.
    As a side note, one of the reaons this has come to a head is because both the phone & cable companies are spending huge amounts of money on TV/radio/print adds to recruit new customers, most of which attack the other guy and state how their speed/service is better...but neither of them seems interested in reliability. The CRTC is just giving them a little tap on the shoulder so they'll mind their knitting a little better.

    PS:We're supposedly getting a wireles broadband service in Toronto in 2001 as well, but info. is sketchy right now.
  • A quick list, off the top of my head:

    Ask this question in ott.online for more answers.

    Kind Regards,
  • I pay about $50 US for 600 Kbps DSL service with a full service ISP including shell access and web space. That $50 covers both the line and the ISP charge. From what I understand, if I were using the local Cable broadband solutions it would be $10-$20 cheaper...which sounds approximately like $50 Canadian.
  • There is no competition as the only phone company is also the only broadband company. I tend to think that were BT setup today from scratch, rather than being ex Govenment, the guy would be lucky to get a phone.

    Of course, nobody is willing to do that, they get too many perceived benefits (for example, your broadband service) by having socialists in office. Sort of like them cutting your hair for you as long as they're raping you from behind anyway.
    Unlike unfettered competition, where you have to pay to get your hair cut while being raped from behind.
  • "In rural areas such as Canada"

    You should know better than that. =)
  • Give up Aurthur, the Facist Alliance Party of Canada is not going to win. Most Canadians don't hold your Ultra-libertarian, Ayn Rand-esque views. I guess most of us ARE "socialists" (which explains why the NDP has formed sooo many national governments!!). I also sumise this is whu Canada has been voted "the best country in the world to live in" for about 7 of the last 10 years.

    If you don't like it, don't live here. Stay in the States. We don't want you anyway!!

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Sure but remember if you are in a high tax braket in Canada (over 60K canadian) which is peanuts in american dollars... you will pay 52% income tax. If the social system worked (I.E. you did not have to wait 6 months for a CAT scan and uneplyment insurance was fair...) it would be less of a problem. The fact is they have to keep it bellow 50$ because no one could afford it... I am an IT wroker in Canada and I am getting the hell out of here...
  • I live in a town in the North of England. No DSL, no cable. The only connectivity options are telephone or ISDN. The latter is fairly expensive, and, given past experiences at work, not very reliable.

    Our government body for telecommunications, OFTEL, has done little regarding roll-out of DSL. The South (suprise, suprise) gets priority in DSL rollouts so far, and OFTEL have been lax in getting British Telecom in unbundling the local loop.

    Our government has promised something, but our current government are a bunch of charalatans, and almost everything they promised in their elecetion manifesto has failed to be delivered.

    I could always move.

  • In the right direction. I'm continually surprised how many people are still treating the internet as "that internet thingy"

    Without high speed access, much of the internet is limited, and limitations are what turn people off. Someone with a high speed connection raves about a site and someone with a low speed connection visits it, and is turned off by the fact that 6 pages take 35 minutes to load and read. If we could get high speed access to be the norm, we can move forward even faster. Whenever I get presented with a "what can I do with a website" my answer is always the same -- Anything, the only limitations are time, money, and bandwidth. My god, how would I like to remove the bandwidth problem. What a world that would open up.

  • You can't blame someone for using windows, what with the monopoly and all. Heck, I'm using windows right now. At least I'm using Netscape, though. Long live browser wars! (Maybe we'll get a good one out of the competition.)
  • ... Or does this only apply in certain areas? Does someone have a link to the appropriate CRTC position/ruling?
  • First lets clear some things up: The $50 price that was quoted isn't really enforced because you can pay more for business plans. For consumers we pay about $35-40 Cdn per month for service.
    As far as QoS goes my friend got a cable modem recently and for his first month of service he didn't have a connection for half of it... well it worked the first week though. I also know people who have DSL and are very happy with it and rarely have connection problems.
    The biggest difference between the two services is that DSL has competition while cable is run by one company in the area(there used to be two companies but they killed one off to make our lives easier). Sure cable competes against DSL now but they are in no hurry to improve the service since the demand is increasing and I don't know of too many people who switch high speed connections once they get one.
    I'm currently looking for high speed service and I would have gone cable if they were reliable... instead I get to choose between wireless or DSL.
    What I would like to see is the usuage statistics for these services. If they force them to reveal how much bandwidth you get along with things like ping rates, uptime, subscribers sharing the connection(for cable at least), etc. then it would be a nice step towards better QoS.
  • Maybe they will finally force videotron to take off the stupid quotas that they force on all teir cable users (6gb down, 1gb up)
  • Foreseeing the flod of Americans wanting to move to Canada we've created a form that you can fill in before you arrive.

    It can be downloaded here [userfriendly.org].

  • At least we will be able to GET mail (or medical service). We won't be turned away from the ISP because we haven't been able to afford $400 US per month for "insurance" for my family (an accurate quote from my sister living in Arkansas for HMO coverage or what every you call your for profit medical system).

    Sometimes pure capitalism and pure socialism(communism) is NOT the answer...there is a "third way" and we practice it. As does Norway, Sweden and a great many other countries in the world....just because it's not the "make as much profit as you can and people be damned" American way doesn't mean it's wrong.

  • :)

    Furthermore, if the government is going to do this let's make it an opportunity for consumers to form action groups and put pressure on the government to organize it right. Citizen monitoring groups for quality of service, etc.

  • If Canadians can have it for CAD$50 why can't Americans get it for that cheap too?

    I don't know if there is some big difference in the value of CAD$50 vs. USD$50, but I do know that I pay $50USD a month for ADSL, but I could get it for $40 a month were I to go with the local telco (I wouldn't get a static IP though.) Also, I think cable access is pretty cheap too. Probably around $40 a month.

    What I want to know is who, and why, in the U.S. is anyone paying more than $50. The article appeared to be talking about DSL and cable, not a T3 line coming into your house.

  • I disagree, everyone knows that CAD $50.00 is like $2.00 in US Funds. :)
  • And remember, the one big thing that our taxes pay for that Americans don't have is universal health care. While cracks are forming, you won't be refused treatment at a hospital because you can't pay. Our health-care isn't up to the standards of the finest private American clinics, but anyone in our country can go to a doctor for any reason at any time. While private clinics are being illeagally opened, the government claims to be fighting that. EVERYONE in our coutry gets the same great, FREE healthcare. We aren't as good as Britain, but what can ya do?
  • $50USD is about $75CAD. (Actually, since the lonnie's been dropping, more now). Even your low rate of $40USD is equivalent to about $60CAD, meaning that your high speed access costs about 15-50% more than ours.
  • by kevin805 ( 84623 ) on Tuesday November 21, 2000 @12:24AM (#610471) Homepage
    And what if you wanted a service that they couldn't provide at $50/month? "Sorry, nothing we can do..."

    Government intervention can provide a benefit in one area ( e.g. some subsidized service ), but it is never without a cost at least as great as the benefit ( e.g. higher tax rates ).

    In the abscence of regulation, people do business wherever it is mutually beneficial. Regulation means that people are prohibited from engaging in some mutually beneficial action, therefore it's bad overall.

    Monopolies are in some respects a different story, but keep in mind that the majority of monopolies are a product of government regulation, not of the free market.
  • ...the Candian gov't (or at least this org) isn't a wholly-owned subsidiary of any particular industry...
  • I'll just point to Standard Oil, US Steel and a multitude of other exampes of a 'free market' at work, which it was back then. Unrestrained competition and battle ultimately produces a winner, and his reward is monopoly up until he gets lazy and taken over by a younger, more dynamic enemy (ie, a new company with bright ideas, low overhead, etc.)

    Well that's part of the problem, see once a company gets big, it gets slow. The leasing world is a beautiful example of this. So much falls through the cracks just because companies like GE Capital can't move fast enough, giving the smaller comanies plenty to profit off of. Setting aside the railroads (which obviously were never true monopolies anyway, hence the plural, but are probably industries that would become natural monopolies), two large monopolies hardly seems to be a stunning argument in favor of regulation.

    I know, you said "a multitude of other examples," and I'm thinking, but all I can come up with to add to that is AT&T, which did have an awful lot of regulation helping it along. Microsoft is obviously not a true monopoly (mono meaning one, Linux, Mac, BeOS, etc. being more than one).

    So sure, every once in a while you'll see a monopoly arise through the free market, but a heck of a lot more often you see it in regulation (see the poster below you for a few examples of government sponsored monopolies, and add to that anyone who's selling anything they've got a patent on).

  • Reliable, carrier grade high speed internet connections are a must before voice over IP can be considered a real alternative to conventional phone lines. Regulators by making high speed internet an essential service would by the same token remove one of the major hurdles that has prevented voice over IP to replace conventional analog phone lines so far. I can't wait to ditch my local telco :)
  • Only business segments that have a high barrier to entry gravitate towards monopolies. A free market (in its most abstract concept) assums a low to no barrier to entry, and thus is able to maintain an equilibrium between price and providor.
  • It's been pointed out before, but that's really not fair. Taiwan is DENSE. When you see 388 people/km^2, you're not seeing that 2/3 of the island's land mass is completely unpopulated. Taipei city and environs is 6,000,000 people in (roughly) a 20km circle. Kaohsiung is smaller but similar. Hit those two cities plus Taoyuan and Hsinchu and you've provided infrastructure for 90% of the population.
  • As a Canuck with a Rogers@Home connection for the last 3 years (wow has it been that long?), my take on this is that the CRTC would like to ensure that when I pay my $50 a month, that I am paying for and receiving a quality service. Rogers@Home has serious network and traffic problems. It's not uncommon to not receive any e-mail for a week...The CRTC wants these providers to be as responsible and responsive as the phone companies are. If my phone is down/unavailable/has a crappy signal for any amount of time, and I call Telus (my phone company) about it, Telus automatically credits my account to compensate me (for example, I shouldn't have to pay for three days of unusable phone service). However, the same is not always true with Rogers@Home. When I can't surf or send/receive emails for an extended period of time, I can't call them up and say "adjust my monthly bill please".
  • This isn't so much about pricing as it is forcing high speed providers to expand their service areas. Given the Canadian vision that you shouldn't have to move for a job, etc. but services should be provided as much as possible whereever you are, this is really about bringing high speed to smaller communities instead of just the profitable urban areas.

    Now if I can just get high speed access from the cottage I'm outta here! Telecommuting is for me! Damn that would be sweet.

  • by uradu ( 10768 ) on Tuesday November 21, 2000 @07:14AM (#610485)
    God, both sides can sometimes go to obscene extremes. Government regulation can provide a minimum base service for the Important Things In Life. That's why you can get basic analog phone service anywhere in the US, because the phone company MUST provide it. That's why the mail man will drive out to your hog farm in the middle of Iowa and deliver your NRA membership renewal, because the Post Office MUST render that service. In many of these mandatory service cases, the companies in question might wince and squirm and provide the shittiest service they can dream up, but they do provide it.

    On the other hand, when they smell money, they need no regulation. Multiple companies enter lucrative markets and compete to the blood. That's why in large population centers it's easy to get cable modems and ADSL. That's also why you will never see high speed internet access in many areas of the country. In many rural parts of the US you can't even get cable TV, and you probably never will. Same holds for cell phone service and other non-essential services.

    Saying that regulation is ALWAYS bad is nonsense. Lifeline services such as phone, mail and electricity MUST be regulated, otherwise only the convenient-to-service people will have them. As time passes, new services might be deemed essential and start being regulated. Maybe one day internet service will be essential to life in modern society (we seem to be moving that way already), and it will become mandatory to render that service. That's what happened to phone service, which used to be a luxury only one hundred years ago.
  • The original post mentioned business as the focus, although it did say that consumers were in mind. I work for a company that would consider its broadband connection essential (it's an e-fulfillment company).

    Now tell me, as an e-fullfillment company do you get your bandwidth via a cable modem or consumer grade DSL(the type that has the price cap in Canada)? Or do you pay a little more for your connection to get some sort of contractual garuntee on speed and uptime?

    What I do see as a useful quasi-regulatory function for the CRTC or FCC is as a type of telecomm complaint department for home users and small businesses to go to when the cable company/telco is dragging their feet or otherwise being a dick. I think someone in another post said he'd had good luck using the CRTC as such a stick to beat providers with when not delivering.
  • CAD$50 is like 50 cents in the US. :)

    Seriously, though, using the current exchange rate, CAD$50 is about USD$32.

  • Please, your taxes are paying for the CRTC. Your taxes will now pay for the ongoing monitoring of rates from Bridgwater, NS to La Pas, MAN. And knowing the efficiencies of gov.ca I am sure they will fly thier reps coast to coast on your tax dollar, first class. But hey their worth it, right? The best thing the CRTC and the rest of the Provincial and Federal government bodies could do for Canadian business is get the hell out of it. A free market economy (ecomonics 101) benefits everyone.
  • Free markets *want* to destroy themselves with monopolies. All businesses gravitate towards monopolies. It is simply a law of survival. So you *must* put in place some sort of restrictions so that "harmful" monopolies cannot form. And when I say harmful, I mean doing more harm to the consumer than the same amount of product and services provided by separate companies. I think if you have a "benificent" monopoly, where consumers are only benefitted, then it is a matter of philosophy whether that is allowed. But I think the nature of monopolies is that they generally do *not* benefit the consumer. Now enter in government-run/regulated monopolies. You immediately (or so it goes) make a harmful monopoly "benificent", by policy, by law. Of course this is only as true as how much you trust the government. Given a fully trusted government, theoretically, socialized monopolies may be just fine. Things are complicated if you allow companies to influence or dictate politics. Then it becomes a chicken and egg problem: you cannot fully trust government because it is being influenced by corporate power, yet you need government to legislate against corporate influence of politics.

    And that, I believe, is the current state of the US political system. Which should explain my sig.
  • We have several companies providing it under regulation. Rogers, shaw, bell and telus all provide broadband. However it is overly regulated, and keeps out other companies.

    Since degregulation of the telephone industry the cost of telephone service has decreased dramaticly, mostly because I use long distance a lot. The dregulation of broadband might bother some people for a bit, but would eventually be far better.
  • So regulated, deregulated, I don't care - whatever gives me more choice is what I want!

    All I can say is this, about 3 years ago the telco market in Anchorage was completely deregged, the local monopoly was revoked and within a month we had two new local providers. GCI (a LD provider, recently turned LEC) bought the cable company soon after and began rolling out broadband on the cable network within six months, for businesses and people out of cable range they began offering DSL. The established LEC, ATU (now ACS) started offering DSL real quick after GCI rolled out the first cable modems. Before deregulation it was an exercise in pain to try to get even so much as a ISDN connection for your home/business, way overpriced T1's were a cash cow for ATU and they saw no reason to compete with themselves. Of course your deregulation milage may very. ;->
  • What I'd like to see is internet connectivity taken more seriously when it comes to downtime. When your phone goes out, your power goes out, or even your cable TV goes out, someone is usually at your house to fix it within 24 hours. When your cable modem goes out (I have @Home) they tell you that they can have someone there in two weeks. TWO WEEKS?!?! Fortunately, a call to the local cable office can get you someone sooner, but most people don't know that, and the local office will always try to send anyone with a problem to the national number. If you make a pain in the ass of yourself, they'll get out there in a day or two.

    With the growing number of people using the 'net for communications, shopping, auctions, paying bills, etc., when will it become a "critical" service, to the point that companies will fix it ASAP when there is a problem?

    Am I just overreacting because I'm a high-end user, and most people don't care if their net access is down for half a month? I don't think so, but it's hard to say...
  • by Zoop ( 59907 ) on Tuesday November 21, 2000 @05:46AM (#610505)
    Standard Oil, US Steel and a multitude of other exampes of a 'free market'

    Yes, what examples of the 'free market' do you have? The ones you mention were granted subsidies or negotiated special licenses with the U.S. government. They had special protective laws passed. The government has a nasty history of subsidizing businesses until they get to monopoly size, then looking at their Frankenstein market and saying "the free market doesn't work! Look at that evil thing it created! Clearly, we have to intervene."

    If government wouldn't interfere in the first place, few of the oft-cited monopolies (ALCOA - created by government fiat during WWII, the rail barons - again created by subsidy and licensing, etc.) would have arisen. In fact, the only monopoly that I can think of that doesn't have government help is Microsoft.

    The reason wireless is so prominent in Europe is that the government-provided telephone service is unreliable, expensive, hard-to-get, and inflexible. Yet these telcos were created with the same reasoning that Canada is using for broadband.

    Let's face it, if you didn't have the US on your border driving down prices through ruthless competition, you'd still be going ga-ga over the pushbutton phone.
  • Comapre sapples with apples my American friend...that's $50 Canadian. That's about $33 US.

    Well, I pay $30 US/mo for Cablevision's Optimum Online. It's real nice, too at 5 Mbs down and 1 Mbs up.

    What you don't say in this $50/mo fee is what the taxes will be, whether it includes equipment rental, etc.

  • Let's face it, if you didn't have the US on your border driving down prices through ruthless competition, you'd still be going ga-ga over the pushbutton phone.

    Let's face it, if you didn't have Canadians around, you wouldn't have telephones, period. Ever heard of Alexander Graham Bell (Bell as in Bell Telephone), the guy who invented the phone? He was Canadian.

    That said, I'm against government regulation in most cases. Currently, to get ADSL in BC (a province in Canada) takes months. If Telus was allowed to charge whatever they wanted, it would be more expensive, but there would be much less waiting... Those who were willing to pay more would get the service first. Later, the cost would come down and everyone would be onboard.
  • Can someone moderate the previous comment up please- some VERY valid points from someone who actually lives in rural Canada and has experience of bandwidth issues. Cheers.


  • Great.. now i'll have to go through the gov't to file a complaint against Videotron's crappy cable service. More paperwork, more bullshit, more downtime.
  • One of the principles of Adam Smith's free market was that the market consisted of multiple small, local companies in competition. Monopolies, near monopolies and multi-regional (not to mention multi-national) companies tend to distort a true free market economy. Smith might be rolling over in his grave over what's going on in his name.

    As far as I'm concerned (and I don't think I'm too far off of what Smith intended), large companies aren't that much different than government intervention. In either case, you have bureaucrats deciding what's going to happen in some remote location depending on semi-random criteria (often including what makes the most money for someone far remote from the actual work being done).

    BTW: monopolies don't require that there be absolutely no other competition. Perfect monopolies rarely exist. The closer you get to them the more likely that they're the result of some sort of government regulation. An effective monopoly (a la M$) simply requires an overwhelming control of the bulk of the market such that you can act as if you wer pretty much the only player in the market.

    For a monopoly's actions to be declared illegal like MS was, it requires both an overwhelming control of the market, and actions to maintain that overwhelming control over the market at cost to both customers and current or impending competition.

    In other words: for a monopoly to take illegal actions pretty much requires some sort of competition to take action against (either actual or latent competition is fine).

  • by 91degrees ( 207121 ) on Tuesday November 21, 2000 @12:27AM (#610549) Journal
    Don't you see what will happen if we don't have it even for a few minutes? People will die! Everyone will starve to death. The universe will end!
  • Let's see...


    • Land area: 32,000 sq.km.
    • Population: approx 22,000,000 (1995)
    • Pop. Density: 688 residents/sq.km.


    • Land area: 10,000,000 sq.km.
    • Population: approx 30,000,000
    • Pop. Density: 3 (not a typo: THREE) residents/sq.km.

    Canada has a landmass roughly 300 times larger than Taiwan. However, our population is a meagre 8 million larger. Just look at the population density. Of course it's easier to provide services to your residents if they're spaced so close together. We could fit ALL of Taiwan into just Nova Scotia (our second smallest province) and still have room for all of New Hampshire.

    Providing and servicing links across vast, empty corridors of this country is prohibitively expensive.

    The comparison just isn't valid.


  • i think it would be in everybody's interest if governments would take this even one step further:
    high-speed internet access points should become part of building stadards, pretty much the same way power points and plumbing is.

    if the industry is forced to comply, everyone will scramble [after outcries and court challenges of course] to get a piece of the action.

    once it's normal that everyone only needs to plug-in a sufrving device to connect to the net, the digital divide will vanish - pretty much the same way as every houshold has tv and most have phone connections, if the net 'jack' is there and people only plug in to surf, they will give it a shot. especially if the monthly fees can not exceed a government enforced amount.

    but then, this is good for the people and the countrry - ie. the U.S. would rather start a war with someone than implementing something that makes sense - and wasn't their idea to begin with...
  • Those who will trade a little freedom for security will lose both, and deserve neither.
    (Jefferson or Franklin).

    I guess you just need to make sure that your cell is plush and comfortable, and then you don't mind living in slavery.

  • There's an interesting side effect to socialized health care:
    If I breake my arm in Canada, I go to the hospital and head home with a cast.

    If I do that in the States, I go home with a cast and a bill for $1,200. At that point it's worthwhile to hire a lawyer to figure out who's fault the broken arm is. By the time the dust settles, the cost of the broken arm can be up in the $15K range.

    A notable example of the difference between Canadian and US health care came up with the baby abandoned in Calgary this summer. The note said that the child had never been to a doctor because the mother didn't expect him to live very long.

    Fear of "wasting" money on a sick child is not a dilema that a Canadian mother would have to face. It would be unthinkable to do anything other than go to the doctor and at least find out what it took to make sure that you child had as comfortable life as possible.

    Being sick, and not being able to visit a doctor is not a seirous worry for Canadians (as long as we manage to maintain our health system).

  • by Anonymous Coward
    And what if you wanted a service that they couldn't provide at $50/month? "Sorry, nothing we can do..."

    Obviously not, nutbutt. You become a 'business customer.'

    Government intervention can provide a benefit in one area ( e.g. some subsidized service ), but it is never without a cost at least as great as the benefit ( e.g. higher tax rates ).

    Wrong there, sorry. The cdn government is not subsidizing anything. In this case the government is saying: "look, you punk companies have a defacto monopoly in most cases. don't gouge the customers and we'll leave you alone for the most part. give them a really good deal and that'll be even better." No one is losing here except for, possibly, the shareholders.

    In the abscence of regulation, people do business wherever it is mutually beneficial. Regulation means that people are prohibited from engaging in some mutually beneficial action, therefore it's bad overall.

    The whole point of what the crtc said was that, if left unchecked, this 'vital' service could become beneficial only to the company. When you have monopolies like the cable and adsl co's, there is no such thing as mutually beneficial.

  • Wow, you're so clever to know that New Hampshire isn't that big.

    Maybe if you were a little more clever, you'd realize that there are entire countries smaller than New Hampshire and that I was just trying to drive home a point with something closer to home. Israel, for example, is actually smaller than New Hampshire.


  • My local rates have gone up, but but it is small compared to the savings on long distance. The reason that local rates have gone up however is that local calling is still a regulated monopoly. The local phone companies use reduced long distance revenues as an excuse to raise the local rates.
  • You're arguing with reality, and that's an argument you'll always loose, you should know that by now.

    The fact is that people living in remote places, such as the farmers that you mention, are also often economically depressed (and I don't mean psychologically), and couldn't necessarily afford the real cost of obtaining that service. While the necessity of phone service might potentially be debatable (the government considers it essential), the same isn't true about other services: electricity, water, mail service, health care etc.

    Of course the expense of subsidizing these services is carried by someone else, amongst others you. While some people (such as yourself) take offense at paying a penny for someone else, thankfully there is a sufficient majority of us who think it the duty of a civilized society, and we will do our best to keep it that way.
  • Would you rather we assure healthy competition and high quality service or extreme cometition and no quality?

    When you put it like that it sounds great, unfortuanatly that is the paranoid extream left view and does not reflect reality. The truth is that there is not such thing as healthy competition with regulated industries. The overall cost is the same, if not higher, and the quality of service tends to be far lower. When a company has no control over what it can charge, it will reduce its quality of service. Have you ever waited in line to renew your licence plate, or waited three hours on hold to a phone monopoly? The idea of industry consolidation is just a scare tactic that has not happened.

    And if you live in BC have you ever dealt with ICBC? That is an another excellent example of low quality of service.

  • I get ADSL, in a town pop. 40K, for $45/mo, including modem rental. If I were to purchase my own modem, I'd pay under $35.

    This is, of course, the same rate paid by people in the little town of Lumby, population 3000.

    I wonder how many 3000-person towns in the USA have ADSL. Seems like you can't get away from it in BC...

  • To a large extent things work exactly like you're describing them. In rural areas a lot of commodities ARE more expensive; are you suggesting that in Harmony the gas, milk, bread, video tapes etc are subsidized as well? Get real!

    We're talking about lifeline services, necessities of life: phone service, electricity, mail service, etc. It's not a matter of whether they would be more expensive than in urban areas, but rather whether they would be available at all. If a community such as Harmony had to fully bear the cost of these services, they wouldn't have phone service or electricity AT ALL. It's not a matter of $100 versus $30 for a service, but of millions of dollars versus $30. Calculate the cost of running a line from the nearest larger conurbation out to a CO in Harmony, and of running a line out to each house, and of paying the staff at the CO. Then divide it all by 17.

    There's no question that for some people it's a perk to live out in the sticks, a lifestyle choice. But for many others it's a heritage, or a function of society that they fulfill by being farmers or what have you. As long as rural areas produce some sort of goods, they require local people to produce them. And as long as people congregate in a community by necessity, others will follow just because there's a community there. It's called the pioneer spirit, and it's funny to hear it knocked by Americans themselves.
  • by dark_panda ( 177006 ) on Tuesday November 21, 2000 @11:25AM (#610589)
    Broadband is going to be big in Canada. Big. The federal government announced last month (via the Ministry of Industry) that all communities would have access to broadband Internet by the year 2004. The initiative is called Connecting Canadians.

    A good press release, issued last month, can be found at here [ic.gc.ca]
    . Definitely something I want to see progress, although if the CRTC gets into it too deeply, things will probably go awry.

  • I think it's only fair to point out that something on the order of 90% of the population lives within a couple hundred kilometers of the 49th parallel. When you ignore all the massively unpopulated landmass, the *typical* density is quite a bit higher than 3 residents/sq.km.

    Though it's still very, very low. :)

    (And still those poor bastards out in NoWhereNoHow, Manitoba, get phone service. Amazing!)

  • "But if the market itself is pricing it that low, then why would you need a government regulation stipulating that it's below $50? It would seem to be creating an unnecessary bureaucracy"

    Ugh. It's not like we create a beuro of price-fixing at the CRTC. They just say you can't charge more than 50$ Cdn. It doesn't mean they can't charge less as competition works, it just means they can't go and put a gun to your head and charge you a lot. Think of how much better off a lot of people in the US would be if they had a similar price control on drugs.

    Anyways, in Saskatchewan, there are two broadband providers: Sasktel, and Shaw cable service. Shaw started and stayed as 40$/month. Sasktel started as 90$/month. They also forced you into service contracts. Essentially, everyone jumped ship to Shaw. Their prices remained at 90$/month. Then about 6-10 months ago, their prices dropped to 44.95$/month.

    So in a way it made them more competitive. Otherwise, Sasktel would've had a chicken/egg problem with obtaining subscribers. They can and do still charge > 50$ for some of their access packages, but now there's a "ground floor" for the great unwashed to get in on. I think too often you Americans are blinded to "changes which mean to grow the Social environment" and consider it pure "unnecessary bureaucracy." It's not, it's just how we live.
  • The $50 mentioned in the original article was in Canadian funds. CDN$50 ~= US$32 which is quite a bit cheaper than the prices you list (FreeDSL excluded).

    And it's often cheaper than that. The cheapest service in Saskatchewan (that I know of) is 1Mbps both ways, 2 static IPs, 5 e-mail addresses, and unlimited bandwidth for around US$25.
  • ...this has been said long ago. In Sweden, government is pouring money into it, actually building (at least planning) a high-speed network in the country. Norway is just hoping that the marketplace will do it. I don't think they will come up with satisfactory solutions, and apparently the big firms building infrastructure will also lock people in, force them to use their portals, watch their banner ads, and so on. I would personally prefer Sweden's model, where it is more likely that small companies can compete with the large one, securing freedom of choice.
  • Discriminating against rural areas is as unacceptable as discriminating against, say, hispanic areas or native american areas.

    That's ridiculous.

    DSL, for example, only works up to about 15,000 feet from the central office (more for IDSL). Do you mean to say that urban users shouldn't benefit from DSL because people 10 miles from the nearest central office wouldn't be able to get it? That is what you are advocating, I think, and the result would be no service for anyone, or very expensive service for those willing to pay those high rates.

    Rural areas are necessarily costly to serve. Unless you think it's good social policy for urban users to subsidize those people who live there, in which case something more like the US Universal Service Fund makes sense, I think you'll be stuck paying at least some of those added costs. I for one think this is fair; as a city dweller, I pay many other higher costs (food, parking, rent, etc.) - why should I additionally subsidize someone who lives in an area where these costs are lower, even though certain services (telecom) are more expensive?

  • by kevin805 ( 84623 ) on Tuesday November 21, 2000 @12:50AM (#610605) Homepage
    Let's see, monopolies I deal with:

    • Gas Company
    • Electric Company
    • Cable Company
    • Post Office

    Why isn't the phone company on the list? Because my area is now deregulated. I have AT&T local digital service. What do all those have in common? You haven't got a prayer of entering the market because of the red tape. I think Cable is officially open, the other three are offically monopolies. The post office is the only company legally permitted to carry non time critical letters in the United States.

    I don't list Microsoft because I don't do business with them. I have a Microsoft mouse, but Microsoft does not have a monopoly on mice. Given that I have a computer and don't do business with Microsoft, it sort of implies that they aren't a monopoly, no doesn't it?

    So I've got 3 sort of natural monopolies that are definitely helped along by the government, and one that is in no way a natural monopoly but exists anyway because of the government. Then I have one supposed monopoly that isn't. I don't feel any need to retract my claim.
  • It depends. Your bandwidth could *be* your telephone line by the time they're finished. If IP telephony became commonplace enough, I might cancel my phone services.

    .. still looking forward to being able to plug my phone directly into my hub...
  • I had the opportunity to call the CRTC when my ISP was having trouble allocating a DSL port for my new company. While the CRTC has (at this time) no regulatory control over High speed Internet Access, the CRTC offered to make an 'informal' call to Telus on my behalf. Like magic, 27 ports appeared in my CO the VERY next day.

    Corporations who have had any experience with the CRTC know that they wield a big stick, and know how to use it. This would be a welcome relief, as I am currently fed up with my crappy @Home cable connect (excellent pack loss), and the emails I receive from them saying that 'It is a known issue, and technicians are busy working on correcting the problem'.

    I hope that the CRTC *does* take control, and *does* force the larger Internet providers (like Telus/DSL and Rogers/Cable) to start treating customers with the respect they deserve.
  • Government intervention can provide a benefit in one area ( e.g. some subsidized service ), but it is never without a cost at least as great as the benefit ( e.g. higher tax rates ).

    What is not happening here is "subsidized service" what the gov' is going to say is "you cannot extort the population into paying high prices without any accountability of reasonable quality service" - I dont know anyone who is willing to say that it there is real competition in the communications industry - sure for your 'provider' but what about the network and physical services? Is it _REALLY_ possible to pick up and move to someone else if the service providers in your area offer 'sub'services? Of course not. These systems must are really part of the essential infrastructure of the country, and in Canada, we care about the community and the general well being of other people, so we therefore say "If you are going to do business here, if you are going to have the opportunity to make 'profit' providing this essential service to our community we ask that you do so with a reasonable level of commitment to the community itself.". Doing business and making profits providing infrastructure services does come with responsibility - not every business should be the free-for-all that American's believe.

    In the absence of regulation, people do business wherever it is mutually beneficial. Regulation means that people are prohibited from engaging in some mutually beneficial action, therefore it's bad overall.

    This is a display of baseless opinion - please offer some support to this very broad generalized statement. I disagree.

    Monopolies are in some respects a different story, but keep in mind that the majority of monopolies are a product of government regulation, not of the free market.

    Monopolies also occur through natural processes of capitalism and competition. What happens when a business becomes very successful (in possibly honest ways) where it becomes so large that the barrier to entry into that market is VERY HIGH and this company is able to purchase all the smaller competing businesses in the industry? This is a monopoly - it occurs 'without regulation'. It occurs as the end result of capitalism. I think if you have a look at industry, business in general in America you will see this is very obvious. I do recognize that there are anti-trust laws that will stop situations like this (American Bell split up as an example) but in the last 100 years of hyper-mega-capitalism can you think of many more instances? You are going to find that business has become wise about anti-trust and has managed to buy enough influence in the American government to avoid that in the future. Do you really feel that America's business climate is truly competitive? The level of collusion and 'deal making' (price fixing - 'cooperation' and 'partnerships'1) at all levels is an example that the present businesses are simply coalescing and solidifying into one unit.
  • Comapre sapples with apples my American friend...that's $50 Canadian. That's about $33 US.
    Ummm... I was comparing apples to apples. I converted everything to Canadian currency, while you converted everything to American currency.
    My Rogers@home costs me $36 Canadian (about $24 US) because I also happened to be one of their cable subscribers. The average price for DSL/cable internet is around $35-40 Canadian (as advertised in most of the local computer newspapers here in Ottawa).
    Glad to hear it! I wish I could get it for that kind of a price!

    But if the market itself is pricing it that low, then why would you need a government regulation stipulating that it's below $50? It would seem to be creating an unnecessary bureaucracy

  • by jburroug ( 45317 ) <slashdotNO@SPAMacerbic.org> on Tuesday November 21, 2000 @01:17AM (#610653) Homepage Journal
    I'm sorry while I can agree that telephones should be considered an essential service mainly for contacting emergency services, I just don't see broadband as an essential service that needs to be regulated for QoS like the phone network. It's not as if a cable modem outage could cost someone their life (aghh Bob's having a heart attact, call 911, shit the dsl is down again, sorry bob) About the only thing you could really lose from a cable modem outage is money and if rock solid 24/7/365 uptime is essential to your business your web server shouldn't be plugged into the cable modem and sitting your living room.

    On the other hand the 5 and 8 days of outages per month quoted in the article are just plain unacceptable, if my cable modem service were that bad I switch to DSL in a heartbeat, but then again I pay $40US (actually $60 but I pay extra for a static IP and a "double speed" cable modem, well worth the expense to run acerbic.org out of my living room ;-) for my service, which means my ISP can afford redundent equipment and enough staff to keep things humming. In the 18 months or so I've had the cable modem I've had maybe 5 days of downtime that weren't the fault of some piss poor wiring in my building, maybe 10 days of downtime that were due to the wiring and 7 of those were in my first month of service as they were trying to nail down the problem. Pretty damn good service considering that I live in the unregulated US. I should also point out that I do live in Alaska, so the climate and infrastructure is probably less forgiving than in eastern Canada.

    I'd also like to point out that I have my choice of two DSL providors and one cable modem provider, this is true for all of Anchorage and any community within 60-70 miles of Anchorage. Statewide nearly every city/town/village with >5k people has at least one broadband option. Plus AT&T has chosen Anchorage to be a test market in 2001 for a wireless broadband pilot program, if nothing else that'll encourage even more spee/price competition. Ah the joys of fast, reliable, reasonably priced, unregulated broadband. For all geeks across Canada I truely hope you manage to get rid of regulated broadband.

  • by Pink Daisy ( 212796 ) on Tuesday November 21, 2000 @01:19AM (#610659) Homepage
    But this is a Good Thing. The job of government isn't to do everything for us, but to put all people on a better grounds to compete. For many small businesses, that is high speed Internet access. For many people in remote areas, better Internet access means better access to basic educational resources. The CRTC has done a good job with telecom; in Canada we have a lot of competition, and prices are good. As for the $50 (Canadian!) cap on consumer broadband, we still get better service than the vast majority of Americans are able to get. I think the CRTC has been pretty reasonable with this, as we have a lot of competition in the broadband market (I can get @Home, Bell Sympatico DSL, or DSL from a number of other third parties, all in the $50 or less range). That wouldn't be there if there was no money to be made in it.
  • The reason wireless is so prominent in Europe is that the government-provided telephone service is unreliable, expensive, hard-to-get, and inflexible. Yet these telcos were created with the same reasoning that Canada is using for broadband.

    And Canada is using the same reasoning for broadband as it is for standard telephone service - and I have never, EVER heard a single good thing about an American telco. Ours, however, are simply beautiful. I can call some places in the US for cheaper than other Americans (even ones that live in the same state sometimes), my phone service will always cost $20/mo, and will always work. If it breaks, Telus will be out here to fix it within a day at the most.

    Compare this to a friend in Seattle. They had two phone lines, with extra services on one line (call display, call waiting, etc) that they didn't want. They call the telco to get those services removed. Telco says they'll take those services off. What happens? Their OTHER phone line gets CUT OFF. I was amazed when I heard this, and asked her if she'd called them to have it fixed. She proceeded to tell me that they had called to have it fixed several times over the last six months, and nothing had happened

    Another occasion (since remedied): I compared DSL (1.5 down, 640 up) last year, between NW Bell and Telus. Telus charged about $40/month CDN to provide this service, while NW Bell charged approx. $230 I believe (Canadian or American, that's still far too much) to provide it in Seattle. That's just sad.

    I'm not trying to US-bash (though these are examples I use when I feel so inclined), but when you compare our regulated telcos to your unregulated telcos, I think the differences are obvious. Yes, it's a shame that the CTRC has to stick their nose into our broadband access, because look what it's done to our telephone companies.


  • Being able to make your own choices about how to spend your money is a right though

    I propose that Americans CHOOSE to spend their money on actual services vs. Advertising, Marketing, Law Purchasing, Lawyers, Accountants, ect ect ect and all the rest of the crap that comes with delivering DSL to people that ADDS NO VALUE to the users.

    Let me think: If I did away with the Advertising, Marketing, 80% of Accounting, 80% of Lawyer'-ing', Law Purchasing (buy offs of the Republicrats) for the top 10 DSL providers in the US do you think that would help finance the cost of installing/maintaining/delivering a reliable/reasonably priced DSL service to the citizens?

    Remeber, 'competition' also means many people doing the same functions (mentioned above) in many firms... why wouldnt a well regulated industry with lower profits be able to better benefit the citizens?

    think about it... were talking about something that cannot benefit from differentiation (like electricity). It is really as simple as delivering water (not technically) - why wouldnt it benefit from collective ownership based solely on providing service to the community?
  • by WarSpiteX ( 98591 ) on Tuesday November 21, 2000 @01:20AM (#610666) Homepage
    You *CAN* get more expensive services, very easily. There are Home Business and Small Business (or larger) plans for every ISP.

    I can get part of a T1 redirected to me with a Small Office plan (at least that's what it used to be). Or I can have the upload/download speed caps on my DSL raised to 4Mb/1.5Mb with the Home Business plan.

    As for higher tax rates, I'll have you know that Alberta is moving to a 10.5% FLAT tax at the start of the new year. There will still be federal tax... but even at its worst, if you live in Alberta you won't pay more than 38% in taxes no matter how much you earn. And look at what you get - space, a clean environment, safety, cheap living expenses, etc.

    As for the rather... pardon me... idiotic statement that "Monopolies are in some respects a different story, but keep in mind that the majority of monopolies are a product of government regulation, not of the free market." I'll just point to Standard Oil, US Steel and a multitude of other exampes of a 'free market' at work, which it was back then. Unrestrained competition and battle ultimately produces a winner, and his reward is monopoly up until he gets lazy and taken over by a younger, more dynamic enemy (ie, a new company with bright ideas, low overhead, etc.) Monopolies are hardly exclusively the product of government regulation... though they can be.

    And no, I'm not some Canadian out on some crusade to prove that we're as good as Americans. I, and most other Canadians, don't need to prove anything to you. I'm just trying to argue your invalid points.

  • It's not like we create a beuro of price-fixing at the CRTC. They just say you can't charge more than 50$ Cdn. It doesn't mean they can't charge less as competition works, it just means they can't go and put a gun to your head and charge you a lot.
    I'm sorry, but government doesn't just "say" you must charge under $50. Government backs it up with enforcement. They pay people (using tax dollars) to go to these companies and make sure that they're in compliance. And if the company is not in compliance, they will put a gun to their heads!

    A company does not have the ability to put a gun to my head! I can always simply refuse to pay them and do without the service. Sorry Inoshiro, but to say that a company can put a gun to your head is disingenuous.

    Anyways, in Saskatchewan, there are two broadband providers: Sasktel, and Shaw cable service. Shaw started and stayed as 40$/month. Sasktel started as 90$/month. They also forced you into service contracts. Essentially, everyone jumped ship to Shaw. Their prices remained at 90$/month. Then about 6-10 months ago, their prices dropped to 44.95$/month.
    Are you telling me that the only reason their prices dropped was due to this law? You said above that people left Sasktel and joined Shaw, who was charging $40. Wouldn't the huge loss of customers be enough by itself to convince them to drop their prices??? Are you telling me that if it wasn't for the law, Sasktel would have stayed at $90 for eternity, ignoring the fact that they had no customers?????
    I think too often you Americans are blinded to "changes which mean to grow the Social environment" and consider it pure "unnecessary bureaucracy."
    Oh please. It's not as if all Canadians believe in this social engineering by the government. And it's not as if all Americans believe as I do. We aren't worlds apart as societies, but as individuals we can and will have differences of opinion.
  • Because, if they could, the providers would jack up the price in remote areas where they may be the only service available.
    With the recent growth of satellite-based services, I think there will still be competition.

    And did it ever occur to you that remote areas should pay more because it costs these companies a lot more to run cables & supporting equipment into areas with very few people?

    So if they can't charge rural customers enough to cover their costs, then the company has to make up the revenue elsewhere. So they'll end up charging the city customers more to make up for the difference.

    Very nice for the rural customer. Sucks for the city customer.

  • You can have all the liberals and NDP freakshows you want.. plz take em.. they're about to get re-elected...alah save us.
  • by r-jae ( 138803 ) on Tuesday November 21, 2000 @01:37AM (#610689)
    Why can't we have a recommendation like this in Australia? I mean seriously. Cable\ADSL access here is so patchy. About 30 seconds down the road (30 seconds walk, that is), they have cable and ADSL access becasue they are in a different exchange zone. We don't. Apparently it's not viable. Apparently I'm a second-rate citizen because I live about 100 metres up the road. It really really does make my blood boil - can anyone empathise with me? And becasue our stupid pathetic spineless maggot-like government doesn't place enough emphasis on IT, we have Internet access seen as a second-rate issue at all levels of government. ONE THIRD OF AUSTRALIANS HAVE INTERNET ACCESS. Can't they understand? Really, our elected leaders are thickheads.

    We have the ACCC here - Australian Consumer Competition Commission [http://www.accc.gov.au]. They have the power to force price and operation changes, but so far have only "recommended". I really do agree with this Candadain ruling - as we come to rely more and more on the internet in our daily life, high-speed, affordable, quality internet access is VITAL to quality of life in all areas of Autralia.

    Phew. Getting passionate really tires me out.

    Comments Welcome!!



    Daniel Zeaiter
    ICQ: 16889511

  • pretty much the same way as every houshold has tv and most have phone connections, if the net 'jack' is there and people only plug in to surf, they will give it a shot. especially if the monthly fees can not exceed a government enforced amount.

    Two things, first are you somehow implying that a TV in every home is a good thing? Second the reason that nearly everyone has a TV has nothing to do with building codes or government intervention, people buy TV's so they can watch mindless tripe like "who wants to be a millionare", "survivor" and the continuing election coverage.

    Internet access is no more a right than cable tv is. Being able to make your own choices about how to spend your money is a right though. Besides every home is already wired with internet access points, they are called phone lines, people can just plug in their (insert 'net device here) and surf, people that want to drop the $200 bucks or so and pay the monthly fee are doing this, those that prefer to spend the money on an extra fifty channels of Regis and malt liqour aren't buying internet access now. Do you honestly think that the unwired masses are holding out for subsidized broadband?
  • Canada is in America, North America. I'm sure you mean the USA, but I can't blame you for calling it America since USA isn't really a name, it's just an acronym.

    American refers to a citzen of the United States of America, just as Mexican refers to a citizen of the United States of Mexico, or Chinese refers to a citizen of the People's Republic of China. It would be linguistically and logically absurd to call a citizen of the US anything other than American. What are the options? United Statesian? That would be ridiculous. Many nations are comprised of various states, it would lead to confusion. USian, as I've seen suggested on slashdot? That would sound even worse. Both would be as ridiculous as calling a citizen of the People's Republic of China a "People's Republican" or "PRCian".
  • Here in Halifax, NS I get Cable (Eastlink) for $50 (US$33.56), static IP (real), no firewall or proxy, 5 email addresses, web page space (10 or 15 MB, I didn't bother with it), 300kBytes or more from some sites (I can FTP install SuSE from ftp.gwdg.de in no time at all), bing reports, on average, 5Mbits to the router, and equipment rental. They even run Quake/Quake2 servers for customers to play on. Elsewhere, with Shaw, you get all of that with 5 static real IPs (!!!) and no Quake servers (I think) for $50. My employer pays for the connection, hehheh.

    In Newfoundland, I got, for $29.95 (US$20), cable, real DHCP IP (rarely changed), they explicitly let people run web and ftp sites, but block mail servers, 5 email addresses, 10 MB web page space, decent speeds (150 kBytes from many sites). You could buy a good (Toshiba) modem for $200 (US$134.23), or rent for $10/month.

    As you can see, the CRTC guidelines are minimum qualities, reality is often much better.
  • Guido del Confuso wrote: If people feel it is too expensive they take their business elsewhere

    You're presuming not only that there is competition, but that there is any company willing to supply at all.

    In rural areas such as Canada, the initial logistical expense means that buying the service from a truly free market would be unaffordable.

    Discriminating against rural areas is as unacceptable as discriminating against, say, hispanic areas or native american areas. Now that isn't a problem for corporations who only want to make profit, but it is a problem for governments who want to be re-elected.

    The standard way to get around this is to set minimum levels of availability, typically as part of a company's licence to trade.

    For instance, I live here (as my wife points out) [custodian.com] in the Cotswolds [multimap.com].

    There is NO WAY any teleco is going to be able to supply my house with digital comms for a profit for less than, I'd imagine, US$500 a month.

    Yet I have unmetered dual channel ISDN for US$90 a month (plus ISP fees of US$35).

    This is because British Telecom is forced to supply ISDN to my house as part of their licence to trade across the UK.


  • Well in the UK market forces cannot yet decide the price, our obnoxious local monopoly does it. Our telecoms regulator has done very little about it. But of course that's OK, because it's not regulated and therefore customers are getting a better deal. I want my ADSL and I want it now, not whenever BT can be bothered to spend the money.
  • Monopolies are in some respects a different story, but keep in mind that the majority of monopolies are a product of government regulation, not of the free market.

    What? Microsoft and MPAA are regulated by the government? Standard Oil was regulated by the government? AT&T was regulated by the government?

    Gimme a break! I want my KitKat!
  • Radio stations have to play a certain percentage of "Canadian music" [...] even if it's Bryan Adams or Anne Murray

    Or Alanis, Rush, I Mother Earth, The Guess Who, BTO, Stompin' Tom, Killjoys, Kittie, Barenaked Ladies or the thousands upon thousands of other Canadian artists out there, which people seem to love.

    Same thing for Television - better have that Canadian stuff, even if no one wants to watch it.

    Yeah wouldn't want The Outter Limits, Traders, Andromeda, Cold Squad or Sliders on the air, that's for sure.

    Until the CRTC took their grimy mitts off long distance, we were still paying a fortune to use the phone.

    Allowing long distance carrier competition was a Good Thing(tm). Agreed.

    DSL service, not being touched yet, is commonly available nearly everywhere for $40-50.

    Because of the CRTC the cost is $50 MAXIMUM, not in spite of it.

    -- iCEBaLM
  • Before our American cousins to the south start on government intervention remember that it's because of the CRTC that no high-speed internet company in Canada is able to charge residential customer more than CAD$50 per month. (I'm told that dirt cheap compared to the US.)
    Down south here in Pennsylvania, cable modem service is only $40/mo. Given the current exchange rate, that's roughly $62 Canadian. I would hardly consider the $50 you're paying *dirt cheap* in comparison.

    What will happen now is that in 10 years, Canadians will still be paying $50, while unregulated U.S. service will continue to drop in price.

  • What about in the UK? Let's think...
    • Phones. Nope, free choice of suppliers on a per-call basis. Line can be BT or cable in most places.
    • Cable. Well, only one cable company in each place, but not a monopoly for phones (see above), TV (most channels are also on satellite), or broadband in many regions (BT provides ADSL).
    • Gas, Electricity. Both completely competitive. I can change supplier with 10(?) days notice.
    • Buses. Private companies, competitive, but tend to have monopolies except in large cities.
    • Trains. Sort of monopolies. Private companies awarded franchises for particular routes.
    • Health service. Universal free health-care, but you can pay for private care or insurance.
    • Post Office. Monopoly for letters under 50p.
    Basically, the Post Office is the only big government-owned monopoly. We are probably the most deregulated country in the world for utilities. But then that's because we had Margaret Thatcher and the rest of you didn't!
  • This is not an accurate picture of broadband roll-out in Sweden. After a long debate about government funding of high-speed networks, a decision was taken last spring (summer?), but I don't think they have actually started working. Meanwhile, corporations are speeding like mad to connect people in (at least) densly populated areas. In my neighbourhood we'll get broadband access in the next few weeks, and it will cost me $50 initially (which also buys me a network card) + $20 per month. The neighbourhood will own the LAN hardware, and we are locked in for two or three years to the same ISP. I don't see how they can spew ads on us though, except by distributing special browsers.

    What the government should do now is to make sure rural areas are connected, but I am not sure they have understood that. Also, many small rural towns are pointing out that they are already connected, so the money could be spent on better things.

  • I *am* a coldhearted bastard, and the reason is this: People have free will. If all a person can afford from their work is medival conditions, then they can and should change jobs; if they don't, it's their own damn fault. It's not my job to guarantee that your living conditions are good; it's your own responsibility to do so, by leaving for more profitable work (and/or an area with a lower cost of living) if necessary.

    It would not take $14 for a loaf of bread to motivate farmers to work without subsidies. Need proof? Just look anywhere around the world where farmers AREN'T given handouts; basic necessities are still affordable.

    Simply put, if bread cost $14/loaf, enough people (seeing the massive profits available) would enter farming until the supply were large enough to drop the price to something reasonable. Don't argue with the theory if you don't want to, though -- argue with the facts. IN NO CAPITALIST SOCIETY HAS THE WORKING CLASS BEEN INCAPABLE OF AFFORDING BASIC NECESSITIES WHEN THOSE NECESSITIES HAVE BEEN AVAILABLE IN SUFFICIENT QUANTITY TO MEET DEMAND. Ever. The closest argument you could come to would be excess food being destroyed during the dust bowl to keep the price up, but even then mass starvation of those with jobs did not result.

    The uniform standard of living you trumpet harms the economy, it doesn't help it. If you create a high minimum wage, the costs of production (and thus prices) are artificially raised, and people who would otherwise be employed are denied jobs -- simple of that.

    When the subsidies you speak of come out of income taxes, they reduce motivation to produce. Furthermore, people who are paid less then consume less. When your subsidies come out of sales taxes, they reduce consumption much more directly. When you tell me that subsidies help growth, you're pretending that the money comes out of nowhere. Rather, it comes out of the pockets of others who would be spending and investing.
  • Would you willingly work somewhere without electricity? Without water?

    If you wouldn't... problem solved.

    If you would, YOU MADE THAT CHOICE. Nobody forces you to live where you do. If you change your mind, you can leave.

    I see a misconception that people in remote areas are forced to live there "by society", and thus that society ought to pay their costs. People who live in remote areas either chose to be there, or (at a minimum) did not choose to leave. Why should I subsidize your choices?
  • It's not BS. First-class mail is a government-spec'd monopoly in the US.

    The Post Office's FAQ:

    These laws are too old to be available on THOMAS, or I'd give you a citation there as well. Feel free to look up 18 USC 1693-1699, 1724 and 39 USC 901-90. (Kind of interesting being that Title 18 is "conservation of power and water resources"... but heh, there it is; the parts in Title 39 are more truthfully labeled).

    Have fun!
  • Well I hope this works out for the good since I would kill for highspeed Internet.

    I leave in a small Canadian town in the middle of nowhere. Reason being that rent is cheap here and I'm not that well off. For Internet access I have a choice. I either pay the telephone company for local access, $25 CDN a month, for 100 hours, and about $4 an hour after that (no use to me as I work on the net) or I can do what I currently do which is dial long distance into Edmonton for unlimted access at $20 a month. The phone company offer a "free long distance within Canada for $20 a month" which is how I access the net.

    There are NO high speed options where I live. No DSL (doesn't even come close to me), no cable (local cable company said they'd be offering it this winter. They lied). About the only option currently will be when Starchoice offer full 2 way satellite net access, but that is at best going to be next July so I was told by them.

    So anyway, speaking as someone who has piss poor net service in Canada, I welcome this statement from the CRTC. If whatever they do gets me high speed net access, that's fine with me. Though I won't forgive them for Canadian content laws which advocate X% of and radio must be Canadian content...


  • Yeah, actually I like alot of these bands too. However, why should a radio station HAVE to play them simply because of their nationality? Why can't you play any music you want?


    Again, same argument as the music, I love outer limits, but if I was network, I wouldn't want to HAVE to play just because someone in Ottawa thinks they know what's best for me.

    Without the CRTC and the Canadian Content regulation the vast majority of these artists and shows would not have been around for your enjoyment. The disturbing thing is this: American content is cheaper because you don't have to spend money to produce it as the American companies do that already, so the trend was just buy up US content and screw Canadian content, not because it was better, but because it was cheaper.

    The Outer Limits was the product of Canadian Content regulations. The Movie Network (TMN) was trying to find a way to comply with the regulaiton and produced The Outer Limits, which turned into a huge success. If these regulations were not in place we would have no Canadian content, not just some.

    Canadian content can survive in the marketplace and be successful, the problem is that buying US content is cheaper because of the lack of production costs.

    I didn't like the Canadian Content regulations myself, but I have come to see the wisdom in them.

    -- iCEBaLM
  • Given that I have a computer and don't do business with Microsoft, it sort of implies that they aren't a monopoly, no doesn't it?

    No, it doesn't. Even I can remember that from my grade 11 economics classes. Microsoft may not have 100% of the market, but they do have effective control over the market. There's the difference between a government-regulated monopoly and a "natural" monopoly. One gets laws to back up its control, and the other will never be albe to squash ALL competition, even if it can kill off companies that irritate it with little effort. Which actually makes the natural one slightly more dangerous to consumers, because they have loads of power and are in a precarious position they want to maintain.

    Oh, you left out two other monopolies: the RIAA and MPAA. And if you expect me to believe the members of either organization compete with each other to any large degree...

  • We've been going on about how evil all these monopolized services are, but as far as I know all those non-monopolized in the UK don't really deliver well, do they?
    I didn't offer an opinion about which was better or worse, in fact.

    But my own experience with telephone, gas and electricity is that I get at least as good service for much cheaper with the new providers than with the former monopolies when they were monopolies, or with the former monopolies in their current incarnations as private companies.

  • It's Not Here Yet - but Bell South is offering an interesting package deal in central Florida simetime in Q1 2001. The come-on is up to six months of free ISP service via standard dial-up, then connection to their nearly-finished DSL infrastructure. After that, you get an ISP connection, five mailboxes, standard DSL connectivity, and a free DSL modem for US$40/month. I don't know what the current exchange rate between US and Canada is, but it may be that US$40 is pretty close to C$50. And besides, if things get bad enough, I can always switch to Time Warner Cable Modems, since I get cable.
  • $50 is only supposed to get you "basic" high-speed service. ie: 1 email address, 1 connection, 128k in, xyz MB out.

    If you want "business" level service, you pay premiums on top of that. Sort of like telephone lines costing no more than about $25 a month, unless you want extra stuff (call waiting, caller id, etc...).

    I know I can get low-speed POTS internet service for $10 a month, but if I want dedicated, then I pay a premium ($150 a month).
  • I agree totally however there is a slight problem with all of this. That problem is the rapid changing technology. With standard house wiring the basic underlying technology really hasn't changed a whole lot in 50 years. We still run AC 120/240 Volt copper wires throughout our houses and businesses. Insulation for the copper wires have improved however the technology itself hasn't changed. The problem with wiring a new house with CAT5 cable is that in 5 years or less it will probably not meet the current specs for high speed access, so the question is even if there were some sort of building code what would it be, it would probably change at least every year. One year it would be CAT5 and the next Fibre Optic. The techonology is moving to quickly to standardize it, maybe in 15 years it will reach a plateau but I really doubt it.

    Nathaniel P. Wilkerson
    Domain Names for $13

In English, every word can be verbed. Would that it were so in our programming languages.