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The Internet

National Broadband Access 292

InterlockingP writes: "The Canadian government, after promising high-speed internet access for every community in the country by 2004, has concluded a report on the cost of implementing such a scheme. The total cost, from $1.85 billion to $4.5 billion ($CAN), would be shared by all levels of government and the private sector. Has any other country even addressed this issue yet? It looks like Canada is leading the way (again) with increasing availability of cheap internet access for all to enjoy. The story is covered in the Toronto Star and in The Globe and Mail."
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The Cost of National Broadband Access

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    Great, so when's it comming to the rest of the states?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    One hundred and fiftly dollars a year?

    That is the cost per month of decent health coverage. Do you realize what 4.5B could do for health, or education.

    And since about 5 million canadians do not pay taxes, the cost is even higher.

    And 80% of the country already has access, and i can't see this being cheaper.
  • Explain to me why the Internet is a necessity and how you cannot live without it at this point in time.

    Now please try explaining how, in this day and age, you can be a fully functioning member of society without electricity. Unibomber doesn't count.

    Nice troll, though.

    --
    Forget Napster. Why not really break the law?

  • In that case, it's 1975 and I demand the government buy everyone a Citizen's Band radio.

    Knowledge, after all, is power.

    --
    Forget Napster. Why not really break the law?

  • Actually, yeah. Zeke and I were pretty pissed that the people in New York and Chicago and, hell, even New Haven had electricity and "high-paying" manufacturing jobs, and all we had was a few hundred acres of dry, dead farmland.

    To even begin to compare the need for electrification with the perceived "need" for www.hot-sluts.com is laughable, at best.

    --
    Forget Napster. Why not really break the law?

  • Hope InterlockingP is also happy when the Canadian Government decides that "256Kb/sec is plenty fast enough", or that the children should be protected by mandatory access filters.


    Just for the record - content filters haven't gotten any traction with Canadian politicians (*knocking on my wooden desk). I've been really happy to see the more hysterical aspects of the various internet debates quite muted up here.

  • Uh... Zorkon... read it again. Geekboy was mocking an earlier post ("What are they gonna do up there?") by turning it around ("What are they gonna do down there?").

    It made sense. And there's nothing more irritating that an uppity Canadian intent on showing up an American. Gawd. And yeah, I'm Canadian...
  • I like it. It's a good idea. The US should do something similar to this, the same way they funded the Interstate Highway System and funded the Electrifcation of rural areas in the 1930s-1960s.

    Rural areas are being left behind when it comes to broadband, and in some places (Cheyenne River Indian Reservation of South Dakota) you can't even get a local dial-up number.

  • Those two people (three if you include Conrad Black) are dual citizens: they're also British. What the hell is Jean Cretin's problem? It might be an 80 year old law, but nobody has made this much fuss about it, and they are British citizens anyway.
  • "In other words, you're socialists. "

    No, I'm not socialist. It's funny, Maggie Thatcher was considered quite right wing, but in my experience of America, some of her policies seemed quite left of the Democratic party! I guess that the term "socialist" boils down to what you're used to... only in the US would any of my points of view be considered socialist, everywhere else I would be accused of being a conservative (central though (liberal), not particulary right wing these days). ;)
  • "Compare this with health-care. Citizens of USA pay twice as much for health-care (total cost of various health insurance systems including private and medicare) than their European counterparts, and probably get on average about same level of service (everywhere with enough money you can, of course, get even better health-care from private hospitals... but I'm talking about basic health-care majority of people have) "

    I think the US pays 11-14% of GDP for health care compared with 6-9% in Canada and western Europe. Last year, World Health Organisation ranked the US 37th in the world: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/et?ac=005310846313580&r tmo=qKqdudR9&atmo=rrrrrrrq&pg=/et/00/6/21/nwho21.h tml [telegraph.co.uk].
  • by Malc ( 1751 ) on Tuesday June 19, 2001 @03:47PM (#139290)
    "With my libertarian ideals"...

    Most people who start off like that are Americans. This isn't meant as flamebait, but Americans seem to have a rather unique perspective in the western world concerning society and trust of government. As far as Canada is concerned, I think Stockwell Day and his Canadian Alliance party may have been taking lessions from south of the border. But for a majority of people in the north western hemisphere (excluding the US), there is more trust of governemt and an expectation that the government will do what is right for society in general, providing a better standard of living the poor, potentially at the expense of the rich. This contrasts highly with the US were people seem more interested in themselves and getting to the top at everybody else's expense. Americans have such an obsession with money!
  • Canada has twice the space, a tenth the population.

    The issue is DISTANCE.. We're already more wired then anybody (depending whos study you believe) in the cities, it's getting a fat pipe out to no-where-land-up-north that's an issue.. Goverment takes care of digging up the landscape (railways, roads, fibers, they're good at that), private companies ultimatly run the ISPs..

    I grew up in a rural location living on crappy copper I could hardly "CONNECT 1200BPS" on, even if there was a BBS in my tiny little local calling area..

    I'd be happy to spend my tax dollars getting it so any kid, anywhere in Canada, gets the same deal online..

    Communications is what ties a nation together and say what you will about the Canadian goverment, they understand that Canada has some issues with 'together'.. For my money, some kind of national ethernet would really help with that..

    Besides, Canada is also one of the home of Nortel and JDS-Uniphase, we do know how to do some tricks with fiber and networks..
  • Maybe internet access should be entirely funded by the government just like public roads and highways.

    Given the moon-crater-like surface of the highways around here, I'd say NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!

    Now, if local governments would kindly get out of the way and let folks string up neighborhoods with new fiber someone could build decent Internet access. Unfortunately, they granted these things called LEGAL MONOPOLIES to the cable company in exchange for taxes--er, "franchise fees"...
  • It looks like Canada is leading the way (again) with increasing availability of cheap internet access for all to enjoy.

    Hope InterlockingP is also happy when the Canadian Government decides that "256Kb/sec is plenty fast enough", or that the children should be protected by mandatory access filters.

    You're usually safe to assume that Government-provided services are more expensive and/or more intrusive than privately paid for services. The last US-Government program that was cheap and worked really well was the Homestead Act, which resulted in the death or displacement of thousands of Indians.

  • Just for the record - content filters haven't gotten any traction with Canadian politicians (*knocking on my wooden desk). I've been really happy to see the more hysterical aspects of the various internet debates quite muted up here.

    I hope it remains that way. I'm simply inherently distrustful of authority figures, especially ones with good intentions. Tyranny usually begins with reasonable people with reasonable ideas.

    I'm curious, though, if Canadians have the problems Americans do with child pornography? Is it a big deal up there?

  • Someone please tell me why one of the government's jobs should be spending taxpayer money on something as unnecessary as internet access? If I lived in Canada, I'd be horrendously disappointed.

    Face it, as nice as the internet is, it shouldn't be the government's responsibility to make it available to everyone. This is like guaranteeing cheap HBO for your populace... it's silly.
  • I think you're silly for comparing the Internet to a national highway system. Highways are a crucial part of commerce; the Internet is simply a luxury item to enhance communication between individuals.

    Life as you know it would be significantly different without a vast system of roads to bring goods from point-A to point-B. Unless you work at an Internet-related company, I don't think you could say the Internet is something crucial to your standard of living. It certainly isn't to the vast majority of people.
  • People in the US have phones because there is a universal phone charge on the bill to collect money that goes into a fund to build out phoine service to rural and poor areas that can't afford it or where the telco doesn't want to. It sure wasn't because the silver haired angels at the phone company just wanted to out of the goodness of their hearts or because they thought they might make some money at it some day. In fact what is happening now in the US west is that USWEST and PacBel are pulling whole towns off the grid because of some 'changes' in the law that allows them to charge the 'full cost' for dragging service to some far off off village. When the phone company presents a $100,000 or so charge to a town of a 100 people they say 'Stuff It' and go wireless.

    It's like the rural electrification program which I'm sure some blockhead Libertarian would say is bad because if people WANT electricity they should move to the city.

    The real problem is that countries like the US and the UK for example auction off G3 spectrum to the highest bidder and the phone companies spent more money to snap it up than it would have cost to actually provide broadband service to every household in the country. This is true of the UK at least. So in order to keep the services away from you or I they buy the bandwidth and put it on a shelf. This protects their oligopolies in local and long distance service and keeps the other providers from encroaching through the wireless space. Oh an BTW since the auctions cost so much money the telcos get to petition for rate increases for all of the other services because now they're so leveraged.
  • Does the privacy commish actually have teeth ?
    Here in the States we have 'self-policed' privacy
    laws which of course mean they apply to us as citizens but not to the corp's :(
  • There are 4 cable companies and 2 dsl providers, not to mention oodles of folks who will be a 3rd party for your connect here in Calif.

    The cable deregulation is FINALLY starting to pay off in the SF bay area at least. It took nearly 12 months of infrastructure work to get there though.
  • Yes, the charge is there supposedly to pay for rural areas. Let's assume, for the sake of argument, that it's used for that and that alone. The only reason it was needed in the first place was because of the artificial monopoly that the government granted to Ma Bell! If that were not in place, local phone service would have been provided by a local company if there were enough people that wanted it to make it profitable.

    Now, if they wanted to be able to talk to other people outside of the local companies' range they would have to get thier local company to interconnect with other carriers. And if that local company wanted that connection to be run by the other company they SHOULD have to pay FULL PRICE to get it! Without the monopoly that Ma Bell had there would have been competing carriers willing to fight for this business and the price would have been more reasonable than it was under the monopoly provider. This is the free market (libertarian) way.

    As for the electricity comment, same thing applies. A real Libertarian would say that it was bad because it granted monopoly powers to companies. In the absense of that, those small towns could have built thier own power plants. This has happened in some places monopoly laws did not exist. If some other company wanted to compete, they could.

    The spectrum bidding thing is stupid, I agree. And your conclusions about the ammount of money used are probably true. But if there were competition in the local phone market those companies wouldn't be able to just raise rates like that. Some other company would be willing to offer the service for less. The entire situation would not have come up in the first place as there would not be a monopoly to protect.

    This effect can be seen here in Utah. The only phone company most of us can use is Qwest. For years, the service sucked, the line quality was terrible, and they didn't care. They even raised rates when they could get away with it without adding services. AT&T shows up and starts offering local phone service over digital cable. Suddenly the local telco starts adding services and getting good customer service. They raised rates, but at least we got something for it this time. And there is also competition from wireless carriers now. Cricket offers local cell phones for $35/month and unlimited local calls. The situation is looking up because now we can get our service elsewhere. This will have an economic effect on Qwest forcing them to price the service at a level people are willing to pay or they will switch to someone else. Currently I do not have a POTS landline. I use a cellular for voice and wireless internet. I don't miss the landline one bit. And those Cricket phones are getting popular. I know a few others that dropped the landline as well. If enough people do the same, Qwest must adapt or die.

    AT&T was a monopoly for long distance calling. After the dust settled from the breakup rates fell and service improved.

    Cable TV here sucked hard. After DBS Satelite got popular they came out with digital cable, more channels, better quality, and better prices. Heck, even the customer service improved! Again, better for the consumer.

    When you follow the whole trail you often find that government caused the problems they keep comming up with ways to solve, usually at increased taxpayer expense. Those things and others like the examples above are a good part of why Libertarians believe the things they do. Idealogy, real-world benefit, more freedom. Better for everyone. Except big corps that want government enforced monopolies. But we still welcome those corps to compete with the others for our business. Helps keep prices down and service up.

    Of course, I'll probably get modded down for posting Libertarian thoughts. Just remember mods, you should be moderating content, not opinion.
  • Our privacy commish bashed the government in the chops, when it tried to integrate a half-dozen unrelated information systems into one system, all in the name of efficiency.

    There was a helluva outcry about having a whole bunch of our records all in the same database.

    The privacy commish made the government revert back to the old separated databases, out of concern that the uncivil servants shouldn't be able to look willynilly through our data. Revenue Canada employees simply don't need to know my medical records, vice versa, etc.

    --
  • The USA is already behind Canada wrt broadband access, and per-capita use of the Internet. Canada is in position #2. Believe it's one of the Scandinavian countries (perhaps Finland?) that's #1 for being wired.

    The USA has always lagged behind Canada when it comes to telecommunications. Our monopoly telcos were permitted under the provision that they provide universal service.


    --
  • Everyone in Canada got a phone connection because our telcos were guaranteed monopoly control *in return for* universal service.

    This was a Very Good Thing.

    The telcos benefitted: they had a secure, non-competitive market, with readily predictable costs and profits.

    The consumers benefitted: we had service guarantees and rate restrictions.

    For the longest time, the telco supplied the phones and were responsible for *every* problem with them, from the central office to the speaker. Inside or outside your house, the repair bill was on their tab.

    And for the longest time, we had extremely low monthly lease fees, free local calling, and moderately low long-distance fees.

    With the introduction of telco competition, we now have to pay outrageous hourly rates for any repair work done from the outside wall of our homes, pretty much have to buy our own phones, pay double to triple the monthly lease fee, still have free local calling, and have cheap long-distance.

    Overall, I think we're on the losing side of things: except for the people who really yack it up on long-distance, having a phone is more expensive than it used to be. :-(

    Ironically, the monopoly telcos are still quite healthy, while all the would-be competition is struggling to stay afloat. In the end, we may wind up with monopolies once more... but this time, monopolies that aren't controlled by a consumer regulatory board. Ouch.


    --
  • Bullshit.

    It's the Americans who got bitchslapped with the DMCA. It's the Americans who got put over the barrel with education funding tied to school Internet filters. And so on.

    America is not the home of the free. Not any more. Not since the corporations became powerful people.


    --
  • No doubt, some people slip through the cracks, and some fuckups happen.

    But do you really think you'd be any better in any other country? In the USA, f'rinstance, your insurer would do everything possible to avoid paying out: try to blame it on your genetics, blame it on something you did, blame it on anything to just avoid paying.

    We need to fix the problems our system has, but we can't just throw it out; that'd be a cure worse than the problem!


    --
  • by FFFish ( 7567 ) on Tuesday June 19, 2001 @05:50PM (#139309) Homepage
    Here, chew on this *American* bit of media coverage of our healthcare system: [Canada's Burning! [washingtonmonthly.com]
    Media myths about universal health coverage].

    You've been lied to by corporate interests in your country. And you *believed* what they told you. To shame!



    --
  • Look on the bright side, the doctor who will see you will be using a VR rig because he can afford to live in TO while you have to live in Hamilton because of your tax bill.

    But you'll still get a good doctor.
  • by crovira ( 10242 ) on Tuesday June 19, 2001 @06:17PM (#139315) Homepage
    Our government is less intrusive and far less restrictive that the US's. (We get cable porn disguised as "art," we smoke pot and don't risk arrest, a criminal record and anal probes by nasty goons for a crummy joint. :-)

    At least Chretien knows how many mukes everybody's got. Did you see Dubya's face when somebody told him how many he's got to play with.

    The rest of the world needs a shield from the US, NOT the other way around.

    You elected him...Uh, you didn't. Bwahaha...

    No I sit corrected. You're not a democracy either.
  • What do you mean "loss entirely on paper"? Based on that, ALL losses are on paper. Nortel is admitting that (x) bazillion bucks of the shareholder's equity is now worthless. That isn't a paper loss.

    Imagine you buy a diamond from me for $1,000,000. You put it on your "books" as a $1m asset. The next day you find out you have a worthless piece of glass. Is your $1m "loss" just on paper? I think not.
  • Nice idea, but here in the US they'd probably want the States to raise their drinking age again to get the Federal funding, just like they did with the Interstates. Before you know it, I'll be an underage drinker again.

    --
  • Hmm... the only thing north of Canada is the former USSR, if you go past the pole and keep going south.

    If you mean the USA, the only thing north of them is Canada, and we're having trouble replacing our 30 year old rescue copters.

    I guess it's true what they say about Americans' lack of geography skills.

  • Okay, somehow has to offer up the standard libertarian opposition to this proposal...

    Freedom means the absence of coercion. The non-initiation of force. In order for this proposal to be implemented, there has to be a hell of a lot of coercion going on, namely in the acquisition of taxes. You will give us your money or you will go to court, and possibly jail, and if you resist going to jail we will shoot you. You do not have a choice. You will do what we say.

    Now how does internet access work in the rest of the world? The same way the internet itself works. Through the free market. I don't know what's happening in southern North Dakota, but in *rural* California high-speed internet access is popping up everywhere. A friend in the middle of nowhere gets megabit connection speeds over Sprint Wireless. DSL, cable, wireless. It's all happening without anyone needing to be taxed.

    I have no idea how everyone in Canada got a phone connection. But everyone in the US living in a community of over 500 has one. My grandparents got hooked up in 1930 when their nearest neighbor was two miles away and the nearest town was fifty miles away. Granted, this is dense suburbia compared to Canada's Yukon, but it still happened without the government creating a national phone service initiative.

    If I haven't pissed all of the geeks off yet by not proclaiming my allegience to socialism, the following statement will. Not everyone needs high speed internet access. Hell. No one needs high speed internet access. They may want it but they don't *need* it. No one died last year for not having it, and I seriously doubt anyone will die next year for not having it. It's so nice to know that Canada has solved all of its problems except for this last little thing...
  • We all know the story about how Noble Clinton was going to give a little girl on th Navajo reservation phone service and internet access. And we all know that Evil Bush become president and stopped that. Oh how cruel!

    But this simple story goes much deeper. And the root of the problem still lies within government. Namely, the BIA. Shove all the indians onto remote reservations, make them dependent on welfare, stop them when they try to be self-sufficient with casinos, and when they complain about a lack of phone service say "it's not our problem". The solution is to abolish the BIA, give the deeds of the reservations to the tribes, and let them earn their own living. There are people with access to phones and high-speed internet access in places every bit as remote as the Navajo reservation.

    Alaska is a problem, and very apropos to this story, since in many ways it resembles the problems that much of Canada faces. Unlike my grandparents, whose nearest town was fifty miles away, in Alaska it could be two hundred miles away. Or more. The question to ask is whether it is worth spending millions of taxpayers' dollars to run out and maintain a line for 50 residents in Moosepit, Alaska.

    First off, folks in rural Alaska (which is REALLY rural) should not be expecting the same level of service as folks in urban New York or even Anchorage. You must reasonably expect to spend more for phone charges. At ten cents a minute long distance, no free market phone company in the world is going to spend one million dollars laying out and maintaing phone lines for a town of twenty. In a free market economy, you guys are going to have to either pay more for service, or look for alternatives.

  • Everyone in Canada got a phone connection because our telcos were guaranteed monopoly control *in return for* universal service.

    It wasn't much different in the US. You had a single phone company, AT&T, and everyone had exactly the same phone.

    Then AT&T got broke up into clones. That was a huge mess. The proper way to do it would have been to simply open up the market. But eventually it straightened out. You have your choice for long distance. What would AT&T's 1950's rate look like today adjusted for inflation? A hell of a lot more than 10 cents a minute, which is what I'm paying now.

    Unfortunately, the local phone services are still monopolies. I don't have a legal choice but to use Pacific Bell. And their zone calling is horrendously expensive.

    I don't mind owning my own phone. I bought mine for $19.95 fifteen years ago. Under AT&T's monopoly I would still be leasing the same damn phone. And paying for repairs doesn't bother me either. You didn't get it for free under the monopolies. Your rates were a tiny bit higher each month because they knew that sometime you might need a repair. I've only needed a repair once. It cost two hundred dollars. Considering I've had my phone for fifteen years, that's around a mere one dollar a month.
  • If reducing the speed to 55MPH saved so many lives, then why not reduce it even further? What if the speed limit on I-5 were 25 miles per hour? Boy, that would save a lot of lives! If the Bush Administration wasn't so Evil, they would deny highway funds to any state that doesn't lower the speed limit to 15MPH. Because they don't they must intend for people to die.
  • by Arandir ( 19206 ) on Tuesday June 19, 2001 @06:43PM (#139335) Homepage Journal
    When a corporation wants to charge you something you can refuse. When the government wants to charge you something, and you refuse, you go to jail. If you resist going to jail you will be shot.

    I didn't like what Microsoft was selling, so I didn't buy it. I didn't like what the government was selling, but they sent their goons to collect anyway.
  • This isn't about just building a government controlled network. Far from it.

    This is about how the government can assist the private sector in building this network. This means grants, right of ways, etc. This means subsidies for small communities so they, too, can have broadband.

    I don't like the in-your-face-canada-rocks attitude (And I'm canadian) either.
    On one respect, folks, we dont' want the government 'dictating' what we can do. In other respects, isn't it the job of government to set certain standards of living, and help society accomplish them?
  • "It looks like Canada is leading the way (again)"...

    Uhhh. Leading the way into erosion of individual
    liberty, maybe. Remember, folks: Liberty, good. Government, bad.

    Government is a necessary evil whose sole purpose of existence is to protect its citizens' liberty.

    Government == coersion.

    Please don't let the wonderful, but incorrect conception of "free" broadband disturb your ideological foundations.

    If you think that every Canadian should have free broadband access, form a Foundation, donate to it, and petition philanthropists to donate to it. Don't take the Canadian citizens' property and money at gunpoint and use it for 'their own good'.

    Logical
  • Uh, what do you mean, "inevitably get to play by government rules"? In case you didn't notice, it's the USAnian government that thought up the clipper chip, the V-chip, the DMCA, and the UCITA. Canada doesn't have that stuff.

    In fact, if the infrastructure is owned by the people (that is, citizens of the country, via the government) then it'll be a lot less suceptible to pushing around by the megacorps. What ISP do you know that won't roll over if AOL/T-W comes knocking? Oh yeah - AOL. They just start in a pre-rolled-over state.

  • Of course I do; I study at Simon Fraser University. SFU is a great source of interesting and useful technologies, however our government is not yet bad enough to actually implement such policies.

    Note that I said, "useful" - this does not imply it's useful to everyone.

  • how many inhabitants does Canada have? 20 millions?

    31 million [statcan.ca]. Australia is in the 20-million range.
  • Sounds like they're in trouble. Maybe it's the BSD license. GPL == immortality.
  • Are Americians really this stupid?!?

    Hey, it's a valid concern now that global warming is causing the ice blocks that the Parlaiment buildings are made out of to melt!
  • by csbruce ( 39509 ) on Wednesday June 20, 2001 @03:20AM (#139352)
    If I were a poor person in Canada I would be outraged that I was forced to pay for highways for everyone in the country when I couldn't even come close to affording a car for myself!

    Interesting but a little short-sighted. Most poor people can afford to ride a bus. There's also a clever phrase "if you've got it, a truck brought it." No modern economy or society would function without a massive transportation infrastructure. You are critically dependent on this whether you own a car or not.
  • Uh, what do you mean, "inevitably get to play by government rules"? In case you didn't notice, it's the USAnian government that thought up the clipper chip, the V-chip, the DMCA, and the UCITA. Canada doesn't have that stuff.

    Hehe. You do realize that the V-Chip was invented, and patented by Tim Colins, a lab engineer in the Engineering Department at Simon Fraser University, in Burnaby BC right? And besides, imho there's nothing wrong with the V-Chip, since, well, the control rests with the parents, not with any larger organization.
  • Besides, there's no Nortel plant in Shawinigan.

    Yet. :P

  • by DanThe1Man ( 46872 ) on Tuesday June 19, 2001 @03:13PM (#139356)
    For you non-history buffs, the United States did a similar thing a long time ago with electrical power with the Rural Electric Program. You can read more about it here. [usda.gov]

    http://www.usda.gov/rus/electric/

  • Maybe internet access should be entirely funded by the government just like public roads and highways. After all, it is called the information superhighway. Besides, society benefits as a whole from increased communication.

    If it wasn't in the government's red book from before the election, I could have more liscence with this. But their timing is something else. Who do you think is going to profit heavily from this expansion? I'll give you a hint. They've got a blue logo, located in Ottawa, and no, it's not IBM. Methinks the boys in Ottawa are a little concerned their RRSP's went south in a hurry because of said-unnamed company. In my humble opinion, anyhow.

    Is this a good thing? Maybe. On the surface it's great, but most of the time in Canada (and yes, I am Canadian) private-public partnerships usually mean that the little guy (e.g. mom and pop ISP's) take it up the a$$ because they don't have the political connections, and that makes me sick.

  • by xtal ( 49134 ) on Wednesday June 20, 2001 @04:17AM (#139358)

    It WILL end up being a slave to pro-government interest groups as the CBC is.

    Do you ever listen to CBC radio? CBC television is another issue - I'd be more in favour of getting rid of that some of that rubbish - but CBC Radio and Radio Canada [www.cbc.ca], along with snow removal, are one of the few things my near 50% effective income tax rate buys me in this country. The news reporting is actually good and insightful, more importantly, it's the most balanced reporting you hear anywhere IMHO. Their programs are excellent, and they actually play music that isn't top 40. Wow! I won't even get into nifty things like internet streaming, which anyone can tune into - even you Americans. (I highly recommend a good shortwave reciever and Radio Canada tho..)

    This has to be a troll.. oh well, IHBT.

  • Well, I don't think we can afford it, but if they're going to do it anyway, I hope they give us IPv6. Hell, it'd be cool if it were an IPv6-only service with a few NAT boxes on the ::ffff:0:0/96 routes. I think that would speed up IPv6 adoption to the rest of the world by a few years, anyway.

    There would also be some very cool Canadian internet appliances, given the abundant address space and autoconfiguration capabilities.

    And I'm not even talking about mobility...

    I apologise for this blatent IPv6 plug.
    ------

  • At least the Canadian government is thinking about spending it's tax dollars on something that might actually be useful to its people.

  • How will this kind of scheme avoid the same kind of pitfalls that plague nationalized health schemes? I'm not saying that this is a bad move, only that there is a place for competition, and we all benefit from it. For example, does anyone believe Pac Bell would be selling flat-rate DSL if they weren't being forced to fight for customers by other providers?
  • by Louis Savain ( 65843 ) on Tuesday June 19, 2001 @03:07PM (#139363) Homepage
    It looks like Canada is leading the way (again) with increasing availability of cheap internet access for all to enjoy.

    Maybe internet access should be entirely funded by the government just like public roads and highways. After all, it is called the information superhighway. Besides, society benefits as a whole from increased communication.
  • There was a report, I believe yesterday, on BBS World Service (though might have been on an NPR show) saying that Sweden was working on 100% broadband service, making the top four Finland, Norway, Sweden, and Denmark (I may have that order off a bit) with the U.S. lagging behind in fifth place.
  • The government plans to make broadband access available to all, not to give it away for free.

    But, to phrase your argument different: If I were a poor person in Canada I would be outraged that I was forced to pay for highways for everyone in the country when I couldn't even come close to affording a car for myself!
  • What can't your ISP do whatever they want with your internet connection -- sniff, monitor, log, terminate? They do own it, after all.
  • look friend, i think you should know something about federal / provincial taxation and healthcare in canada before you expound upon it.

    1. the feds tax canadians, but so do the provinces through direct income tax and a sales tax in all provinces except alberta.

    2. the provinces decide whether they run a deficit or a surplus, not the federal government.

    3. the feds have cut spending faster than any jurisdiction in canada and does not tend to spend far more money than it should. the only place in canada that has better books than the feds is the alberta government and that is because they are the largest single supplier of foreign oil to the united states and the price is through the roof. the other provinces drool over the feds tax cuts and surpluses. the federal tax cut makes bush's 2 trillion cut look like child's play.

    4. also, while ontario may be resource rich relative to u.s jurisdictions, its wealth is in light manufacturing. alberta is rich because of oil. b.c. has been doing poorly because of the asian crisis and the low price for lumber. it has relatively little to do with taxation policy. (ie bc led canadian growth for ten years yet had the highest taxes in the country)

    5. reasonable taxes, i agree. did you know that corporate taxes in ontario (half of the country's economy) are less than in every neighbouring state?

    6. alberta and ontario currently have the best health care spending in the country-- and yes at the same time as providing equalisation payments to the other provinces. that's how federalism works in canada.

    7. again, the feds turn over great gobs of cash to the provinces, upwards of 50% of the costs of healthcare, or some 50% of the 95 billion that gets spent on healthcare in canada.
  • If you resist going to jail you will be shot.

    Maybe in the US you will. In Canada, they'll just give you a stern ticking-off and make you watch some government-funded cartoons about social responsibility.
    --

  • First Michael screws over the CensorWare project and now he's extolling the wonders of having the government deliver broadband where users will inevitably get to play by government rules. Not surprising.
  • Most parts the building has been started i think but i heard that there has been problems getting the funding in places where people dencity is low.
    --
  • Well, it was an oversimplification.

    But bear in mind: their acquisitions were made with Nortel shares (presumably newly issued shares). These would appear on the balance sheet at issue cost, which has now collapsed (down 90% or so from peak).

    So, Nortel bought now (nearly) worthless assets with now (nearly) worthless shares.

    There is cosmic justice in the world...

  • by Zalgon 26 McGee ( 101431 ) on Tuesday June 19, 2001 @03:25PM (#139390)
    In a word, no. Nortel's "loss" is almost entirely on paper - they are writing off goodwill. Or, in other terms, they're publicly admitting that they paid far too much for what they got in their acquisition binge, and are adjusting thier books to reflect this.

    Besides, there's no Nortel plant in Shawinigan.

  • It's abooot time...

  • At least the government must abide by the legal rights a citizen has. Corporate pig networks don't have to abide by privacy laws, don't have to run lines out to rural areas, and don't have to care about anyone or anything but making money for themselves. I trust the government more than I do MSN.


    blessings,

  • by incast ( 121639 ) on Tuesday June 19, 2001 @06:08PM (#139412)
    Just to clarify this guys' GREAT point (I'm a jerk, I know):

    $4.5 Billion / ~30 Million Canadians = ~150/yr.

    I would be very proud to say that $150 of my tax dollars go to the broad expansion of broadband in Canada. Very proud.

    And finally, I've got to get rid of this myth ASAP: The government would, most likely, not set up some sort of crown ISP to run all this! Throughout both articles, it is stressed that this is a government/private sector joint venture!

    There's not going to be what's left of our army banging on my door because I'm running a FTP server!

    There's not going to be any monopoly to drive prices through the roof!

    Besides, we're Canadians... we wouldn't do that anyway.
  • > from the can-I-get-DSL-in-my-igloo? dept.

    Yes! Given that "iglu" is Inuktitut for any "house" not necessarily "temporary snow shelter," that's exactly what the article describes, assuming your house is of the normal, everyday type found in most developed countries such as Canada, UK, and (surprisingly) USA.

  • Why is that people on Slashdot always refer to government regulations as "BAD" and lack of such as "good"? It is really annoying that people apply ideological concepts without thinking them through, or worse, applying them selectively.

    It is because most of these people have never left the comfortable, mindless, middle class lives.

    These people should try to live in places where there is no or little rule of law, were power comes from the number of bodyguards one has, where you have no legal recourse if you feel threatened, etc.

    I know they will say they believe in the rule of law, liberty, and all that jazz. But the reality is simply that society does not work that way, never has and never will (cf. communism as an example of a system that is not 'natural' and will therefore never work). Humans are community animals that will natural form power structures. In the absence of laws and government, other power structures form...some good, but most of them bad. Societies are becoming more and more complicated and it naturally follows that laws and governments are also getting more complicated. Two hundred years ago, most of these laws and 'big' governments was not needed because most people were farmers. Today's society is very different.

    Not sure why I bother post this, most of these people will never bother leave the 'burbs. And BTW, I'm not talking about radical left wing governments, just a mixed system base on common sense and not bullshit ideology.
  • by Doomdark ( 136619 ) on Tuesday June 19, 2001 @05:10PM (#139422) Homepage Journal
    4.5 billion$ is pretty reasonable (how many inhabitants does Canada have? 20 millions? that'd make it ~200 canadian$ per year) compared to what 'efficient' corporations would leech from end customers for similar systems. Compare this with health-care. Citizens of USA pay twice as much for health-care (total cost of various health insurance systems including private and medicare) than their European counterparts, and probably get on average about same level of service (everywhere with enough money you can, of course, get even better health-care from private hospitals... but I'm talking about basic health-care majority of people have)

    Most economics agree that 'pure' laissez-faire system doesn't quite work as well in education and health care sector. Corporations just won't invest enough for long term, and if/when state has to subside, overhead grows more than with more traditional 'mixed' systems (combining public and private sectors). Whether same applies to infrastructure (roads, networks) is debatable, but seeing how in most countries roads and railroads are handled by society, it seems possible that state might do a more efficient job there too.

    Note though that this should only be taking care of (low-level) infrastructure. ISP services should be taken care of by companies, with the possible exception that there could be a state-owner 'basic level ISP' available. It'd be like AOL-by-the-state; geeks and power users wouldn't touch it, but regular Joe sixpacks, and everyone's proverbial mother/grandmother could use it; it'd be "free" (no out-of-pocket costs, or nominal) and offer basic stuff, but not directly compete with higher level ISP services (if there is such a thing...)

    Finally, even though it'd mean some money away from ISPs (not infrastructure level, probably, as govt would most likely by those services, not compete), the net effect of people (and companies) getting basic service for much lower cost might mean more money to use for other purposes.

  • I am canadian, recently I got ill with something really rare... (I won't go into any details because it's irrelevant here) but I lived (and suffered) 2 months of hell in the hospital because of a f*cked up health system. It's not like if it was going to 3rd world country now, that's a bit of exageration, BUT there's a serious problem indeed, especially with the fact that they cut on doing preventive testing and wait till everything blows up to clean up the mess after (and no it's not cost saving, in my case it costed more, WAY MORE, after than it would have costed with a good diagnostic. People that abuse it are the main cancer (i.e. wealthfare people with nothing better to do with their time than going to hospital to kill time, pathetic people that crowds the emergency rooms for a cold, people that want extra vacation and fake subjective problems such as back pain and so on, etc etc), because of these people, doctors are less cautious about the symptoms you have, and "take risks" with your health because 99% of the time it's only faking or a false alarm, so the reasonning now is "if I can save 99 extra wasted testing and I can probably save that 1 anyways, why the hell not? the administration will like the numbers I'll bring to the next board of directors". Anyways I do agree, health before internet should be a big priority because who cares about fast internet if the population isn't in good health to use it?

  • by |<amikaze ( 155975 ) on Tuesday June 19, 2001 @03:08PM (#139431)
    I'm not sure about the rest of the country, but in Saskatchewan, we are getting a network called CommunityNet [communitynet.ca]. According to the web page, they will be providing two different types of connections. 10Mbit and 100Mbit :). A friend of mine already has it at the school he does tech work for, and it is amazing. He has the "beta" version that is only 4(i think)Mbit, and it screams. SaskTel claims that they will have 150 communities connected to the network by September 2001, and 366 communities connected within the next three years.

    According to the plan, they are only bringing it to communities with educational, health, or government facilities, but that still covers a huge portion of the province.

  • I know that was meant to be humorous, but I'm sure that's part of what Canada has in mind. Consider the economic effects if fast connections are easier to get in Saskatoon [saskatoon.sk.ca] than in San Jose!

    __

  • The downside is that government censorship [cprost.sfu.ca] is more of a problem in Canada than in the U.S. Not a good country from which to run a web site with controversial content.

    __

  • no we just have gun registration that is turning out to be horrendously expensive and hugely ineffective. Don't get me wrong, I'm actually pro gun control, and I don't believe that gun ownership is a right, but I have to take issue with your implication that the Canadian governments isn't heavy handed and dictatorial when it suits them. Just look at Chretien's hissy fit when the British government tried to bestow honours on a newspaper owner who critisized him.
  • and where minimum wage is in "CANADIAN" dollars. Or 40% off.

    The slashdot 2 minute between postings limit:
    Pissing off coffee drinking /.'ers since Spring 2001.

  • by loraksus ( 171574 ) on Tuesday June 19, 2001 @03:56PM (#139442) Homepage
    There's a difference between a media ban and the communications decency act or whatever the hell the Americans passed.

    I also haven't heard of a kid being expelled from school for posting a website about the faculty at the school in Canada, although in the states...

    Oh. Required filtering on school computers if the school wants federal $ is also another wonderful "American" invention.

    TBYP

    The slashdot 2 minute between postings limit:
    Pissing off coffee drinking /.'ers since Spring 2001.

  • I have visions of geeks defecting to Canada, because of the opression inherent in the US. I mean, look at all of those broadband starved geeks.

    "Give us your wretched, your tired, your huddled geeks yearning to surf free"

    Brings a tear to the eye

    Check out the Vinny the Vampire [eplugz.com] comic strip

  • Unfortunately, the problem with a government funded Internet infrastructure is that you have to abide by government rules.

    Let me tell you, Canadians trust their government and value its social institutions - unlike Americans, who have fetishized the free market and sufficiently McCarthy-ized the idea of their gummint enough to Confuse the unwashed...

    I would *MUCH* rather see the plan be handled independantly and owned by the nations people - *not* see our government enter some bastard plan to extort us.

  • How will this kind of scheme avoid the same kind of pitfalls that plague nationalized health schemes?

    I just read (thanks to a terrrific article linked above [washingtonmonthly.com]):

    "Amos forgot to place American and Canadian performance in a comparative context. She failed to tell her audience (or did not know) that Canada insured 100 percent of its citizens for $2,250 per person in l998 while the United States expended $4,270 per person insuring only 84 percent of our citizens. This oversight was convenient. One would look rather foolish asserting that Canada's medical care costs half what ours does and insures everyone, but is, nonetheless, "inefficient
    BR>What exactly are you talking about? Im DAMN happy we have Nationalized Health Care. The free-market does not a healthy (vibrant/educated/aware) community make. Stop with the anti-gummint mccarthyism and move beyond the capitalism-religion...

    Furthermore, I pay CDN$40 for 500K ADSL, have had it for 2 years, it was installed and functional on the day it was made available (as in "service is available 06.01 - I scheduled myself on 06.01 - it was running 06.01), the support techs/line techs are terrific, and its not been down once. I would love if we (the Canadian People) decided to put fiber to every home. It would run well, be reasonably priced and be adminstered competently.


  • I'm getting sick and tired of this "government = evil" delusion that affects so many people, just like some people are getting tired of the "corporations = evil" assumption.

    AFAIK - The government is an extension of me (us). As long as I (we) give it due dilligence, I have no fear.

    If you want to live in a cave, fine. I'm sure there's room in this world for you and your cave dwelling countrymen. Just not in Canada, eh?

  • Remember, folks: Liberty, good. Government, bad.

    Why is that people on Slashdot always refer to government regulations as "BAD" and lack of such as "good"? It is really annoying that people apply ideological concepts without thinking them through, or worse, applying them selectively.

    This is a site for techheads, so let's stick to the technical correlations; what do you think would happen to the internet if there was no "governing" body to regulate the different standards. By a governing body, I am refering to any sort of organisation or entity that regulates. It could be a volunteer group. The reason is to control something for the good of the majority. Or another example of "government" would be a Linux distribution manager. Someone has to make decisions of what to include or reject.

    I don't know about your government, but where I come from (Australia), even if I don't agree with the government, or the prime minister, (and sometime I strongly disagree) I still think that they do mean good for the people. Besides, I'd rather have a government than an anarchy.

    In a democracy, the government is accountable to me whereas a company is not.

    I know where I'd like to be

  • This isn't meant as flamebait, but Americans seem to have a rather unique perspective in the western world concerning society and trust of government.

    I'll take that as a compliment.

    For a majority of people in the north western hemisphere (excluding the US), there is more trust of governemt and an expectation that the government will do what is right for society in general, providing a better standard of living the poor, potentially at the expense of the rich.

    In other words, you're socialists. We have those here in America also, but we call them liberals.

    This contrasts highly with the US were people seem more interested in themselves and getting to the top at everybody else's expense.

    Yeah, and Canadians seem much more interested in drinking beer and watching hockey. But let's stop throwing stereotypes around for a minute, eh?

    Americans have such an obsession with money!

    You say we're obsessed with money; I say we're obsessed with freedom.

    I would much rather live in a place where the government does not control what I can do, take money out of my pocket, take freedom away from me in order to give it to someone else -- at their discretion. If I want to donate my hard-earned money to the needy, let me make that decision, don't force it on me. That's all that income tax is -- taking money away from me to use towards programs I wouldn't normally support by threat of force.

    But really, your response has less to do with Canada vs. America than it does to do with Socialism vs. Libertarianism.
  • by willy_me ( 212994 ) on Tuesday June 19, 2001 @03:39PM (#139463)
    All the government is doing is ensuring that every town and community has access to high-speed internet. Especially schools, hospitals, and other facilities associated with the government. It's to ensure that even those living in Tuktoyaktuk (yes, it really exists - Hole and Metalica actually had a concert up there a few years ago) will have the same access to educational material as those living in the capital. It's to ensure that growing up in a small community doesn't limit your potential. It's about equality and equal opportunity - and in that aspect is just like our medial system.
  • Does the privacy commish actually have teeth ?
    Here in the States we have 'self-policed' privacy laws which of course mean they apply to us as citizens but not to the corp's :(

    Take a look at the links above. The Privacy Act applies specifically to government and public sector entities. PIPEDA applies specifically to corporations.

    The Commissioner can audit government and corporations, and investigate complaints. It is illegal to interfere with such an audit or investigation.

  • British Columbia has a half-decent privacy law. nowhere else does. the federal privacy commissioner only regulates what the government does.

    Actually, the phase-in plan for PIPEDA states (don't remember exactly where) that all provinces must either implement a PIPEDA-like law by 2004, or else PIPEDA will apply provincially. I believe Quebec has this already, and I know Ontario is working on it. I don't recall if the federal Privacy Commissioner will preside over this, or if each province will have to appoint one.

    But you're probably right -- these laws may not have much to do with PI practises. (There are exceptions for "law enforcement" purposes; I don't know how PI stuff fits into this.)

    I still think it's a step in the right direction.

  • by RhetoricalQuestion ( 213393 ) on Tuesday June 19, 2001 @04:47PM (#139466) Homepage

    Unfortunately, the problem with a government funded Internet infrastructure is that you have to abide by government rules.

    Yes, including Laws, [privcom.gc.ca] like the Privacy Act (Public Sector) and PIPEDA (Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act -- Private Sector.)

    In Canada, we have a Privacy Commissioner [privcom.gc.ca] to help prevent violations to personal privacy from both the government and corporations. The Commissioner acts as a privacy watchdog -- the role is non-partisan.

    It's not perfect, but it's pretty good.

  • So what? FBI's Carnivore is already sniffing all your email, and your ISP is checking to make sure you aren't running any servers. What's the difference? At least if the government-run ISP pulls your access, you have legal recourse. If @Home terminates you, you're outta luck unless you have DSL available (haha).

    If you're really worried about privacy, you'll encrypt everything anyway. That's what PGP, VPN, Freenet, etc. are for. These things weren't created by people worried about a government-run internet service.
  • With my libertarian ideals, I see internet access as a sector in which government has absolutely no role whatsoever. I would hate to see my tax dollars wasted by wiring every home in the country when it could be being spent on much more rewarding efforts such as direct funding to education. I love my high speed internet access, but I believe its expansion rate is satisfactory without the need for Big Brother to lease a deal of this magnitude to the lowest bidder. I cringe at the thought of my money being used to run cable into the most remote locations of my country for no better reason than my ruling authority can make a meaningless claim.
  • Unfortunately, the problem with a government funded Internet infrastructure is that you have to abide by government rules.

    That's the beauty of the Internet in its current form - no single entity can pull the plug on it if they don't like what's happening. Or so the theory goes.

  • As a Canadian who'd love to boast the "right" to broadband access, I cannot. This national pipedream will not happen. Why? Because the whole idea is nothing but political ploy that has nothing to do with the noble goals espoused in the cited report. Consider:

    • the Federal Minister involved here, Brian Tobin, is a bullshit artist who is spreading taxpayer dollars around by the bucketfull (Net access is only a bullet on a longer list of pipedreams). His goal is to grease the wheels on his chances to succeed Prime Minister Chretien when he retires (within the next few years).
    • the report was produced by a panel of private-sector executives (think cable, telephone, suppliers, etc.) and career government patronage appointments. Can you say 'lucrative government contracts'?
    • fact is, people in remote communities (i.e. natives) have FAR more serious issues than Net access. Watchdog groups will be watching this one closely.

    Hope this doesn't sound too cynical. Notwithstanding the fact that Canadians are the largest users of the Net (according to some UN report), people need to see this bogus ploy for what it is. In Canada, if the government is proposing something that sounds too good to be true, you KNOW there's an ulterior motive!

  • This just prooves once again that Canada understands the value of the Internet. One of the things that I noticed while in Canada was the amazing knowledge of the average-connected user. In the US, most people with Intenet access are reserved to e-mailing and Instant messaging, usually using AOL.

    However, in Canada, most people online have their own web page, which confirms the fact that Canada has the highest rate of personal domain resgistration per cap. In fact, most Canadians embrace the Internet, and are more connected than ever, utilizing it's true form.
    It certianly is a great idea to connect and entire country. Especially the following:

    Recommendation 1.1: All communities should be linked to national broadband networks via a high-speed, high-capacity and scalable transport link. This link should be capable of supporting an aggregate of 1.5 megabits per second symmetrical to each end user, as well as support a full range of higher bandwidth requirements to all users and institutions regardless of location.

    They're going to offer 1.5 mbps up/down to every person. This is fantastic, much better than what any broadband provider in the states is able to do.

    Clearly, Canada understands the value of an open public Internet which is not subject to any one organization or company and is controlled and owned by the people. I just wish Dubya and other politicians would realize the benefits of this ~ Canada is just looking too good with its free WORKING public healthcare, public broadband, and anti-DMCA type consumer protection laws.
  • "With my libertarian ideals"...

    Most people who start off like that are Americans

    I'm a Canadian and a Libertarian. I have to agree with the original comment: the government should not be wasting our tax dollars like this.

    providing a better standard of living the poor, potentially at the expense of the rich
    Then they wonder why there is a "brain drain" in Canada... why the hell should I work my ass off only to be robbed by the government to help out "the poor"? I'm all for voluntary charity (I voluntarily give to several worhtwhile charities), but taking my money by force = robbery in every other context except taxation. Why is that?

    Ryan T. Sammartino

  • Has Bill Gates put "blood, sweat and tears" into his empire? Does he deserve it?
    Yes and debatable.
    The Nazis put blood, sweat and tears into their seizure of Jewish wealth.
    Libertarians oppose all forced seizure of wealth, be it by Nazis or your Friendly Neighbourhood Parliament.

    Ryan T. Sammartino

  • After watching 'Frontline' lasst night, I think you'd better worry more about sustainable electricity supplies before you worry about nation-wide broadband.
    Canada has the covered, too. We've been selling surplus electrons to our neighbours to the south for years now :)

    "What are we going to do tonight, Bill?"
  • I am sure that this is being justified as an expenditure that will make this generation of Canadians more productive, and the generation who are coming of age now smarter and more competitive.

    Now all they have to do is get the hi-tech jobs in place and stop letting Canadian software companies like Alias, Softimage, and (who the hell was it who made WinFax?) be bought up by American companies.

    That's why I'm working in the states right now; factoring in the exchange rate I'm making twice what I made in Canada.

    National broadband is nice, I just hope they do something to stop the brain drain.

    "What are we going to do tonight, Bill?"

  • by Waffle Iron ( 339739 ) on Tuesday June 19, 2001 @05:46PM (#139516)
    Hell yeah, I will take that any time over single huge monopoly run by bunch of politicians.

    Here's an example of the key difference: Since 1975 the leadeship of the huge government monopoly has changed 5 times. The leadership of the huge software monopoly has changed 0 times.

    The government monopoly is supposed to be accountable to each citizen and voter. The software monopoly is supposed to be accountable to each shareholder, in proportion to the shares held. Guess who holds the most shares?

  • What the hell else are they going to do up there? Drink beer and watch hockey? Speak French? Put extra vowels in all their words just like the Limeys?

    Yeah yeah, I know, but you gotta admit, a country that's busy having a hissy fit about the UK knighting a few of their citizens [cbc.ca] (even when it's all the same damn queen to begin with) must not have many more important things to worry about.

  • by PYves ( 449297 ) on Tuesday June 19, 2001 @03:14PM (#139527)
    that is Canadian tax dollars being used so that the already monopolistic broadband companies in Canada can have an -even larger- customer base without even paying for the expansion.

    Of course as a member of slashdot you can bet that I'm probably online way too much and definitely would WANT broadband no matter where I lived in Canada, but that's a lot of money that could go to fund hospitals instead of giving it to some broadband ISPs (which will mean Bell, most likely) to allow them to reach more customers.

    Of course it's hard to forget that I'm getting broadband baby! Let's just hope I don't get a heart attack and need some critical surgery only to find out that the money for the operation has gone to fund a project so kids in Yukon could play low-ping counterstrike..

    -PYves
  • by gnurd ( 455798 )
    that much closer to the national quake team, eh?
    ---

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