Oh Canada: ISP censorship and internet slippage

In How to work better on June 9, 2009 by Danielle Tagged: , , , ,

Thank you to Planet Code 4 Lib for an update on Canadian mobile internet, broadband and ISP censorship by featuring a link to the minutes of the Standing Senate Committee on Transport and Communications session from 26 May.  It is no surprise to me that mobile companies are overpricing their wireless internet services so that only businesses can afford this service.  A wireless spectrum auction last year attempted to improve competition but there is still lots of work to be done. Most mobiles available in Canada come locked to a multi-year contract and there is hell to pay if your chosen phone is a brick (I was given a dirt-encrusted secondhand phone as a replacement, twice, joy! Thank you Rogers).

Once upon a time, Canada was a broadband leader. “In the late 1990s, we became the first country in the world to ensure that every school from coast to coast to coast was connected to the Internet.” But that was over ten years ago, and oh how times have changed.  Broadband is costlier in Canada, at about $45 CDN per month, compared to about $30 per month in the UK. We are 28th for price and speed, out of 30 OECD countries.

What galls me most is the not often discussed issue of censorship by internet service providers.  “Telus [a large Canadian ISP] blocked access to a union that was supporting a website during a labour dispute. In the process, it blocked more than 600 other websites.” But Telus is not unique. Rogers (Telus’s main competitor at the moment) degrades the connection to BitTorrent, which is apparently not just used for file-sharing but also for distributing indie films and such.  Bell Canada (a lesser ISP) does the same, but nobody really gives two hoots about Bell. Especially since their customer service, circa 2003, is complete rubbish. I went to pick up a phone that wasn’t working after having dropped it off for repair and months of using a loaner phone that was even worse to see it sitting in a laundry basket of abandoned phones and was told ‘We should have called you months ago to come get it.’ Needless to say, I left it on the counter in complete disgust.

Also worth mentioning is the fact that Canadian mobile companies force the recipient of the call to pay (as well as the caller). Which sucks the joy out of receiving a call from an old friend or relative, doesn’t it?

In the UK I have an unlocked, pay-as-you-go phone and probably top up £10 every 2 or 3 months.  I can never go back!


One Response to “Oh Canada: ISP censorship and internet slippage”

  1. It seems that Bell, BCE continually now faces bad news about it’s own profitability..

    Needless to say greedy Bell and the others had expected to gouge all if it’s customers, old and new forever as well but things rarely go as expected or planed especially for Bell for the customers are not stupid. Bell’s promises of future revenue increases and improved great services based on their past performances to date also are not valid, reliable. It seems the Zebra too still cannot change it’s stripes. ”

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