Telecommunications

Telecommunications policy

Benkler Responds to Berkman Broadband Study Criticism

Professor Yochai Benkler has posted a response to some of the criticism of the FCC-commissioned Berkman study on broadband.

Most interesting to me is the final section that relates to how to regulate the market, comparing inter-modal competition (Cable vs. Phone vs. Satelite vs. power line, etc) to “open access” markets (Where the mode is not vertically integrated with all services). With my submissions to the CRTC suggesting a regulated separation of mode from services, I'm clearly in the "open access" camp.

What we see is that telco incumbents and cable companies, power companies, and open access entrants in five different countries are all tightly clustered in one high-performing corner. These are countries with robust open access policies. On the bottom left hand corner are the companies that offer low speeds for high prices. These companies are not tightly clustered, and they don't seem to be responding to any particular competitor, but are rather setting prices with much less discipline to push them to a “market price.” Almost all the companies in that bottom third corner are in the two major “inter-modal competition” markets—the United States and Canada.

Debate on spam became innovation agenda discussion

Charlie Angus was in full force yesterday. He took his contribution to the debate on Bill C-27 (often called the anti-SPAM bill, although it still contains anti-malware and other provisions as well), and spoke about it as one part of a larger digital agenda.

The full debate is available via Hansard, but I wanted to highlight a specific section of Mr. Angus' contributions. (Note: Debate resumes after C-50, which may be today or later.)

My submission to the CRTC Re: Local TV Matters

I took the form at http://localtvmatters.ca as well as the CRTC form and sent the following intervention. The topic was the connections between convergence and the future of television, including local television. (See also: Michael Geist)

How local TV could really matter: end of antiquated phone and cable companies

I suspect most Canadians have seen the advertisements from the Local TV Matters campaign from broadcast networks CTV (and the 'A' Channel), CBC, and Global (and Chek News). This includes some of the PSA's and songs they (ironically) make available through YouTube. You may also have seen the material from the Stop the TV Tax campaign brought to you by re-broadcasters (cable/satellite/etc companies) Bell (and Bell Aliant), Cogeco, EastLink, Telus and Rogers.

As a Canadian citizen you may feel stuck in the middle of a battle between massive television networks and massive communications (phone and cable) companies . This fee for carriage debate may turn out to be good news to Canadians in the long run as it may allow us to finally modernize our communications infrastructure.

>> Read full article on the new IT World Canada Insights blog.

New front in battle between Canadian networks, cable

The following is the comment I added to Grant Robertson's article in the Globe and Mail.

If the broadcasters were looking for alternatives to cable/etc, that would be a great movement forward. The underlying problem is the monopoly the cable/etc companies have on the "last mile" connections to the "consumer".

What if you could own your Internet connection?

An article by Derek Slater, Policy Analyst, in Googles Public Policy BLOG, as well as an article by Timothy B. Lee for Ars Technica talks about a pilot project in Ottawa for customer owned fiber.

Bell moves to limit internet downloads of competitor ISPs

An article by Peter Nowak for CBC News documents Bell's latest anti-competitive tactics: applying bandwidth caps on the customers of competing ISP customers.

Privacy Commissioner should investigate ISP web surveillance: CIPPIC

The following press release is from CIPPIC. For people wanting to learn more about these harmful activities, they may wish to listen to recent Security Now podcasts: 149: ISP Privacy, 151: Frakking Phorm, 153: Bad Phorm.

OTTAWA – The Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic (CIPPIC), based at the University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law, has asked the Office of the Privacy Commissioner to open an investigation into the internet service provider (ISP) industry’s controversial new practice of profiling users online to target them with advertising.

Death of Free Internet is Imminent

An article by Kevin Parkinson on GlobalResearch.ca talks about a few issues with our incumbent monopolist phone and broadcast undertaking companies (wired and wireless). I am glad that these issues are increasingly being covered by people on all sides of the political spectrum(s), recognizing the importance of this infrastructure to our future economy as well as society as a whole.

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