back to article What's holding up Canada's internet?

Canadian internet providers are frequently bemoaned as terrible. Americans get lots of media play about getting the sharp end of the stick from their providers, but many Canadians look longingly at the internet packages south of the border and wonder: what's the holdup in Canada? While Canadians usually like to fool ourselves …

  1. Tom Samplonius

    What?

    "This latter is important because the incumbent providers only offer truly appalling combo modem/WiFi units. These units have critical security flaws, are regularly updated/wiped by the provider, and increasingly no longer offer a "pass through" mode for you to hand an external IP to your own firewall/router."

    Untrue? Telus FTTH installs all have a separate ONT and router device. The ONT has several ports to connect directly to, and is just a pure layer 2 device. The router can be disconnect or replaced with no consequence. I have a copy of the installation standards, so I know they are all the same.

    "Pressure to drive change in the CRTC – and thus regulation of Canada's internet providers – is almost non-existent."

    Increasing regulation is actively discouraging competition. The CRTC should get out of regulating the Internet altogether and stick to killing TV and radio. I've worked for years at a ISP as a Telus and Bell reseller and all of the regulatory victories you cite, had no impact at all. It is time to build new networks, so what is really needs to be regulated is access to poles, manholes, and conduit. There should be blanket way to license any conduit anywhere in the country. There should be uniform construction standards across the country, rather than city by city.

    Plus, it is would be great if properties containing more than one unit were required to admit any service provider who had a service order from a resident. The biggest issue is getting access to buildings. And $100 per meter build costs, if you do.

    But my all means, regulate the big four ISP even more. I'm sure the additional regulation will drop prices.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: What?

      "Increasing regulation is actively discouraging competition."

      That's a funny one. Do you think if it's decreased they'll suddenly have the freedom to stop copying tariffs?

      I don't know how it's set up is in Canada, but separating network from provider is the usual way to encourage competition. That way they can't play with the wholesale price.

    2. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

      Re: What?

      Funny, Telus seem to be putting these ridiculous Actiontech pieces of shit into everyone's home here, and we're told for FTTH this is all we'll get as well. No pass through. No "just a modem", no "just an Ethernet port" CPE point. You will get your managed Actiontech device and you will like it. If Telus has decided to finally reverse that decision, then it is a fantastic step in teh right direction.

      Could you please tell all the customer service staff about this so that we can get installs without these Actiontech shitmachines? Because what they're actually supporting and allowing is orthogonal to your claims.

      As for the rest of your rant: you're full of it. Telus, Shaw, Bell and Rogers had 20 years of virtually zero regulation and Canada went from a world leader in internet connectivity in the mid 90s to a pathetic joke. The regulation is a reaction to the utter unwillingness to step up to the fucking plate.

      Access to conduit, poles and the rest is NOT HARD TO GET in Canada. We are enormous and spread out. We make it easy to dig up whole cities at the whim of a Telco. Canada has two seasons: winter and construction, and getting permitting for construction has never been hard in this nation.

      Next?

      1. Tom Samplonius

        Re: What?

        "Funny, Telus seem to be putting these ridiculous Actiontech pieces of shit ..."

        Actiontec doesn't make ONTs. These are just ethernet routers sitting in front of an Alcatel ONT. The Alcatel ONT has multiple ethernet ports, so you can attach things in parallel to the Actiontec, or just unplug it entire. The ONT is just configured as a L2 bridge. I've seen a lot of the Telus FTTH installs, and the I know the contractors who install and repair them. You don't need to even talk to Telus to do this.

        "Telus, Shaw, Bell and Rogers had 20 years of virtually zero regulation and Canada went from a world leader in internet connectivity in the mid 90s to a pathetic joke."

        The mid-1990s was the dialup era. I don't know anything in the 1990 Internet that could be considered leading edge at anything. How exactly was Canada at world leader at that time? I was building dialup sites throughout BC at the time, and it was garbage everywhere.

        "Access to conduit, poles and the rest is NOT HARD TO GET in Canada."

        Do you have any actual experience in what you are talking about? Because I do, and it is very hard. Every city has a different municipal access agreement (MAA), but some don't have one at all. There are no uniform standard for installation methods like micro trenching. And conduit? There is no conduit space left in the downtown areas of the major cities in Canada. Difficult downtown areas can reach $1000/meter in construction costs.

        There needs to be uniform construction standards to allow new providers to build networks. Cities could also be encouraging development of new providers. A few are. In your province, you have Olds, for instance.

        1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

          Re: What?

          There may be Acaltel ONTs deployed, but Telus insists that you use the Actiontech modems, and refuses to support any other configuration. This is a huge problem for businesses who need to stay in a supported configuration.

          The mid-1990s were the dailup era for the masses, but the first (very expensive) ADSL trials were going on, and Canada was at the forefront of that technology. When the first mass market ADSL chips came out in 1998 and 1999, Canada deployed far and wide; quite fast, too. We were recognized in both cases for pushing the envelope. We haven't been since.

          Regarding getting access to conduit in Canada, yes, I do have actual experience cutting through the red tape in order to get space to lay lines. Now, that is mostly rural, but some in the big cities as well. The biggest issue is not getting approval to lay new conduit (which Telus is busy doing in Edmonton, for example), or access to municipal-owned conduit. The biggest issue is that when and where a Telco (read: Telus) owns conduit somewhere they say "fuck you" and laugh in your face. They don't share, but they demand access to everything everyone else has.

          Telus' interconnection demands are horrific as well. Isn't it funny how, where there is even one otehr backbone provider they suddenly are almost reasonable about fees, but as soon as you're 1 klick out bast Shaw, their prices skyrocket.

          And the biggest issue about dealing with the Telcos - again, mostly Telus - is that they fight tooth and nail to prevent any third party from lighting up a network. They screamed red bloody murder about Olds. They're launching every missile they have, from legal challenges to quiet, back room "discussions" with counties in northern Alberta we're working on and they have been nothing but massively obstructionist to rural BC communities that have banded together to deploy municipal (or rural) fibre projects. (See: Kaslo as a great example.)

          I am absolutely all about a single standard for access to conduits, rights of way and so forth...but that single standard needs to apply not only to incumbent telcos. It needs to apply to third parties, to municipal and county governments building out their networks and even to individuals.

          That the incumbent telcos act as the guardians and gateways to our infrastructure is a huge problem. They have proven time and time again they aren't willing to share, play fair or invest. They are more interested in preventing competition than in servicing customers.

          The Telcos are the problem, not the solution. It doesn't have to be that way, but it's the way the telcos seem to want it.

    3. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: What?

      "Increasing regulation is actively discouraging competition. "

      Only if it's regulating what they sell, not if it regulates to prevent discriminatory sales or leveraging of monopolies.

      A favourite telco tactic worldwide is margin squeeze - setting wholesale pricing to be the same as or only sightly less than retail rates. In one country I lived in, when the telco got into the retail ISP game, wholesale rates on nearly everything were set MORE EXPENSIVE than retail with the predictable effect that most small ISPs went to the wall.

      last mile lines service (DSL or coax) is a "natural monopoly", the same as water/sewer and electric services. As such they ned to be carefully managed to ensure there is true competition in the marketplace and preferably WITHOUT having XYZ new company tearing up the roads every 6 months to install their own set of ducts.

    4. SoloSK71

      Re: What?

      Telus especially provides truly appalling service and spends most of their time coming up with excuses why not to or why they can't do things.

      Every single FTTH install (at least in multi-unit and older residential installs) that I have seen has only a single ONT and then goes to the Telus router/modem which can not be set to pass-through.

      Further, I have never heard of a multi-unit dwelling OR commercial building refusing access to a service provider that could guarantee bonding and/or licensing.

      1. Tom Samplonius

        Re: What?

        "Every single FTTH install (at least in multi-unit and older residential installs) that I have seen has only a single ONT and then goes to the Telus router/modem..."

        You don't need to set the router to pass through. The Altactel ONT has multiple ethernet ports. You can just plug in direct. Or just remove the router. The router is just running a basic NAT configuration.

        "Further, I have never heard of a multi-unit dwelling OR commercial building refusing access to a service provider that could guarantee bonding and/or licensing."

        Have you ever asked? I've been told many time, "We have Shaw and Telus already, and we don't need another provider". And insurance and bonding are a given. $10M in liability insurance is the most trivial part about building a new fibre network.

  2. Ole Juul Silver badge

    so who's going to take up this fight?

    Canada is seeking to transition from a resource-based economy towards one that is more knowledge-based.

    Not in BC it isn't. Our government is firm in its commitment to a resource based economy. I liked the article though.

    Canadians just don't seem to want to stand up to the CRTC, or even know that they possibly could. That spirit is completely bred out of us. I doubt we'll see a big improvement of our internet in my lifetime. I'm getting old and (almost) done with that fight. It's up to the younger generation to fight for a better internet, but they're not even turning out to vote let alone showing any fire. Do we even have a "net generation" here? I'm not sure any more. I'd like to see our Pirate Party getting a little more attention.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: so who's going to take up this fight?

      Doesn't matter whether Canada moves to a "knowledge" based economy or not. The "developed" world can't compete on price with the "developing" world in a global economy.

      If one were of suspicious mind one mind wonder whether the global economy wasn't a long game of the wealthy to recapture the glory days of empire, but moved from royal lineage to corporate-fascist control. Is it a conspiracy? Does it matter when the outcome is the same?

      Private money in politics and lobbying always corrupts. Trouble in the CRTC?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: so who's going to take up this fight?

      No truer post than this one. Same question asked by the CBC and CTV, same answers, same problems, won't change. Any "ram" amongst the flock of sheep is immediately put down as a boat-rocking-malcontent by their own peers.

      As for this generation leading the fight, don't count on it... they are bred to be the most docile, obedient group I have ever seen. And they didn't even need the harshness of Chairman Mao or the threat of Stalin's gulag's to become so.

  3. caffeine addict Silver badge
    Flame

    Forget about the article - who came up with that image?

    Why is the brown arcing to the purple on the other cable rather than the one right next to it? Why are both of them arcing? Why is it purple and not blue?

    Bloody artists...

    1. A K Stiles
      Joke

      Perhaps both conductors on one cable are earthed whilst the other cable has both connected to many volts - the shortest path for each to earth is the opposite wire?

      As for blue / purple - maybe your monitor calibration is out or it just seems a purple colour in contrast to the blue background?

      Why someone would wire both conductors in a cable to earth or high voltage is another question entirely!

      <bloody pedants!>

    2. Steve K Silver badge

      Not to mention the shading on the cable insulation...

      Well while we are being pedantic, what about the shading/highlights on the cable insulation on the left and right-hand sides...?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Socialist demands more socialism

    Film at 11.

    Seriously. As the Commentard above suggests, you need to make it easier to install fibre. Rural broadband will probably always be uneconomic and require cross subsidies from townies. At the end of the day you do get the broadband you pay for.

    Astroturf groups like EFF and Open Media want someone else to pay for their free lunch, which is a useful working definition of socialism.

    1. tskears
      FAIL

      Re: Socialist demands more socialism

      "Rural broadband...", now there's an oxymoron.

      We have 700MHz wireless Internet to our home in the rural Maritimes. The service is basically a provincially sponsored monopoly for the local ISP. And if we hit 100KB/sec, it's a good day.

      The self-same company will supply cable TV to our home, but not cable Internet.

      On the up-side, we have no data cap. But at 100KB/s, it's unlikely we'd ever hit one if we did...

    2. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

      Re: Socialist demands more socialism

      Oddly, yes! I want utilities like power, water, heat and internet to be paid for by everyone and made available to everyone. It is basic infrastructure. A fundamental requirement to exist in today's society.

      If you want to milk the hoi polloi, go make luxury purses and try to bamboozle people into thinking they're important. Stay the hell out of delivery of critical infrastructure and services. Access to utilities, health care, education, law enforcement and fire coverage should emphatically not be a function of how much money you have.

    3. JLV Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Re: Socialist demands more socialism

      Twat!

      The term you are looking for is crony capitalism.

      A free market isn't about highly paid CEOs. In an ideal free market system, the government has a generally hands off, but also adversarial when required, relationship with big businesses. That means that large incumbent businesses do not get to dictate market terms and stifle new competitors. And they certainly should not be allowed to use government power to frustrate either their customers or their competitors. That allows new entrants to provide new services, sometimes at the detriment of existing providers.

      Totally on board with this excellent article that the CRTC is a poster child for regulatory capture!

      One of the few areas where the CRTC can be aggressive is enforcing French language and Canadian content regulations. Something which I care very little about. But it can still be leveraged to incumbents' advantage, such as when the cable companies want Netflix regulated to produce more Canadian and French content. Conveniently driving up its costs.

      Strangely enough, crony capitalism does rather well in nominally "socialist" countries. Having lived in France and Canada, they both have governments that are quite open to friendly regulations for big businesses.

      When the US regulated "do not call" and forbade the printing of full credit card numbers on receipts, Canadian businesses managed to get extensive transition periods for our equivalent regulations, which are often more biz-friendly. The French also have a term for this, creating and protecting "national champions". That also plays well with the electorate - pretend to protect the national economy and independence - shaft the customers.

      Never mind that the national champions often lag in innovation, service and costs. And that the general economy, domestic competitors and customers are often the first to suffer. France Telecom and Air Canada are typical rent seekers on top of regulators. Ditto when foreign ownership rules were used to keep a 4th mobile operator from creating a network in Canada. Thanks, CRTC.

      The US, for all its governmental and regulatory dysfunction, does not have as much of a publicly trusted narrative of supporting big business. The lobbying, deals and back scratching happen and they happen a lot. But they are generally viewed as a bad deal by the public. Sometimes you see amazingly adversarial government activities - such as the break up of Ma Bell and the attempt at doing the same to Microsoft. There is also something to be said for this happening in courts, using open challenges, rather than just through backroom deals.

      Point is: the interests of customers, citizens and competitors do not always line up with the interests of big incumbents. A suitably regulated free market is one where the government is able to step in and shake up businesses when they overplay their market domination. Not one where government power is used to further the interests of incumbents because its regulators have close relationships with industry.

      So, lemme say that again: you are a twat! x3!

      p.s. the picture is not universally bleak: I am moving from a $42 CAD /mo 20-30 mpbs to a $49 1gbps all-fibre ISP shortly. But that's because big cities can have competing networks. Something the CRTC probably had very little hand in.

      p.p.s. one thing I disagree with Trevor on - the CRTC is already universally loathed here and rightly so. That just hasn't translated into a real shake up though.

  5. Gerhard Mack

    So very true. A few years back I worked for a Montreal ISP that had the idea to rent the copper lines directly and offer their own DSL service.

    We quickly learned the downside to that plan: If the customer is too far from the Bell facility Bell runs the internet access through a "Remote CO" (think fibre to the neighbourhood) Can we install there.. well no.. Can we install our own Remote equipment? As per the CRTC the answer to that is no. So we were stuck offering something a fraction of the speed of Bell unless we wanted to go back to reselling Bell's Internet service.

    Local loop unbundling is useless in Canada. If Bell had to offer LLU on fibre, that would change which is why they have fought doing it and most likely why they have held off doing fibre do the home.

  6. Blank Reg

    I have no complaints with my Rogers service, I pay for 250mbps but typically see 290-320mbps with no data cap and a 15-20mbps upload speed. I've always received better service than what I pay for and reliability is excellent, what more could I ask for.

    oh, and their modem/router updates have never screwed up anything. But I only use their cable modem to feed my own router, I have WiFi disabled on their equipment, and it's stayed off for years with no intervention on my part.

    1. EL Vark

      The complaint you might have is what you pay for that service. Go on, tell them. I pay around fifty bucks/month for a fraction of the service you're getting, which is the going rate. There are slightly cheaper packages but the downhill curve in performance and permitted monthly data is incredibly steep. While Canada's telecom barons are reliable, so is their bleeding edge ability to gouge, which is not surprising given the string pulling in Ottawa.

  7. Timo

    Wireless is also locked up

    Given the poor state of competitoon, this is where an alternative access method would have a very good business case, like LTE or wireless Internet provider. But since the companies are the same, they're not willing to screw up their cozy business deals or disrupt their defined place in the chain.

  8. Alistair Silver badge
    Coat

    I really should stay out of this

    Since I work for one of them. Have for 18 years. <not on the customer provisioning/infrastructure side>.

    I'm inclined to agree with much of what Trevor says here - the regulatory capture of the CRTC was complete quite some time ago. I DO question however the FTTH statements anyone makes here - there are damn few FTTH locations in Canada with any volume. Do the back haul math and you'll see that the ISP's are basically refusing to play in the sandbox as they'll only provision FTTH where they OWN the back haul. The network providers are getting almost 0 from the ISPs.

    I'd be happy with a crapton of socialism applied to the internet pipes of Canada, since effectively, in a country that has some of the brightest engineers on that front, we're *more* than capable of having both wired internet and cellular internet that just plain delivers, technically the equal of anything in Europe, which seems to be setting the standards for internet connections.

    But ever since the tea party poisoned the conservative party up here that word, socialism, causes random apoplectic seizures in about 12% of the population. The same 12% of the population that happily drives on the roads, uses the water in their taps and goes for walks in our parks.

    The big three don't want to sell you internet, phone and cable, they want to sell you a pipe, and then microcharge you for every small service you put through that pipe, one thing at a time. It looks real good on paper, but its all about adding to the profits. If the back haul provisioning Network Carriers did that to the big three -- you'd not hear the end of it until your bill from the ISP ended up being worse than your mortgage.

    1. Evil Graham

      Re: I really should stay out of this

      technically the equal of anything in Europe, which seems to be setting the standards for internet connections.

      Europe is doing better than Canada for sure, but I doubt it's the world leader. I was talking to some Koreans the other day who told me 1 to 2Gbps to your apartment is now routine in many areas.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: I really should stay out of this

        That's easy for them to say. They only have to cover a space about the size of Illinois, and Japan is only about the size of California. Meanwhile, Canada is near the top of the list in terms of geography. It's bigger than the United States which has its own broadband difficulties (again, partially due to geography; running a high-speed line from New York to LA is tough).

  9. Darryl

    Thanks for this article, Trevor. The sad thing is, because we're so big and spread out (and the CRTC, as you point out, mostly just rubber-stamping any proposals from the Big 4), there's just no financial incentive for new players to enter the game, whether it's internet, cable, mobility, whatever.

    And as for the crappy WiFi modems, Shaw has called me three times and sent me at least as many letters offering to 'upgrade' my plain old wired modem to a WiFi one, and I basically told them to blow it out their ass. I even have a back-up in case this one dies...

    1. JLV Silver badge

      >so big and spread out

      While I agree with your sentiment, this is another convenient Canadian big-business myth.

      90% of Canadians live within 50 miles of the US border, mostly in big conurbations. Edmonton is another 2-3%. That's a probably fairly high concentration, at least compared to the US. I have no problem subsidizing (to an extent) rural services, but that should be done on the basis of open, competitive, contracts to provide services to remote areas.

      Not on buddy deals to shaft 90% while investing as little as you can on the remaining 10%.

      1. Tom Samplonius

        "While I agree with your sentiment, this is another convenient Canadian big-business myth. 90% of Canadians live within 50 miles of the US border, mostly in big conurbations. Edmonton is another 2-3%."

        Metro Edmonton has a population density of 123 per square kilometer. For comparison, Vietnam is 276 per square kilometer. And that is a metro area of the 5th largest city in Canada versus the density of an entire country.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Actually, it's more like 75% who live within 150km of the US border. The Calgary-Edmonton corridor is almost 10% of the population of Canada, but we have a phone company (Telus) and a cable company (Shaw) to choose from. And honestly, is it any better in the GTA or Lower Mainland, which actually do hug the US border?

        1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

          "we have a phone company (Telus) and a cable company (Shaw) to choose from"

          You can choose between Trump and Clinton.

          You can choose between a douche and a turd sandwich.

          Having a choice doesn't mean a goddamned thing if both your choices are shit covered shit in buttsauce.

  10. Maty

    not news

    From the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation today ...

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/cellphone-deals-canada-1.3587744

    For those who just want the skinny - its the story of a woman who gets to make cellphone calls in Canada at half the price Canadians pay. Because she lives in Paris, and her provider offers that much better a deal than the Canadian telcos.

    Everyone knows the CRTC is a bad joke.

  11. hardretro

    I've just moved to Southampton, UK to Toronto, Canada.

    While this article is entirely correct by the underlying issues, I still managed to get a better internet package from Rogers than I did with Virgin back in the UK. Caught a deal that hooked me up with 250/20 (where I actually get closer to 320/22) for $75CAD/m. This is slightly better than the package I had with Virgin on both coast and speed.

    While there are issues that need to be resolved in Canada, deals are getting better.

    1. BitDr

      Urban bubbles...

      Move just outside that urban bubble and things rapidly deteriorate. I live just 3000 meters outside of a medium sized city (it just barely quaifies as "rural") and I HAVE to use LTE or satellite. Here there is no cable, no DSL, and certainly no fibre. There is fibre 3Km to the west and North, but it is not accessible by anyone along its route. My LTE bill is $100.00 a month, and I use it primarily for business. What I pay for is a DL speed "up to" 25 Mb/s and a UL speed "up to" 1 Mb/s. In practice I usually get 6 Mb/s and .25 Mb/s. Those two little words "up to" mean all of the difference to the provider, because in the wee hours of the morning those are the speeds I get.

      So I pay a premium monthly fee for an Internet connection that would be fantastic if it was 1995, and I have a good data cap of 500GB (I routinely go over 160GB). The Bell plan I moved away from was much faster on average, cost only $49.00/month, but had a data cap of 40GB and a $5.00 charge for each additional GB over the 40 GB cap. Running a business, downloading system updates, Linux distros, and installations would have seen my monthly bill with Bell around the $650.00 a month mark. The better symmetry was not worth the overage charges.

      Ciompetition, is something we Canucks desperately need. Ironic that Vietnam is better off in this field than we are.

    2. brad0

      Quoting a price of $75/m is nonsense. The regular price of that service is $98/m + tax so $113/m. IMO not a deal at all. The $75/m + tax value is for only 3 months. The other 9 months do not just magically not happen. Incredible levels of stupidity from people when they only throw out the promo price and don't want to admit what the regular price is.

  12. Alan Brown Silver badge

    "There should be blanket way to license any conduit anywhere in the country. There should be uniform construction standards across the country, rather than city by city."

    The easiest and fairest way to achive this is to completely separate the last-mile and services components of the companies. it can be achieved relatively easily by making it a requirement for any future govt funding for broadband rollouts.

    As with the Ofcom problem in the UK and the Telecom problem in New Zealand, this won't be driven from the CRTC - specifically because of the regulatory capture.

    The path that worked in New Zealand was to treat the issue as a commerce one. Show that incumbent monopolies are damaging to your GDP and you have the incentive needed to get the Canadian ministries of commerce and economic development breathing fire&brimstone.

    http://www.wordworx.co.nz/KiwitelcoTimeline.htm - “Telecom has become the defacto industry regulator; it owns or controls most of the critical inputs, it competes with all the firms to which it supplies those inputs and, by and large, it makes the rules under which competition is permitted to take place,” Commerce Commission report, 1992.

    It took another 14 years to address that problem - http://www.wordworx.co.nz/Kiwitelcotimeline2.htm - 2006

    Telecom continued to play gamekeeper and poacher, all but ignoring ministerial threats to play fair or face legislative changes. Telecom CEO Theresa Gattung called communications minister David Cunliffe’s bluff telling business analysts in Sydney in March 2006, she thought the government was far too smart to "do anything dumb".... A message delivered by rogue Parliamentary messenger Michael Ryan into the hands of a senior Telecom employee on 3 May 2006, proved the government was indeed serious.

    and another 5 past that before anything concrete actually happened, but it did happen and Canadians should be looking to what happened in New Zealand when the lines were truely opened up as an example of how much the telcos are blocking economic development.

  13. JaitcH
    Happy

    Canada's Telecommunications - nowhere more incestuos

    I am a Canadian who fortunately lives in VietNam.

    Here a new prepaid SIM costs USD$10 which includes USD$10 worth of airtime - which is way cheaper than any Cellco in Canada. A replacement SIM costs USD$1. Coverage is almost 100% of the country and inter-operability/co-operation between Cellcos ensures great coverage.

    To keep a prepaid service activated all I need do is to send one SMS message per month. All credit is carried over.

    In Canada, I don't even bother with cell service from the large monopolies, I use regional suppliers like Wind - which still still are high compared to other countries.

    Bell Canada has landline, cell and cable TV. BCE (Bell) through Bell Media Radio owns 106 radio stations across Canada, broadcasting in 45 markets, including most of Canada's largest radio markets, which counts 5 sports stations; the CTV network is theirs along with the Globe and Mail newspaper.

    Rogers is cellular ditto PLUS they have radio (Rogers Radio - 52 radio stations [44 FM and 8 AM]) and the result is Ontarians get shafted.

    The word incestuous doesn't even cover it - and they both 'censor' the news.

    Meanwhile, back in the land of competition, VietNam, we have both government owned and privately owned cellular networks and InterNet providers - and the government owned ones are usually the better choice. One InterNet provider, FTP, owns a newspaper.

    My SaiGon condominium building has SIX InterNet providers and the highest speed is 50 Mbs fibre optic - I have two 50 Mbs feeds from different suppliers at USD$30/month total. There are also FIVE cable TV suppliers (100+ HD channels @ USD$5/month) - I don't subscribe so the deals may be even greater

    My SaiGon duplex apartment / workshop building, where I have my laser cutting operation and final electronic assembly, has FOUR fibre optic feeds passing the door on the street as well as FOUR cable TV feeds.

    THAT is REAL competition - in a socialist country! Eat your hearts out, Canucks!

  14. The_Idiot

    I confess...

    ... I live in Canada.

    Further, I live in Toronto (try not to hold it against me).

    And further yet, I live in a condominium and I'm lucky enough to have a provider who gives me:

    1: Fibre to my apartment.

    2: 250 Mb symetric, uncapped - and I _get_ 250 Mb symetric. I could have more (up to 1Gb symetric), but 250 Mb is what I pay for (if I told you it cost me $50 a month, you might cry, so I won't).

    3: They'll rent me a router/ firewall and give me a level of access to it - or let me run my own on the end of a media transceiver, so long as I'm prepared to accept they'll only offer support up to the transceiver if I choose that path.

    Can everyone, even in TO get this? Of course not - but great oaks, little acorns (in this case not so little - I understand my provider is about to branch out into Montreal).

    Canada. It's like Mr Adams said about space - really, really big. And with something that big, all sorts of things can start happening in the corners :-).

  15. Grade%
    Unhappy

    It could have been worse.

    Some years ago in Canada there was a ruling about to come down from the CRTC that would have meant the extinguishing of uncapped internet service. The so-called UBB decision, would have forced third party providers to essentially sell primarily what the incumbents wanted: Low caps with high overage fees.

    These low caps were made even lower at what turned out to be the cusp of Netflix's entrance to the Canadian market. Since our telecom companies are vertically integrated with virtually all media in this country they decided that they would create market conditions that would guarantee failure for Netflix.

    It was probably the single time that I can remember in my life that people rose up in a mutual rage and protested that this would not stand. We wrote letters to our politicians at an unprecedented rate and forced the CRTC to revisit that decision.

    Because of that we still have unlimited internet in this country.

    Now, if only we could raise our voices again to reign in the unconscionable mobile phone rates that they charge. Yet, for some reason, we can't muster the outrage. We've been trained to expect high cell phone bills and there doesn't seem to be any way around it.

    1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

      Re: It could have been worse.

      Oh hi, western Canadian here. UBB is strong over here. "Unlimited" doesn't mean unlimited here. And you pay a truly appalling amount for the extra cap. Maybe you easterners have it a little better, but we're still screwed.

  16. DylanK

    I get 250Mb/20Mb from Rogers for $79 CAD/month. This consistently peaks at about ~320Mb/~30Mb... this is unlimited. I could throw terabytes a month over this connection and they would say nothing (they haven't).

    It's not as bad as some would say... but yeah it could definitely be better. Everything could.

    If you're going to complain about comms in Canada it's cellular data where we're really being robbed.

    1. DriveByReason

      Odd, I don't get service like that...

      Of course you're on Rogers and I live in a major city in Shaw Territory. We both know that I can call it Shaw Territory because they absolutely do not compete with one another.

      I'm glad for you that you are getting the long end of the stick. You'll have to forgive me though because the fact that you are the one getting the long end while I'm the one getting the short end means that I consider your opinion on the matter as having less merit than mine.

      I pay as much as you do in your city for less than 1/2 the service you get even tho a large quantity of the data you are sending and receiving is coming and going through the backbone that runs through mine.

      I really don't care about your cell phone data rates. Luckily for you I think the CRTC needs to drastically overhaul the entire system and address both your concerns and mine at the same time... Would you mind agreeing so we can both stop getting robbed?

  17. PhilK
    FAIL

    You should really try Xplorenet

    Because I live 95km from any city, I have 2 choices for internet, 4G "radionet" or satellite. I have satellite because in order to get radionet I would have to put up a 30m tower. For "only" $90/month I get up to 10Mbps download and up to 2.5Mbps upload speeds and a 50GB data cap. In reality the fastest speed I have ever seen for downloads is 200KB/s and uploads 12.5KB/s. And did I mention the 750ms latency? If you live in rural Canada, you get shafted, period.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: You should really try Xplorenet

      Xplorenet marketers hit my area offering 1/3 the service for three times the price. Completely ignorant lot who pitch, pitch, pitch without listening to reason. Called their call HQ to offer friendly advice on how to pitch to the regional locals here. Was told I'd have to sign up to give said friendly advice.

      Neighbour signed up with them and was back on Shaw 30 days later.

      Local news compared Xplorenet to Target - waltzing in with big promises, delivering nothing and couldn't care less about respecting locals.

      Like Target, the only thing that remains of them here, are a few broken signs and unused dishes.

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