The OECD published its latest comparative broadband Internet data last week, confirming yet again that Canadian consumers pay more for less when it comes to Internet access. While some will undoubtedly claim that the OECD methodology is faulty, it should be noted that the data is provided to OECD member governments before publication. For this survey, the OECD focused on three of Canada’s largest ISPs – Bell, Shaw, and Rogers – covering 18 of their offerings at a range of speeds and pricing points.
The focus should be on the numbers, which tell a discouraging tale. Among the findings on price of Internet services (all as of September 2010):
|Overall||28th out of 33|
|Below 2.5 Mbps||17th out of 24|
|Between 2.5 an 15 Mbps||28th out of 33|
|Between 15 and 30 Mbps||29th out of 33|
|Over 45 Mbps||23rd out of 28|
Moreover, Canada trails in more than just pricing. The OECD found gigabit to the home service in Sweden, Slovenia, Slovakia, and Portugal, while Canada was back in the middle of the pack at 100 Mbit service. Canada was unsurprisingly one of the only countries where all offers included an explicit data cap (Australia, Iceland, and New Zealand were the the countries). In fact, the majority of the countries surveyed featured no data caps whatsoever.
The OECD data once again confirms that there are serious problems with pricing and competitiveness of Canadian broadband access. In Australia, the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy, has cited the OECD data as evidence that Australia also trails much of the developed world. The question in Canada is whether the data will provide a similar political support for change.