Telecom by yum9me (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/53jSy4

Telecom by yum9me (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/53jSy4

Telecom

Does the Government Have a Role in Internet Connectivity?

My weekly Law Bytes column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) picks up on Toronto Hydro’s announcement last week of its plans to blanket the City of Toronto with wireless Internet access. I note that the announcement has sparked an important debate about the appropriate role for governments and public institutions in providing Internet connectivity, which comes on the heels of the CRTC’s recent decision to distribute $652 million to major telecommunications providers such as Bell and Telus to help defray the costs of implementing high-speed connectivity in rural Canadian communities.

These developments place the spotlight squarely on a critical question for new Conservative Industry Minister Maxime Bernier – what, if anything, should government do about Internet connectivity?

The starting position for a Conservative government might well be to argue that government has a very limited role to play here, concluding that this is strictly a marketplace issue and that the private sector has plenty of incentives to develop networks for consumer use.

Given the Web’s importance, I argue that government cannot adopt a hands-off approach, though it must recognize that its role differs in the urban and rural markets.

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March 13, 2006 4 comments Columns

Canadian Human Rights Tribunal Issues Internet Hate Decision

The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal has issued a noteworthy Internet hate decision that focuses on the applicability of the Human Rights Act to Internet hate materials (Globe coverage here).  The Tribunal ordered fines against several individuals for their role in maintaining several hate websites and newsletters.  The lengthy decision is […]

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March 11, 2006 2 comments News

ITU Calls For Enforceable ISP Codes of Conduct to Combat Spam

The International Telecommunications Union is holding a World Telecommunications Development Conference this week and has reportedly used the opportunity to release a new study on combatting spam.  The Financial Times reports that the ITU concludes that while all countries need anti-spam legislation, a more effective approach would be to require […]

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March 8, 2006 Comments are Disabled News

CBC’s As It Happens: Toronto Muni WiFi

Real audio version of interview on March 7, 2006 on CBC’s As It Happens discussing Toronto municipal wifi plans.

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March 7, 2006 Comments are Disabled Audio

Commenting on Toronto WiFi Plans

I appeared on CBC’s As It Happens (real audio) this evening to discuss Toronto Hydro’s wifi plans.  Evan Solomon, who conducted the interview, seemed a bit bothered by the idea that an electric utility is getting into the Internet services market.  I defended the utility, arguing that the more competition […]

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March 7, 2006 4 comments News