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

Canada’s Mobile Data Rates

Thomas Purves with an illuminating (and depressing) posting on how Canada's mobile data rates compare with other countries.

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April 10, 2007 Comments are Disabled Must Reads

The Unintended Consequences of Rogers’ Packet Shaping

A day after the government confirmed its telephone deregulation plan over the objection of a Parliamentary committee and moved forward on plans to create a new, independent telecommunications consumer agency, it is worth pointing to a necessary complaint once that agency is operational (and to the CRTC in the meantime).  For the past 18 months, it has been open secret that Rogers engages in packet shaping, conduct that limits the amount of available bandwidth for certain services such as peer-to-peer file sharing applications.  Rogers denied the practice at first, but effectively acknowledged it in late 2005.  Net neutrality advocates regularly point to traffic shaping as a concern since they fear that Rogers could limit bandwidth to competing content or services.  In response to the packet shaping approach, many file sharing applications now employ encryption to make it difficult to detect the contents of data packets.  This has led to a technical "cat and mouse" game, with Rogers now one of the only ISPs in the world to simply degrade encrypted traffic.

This raises many issues but I would like to focus on just two in this posting.  First, not only is BitTorrent legal in Canada, but a growing percentage of the file swapping on BitTorrent clients is authorized.  This includes a substantial amount of open source software development, independent films, and other large files.  By reducing the bandwidth available for this application, Rogers is impairing the ability for Canadian artists to distribute their work and hampering the development of open source software in Canada.  Moreover, this could lead to a situation where Rogers' own content is unfairly advantaged over competing content.

If that was not bad enough, there is now speculation at my own university that the packet shaping is making it very difficult for University of Ottawa users to use email applications from home.  

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April 5, 2007 132 comments News

Industry Committee Recommends Withdrawal of Telecom Reform Plan

The Standing Committee on Industry, Science, and Technology today tabled its report on telecom deregulation.  The report is very short (one paragraph) and to the point.  The Committee: recommends that the Minister of Industry withdraw the order varying Telecom Decision CRTC 2006-15 and table in Parliament a comprehensive package of […]

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March 30, 2007 2 comments News

Telecom Reform and Consumer Prices

The Globe and Mail on why telecom deregulation may actually result in higher, not lower pricing.  As Ivey School of Business professor Guy Holburn notes "It's a fairly concentrated industry.  It's just not obvious rates are going to go down."

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March 28, 2007 1 comment Must Reads

Net Neutrality in the Media

Amber MacArthur, now with CityNews, produced a good intro to the net neutrality issue.  Interestingly, both Rogers and Bell refused to appear on camera for the story.  Meanwhile, Shane Shick at Computing Canada provides his perspective, concluding that "if we value access to information as we do access to health […]

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March 15, 2007 Comments are Disabled Must Reads