Telus has responded to my post on the 2013 OECD Communications Outlook, which ranked Canada among the most expensive countries in the OECD for wireless services in virtually every category, with its own post claiming that Canadians should be celebrating our relatively high prices. The post notes the investment that Telus and other companies have made in Canada (Peter Nowak explains the reason behind much of that investment) and argues that:
When you consider our enormous investment, challenging geography, sparse population and outstanding networks Canada really SHOULD be the most expensive country for wireless service in the OECD, but we’re not. That’s a great success story we should be celebrating.
It is a testament to how out-of-touch Canada’s incumbent wireless providers have become that they think Canadians should be celebrating the fact that we are not the single most expensive wireless country in the developed economy world. Telus says that scratching below the surface of the OECD report will lead people to conclude that Canadians pay about the same as other developed countries. Yet in its own chart, Canada ranks among the more expensive countries within the G7 in every category but one.
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The OECD last week released the 2013 Communications Outlook, a major international report issued once every two years with detailed comparative data on telecommunications throughout the developed economy world. Telus jumped on the report by posting its own release claiming that it “once again confirms that Canadian wireless pricing is extremely competitive internationally.” Notwithstanding those sunny comments, those that take the time to read the report (which must be purchased or accessed via an institutional subscription) will find that the reality is that the OECD reports that Canada is one of the most expensive countries for wireless services in the world. In fact, the OECD finds that not only do Canadian wireless services rank poorly when compared to the rest of the OECD, but so too do broadband Internet services (I’ll focus on broadband in a later post).
These wireless price rankings run from cheapest (1st) to most expensive (34th). Canada ranks among the most ten most expensive countries within the OECD in virtually every category and among the three most expensive countries for several standard data only plans.
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As I posted earlier this week, the civil society advisory council within the OECD has refused to endorse new Internet policy principles. CSISAC explains its position here. KEI provides its perspective here. A detailed backgrounder on the issue from Kieren McCarthy here.
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The OECD is meeting this week in Paris for a meeting on the Internet economy
. The meeting features many government leaders and is expected to conclude with a CommuniquÃ© on Principles for Internet Policy-Making. This builds on the June 2008 OECD meeting in Seoul, Korea that not only placed the spotlight on Internet economy issues, but opened the door to participation of civil society groups in OECD policy making. That was a big step forward, but today there was a major step back as the civil society groups – now representing over 80 organizations from around the world under the name CSISAC
– announced that it was withdrawing its name from support of the draft OECD communique.
A detailed explanation behind the decision can be found here, but a shorter release explains significant concerns behind language that would encourage steps toward filtering and blocking online content as well as the adoption of graduated response systems that could result in terminating Internet access. As CSISAC notes:
The final CommuniquÃ© advises OECD countries to adopt policy and legal frameworks that make Internet intermediaries responsible for taking lawful steps to deter copyright infringement. This approach could create incentives for Internet intermediaries to delete or block contested content, and lead to network filtering, which would harm online expression. In addition, as has already happened in at least one country, Internet intermediaries could voluntarily adopt â€œgraduated responseâ€ policies under which Internet users’ access could be terminated based solely on repeated allegations of infringement. CSISAC believes that these measures contradict international and European human rights law.
The release concludes:
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The OECD has released its latest round of data on broadband services in 33 of the world’s most developed countries [update: While today’s release is new and incorporates this information into the OECD Communications Outlook 2011, a reader points out the broadband data was first released two months ago]. While […]
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