A long overdue conversation has begun in Canada about how to ensure large sections of our country are no longer cut off from an essential service which is taken for granted by so many others -- access to high-speed Internet. Not only are a large section of our fellow Canadians being cut off from vital services, they are also being prevented from fully participating in Canadian society and contributing the ideas and the innovations that make our country great. Rural Canada makes up 30 per cent of the country's population and produces one-third of our economic output. It is time to get Internet service in rural and northern Canada moving at full speed.
The issue of affordable high-speed Internet access in Canada is no better exemplified than through the actions and beliefs of three mayors across the country: Toronto's John Tory, Ottawa's Jim Watson, and Calgary's Naheed Nenshi. The way each city's mayor submitted letters to the federal government either defending the interests of Bell or the CRTC can show us a lot about how each leader intends to approach broadband infrastructure in their municipalities.
I've been gathering reactions to last week's CRTC decisions on wholesale rates for Internet access. My takeaway is a lot of people are having trouble understanding what the hell it all means. So in this series of posts I'm going to provide some plain-language context.
Back in the summer of 2010, the CRTC decided to get the public's input online as part of its proceeding on the "obligation to serve." Big mistake. There's a habit that's getting entrenched at the Commission: treating online consultations as a substitute for both educating Canadian consumers and conducting real research.
Thanks to the CRTC, incumbents will have to reveal far more information about the costs of their Internet services than ever before. All in the interest of that noble precept we call transparency. As you can tell from reading the decision, the incumbents hate the idea that mere mortals finally get a chance to peer up their skirts.
Canada has fallen nine spots in one year on a global ranking of Internet speeds, as the country fell behind European and