Sunday, April 01, 2007

Net Neutrality in Canada and why I hate Rogers Communications

I don't know if you've read or heard about Net Neutrality. It's a big issue right now. As small ISPs get gobbled up by the larger ones, there is less and less choice (especially in the USA) for the common bloke. The problem is that the large fish want a larger piece of the revenue pie. They're not happy gouging us for internet access as it is. They want a cut of the content revenue as well. Better yet, force you to buy their content. Rogers Communications (Toronto based cable tv, internet and wireless telephone operator) is notorious for this.


The days where a service provider just sold a connection are going away. Going back to Rogers. They lock down their phones so you have to pay for their ring tones (as just one example). They bandwidth shape their internet connections so you can't really get the 5Mb you pay for from anything you'd actually want to use it for. What right does my cell phone provider or ISP have to tell me how to use their product? Apparently, that's not very clear.


Net Neutrality in Canada


Being conservatives (read: pleasing to corporations and the rich), our government has been dragging on this issue for some time. They just don't think it's important. Equal access to all goes both ways. Everyone should be entitled to get the access that everyone else has. However, they should also have equal connection to anywhere on the net, not where their ISP chooses. Write your local MP and let them know that you demand a free internet and that Canada needs Net Neutrality legislation.

9 comments:

Adam said...

The real issue with Net Neutrality is who do you want in charge of the net.

The guys who built it and run it, and who have very simple to understand motivations (make money), or politicians who are beholden to every focus group and lobbyist who crosses their doorstep.

Net neutrality is a nice idea. It's also never existed (those little ISP's were almost entirely tier 3 providers, riding at the edge, at tier 1 and 2 it's always been a half-dozen players). The major consolidation of providers happened in the late 90's, not now, and that was tier 3's consolidating in order to move up the food chain and to get the size and userbase necessary to roll out high-speed connectivity. And even then, there were only a few major backbone providers.

There's actually more major providers now than 10 years ago, despite the consolidation that left Verizon owning 3 of the original 6 providers. This is because several of the large tier 2 providers have grown into near-tier 1 providers (including Rogers).

Net neutrality as a practical exercise is an attempt by content providers (Google especially) to build a grass-roots movement to pressure the government into regulating network deployment to solve a 'problem' that is nothing more than the status quo ante, and to break a system that hs worked surprisingly well for 2 decades.

frankly, if you care about freedom on the 'net, oppose net neutrality. because it will result in nothing other than a major powergrab by the government.

Tracer said...

1. I don't want anyone in charge of the net. However, I trust "the people" in the form of our government more than a corporation like Rogers Communication.

2. the guys who built it are universities. The people who run it is an ambiguous group at best.

3. Net neutrality never needed to exist until now. Up till now the traffic of our Internet was olny limited by the speed of our pipes.

4. All I know is that I have the choice of only two top level providers. Rogers and Bell. how is that real choice?

5. I don't agree with you that the system has worked surprisingly well for 2 decades. But, no surprisingly it's starting to fail.

6. I couldn't disagree with you more. Without government control we would have one cable tv providor and one telephone provider and that's it. We need the government to prevent the natural progression to Monopoly.

Michael Geist has an interesting piece on what's happening right now in Canada.

Tracer said...

woops...

5. I do agree...

6. Woops.. we do only have one cable tv provider but we also have the choice of satelite TV.

Anonymous said...

We've created a site to send a loud message to Rogers' management about net neutrality and bandwidth throttling: www.boycottrogers.com

nflux said...

woah, I'm too preoccupied with Global Warming and now I've come across, Net Neutrality? what on earth...

and yeah, how come we only have Rogers and Bell to choose from while The States has more than 4 or 5 in their bidding?

last time I heard Bill Gate$ and his Micro$oft were trying to nab Yahoo! cause' Google is the powerhouse.

ag said...

No one is forcing you to take a free, locked phone from Rogers; You can buy the unlocked version for full price if you want all the features.

You get what you pay for.

Tracer said...

Out of my entire post you chose to point out the fact I can buy retail phones? I can, and I do. Upwards of $500 for one. Thanks. Doesn't change Rogers monopolistic practices.

dpchurch2007 said...

AG - Actually I don't believe Rogers will sell you an unlocked phone, even if you do pay full price for it. I doubt they would restore any of the original programming and features they removed, such as open Media Players, ability to post phone-cam pics to Blogger, or enabling the phone's data usage counter so that their customer actually might have a fighting chance to avoid incurring enormous charges for trying (but not succeeding) in connecting to Roger's own websites.

The various phone manufacturers are discouraged from selling directly to consumers out of fear that their biggest customer (Rogers) will simply drop them for a competing manufacturer. Instead consumers are forced to buy a phone imported into the country, if not illegally, then usually without full warranty and service support. Instead, the phone was probably unlocked by a guy who only accepts cash and works from a hole in the wall shop in some suburban strip mall. I'm not criticizing the quality of their work, just the absurdity of what consumers are willing to do, simply to avoid being shackled to Rogers.

And since I'm already on a rant: if consumers must commit to a 2 or 3 year plan because the monthly wireless charges supposedly subsidize the artificially low cost of their phone, shouldn't the monthly rates be significantly discounted for customers who provide their own phones? Just a thought....

Anonymous said...

Rogers deserve to be run out of business. Their internet charges are outrageous and their wireless charges are unbelivable. Everyone on the planet should just boycott this company.