This week – in a bid to stay relevant to consumers – CRTC made a couple of good decisions; the cell phone industry still sucks; wifi wackos and Google acquisitions.
Canada avoids broadband duopolies, keeps line-sharing alive
In a decision that’s most relevant to Eastern Canadians – where telecom competitions actually exists – the CRTC ruled in favour of the little guy. After 4 years of flip-flopping the CRTC ruled that large cable and DSL ISPs such as Bell and Rogers must share their lines with smaller competitors at the same bandwidth speeds offered to their own customers. Unfortunately the ruling isn’t 100% good, the CRTC said it’s still ok to filter traffic and throttle things like p2p. (CBC coverage)
MTS, Bell, Telus forced to rebate customers and service rural communities
Get a load of this convoluted government logic:
In 2002, the CRTC allowed phone companies to charge above their normally regulated price caps so that new competitors entering the market for home phones — primarily cable companies such as Rogers and Vidéotron — could undercut them.
The extra charges went into deferral accounts, which over the years amounted to $1.6 billion. Phone companies were allowed to draw on these accounts to lower the wholesale rates they charged competitors…
The rest of it was supposed to be spent on rural broadband. Turns out, 8 years later the telco’s haven’t spent a whole lot of that money “the total remaining amount has risen to $770 million…” Yesterday the CRTC ruled that $421 million of the cache has to be spent expanding rural service, $310 million goes back to urban customers in the form of $25 – $90 rebates. Don’t ask about the other $39million, they’re probably sending it on internet filters or something.
The WiFi Debate is not over
So a drama professor named Fancy and a Cold War era microwave expert named Tower walk into a bar…
The head of the drama department at Brock University “…took the unusual step of issuing a news release to warn staff about Wi-Fi dangers.” I guess he’s trying to upstage Health Canada. I really don’t know what else to say about this ridiculous FUD.
Canadians still paying the highest cell phone bills in the world
Long story short: cellcos take in the highest average revenue per user at $55; we have the 5th lowest mobile penetration at around 75%; not only is mobile service expensive, it’s not affordable when compared against GDP per capita. Take a look at the wirelessnorth.ca post for all the fancy graphs and real analysis.
I listen to a fair few tech podcasts every week, I often find myself quite frustrated by the US-centric nature of the stories they cover. While most of the major tech stories have global implications, just as many – if not more – are about US companies and issues. In an attempt to keep myself up to date on clearly Canadian tech stories I’ve decided to seek out 5 or so important tech stories from North of the 49th every week.
Ontario Parents Try To Ban Wi-fi in School: Parents group blames wi-fi for headache and nausea reported by their children. Health Canada rejects their claims, citing science. Teacher’s federation rejects proposal. Chalk one up for science.
iPhone Competition, Galaxy S Comes to Canada: To my knowledge this is the only phone in available on a Canadian carrier capable of running Android 2.2. Bell launched the Vibrant August 6th. Rogers, SaskTel and (possibly) Virgin are following suit…soon.
CRTC Requires ISP’s Financial Data: I’m totally sure exactly what this is about, it almost sounds like the CRTC is trying to get a handle on just how much profit the telecommunication industry is making. In any case, the industry seems ticked and I can get behind legislation that’s going to make those money-grubbing grubber’s lives harder.
Digital Lock Rules “Fundamentally Flawed”: Canadian Library Association is sticking it to the man, well, as much as they can without raising their voice.
Police “Body Cameras” Becoming Common-Place: cameras worn by police officers directly on their person (on an ear clips or helmet) are making there way into forces across the country. Good move, imho.
One year after Rogers nearly botched their Canadian iPhone launch with ridiculous data plans and extra fees, it looks like Rogers might have learned their lesson.
According to Rogers PR, they will support MMS and tethering with the intention of making the service availble with the June 19th launch. That means these features will not work with current pre-release installs of 3.0. Rogers would neither confirm nor deny whether MMS/tethering would require a more expensive pricing plan.
Also, Rogers will be bringing back their limited time 6GB@$30/mo plan. So if you’re finding yourself using most of your 3G data, you’ll have a chance to upgrade.
In a flip-flop move reminisant of John Kerry’s 2004 presidential campaign, Rogers Wireless has reversed it’s policy regarding smart phone tethering. I’m not even going to try to speculate what’s going on internally with this company. Buried in this CBC article about Rogers’ (baffling) new data plans is this nugget:
Unlike other cellphone carriers, Rogers is allowing customers to “tether” their smartphones, or connect them to a computer and use them as a modem.
This new policy was one of the reasons I decided to jailbreak my iPhone earlier this week.
Finally got around to trying it out tonight. A quick google pulled up a very ominous looking 9 step How To. In actuality there are only 3 things you really have to set up. 1) ad-hoc network on the pc, 2) run ‘socks’ on iPhone, 3) set up SOCKS proxy connection in your browser
- 3G is fast! Speedtest.net gave me 2742 kb/s down and 246 kb/s up. That was with full bars of reception, during off-peak. This is definitely fast enough for standard browsing and not too bad for file downloads. I’ve gotten worse connections with paid wifi.
- Because it’s a browser based solution, it’s somewhat limiting. I suspect there’s some software available that would hook into a proxy server at on a lower level, it might even be a standard configuration setting in windows. I didn’t look into it.
- Either the socks app stopped working and/or firefox randomly forgot my proxy settings. Over the course of my 15 minute trial, I had to reset firefox’s proxy settings 5 or 6 times.
- Battery drain on the iPhone is high. You probably only have an hour max.
Overall, it’s pretty cool.
That said, I’m not entirely sure where I’d use this. Most of the time the iPhone is going to be as much internet as I need. I might use it at an airport, if I wanted to sync some podcasts before a long flight or something. I may use it if I wanted to work in a wifi-less location. Other than that, it’s a good backup incase the cable ever goes down.