Canadian Tech News

Canadian Tech News, September 1st – CRTC, Telco Refunds, WiFi is Bad, Google Games

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 post for all the fancy graphs and real analysis.

Google buys Toronto-based  game developer
In “me too” news, Google Canada has acquired a Toronto-based cross platform game developer SocialDeck.

Canadian Tech News

Canadian Tech News, August 25th

This week – in my ongoing attempt to keep myself up to date on Canadian tech news – I came across two great sources:

  • – they claim to be a “hyper local technology blog.” I don’t really know what that means, but they certainly have a great deal of Canadian Content.
  • @CDNTechNews on Twitter –  Ex-pat living in The UK put together a twitter account republishing a bunch of his favorite Canadian RSS feeds.

Onto the news:

Google Launches “Call Phones from Gmail” in Canada
Today Google released a calling service allowing you to make free phone calls within North America via gChat. The big news here is that they released this for Canada and the USA at the same time! The even bigger news: is now accessible within Canada! I’m hoping this is an indication that full-fledged Google Voice will be available soon, with inbound numbers and the whole spiel. At the moment it’s limited to a call history for numbers dialed through gmail. Note: your language needs to be set to “English (US).”

Federal Computers Caught Vandalizing Wikipedia
In two separate cases Federal government computers have been implicated in some pretty nasty Wikipedia vandalization. In the first case an employee at the Federal Corrections services HQ re-titled the Official Languages Act, changing it to “Quebec’s Nazi Act.” In another incident, someone at Air Force HQ in Winnipeg removed quotes  critical of the Joint Strike Fighter and accused a politician of using the word “awesome.” This genius tried to edit the article 9 times during work hours. Clearly the internet is serious business and these people should all be sent to jail.

Saskatchewan Man Charged with “crashing an internet chatroom”
In a story that sounds like it was pulled from the archives circa 1998, a northern Saskatchewan man is being charged with “mischief, illegal use of a computer and possession of a device to commit a computer offence” in an apparent DDOS on “the chatroom of a commercial website in New York.” I’m really curious about what constitutes a “device to commit a computer offense.”

Canadian Online Ad Revenue Growing
In optimistic news for Publisher, online advertising is expected to each $2Billion dollars in 2010 only two years after hitting the $1Billion mark.

Telus Wants CRTC to Keep Eye on Shaw
As you may be aware Calagary-based Shaw recently purchased Winnipeg-based Canwest’s broadcasting assets.  In other words a large ISP (and backbone provider) now owns a bunch of TV stations. Telus is worried. You should be worried too. It’s a little early to tell, but there is a really possibility this could turn into a net neutrality issue. I’m sure the CRTC is wetting the rubber stamps as we speak.

City of Ottawa Launching App Competition
If you’re an Ontario resident, the city of Ottawa is looking for your “cool apps that make life easier for Ottawa residents.” They’re offering a total of $50,000 in prizes, with a top prize of $5,000. I’m a big fan of open-government initiatives, hopefully this is a trend we continue to see fan out across the country.