Canadian Tech Roundup – Episode 9 – Netflix, CRTC, Shaw

[podcast]http://dl.dropbox.com/u/480185/podcasts/CTR9.mp3[/podcast]

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 wirelessnorth.ca 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.

Boingo: The Best $10 I’ve Ever Spent

Last week I was stuck at O’hare overnight. I noticed a bunch of large signs proclaiming “free wi-fi terminal wide.” Upon trying to connect to the internet, I discovered that these hotspots were run by boingo and only “free” for customers of certain telcos. While I feel that wifi is an amenity that should always be free, like public restrooms, Boingo was only $10/month. I had some calls to make and figured I’d probably save money by using Skype instead of my $1.95/min roaming cell phone.

After signing up for boingo, I realized that had a 3 month free promo running. So I actually only paid $2.50/month. Even better!

It was not until I came back home that I realized the genius of boingo. Turns out, boingo is actually a partner on all the major wifi networks in North America. Meaning that I can use my boingo account to log in to any Bell hotspot at Starbucks and various other random places around the city.
In case you’re not aware, Bell normally charges $8 PER HOUR!