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net connectivity in canada: a public/private model

net connectivity in canada: a public/private model

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net connectivity in canada: a public/private model

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  1. net connectivity in canada:a public/private model michael geist canada research chair in internet and e-commerce law university of ottawa

  2. outline • Canada in the World • Broadband strategies - the past ten years • Looking Ahead

  3. Canada in the World • Largest country geographically • Relatively small population - 32 million • Strong cable penetration • Telecom regulation exclusively federal jurisdiction

  4. Canada in the World • OECD ranks Canada 8th in the world (Iceland ranks #1) • Canada leads the G8 • Higher proportion of cable broadband access in the world • Government with longstanding history of involvement in broadband strategies

  5. Canadian Broadband Strategies - 10 Years • Mid-1990s - Information Highway Advisory Council (IHAC) • Identifies Internet policy issues • Key broadband initiatives • Canarie - public - private agency focused on university network • SchoolNet - Canada becomes the first country to provide Internet access to every school from coast to coast to coast

  6. Canadian Broadband Strategies - 10 Years • 2001 - Broadband Task Force • Multi-stakeholder task force - telcos, cable, public interest groups • Recommends nationwide, gov’t backed broadband initiative • Ultimately fails to garner government financial support

  7. Canadian Broadband Strategies - 10 Years • 2002 - present • Pilot projects/isolated initiatives • Broadband for Rural and Northern Development • 154 projects • Over 2000 communities • $4.2 million • National Satellite Initiative • Target broadband for northern communities

  8. Canadian Broadband Strategies - 10 Years • 2002 - present • Provincial initiatives • Virtually every province has broadband strategy • Alberta best known - SuperNet • 12,000 km of fibre • Connects over 400 communities • Municipal wifi initiatives • Frederiction, NB leading initiative • Toronto announcement in 2006; launch in September

  9. Looking Ahead • Muni Wifi • Interest from dozens of communities large and small • Many bedroom communities around major cities still without broadband • Satellite • Inukshuk initiative brings together competitors for satellite offering • Telecommunications Policy Reform Panel • Recommends creation of U-CAN to complete the broadband access nationwide

  10. Looking Ahead - the concerns • Competition Concerns • Cable vs. DSL -- without one, don’t get the other • Industry consolidation - top four control 60% of the market • Limited “pricing pressure” - costs expected to rise

  11. Looking Ahead - the concerns • “Uneconomic” coverage • Telecommunications Policy Review Committee • Undertakes full analysis of market-oriented approach • Concludes 1.5 million Canadians will not get access if left solely to market forces • Recommends public assistance to complete the last broadband mile • CRTC’s Deferral Account • $600 million in overpayment • Recommends compensating for “uneconomic” costs (up to 90% of the costs)

  12. Looking Ahead - the concerns • Net Neutrality issues • VoIP • Shaw premium • Videotron labels as “parasitic” • Content blocking • Telus and the union site • Traffic Shaping • Rogers and BitTorrent • Access Tiering • Telus suggests possibilities

  13. Looking Ahead - the concerns • Net Neutrality issues • Telecom Policy Review Panel “open access is of such overriding importance that its protection justifies giving the regulator the power to review cases involving blocking access to applications and content and significant, deliberate degradation of service.”

  14. Looking Ahead - the concerns • Net Neutrality issues • Telecom Policy Review Panel “confirm the right of Canadian consumers to access publicly available Internet applications and content of their choice by means of all public telecommunications networks providing access to the Internet.”

  15. Conclusions • Canada an interesting model • Generally good success story in providing broadband • Roles for both public and private sector • Innovative public policy - SchoolNet, deferral account • Single regulator • Net Neutrality issues loom on the horizon

  16. michael geist mgeist@uottawa.ca