In December the CRTC stipulated that Internet service providers should strive to provide speeds of 50 megabits per second (Mbps) download speeds and 10 Mbps upload speeds for fixed broadband Internet access and offer an unlimited data option.
“Access to broadband Internet service is vital and a basic
telecommunication service all Canadians are entitled to receive,"
said CRTC chairman and CEO Jean-Pierre Blais in a news release.
"Canadians who participated during our process told us that no
matter where they live or work in our vast country — whether in a
small town in northern Yukon, a rural area of eastern Quebec or in
downtown Calgary — everyone needs access to
high-quality fixed Internet and mobile services.”
A lofty goal indeed given that many Canadians currently have NO
access to internet services in their homes and those that do have a
connection generally are limited to 10Mbps by both technology limits
and cost. In SW Ontario governments both municipal and provincial are
touting what they are going to do under their SouthWest
Integrated Fibre Technology (SWIFT) initiative
which promises an “open access network that will provide up to 1
Gbps service for under $100/month” and “ build an ultra
high-speed fibre optic regional broadband network for everyone
in Western Ontario.”
I have no doubt that SOME Canadians and SOME SW Ontario residents
will benefit from the above but what really gets me pissed off is the
rhetoric that ALL Canadians are going to get 50 Mbps connections or
better at some unforeseeable point in the future. To also say that
the cost for such a connection will be below $100 is simply fantasy.
The reality that those who live along major through routes or in a
community along those routes, who in all probability already have
cable or landline broadband DSL of 10 – 20 Mbps available at under
that $100 threshold, may well be able to upgrade due to these
initiatives to ultra high speed, and that may well assist businesses
along such routes to expand or be more efficient. However if anyone
thinks that every rural resident will see a fibre-optic line being
installed along their concession road anytime in the next 20 years
they are dreaming. Some may, most will not. So the very folk who have
difficulty getting a decent connection, or any connection, will
without a doubt be largely left wondering what such words such as
“all Canadians” and “broadband network for everyone” really
I have no great objection to these initiatives, in fact they will
hopefully bring more businesses and the associated jobs to those
previously under serviced rural towns and villages fortunate enough
to be included in these upgrades BUT perhaps the aim should be to
bring affordable average speed connections to those who are left just
wishing for something better than a 50k dial up connection, that
almost useless connection being their only real choice.
those in the big city who are saying “what the hell is he talking
about, everyone can get internet cant they?” here are the
Typical DSL IF within a couple of miles of a major
telephone switching station OR have access to cable ......5-25Mbps
unlimited $40 - $80, - Available to almost 100% of urban
Typical wireless IF you have line of sight to a providers
tower ....... 2- 20Mbps unlimited $50 $250, please note that
considerable outlay may be required to get a line of sight location
for the wireless receiver such as a 60' tower ($2000 installed) and
many providers do not provide unlimited connections and may charge
for 'overage' above their set limits.
Satellite .......5Mbps limited 50GB to 10Mbps limited 500GB $60 to
$120 , again note that line of sight to the satellite is required if
trees or buildings are in the way you are SOL, also the dishes are
large and heavy and may require special mounting infrastructure to
The preferred choice for rural folks would be that wireless hook
up however in many areas the available suppliers and the number of
transmitter towers is very limited, and I suspect in some place more
isolated than here in SW Ontario, non existent. It is this service
that needs expanding NOT providing those with already available
20Mbps service even faster speed. If “High quality and reliable
digital connectivity is essential for the quality of life of
Canadians and Canada’s economic prosperity.” as these folks keep
saying then let us work on that for ALL Canadians not just a few.
My apologies to my one or two regular readers if I seem to be focusing on this subject a little too much, it just annoys me when such things are sold as being all inclusive when in reality we out in the sticks know they are not!
A longtime rural resident, I use my 60 plus years of life learning to opinionate here and elsewhere on the “interweb” on everything from politics to environmental issues. A believer in reasonable discourse rather than unhelpful attacks I try to give positive input to the blogesphere, so feel free to comment upon rural issues or anything else posted here. But don’t be surprised if you comments get zapped if you are not polite in your replys.