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Canada Sucks When It Comes To High Speed Net Access

Michael Geist has a op/ed piece in [yesterday’s] Toronto Star that describes how craptastic Canada is when it comes to high speed Internet access. Here’s the bottom line:

According to a new OECD report, Canada has one of the slowest and most expensive consumer broadband networks in the developed world. The OECD report, widely viewed as the leading benchmark on broadband networks in the world, compared Canada with 29 other countries on a range of metrics. These included broadband availability, pricing, speed, and bandwidth caps.

As for specifics, how about we start with price:

Canada is relatively expensive by OECD standards, ranking 14th for monthly subscription costs at $45.65 (U.S.) per month. By comparison, Japanese consumers pay an average of $30.46 per month and consumers in Britain spend an average of $30.63. The relatively high prices may help to explain why there are still many Canadians with access to broadband networks that choose not to subscribe.

That’s no surprise. When you have a small amount of telcos running the show (read: Rogers, Bell, Telus), prices are going to be higher as there is a lack of competition. What about speed you ask?:

Not only is the Canadian Internet relatively expensive, it is also comparatively slow, ranking 24th out of the 30 OECD countries. Internet users in Japan, Korea and France enjoy a genuinely different Internet experience, where the far-faster speeds allows for applications and services that have yet to make their mark in Canada.

Moreover, the speed gap between Canada and most of the OECD appears to be growing. The fastest consumer speeds often come from fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) services that are commonplace in countries like Japan (48 per cent of consumers) and Korea (43 per cent of consumers), but virtually non-existent in Canada. In fact, the OECD placed Canada’s FTTH penetration at zero per cent.

Well that sucks. I have American friends who get FTTH for as little as $30 US a month for 50 Mb down/ 10 Mb up speeds. My $30 CDN a month gets me 5 Mb down and 800 kbps up via DSL. Not exactly lightning fast. Oh, there’s one other tidbit of interest:

When price and speed are combined, Canada sinks toward the very bottom of the OECD rankings. As measured by price per megabyte – effectively the price for speed – Canada ranks 28th out of 30 countries, ahead of only Mexico and Poland. This may be the most telling metric, since it confirms that Canadians pay more for less.

Canadian consumers also face far less choice with respect to broadband options. Canada was one of only four countries (Australia, New Zealand, and Belgium were the others) where all broadband options included “bit caps” that limit consumer use each month.

It truly sucks to be Canadian. I remember the days when Canada was at the top of this list. Now Canadians are stuck in the dark ages.

I think it’s time that change is forced upon those who are standing in the way of progess. The question is, do Canadian political leaders have the guts to do it?

Originally posted at [The IT Nerd]

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