Gaining control of our internet
February 8, 2012 in Uncategorized
As a service infrastructure rather than a commodity…
There have been many battles over Internet pricing, and talk of how Canada is falling behind the curve when it comes to both speed and higher cost over other countries.
The latest is the Cell phone squeeze as described by Openmedia.com. Where private companies are purchasing publicly owned frequencies to broadcast their services to us the public, and then charging us a minutely rate to use the frequencies that we the public technically own… But this is another issue.
Now back to my ideas about the Internet in particular. It seems to me the primary reason for all the huff about unlimited vs. metered data rates, or the cost of leasing lines from the telco to provide service to us the people all stems from the telcos owning all the lines into our homes, and the fact that all the newbie’s don’t want to, or can not afford to lay their own lines. Admittedly, in some cases, municipalities also prevent new telcos from laying lines because they do not want their streets torn up as well.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think its bad that the incumbents own what they spent good money on installing, and I don’t think it would be fair to force them to give free access to any one that wants to use their property. I think they have every right to charge whatever they want for their services including the use of their property by other vendors.
Here’s my solution, assuming no one else has thought of this, mandate in municipal, provincial, or federal law that all new homes / neighborhoods be required to have fiber optic cable pre-wired back to a publicly controlled dmark. This dmark would be owned by the city or a crown corporation. Then all teclos would have equal access to the dmark regulated by the city or crown corp. The city could even provide its own services if it wished. Similarly I think that as a municipality or provincial project there would be great cost saving benefits in providing fiber to the home though sheer volume. The municipality / province could then earn a profit by leasing the lines to telcos, or by providing their own ISP options.
At a federal level, I think Canada Post would be a great crown corp. to take on the roll of federal ISP. This would keep CP relevant as more and more people move away from sending letters and ultimately move to electronic communications.
I think having a crown corp. that is ultimately responsible to the people in charge of the proverbial last mile would even out the playing field dramatically. This would prevent incumbents from charging data rates as if bandwidth was a non renewable resource. Of course the incumbents are still welcome to install their own lines if they so chose, but even for them I think it would be much less expensive to lease some fiber from the city/province to get to your home.
The clear difference is a thought process. When “The Internet” came about, it was a communications tool for universities and other public research or government agencies. When it became available to the public, it turned into a commodity. To be bought and sold like oil or oranges. But this was only feasible because to the public, the Internet was a novelty. We could either use it or not as we chose. Now, it is a necessary means of communication for the public as well, not only for email and gathering information from websites, but as more technologies like cell phones and tv switch over to IP based services, we can’t go back. With IP phones, and Netflix who rely on the IP infrastructure we are now being charged “Air Time” as we talk on our home phones, or watch TV. But why? There is no cost to the provider for “Air Time” or as it is called in the ISP world “Data Rate”. They aren’t going to run out of “Data Rate” if you use more than your neighbor. So why do they get to charge us as if it is a commodity?
Easy, because they can. Also, because they are the only ones with lines going into your home, they can force any one that leases their lines in order to provide you competitive services to pay them as well. So the easy answer here is to take them out of the picture. Give competitors a competitive alternative to leasing infrastructure from a competitor!
Let’s face it; Bell, Telus or any other telco does not have our best interest at heart. They are responsible only to their share holders, and all share holders want is their dividends at the end of the year. They will squeeze it out of us however they can.