The CEOs of the country's largest telecommunications firms are crying foul that the Government of Canada is poised to allow American wireless behemoth Verizon from acquiring small Canadian carriers. The whining of their advertising campaign barrage is more than unseemly; it is hypocritical and intellectually dishonest.
Bank of America's Global Wireless Matrix is packed with thorough statistics on virtually every carrier in 50 developed and developing countries. The regular report is the most accurate measure and comparison of wireless carriers around the world, which is probably why the Canadian industry and its allies don't want the public to see it. The report details just how well they're doing and does much to prove that Canadians are indeed paying high prices.
Our wireless phone service contracts and rates put Canada 10 years behind Europe and Asia, even our neighbours to the South beat us by a large margin. Given that the prices for service are so high, perhaps we could rest assured that the quality would be on par. Here too Canada pales in comparison to other countries.
We have reached a critical juncture where choices and decisions made now could tilt the evolution of the network media ecology in Canada toward a more closed, surveilled and centralized regime instead of an open one that strives to put as much of the internet's capabilities into as many people's hands as possible.
Some wonder why it's a good thing that the likes of Wind can now be bought by foreign entities. Simply put, it's better than the alternative -- the smaller companies are having a hell of a time competing against the big guys. It's trendy to bash the government as being pro-big business, but in the past week that hasn't been the case.
The government unveiled its plans yesterday for the next spectrum auction but it remains too timid in places. The reliance on spectrum caps is reasonable, but the foreign ownership restriction changes do not go far enough and the decision to forego mandated open access is a blow to Canada's still-missing digital economy strategy.