Interventions Phase 2: Intervenor 697

Document Name: 2015-134.227162.2532547.Interventions Phase 2(1$@4j01!).html

Canada's ability to access the internet is trailing far behind many other first world countries. Unfortunately, instead of making strides forward to keep pace with the growth and development of the internet, Canadian access to the internet has slowly been reduced through increases to the cost of internet access, reductions in the quantity of internet available through data caps and removing services that supplied rural areas with internet. If Canada wants to keep up with the evolution of the internet, it needs to establish affordable access for everyone in Canada to this, UN declared, human right.In order to keep this comment as short as possible, the following Canadian internet issues requiring solutions have been organized into point form focusing around how the points reduce internet availability to Canadians.1. Internet availability for all. Many areas in rural Canada have little to no access to the internet, much less high speed. In some areas where it is available, connections are often unreliable and are always subject to low data caps. Rural internet users have few options available, including satellite and cell phone data connections available. Neither of these options are reliable and can guarantee access when it's needed. Furthermore, the services have become saturated, overloaded and often unusable as rural residents try to get access and more people move to acreages on the outskirts of cities.2. Internet prices need to be reduced to allow access to the internet by all Canadians. **** of internet access has been slowly increasing over the years. Perhaps this should be expected as telecoms invest more money into equipment to provide better internet. However, current internet prices are unaffordable to low income families who require internet access for their children to complete school. While going to the library is an option, telecoms cannot guarantee that a child will have access to the internet for school if a snowstorm arrives or a parent is ill, cutting off access to the library. Internet prices in Canada are also incredibly high compared to other first world countries and our highest speeds are an embarrassment to the country in general. In fact, of the high speed internet packages the largest internet provider in Saskatchewan (SaskTel) provides, only 3 of them meet the USA's FCC standard for broadband (4mbps download/1mbps upload). Of those 3, every single one is a fiber optic package and the only way to access the package is if Sasktel has had time to run fiber to the residence. Therefore, SASKTEL DOES NOT OFFER THE USA STANDARD OF BROADBAND TO SASKATCHEWAN RESIDENTS WHO HAVE WIRED INTERNET, MUCH LESS THOSE WHO DON'T. This is a significant shortcoming and paints a clear picture of how far behind other countries Canada's internet prices and services are.3. Data caps need to be removed to allow unbiased and fair access to the internet. First and foremost, data caps can remove access to the internet by reducing speeds to unusable dial-up bandwidths. Sudden removal of a persons access to the internet is a human rights violation of human rights according to the UN. Second, data caps are largely seen by the public as a method to recoup money from so called "cord cutters" who are moving away from the telecom's TV services. While the argument by telecom companies that data caps are there to protect the smaller users from poor internet access because another user on the node is a "heavy internet consumer" does have small merit, recent advances in internet technologies, such as installing fiber optic in the home, remove such issues. Furthermore, telecom lobbyists in the USA admit data caps are about monetizing internet usage. The sad truth is that THE INTERNET WILL NEVER REQUIRE LESS DATA. Current gaming consoles can require up to 50 gigabytes for a single game and Windows 10 has been subject to several updates larger than 1 gigabyte, allowing users to quickly and unknowingly burn through their cap. For example, the 3 least expensive options provided by satellite internet provider Xplornet in Saskatchewan all provide data caps of 50 gigabytes or less. This data cap could be consumed by one gaming console provided it was used to download 1 console game a month and nothing else.