Interventions Phase 2: Intervenor 598

Document Name: 2015-134.226994.2524039.Interventions Phase 2(1$3k701!).html

The Canadian Internet Registration Authority ("CIRA") has noted that not only has Canada been an early adopter of the Internet and broadband technology, Canada has one of the highest internet penetration rates in the world. Almost 80% of Canadians are online, and the vast majority of those are daily users ( https://cira.ca/factbook/2013/canada-online.html). Additionally, according to a study by ComScore, Canadians rank #1 in the world for hours per month spent online (45), more than double the world average.Despite this, however, OECD data from 2014 (the most recent year available; files attached, sourced from https://www.oecd.org/sti/broadband/oecdbroadbandportal.htm) show that Canada is the fifth most expensive out of 34 countries for fixed broadband subscription price ranges, and 17th out of 34 countries for price per megabit per second of advertised speed. We lag behind countries such as the Czech Republic, Poland, Estonia, and the Slovak Republic. An argument could be made by telecom companies that our price is dictated by usage. Data shows this not to be the case: over the past 10 years, 18 OECD countries have experienced speed increases with price decreases, while Canada's prices increased with a very slight speed increase. Other countries who experienced a price increase, though, noted significant improvements in speed increases.Historically, the government had provided funding to large telecommunication companies to install networks across Canada, under the rationale that not only was this good for these companies, it was also good for Canadians. For years, these companies maintained control of pricing of telephony services, until other companies were allowed to enter the market, and create much-needed competition to better serve Canadian citizens.No-one could have forseen the invention of the internet, yet the control that the large telecommunication companies maintain on distribution, price, and speed is similar to early days of the telephone. These large companies, initially assisted by Canadian citizen tax dollars, are able to handicap smaller internet service providers ("ISPs") through bandwidth caps (i.e., usage-based billing) for using their infrastructure, and push prices up artificially due to this.According to CIRA, Canada's internet economy is expected to grow by 7.4 per cent per year through 2016, and Canada's internet economy accounted for $49 billion in 2010. Compared to our G20 peers, however, we rank ninth, with our ranking trending downwards.The growth of the internet economy should be paired with fairer competition for smaller ISPs, resulting in more choice for Canadian citizens and businesses, lower prices, and faster internet speeds.