Monday, November 24, 2008

CRTC-SuperNet-Telus and the Plight of Rural Alberta Connectivity

I am working on a project to get rural Albertans access to the SuperNet using the copper telephone wire that comes into our homes. It requires the cooperation of the owner of that wire who is Telus in Alberta. Telus has balked at consenting voluntarily. So there is an application being undertaken by the Internet Centre to the CRTC with a decision pending for private Internet Service Providers to secure this access to the Telus “unloaded copper wire.” Here is the link to the application documents if you are an insomniac.

I ran across an interesting interview with Simon Aspinal, the Managing Director, Internet Business Solutions Group for Cisco. He explains very clearly the reluctance of the Telcos to help and facilitate this change in communications culture of the new and emerging dominance of the internet espeically relating to video applications. Aspinal outlines the reasons why it makes good business sense for Telcos to adapt to the new internet video reality instead of still trying to fight off its inevitable and upsetting all their customers along the way.

The interview is a bit esoteric but it is very relevant given the powerful fibreoptics tool Albertans have built and paid for called the SuperNet. It brings great leverage and competitive capacity that cam make for an enticing business case for enterprises to set up in rural communities. The keys to thie innovation are high definition easy access simple to use cost competitive videoconferencing and very high speed internet. All this become a reality with the access to the SuperNet through unloaded copper telephone wire that is everywhere in Alberta.

It is not only Telus that is reluctant and resistant to adjust to the new reality of the internet Web 2.0 world. We see Bell and Rogers also using inappropriate business practices to try and control bandwidth for everyone just because a few bad apples are inappropriately using services. Net neutrality is the underlying issue here and the CRTC has said there will be a public hearing on the issues in July 2009. I expect to participate in those hearings to ensure private enterprise is not granted the power to interfere with my Charter Rights “freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communications; freedom of peaceful assembly: and freedom of association.” These rights have to trump the business purposes of Telcos that are trying to create a monopoly and unwarranted control over internet access.