News tagged: Bell Sympatico
Documents provided by Edward Snowden last week revealed that the Canadian government (CSEC, their NSA equivalent) has been quite illegally spying on and tracking Canadian citizens
using public Wi-Fi available at Canadian airports to track movement both before and after citizens visited the airport. The specifics of how the government obtained the location data isn't made clear, but Canada's two largest airports, Toronto and Vancouver, deny providing CSEC with the data.
The Canadian government's response? Claim that the CBC is lying
and that Glenn Greenwald is a "porn spy" (whatever that's supposed to mean). This is what Prime Minister Stephen Harper's parliamentary secretary, Paul Calandra had to say in response to the CBC story:
Here are the facts: Before the story aired, CSEC made clear that nothing in the stolen documents showed that Canadians' communications were targeted, collected, or used, nor that travellers' movements were tracked.
In addition, CSEC's activities are regularly reviewed by an independent watchdog who has consistently found it has followed the law. Why is furthering porn-spy Glenn Greenwald's agenda and lining his Brazilian bank account more important than maintaining the public broadcaster's journalistic integrity?
The redacted document
(pdf) the CBC published pretty clearly suggests the government is doing precisely what they say they aren't
The Globe and Mail
highlights how the next generation of downloadable games from Sony (at 30 to 80GB) are going to really start pushing Canadian bandwidth caps, which are considerably more restrictive than those here in the States. That's before Sony even launches Playstation Now
, a gaming streaming service not unlike OnLive, or Sony's 4K video streams and downloads
-- both of which may very well start eating Canadian bandwidth caps like popcorn shrimp. "The debate over Canada’s usage caps will either spark up again or the company will have to purposely degrade PlayStation Now in Canada, the same way Netflix did to its service, or both," notes the paper.
Canadian Law Professor Michael Geist points out
Canadian lawmakers say they're working on new rules
that would require Canadian cable operators to offer a la carte content to consumers. "We don't think it's right for Canadians to have to pay for bundled television channels that they don't watch," said Canadian Industry Minister James Moore. "We want to unbundle television channels and allow Canadians to pick and pay the specific television channels that they want." There's a majority interest in more flexible channel options
here in the States, but usually only fleeting lip service by cable operators when it comes to providing them -- a la carte or otherwise.
Last month independent Canadian ISP TekSavvy all-but accused Rogers Communications of intentionally bumbling customer install and repair orders
, creating a massive backlog of issues in order to help drive their competitors out of business. When I spoke to Rogers the company denied blame
, instead blaming TekSavvy for missing necessary support forecasts and somehow "overwhelming" Rogers third party support resources.
Indie Canadian ISP TekSavvy
isn't having a very good summer, and it appears Canadian incumbent Rogers is to thank for much of it. You'll probably recall that over the last few years independent Canadian ISP has built quite a name for itself for being a more consumer-friendly sort of ISP.
If you've watched any of them do business for more than a few minutes, it has been amusing to watch Canadian incumbents Bell, Telus and Rogers kick, scream and cry about Verizon's possible entry into the Canadian market
. Their Fair for Canada
TV and radio campaign has employees reading scripted statements proclaiming that Verizon will steal Canadian jobs and generally make Canadian wireless service (already some of the most expensive anywhere) worse.
Canadian incumbents Telus, Bell and Rogers have recently fired up attack campaigns
attempting to keep Verizon Wireless from entering their market. The campaign
uses incumbent employees reading from scripts to insist that Canadian telcos simply want a "level playing field" and that Verizon will kill jobs.
As we've noted repeatedly, ISPs are so hungry to cash in on caps and overages, they're rushing toward implementing meters without making sure they work. Canadian cable operator Cogeco has been the absolute worst on this front, implementing metered usage charges back in 2009 -- and four years later still often struggling to measure usage correctly. story continues..
Back in May our users uncovered a Canadian scam being run by several individuals who were pretending to be entirely fake ISPs
in order to collect customer cash and private user information. Using ISP names like "Cable Gator" and "Go Cable Solutions," the scammers promise users broadband service they can't get, demand $100 down payments and personal data including SIN and driver's license numbers, then skirt off with the cash.
It has been incredibly amusing to watch Canadian incumbents Bell, Telus and Rogers, no strangers to abusive and predatory anti-competitive behavior at every opportunity, kick, scream and cry about Verizon's possible entry into the Canadian market
. Now that the predators are having to fight a real predator and the possibility of real competition, they're doing what any good, anti-competitive incumbent would do: engage in propaganda, disinformation and astroturfing to confuse the public.
With the recent news that Verizon might be eyeing an entry into the Canadian wireless market, last week Canadian incumbent Telus began crying like a spoiled child
about the remote possibility that the Canadian market could see some additional competition. Telus, a company that like U.S.
As we noted yesterday
, Verizon Wireless is putting out feelers and exploring the option of an expansion into Canada, specifically in the form of buying up one of the nation's struggling smaller carriers. Not too surprisingly, incumbent operators there don't want this to happen.
It has been about half a decade now that I've been pointing out that most of the meters used by ISPs to track and bill consumers for usage aren't accurate. Customers of Canadian cable operator Cogeco have long complained the company's meter is inaccurate when users can load it at all
, and every so often the meter simply goes mad -- like last Spring when the meter was horribly confused by leap year
Bell Canada today announced that the company would give users of its fiber to the node (and in some instances FTTH) "Fibe" service an unlimited connection free of data caps -- if
users are willing to pay a price premium. According to the company's press release
, users tired of dealing with caps and overages can return to the joys of unlimited data for an additional $10 on top of existing triple play service, or $30 on top of existing double play or standalone Fibe service.
The law firm Dunlap, Grubb and Weaver (aka the U.S. Copyright Group) has perfected the "copyright-o-matic
" approach to P2P lawsuits, sending out letters en masse to users they've identified as having traded copyrighted files, threatening to sue those users unless they settle for the rock-bottom initial price tag of $1,500.
Several users in our Canadian forums
have nudged us to note that Canadian regulators have stunned everyone by blocking Bell's attempted acquisition of Canadian media company Astral. According to the CRTC
, the $3 billion takeover of the company (think Comcast's acquisition of NBC as a much larger but similar venture), would have resulted in much higher prices for Canadian consumers.
FCC boss Julius Genachowski has been busy lately paying lip service to Silicon Valley, most recently telling a bunch of Silicon Valley conference attendees that caps were something we should be "concerned" about
, after telling cable companies just a few months earlier he thought caps and overages are nifty and innovative
. Speaking again to Silicon Valley folks yesterday at a speech
at Vox Media headquarters, Genachowski hashed out his muddy position a little further, again insisting he was "concerned" about caps -- sort of -- maybe:
(Growing usage) presents challenges for broadband providers in managing the growing loads on their networks while earning returns to drive capital investment in network upgrades and expansion.
Canadian regulators are suing Canadian wireless companies for misleading charges related to various text message, ringtone and other frequently-shady services that can carry hidden fees. According to a report in the Globe and Mail
, Canada's Competition Bureau is suing Telus, Rogers, BCE and the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association for violating the misleading advertising portion of the Competition Act.
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