Why are wireless data rates in Canada so absurd?

I recently bought a SIM card for the Acer laptop I got at Microsoft PDC. Although it took a hour or more to get the new SIM card set up and provisioned (because the guys at Sounds Fantastic had never provisioned a laptop that had a built-in 3G card), it is sedt up and works great.

My only complaint is with the price of data-only plans here in Canada. I mean, $30 for 500 mb? $85 for up to 5 gb? Why do we not have reasonably priced “all you can eat” plans like they do south of the border?

The answer came to me while I was waiting for my card to be provisioned – the phone and cable companies here in Canada cannot afford to reduces wireless data prices. If people could buy high speed wireless broadband for a price comparable to their home internet service, why would they buy DSL or Cable internet? This would effectively kill one whole profit stream for the Phone and Cable companies.

While I understand this form a business perspective, it concenrs me that this is holding our nation back in terms of development of mobile applications and services which take advantage of wireless broadband. Should the existing carrriers be allowed to artificially inflate wireless broadband rates in order to protect their wired internet businesses, to the detriment of the country as a whole?

Isn’t this what the CRTC shuld be protecting us against? God knows the CRTC needs SOMETHING useful to do!


I have been working in the world of technology for 25-odd years. I am an entrepreneur and consultant, focused on software solutions, social networking, and innovation processes. Currently, I am a Principal Consultant with T4G Limited, specializing in Portal Technologies (including SharePoint), software/systems development, service oriented architectures, and many other things which I will probably not remember until I need to use them. Prior to that, I was VP of Technology at Whitehill Technologies, Inc., where I spent almost 9 years helping to grow the company from a start-up to one of the most successful private software companies in Canada. Prior to that I worked on internet conferencing using early VoIP, and on large military communications projects. Before even that, I worked in satellite control, and remote sensing. Going way back to university, my focus was on theoretical physics and astrophysics. Currently my interests revolve around most aspects of software development, from technologies to management, and in the area of defining sustainable, repeatable processes for innovation within technology organizations. I also have a particular interest in Tablet PC technologies – I have been using one for several years, and I love it. On the personal side, I still have a strong interest in all aspects of science, especially physical sciences, as well as philosophy and comparative religion. In addition, I am into music, playing guitar (badly, I am sorry to say), and reading almost anything I can lay my hands on. I am also a member of the IEEE/IEEE Computer Society, and of the Association for Computing Machinery.

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Please keep in mind that any opinions, points-of-view, comments, or other content which I post to this site are mine and mine alone. They in no way reflect the views of my employer, my country, my dog, my cat, or anyone else you can think of. To paraphrase Monty Python, "That is the theory that I have and which is mine, and what it is, too."

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