The CRTC has been involved in new media hearings for the past week and is looking into re-examining the regulations when it comes to Internet traffic management.
The reason this is coming up now is because back in 1999 the CRTC decided not include “new media” as part of the regulation. Dr. Michael Geist, professor at the University of Ottawa, said it’s for 3 main reasons:
1. Licensing and regulation would not help the development of New Media.
2. A lack of regulation of new media would not impede the ability of other media forms from fulfilling their duties
3. The Commission felt that New Media needed more time to become competitive.
Many organizations have stepped up to the plate to have their say: GlassBOX Television, Friends of Canadian Broadcasting, ACTRA, SOCAN and majority of the conversations have been based around regulating the internet on your computer.
However, this changed yesterday when Pelmorex, which owns The Weather Network and MétéoMédia, made claims that the wireless carriers need to have a “transparent set of traffic management rules” when it comes to monitoring Internet traffic on our mobile devices.
From their submission to the CRTC Pelmorex stated:
“Pelmorex is concerned that the Commission might adopt a definition of “net neutrality” or “traffic management” that will be too narrow and will not fully address all of the instances where a network operator might manipulate traffic to its benefit. While not currently a concern for wire-line ISPs, there are a number of commercial or business practices that are being employed by wireless network operators that limit access to their networks. Wireless networks are increasingly becoming a key access point for the Internet and the devices that are used to access that network are today’s most ubiquitous computers. These wireless networks, which are owned and operated by the same companies that dominate the wire-line market, provide customers with the ability to send and receive a variety of traffic, including voice, data and programming.”
In addition, Pelmorex wrote “We believe that the measures employed by wireless carriers to control access to their networks should be considered as a critical part of this proceeding and that the Commission should take steps to ensure that all network operators, including wireless carriers, are subject to the same general requirements relating to net neutrality.”
Pelmorex goes into greater detail regarding Rogers, Bell and TELUS and how the CRTC should put regulations on mobile devices in action as soon as possible: “The reason for this is that the mobile devices and networks employed by wireless carriers are quickly evolving to the point where the quality of Internet access service provided through a mobile device will be equivalent to the service provided by wire-line ISPs. Recently introduced mobile devices, like the Rogers Stick, provide high speed wireless connections that are comparable wire-line ISPs. Telus and Bell have also recently announced that they will be moving towards a 4G GSM network by 2010. With high-speed downlink packet access (HSDPA), the wireless network will enable customers to download content at a speed of 14 megabytes per second. This means that wireless Internet for Bell and Telus will be faster than their landline connections, which will accelerate the increasing usage trends for mobile Internet1. Wireless and wire-line ISPs should, therefore, have comparable regulatory regimes.”
Pelmorex takes one for the team with this comment: “Wireless carriers frequently establish “walled gardens” or “malls” at their sole discretion so as to differentiate Internet content. Consumers are then charged more to access content or websites that the carrier, in its sole discretion, excludes from its walled garden or mall.” and “Wireless carriers routinely impose restrictions on the ability of content providers (typically mobile websites) to deliver advertising or restrict or charge more if a customer accesses that advertising, effectively undermining the business case for a mobile website”.
With all this said, I’m sure more organizations will speak up simply because our mobile internet traffic has significantly increased over the past year. Rules and regulations are most likely inevitable… but we can have our say as nobody wants to be limited, watched or have their internet activity monitored.
“Net Neutrality in Canada is the principle that consumers should be in control of what content, services and applications they use on the public Internet.” (from Neutrality.ca)
“When I invented the Web, I didn’t have to ask anyone’s permission. Now, hundreds of millions of people are using it freely. I am worried that that is going end” – Sir Tim Berners Lee
To learn more (and sign the petition) about Net Neutrality Canada please visit Neutrality.ca
If you want to read the full 11-page submission by Pelmorex you can get it here (PDF). More updates soon.
Looks like the BlackBerry mascot was in full effect last week in Vancouver. Virgin is a lead sponsor for this years So You Think You Can Dance Canada and they’ve captured some videos of the massive Curve in action. Check out these videos when you want to waste a few minutes of your life
The Queen will be first in line for the antipated LG-GD910 3G Watch Phone. The rumour going around is that wireless carrier Orange is pricing this at a cool £1,000. In Canadian funds this is just over $1,800.
Vidéotron released their 2008 numbers and they are proud that 63,400 phones were activated on its wireless network.
They have invested heavily in the recent Advanced Wireless Spectrum Auction and Robert Dépatie, President and CEO said “As we look forward to rolling out our own wireless network, marking the dawn of a new era for our Company, we are confident that we are strongly positioned to deliver what we promised consumers in October 2008: an unprecedented wireless services offering”
In true Virgin style they have already started to get the word out for an upcoming advertising campaign by occupying a 15-storey billboard by Toronto’s Eaton Centre. In addition, print campaign with posters will be distributed in Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver and Montreal. More importantly, a website will be created to try and shift our perspective on the recession called: www.screwyourecession.com.
Nathan Rosenberg, Virgin Mobile’s chief marketing officer said “We want to be on their side, by not being afraid of the “R” word”. (This is certainly in line with the recent drop in price plan rates this week)
It seems every month Virgin is continually doing some sort of new study, the latest found that 41% of consumers have given up a brands they love. Only 1,500 were surveyed but Andrew Bridge, Director of Brand and Communications said “this core group hasn’t gone through such economic change or turmoil before… Seeing their friends laid off, or the way their own employers are treating them differently, has had a big impact on the way they see things”.
Rosenberg said “They just feel really let down. They’re angry with government. They’re angry with banks. They’re angry with big organizations that have been profitable. It’s almost like they’re saying, all this time you really weren’t investing in anything.”
This is where Virgin comes in for the superhero persona. In this “economic uncertainty” the ScrewYouRecession site will be a forum for people to express themselves and share tips on how to save money. The end goal is to have us Canadian consumers to switch to Virgin when our contracts are up for renewal. “From the mobile standpoint we want people, when their contracts come up, to look at us and say, oh, here’s someone who gets what I’m going through,” says Mr. Bridge.
Some feel the language used in this advertising initiative is really risky for Virgin, but remember they’ve always pushed the boundries. Point in case, last years “You Call the Shots” print ads that targeted US politicians Hillary Clinton, Elliot Spitzer and now President Barack Obama.
Good on you Virgin. Keep it up.
Source: Globe & Mail
There are several rumours flying around that in the United States, Verizon might eventually be adding the Apple iPhone to its lineup. Currently the iPhone is under exclusivity through AT&T and if a Verizon deal happens, what will it mean for us Canadians?
Consumer Report wrote an interesting comment on their blog today:
“A North American iPhone that works with the CDMA technology used by Verizon might also spell some advantages for cell-phone subscribers north of the border. As we’ve pointed out, there’s been discontent over the cost of service with Rogers Wireless, the current Canadian iPhone carrier. The CDMA version developed for Verizon might allow new, perhaps, cheaper option for Canadians, with carriers in Canada that use CDMA, such as Bell Canada and Telus.”
With this said, both Bell and Telus are switching their technology by the 2010 Olympics… do you think that we’ll ever see the iPhone with either Bell or TELUS?
Nokia recently closed a R&D plant and cut 320 jobs, now they are continuing to look for ways to reduce costs and have announced a global “Voluntary Resignation Package”. In addition, have asked employees to use “short-term unpaid leaves and sabbaticals” and asked employees to take “holiday as time off instead of taking cash compensation in 2009″.
Hallstein Moerk, Nokia’s Head of Human Resources said “The response from employees and employee representatives in proposing ideas to help reduce personnel-related costs has been encouraging. We have considered these and are now announcing voluntary initiatives that could contribute to our efforts to adjust our cost base to the current market environment. If successful, the voluntary initiatives will lessen the need for involuntary redundancies”.
The Interactive Advertising Bureau of Canada (IAB) said Mobile Advertising Revenue in Canada grew from $1.1 million in 2006 to $2.7 million in 2007 and is expected to almost double in 2008 to $5.2 million.
The majority of mobile advertising comes from text messages with 75% of the total revenue. The rest comes from “Premium SMS, Mobile Content, Mobile (Display) Advertising, Mobile Search and Mobile Applications”.
IDC has released its latest “Canada’s Quarterly Mobile Device Tracker” report, and Samsung again (for the 4th consecutive quarter) has shipped the most handsets (793,500 in Q4), led in marketshare, ranked highest in customer loyalty and somehow is the most popular mobile brand in 2008.
Paul Brannen, General Manager, Wireless Terminals, Samsung Electronics Canada said “Without a doubt the Canadian wireless device market is a very active and competitive space and Samsung takes great pride in being recognized as the national market share leader for 2008. We anticipate 2009 to be another strong year for Samsung handsets as we have a variety of innovative smartphones, touch phones and messaging devices set to launch throughout the year.”
All I have to say to Samung:
Let’s keep up with the rest of the world, bring your Android device out… show us how true your Canadian innovation really is!
(I hear it’s targeted for late Q3, early Q4 release)
Mozilla’s mobile browser will have a cool feature built-in called “Tab Syncing”. According to a post by developer Brad, “With tab syncing you can pull out your mobile device, launch Fennec and see a list of tabs open on your laptop (and all your other computers). You select the tab you need, and instantly are looking at the same content you had on your laptop.”
As this is still in development, they have provided a number of screenshots of this in action. Once you launch Fennec you’ll notice a Weave button on the left hand side. Once you press this it brings up all the open tabs on your computers… then simply pick the one you want.