Comparing US And Canadian Broadband
from the different-worlds dept
A fascinating (if quite long) article comparing differences in the broadband market in Canada and the US. Canadians have much higher broadband penetration than the US, and the article makes a very compelling argument that US federal regulations on “media ownership” have played a huge part in slowing down broadband adoption. The author says that cable and DSL present truly competitive offerings in Canada, but in the US, many places only have the option of one or the other – which has kept the prices high and slowed down adoption. This is often due to federal regulation that makes it unreasonable to bother entering a region where another provider already exists. He also makes the very good point that broadband isn’t just about offering faster email and websurfing, but opening up plenty of new opportunities to offer new services to customers, some of which are starting to appear in Canada. It talks about the (generalized, of course) different views of broadband internet services in the two countries – where media companies in the US looked at broadband as another way to deliver the same sort of content they were delivering over television, but Canadians have been more focused on ways that broadband services could allow new services that let people connect, and not just consumer content. Because of all of this, Canadian broadband use is much higher than in the US, and while it may have been initially for the connecting part, the content element is following on the connections. It seems that people sign up to connect, but then are willing to access content once they have the broadband pipe. One very interesting thing in the article is that, while Comcast is getting all sorts of press coverage for their (random level) capping of bandwidth usage, Canadian provider Sympatico has quietly dropped their bandwidth caps altogether, with plans to offer more broadband content and services that actually requires the wider pipe to be used.