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Friday, 20 February 2009

Google Tells Canada How to Manage It's Internet

As I was doing some web browsing I came across this excellent interview between the CBC and Richard Whitt, Google Inc.'s chief telecommunications and media lobbyist in Washington. The interview discusses differences between Canada's and the US's view/plan for broadband infrastructure. As many of my fellow Canadians know, we are definitely behind our neighbours to the south; our cellphone selection is very limited (no GPhone up here), cellphone and internet rates are much higher up here, there is no talk of a 4G network, and many rural communities still have dial up!! Here are some highlights of the interview:
  • The recession may hurt the climb towards 4G and the stimulus package doesn't give enough money for this goal.
  • More conservative governments (like ours) usually lead to lower involvement in infrastructure such as broadband.
  • More competition is needed in Canada (i.e., Rogers is the only carrier of the iPhone).
  • Throttling benefits are not really known and thus should probably be avoided. Maybe the heavy users should be charged more?
  • Witt seems to be a fan of Verizon's business plan of offering a better (faster) service to customers and expected more to follow.
  • He provides a good description of the economic benefits of broadband, from the "digging of the trenches" to applications developed by companies.
  • Witt provides his view of net neutrality, here are some quotes:

    "the internet is the biggest success story in the history of human interconnection"

    "a place (the internet) where barriers to entry are very low with various innovations and entrepreneurship [resulting]."

    "The problem is, if you start creating hurdles by blocking it (the internet) or creating fast lanes and slow lanes and broadband companies picking winners and losers, all of that creates the wrong kind of impediments to innovation"

    "Google is a company that was born and raised on the internet, we wouldn't be here without it, so we very much believe in the principle of innovation without permission."
So, if you get a chance, definitely give this interview a read through. Excellent job CBC on posting such a good sci/tech story.