Public interest victory on the Internet

February 22, 2021

Published in the N.B. Media Co-op, May 7, 2020

 The public interest won a major battle last week. A part of the Internet set aside to operate in the interests of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and non-profit organizations was about to be sold to a private equity firm. The last vestige of a dream of early adopters who wanted to preserve some non-commercial space on the Internet appeared to be headed into the sunset. It would have been a sad footnote in Internet history. So, what happened?

CRTC Basic Service Hearings - Community intervention

March 22, 2016

Members of Telecommunities Canada respond to the CRTC call for interventions in the April 2016 Basic Service Hearings. It calls on the CRTC to:

Communications infrastructure a key economic driver

February 10, 2014

 Alternative Federal Budget 2014. Communications Chapter.

 Excerpt only.  Click here for full version 

For full version  of AFB see:  Alternative Federal Budget 2014

According to statistics released in 2013 by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Canada needs to ramp up investment in this sector. Currently in 9th place with 72.2% of households connected to the Internet -- one up from the previous year, Canada is behind the leader South Korea (97.5%) and all 5 of the Scandinavian countries but still ahead of the U.K. (69.5%) and the U.S. (68.2%) However, in terms of actual speed of broadband connections and price of these connections, Canada is lagging much further behind – placing 19th among the same list of countries. Countries high on the list of speed and pricing are also rapidly increasing their adoption of fibre optic networks. Here again, Canada is falling steadily behind – at 0.6 fibre subscriptions per 100 inhabitants as compared to the U.K. with 1.7, Sweden with 10.9, and South Korea leading the way with 22.3 per 100 inhabitants. In order to participate fully in the Information Age, Canada needs to move beyond the current 20th century policy strategy towards communications infrastructure.  ..... more

Do you know where your data have been?

January 6, 2014

 Op-ed  Marita Moll

Ottawa Citizen Sept. 26, 2013

So you go home, turn to your computer loaded with anti-virus, anti-spying and anti-malware programs, to talk to your brother in Boston via the secured Internet connection in your house. Bingo! Everything you just did is now part of the U.S. National Security Agency’s massive database and all that data can be mined with the same easy steps you used to find the online recipe for last night’s eggplant parmigiana.

But what if you were just sending some messages to your friends in other parts of Canada or even in your own province? Surely that’s not a problem — unless it is. .... 

A National Communications Strategy is an Economic Building Block

June 4, 2013

Alternative Federal Budget Communicaions Chapter 2013

Summary only.  Click here for full version of Communications chapter   

For full version  of AFB see:  Alternative Federal Budget 2013 p.48

 Canada continues to fall behind peer nations in the strategic area of information and communications policy and infrastructure. A recent report from the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) Measuring the Information Society 2012 ranked Canada 32nd out of 155 countries according to their level of ICT access, use and skills. In the top five countries were Korea, Sweden, Denmark, Iceland and Finland. According to the ITU, all top-30 countries are "high-income countries, underlying the strong link between income and ICT progress."  It is becoming increasingly clear that a national communications strategy is an essential part of long term economic planning.

Perimeter security plan dangerous for privacy and civil rights

December 5, 2012

 The Harper government has been quietly adding ingredients to the troublesome brew called Beyond the Border Action Plan for Perimeter Security and Economic Competitiveness. This is not a single piece of legislation that will ever be debated by Parliament. It is a policy direction that consists of soft sell strategic objectives around economic prosperity implemented with pilot projects and regulatory changes affecting the cross-border movement of people and goods and cozy collaborations on security and information sharing.

CIRA election results

September 28, 2012

 The following candidates were successful in the 2012 CIRA Board elections:

Nomination Committee Slate:
Bill Sandiford
William Gibson
Carole Mackaay

Members' Slate
Michael Geist
Kevin McArthur

CIRA elections - 2012

September 21, 2012

 If you are a member of CIRA (Canadian Internet Registration Authority) you can now cast your vote for the board of directors.  There will be 5 new directors chosen this year.  The voting period is from Sept. 19-Sept 26.  I have been participating in the online debates and met a number of the candidates at this week's CIRA AGM.  

Here are my picks for director:

 Member's slate: 

Kevin McArthur -- has really worked hard all year around for the last few years to keep tabs on CIRA.  Very knowledgeable both technically and policy-wise, Kevin has a very activist agenda and will be a good advocate for members who want to see CIRA be more open and public policy oriented.

Michael Geist -- well known and respected, public policy oriented with lots of influence outside of the Board.  I particularly like his promotion of a new governance model which would separate CIRA's registry function from an independent, public policy arm supported by some of the revenues generated by the registry.

Nomination Committee (nomcom) slate:

Community Access Program chopped

August 27, 2012

 This story originally appeared on  -- August 16, 2012

 The Community Access Program (CAP), was created by Industry Canada in 1995 to provide free or low-cost access to Internet in rural regions of Canada. CAP operated in over 3,000 sites across Canada, offering computer literacy trainings and Internet-user skills in public libraries and community centers. It has provided access to Internet for youth, seniors, members of low-income communities and residents of rural and remote regions.

What Happened

On April 5, 2012, Industry Canada sent a letter announcing that funding for the Community Access Program (CAP), amounting to about $15 million, was scheduled to end on March 31, 2012 and would not be renewed. Industry Canada stated that in the context of "challenging fiscal times," funding for CAP was terminated because the program had "successfully achieved its objective." However, the digital divide in Canada has been proven to persist and library associations and community centers that operated CAP have decried the funding cuts.

Communications Chapter - Alternative Federal Budget - 2012

March 28, 2012

The AFB 2012 allocates the following amounts for communications:

  • The AFB allocates $250,000 to fund a broad national consultation to modernize communications policy in Canada. 
  • The AFB ramps up to $1 billion annually over 10 years to modernize Canada’s digital communications infrastructure. 
  • The AFB allocates $40 million to support new and existing national public access sites in the 2012-2013 budget year.

Full communications chapter

Full AFB 2012