International study exposes Canada's growing connectivity gap

March 1, 2010
 A study completed by the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University exposes Canada's lack of progress in the area of broadband connectivity.  The "Canada" chapter of the final edition of this study concludes :
 

"Canada opened the decade as an extremely strong performer on broadband.  Over the course of the decade, its penetration rates have grown more slowly than those of other countries, its prices have remained high, and its speeds are still low in comparison to other OECD countries.  

 

In the area of competition policy, Canada implemented unbundling rules formally in 1997, but its regulated rates were high relative to the rest of the OECD, and it consistently imposed sunsets on all or some category of regulation.  As a practical matter, its market has evolved toward a regional market with relatively low investments in other regions by incumbents prominent in one region.  Most competition in any given region is between the telephone and cable company that was locally dominant in the past. 

 

Government investment has mostly focused on connecting unconnected areas, and not on increasing capacity at the higher end.  Canada continues to see itself as a high performer in broadband, as it was early in the decade, but current benchmarks suggest that this is no longer a realistic picture of its comparative performance on several relevant measures. "

 

Next Generation Connectivity: A review of broadband Internet transitions and policy from around the world. The Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University, February 2010 (p.257).  Full report available at: