jules.ca

telecom, technology and the occasional floobergeist

I’ve got an abundance of bits and pieces of canadian telecom and internet experience, and I am thrilled to be in a place in time when all is changing, technology is developing, and the status quo is being disrupted. 

Floobergeist is a word that is beginning to defy definition.  The more I roll that smooth pebble around, the more it becomes to mean. Floobergeist started out as the magic dust that turns dreams into ideas.  And then it began to encompass the zing that happens when you have conversations about those ideas. And now, it’s the whole evolution from dream to conversation, with each step improving the later and the former along the way.

Everyone aspires to good conversations. They can lead you to adventures you’ve never imagined, and to people you can twig with.

Let’s have a good conversation…

welcome.

Filtering by Tag: Canada

One Number to Rule the World

Transient

Earlier this week it was announced that the Greater Toronto Area would be receiving two new area code overlays this spring, 437 and 375. Mark Goldberg has an interesting discussion on how many numbers that is, and what it really means. The explosion of wireless devices is being blamed for the increased numbering requirements. 

Up until recently, our household had 8 phone numbers associated with it. We regularly have between 16 and 20 IP addresses active on our internal home network. We could easily increase that number by activating some 3G services on various tablets, but we're cutting back ;-D

It seems silly that two people generate that much number waste. In a perfect telecom world, I'd have 1 domain name, and maybe three or four IPV6 addresses, and all of the devices would have a find me follow me feature. I'd connect to the internet and the world would be able to find me, and vice versa. No more phone numbers. Once DNS takes over the PSTN, life will become infinitely easier to manage, certainly from a translations and numbering perspective. Gone will be the day of end offices and toll switches. Hello wireless and wifi and broadband. It's already converging in carrier core backbone networks and international call routing at the carrier level. Now it's just a waiting game until IP makes it way to the great unwashed masses.

Unfortunately, until we push the boundaries of universal broadband or wireless coverage, we're going to have to deal with the copper last mile in Canada, and the use of old school phone numbers. Couple that with the fact that 1 in 6 households doesn't own a computer yet and it becomes dauting to think of a life without the old Public Switched Telephone Network.

It's encouraging that 95% of Canadian households with a computer are connected to the internet. Of that 95%, only 30% have high speed access - another disappointing statistic. Maybe in my lifetime we will be able to switch to a pure IP communications world, but I'm not optimistic. Until then, I suppose I'll just have to deal with my eight phone numbers :-\

You Can't Swing a Dead Cat Without Hitting a $400,000 House

Yes there’s been a fantastic housing boom happening in Canada.
Yes, there’s a housing construction boom in the GTA. Condos are blooming faster than the leaves are falling this autumn. Suburbia stretches it’s spidery fingers beyond what should be the outskirts of Toronto. I get it. Young professional buys condo, marries other young professional who also owns a condo, they sell and move to the ‘burbs and easily snap up a $400k ‘burb villa.

But what if you weren’t one of those urban professionals?  What if you were a normal Joe, who happened to grow up in Aurora, or Unionville, or Newmarket, you liked living there, and you liked working there. You’ve got a reasonable job, doing what you like, and bringing home the average Canadian salary of $43,000/year. How are you going to get a home of your own, when every house requires 2 incomes, and by geeze, those incomes had better be able to get you a $300k mortgage.

In York Region, right now, there isn’t a family home for sale that is under $200,000. Not even a semi, not even a townhouse. Is everyone in York Region making that much over the Canadian average? It it a case of complete and utter debt for folks who *do* manage to buy a house? An MLS Search finds that there are 9 townhouses between $149-$300K in  the southern York Region area.

It’s ironic that someone could work in York Region, yet have to live elsewhere and commute, simply because real estate is out of control?

Bringing Internet to Remote Canada

One of the more vocal discussions at the Canadian Telecom Summit yesterday revolved around the Canadian government’s support for increasing rural broadband access to remote areas of Canada. The government, in its misguided attempt to be a Dudley Doright, just can’t seem to get it right with remote broadband support.

Already there are many smaller providers who are attempting to service the under served, with no governmental subsidization. These poor blokes are going by the wayside if the government continues to meddle with little thought of the current landscape.

Ian Marlow from the Globe and Mail has some great commentary from folks who are trying to run ISPs in Northern Ontario and BC, but there are also players like Barrett Xplore, who are having great success with providing broadband internet to areas who don’t have cable or DSL options.

The consensus from the CTS —- subsidize the consumer, not the ISP and let the market drive the expansion of services. Not a bad idea, these guys should get into politics :-)

 

Rural Internet providers angered by federal support of bigger rivals - The Globe and Mail

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Canada Gets the Cold Shoulder by Voice Apps

A few years ago I was mesmerized by the idea of Grandcentral coming to Canada, but then all went quiet… Shortly thereafter, Grandcentral was purchased by Google, and boy! For sure they will expand to Canada now!

Grandcentral became Google Voice, and in the past few months Google Voice has come back into the limelight, but still no love for Canada.

Skype could have been a contender, with its SkypeOut capabilities. Still, no maple leafs for Skype.

Why are global providers deciding to leave Canada on the backburner? We can blame the recession for a certain amount of hesitation on the lack of movement, but the biggest trick is that it’s expensive to open up a *free* voice service in Canada. Even if there’s a monthy service fee, our carriers aren’t yet really ready to push IP to the PSTN. Carriers aren’t all that keen to give away market share at rock bottom prices, and for Google or Skype to try and build their own networks, the geography and addressable market for the service isn’t all that lucrative.

Canadians interested in next gen voice apps are going to have to sit tight, consider a foreign phone number, or even a change of address. ;-)

It’s not going to be until the CRTC changes foreign ownership and competitive influences that there will be changes driven into the way technologies are delivered to the consumer. It’s an eventuality, perhaps even in my lifetime.

The Loud and Angry Voices of Wireless Users in Canada

What started off as as whisper is now turning into a dull roar about the cost of Canadian cell phone service.  Mark Goldberg has been kicking the ball around for a while, but now there are a slew ot teammates to take a pass.
Ryan at BlogTO
Jay at Radiant Core
Jeremy Latham
Sam Lu at GoSammy

These guys all seem to be relating to an article written by Thomas Purves which compares Canadian wireless services to that of a 3rd world country. That may be a pretty bold statement, intended to entice exactly the kind of reaction that is being received.  He’s got some great stats about the cost of using wireless data transfer. His call to arms just may entice the quiet, Canadian public to ruffle feathers with their wireless providers. I would imagine that this sort of stir is going to cause some stress to folks who measure mobile ARPU (average revenue per user)… i can hear the sound of Mobile Golden Egg cracking….

What’s next with wireless?  Well, if the stir over net neutrality is any indication……and data transfer is soon going to “clog up” the wireless networks, carriers will have to enforce “Quality of Service” levels, and applications will fall off the network.  You thought your cell phone bill was high last year?  Just wait till next year.  The huge marketing push over the past few years to increase data use is going to blow up, when carriers realize people are sending silly UTUBE videos to each other’s cell phones.

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Overruling the CRTC on VoIP Services

Ottawa to block CRTC on Internet phone regulation
SIMON TUCK
From Wednesday’s Globe and Mail
OTTAWA — The Harper government will announce Wednesday its intention to rewrite the CRTC’s key ruling on Internet-based telephone services, a highly unusual move that could mark a big step toward a more open and consumer-friendly sector.Industry Minister Maxime Bernier will say in a speech in Toronto that the Conservative government will again block the CRTC’s repeated efforts to regulate phone services that run over the Internet.

globeandmail.com: Ottawa to block CRTC on Internet phone regulation

 

 

Holy Cats! What are the implications of the Harper government overruling the CRTC? Likely it’s a good thing, changing the rules of how digital voice services are treated, but the implications of the government getting involved in CRTC policy making are wide reaching. First VoIP, then the world? This first forray into the CRTC domain is positive, but what if the conservatives what to delve into something and change it for the worse? Does the CRTC have any recourse?

 

Mark, you probably know more of the answers - what do you think?

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