Help me unsuck Canada’s Internet

Jesse Brown is looking for a smart fix that would have a big impact

Any way you slice it, the Internet sucks in Canada.

I know, I know—it’s the same Internet everywhere, the Internet knows no boundaries, etc. But work with me here! And consider the evidence:

  • Many (most?) of the best commercial sites and services online are blocked to Canadians.
  • We haven’t had a single major web startup in Canada, despite the incredible amount of engineering talent that emerges from this country every year (and from the University of Waterloo alone).
  • The OECD ranks Canada #28 out of 33 countries when it comes to broadband speeds, and #32 out of 40 when it comes to the price we pay for our pokey access.
  • They also note that Canada is one of the only countries where ISPs impose explicit bit caps.
  • Canadians don’t have much privacy on the Internet, and we’re about to have less; once the Conservatives pass Lawful Access legislation, as they’ve promised to do, police will have unfettered access to all kinds of our personal information online.

Even the U.S. government thinks Canada’s Internet sucks—they’ve again put us on their Special 301 watchlist, placing us with China and Pakistan as the world’s worst online pirates. Recent evidence shows that piracy is actually at an all time low in Canada, but why quibble? Opinions and positions differ wildly on these issues, but the one thing everyone can agree on is that our Internet stinks.

So let’s fix it.

On Tuesday May 25th, I’ll be hosting a workshop at the Mesh Technology Conference in Toronto. It’ll be an open forum exploring a range of solutions to the problem of Canada’s sucky Internet.

I could use your help.

In the comments, tell me what practical steps we could take to fix our Internet. What I’m looking for is a sentence or two on one smart fix that would have a big impact. Your answers will be shared on stage and discussed by some of the world’s smartest technologists.

So have at it!