Solutions for unsucking Canada’s Internet

Choice, competition, and who owns content

Last week I asked you for help with my homework.  I promised the folks at Mesh, Canada’s Web Conference, a presentation on how to “unsuck” Canada’s Internet. But while I’m pretty good at identifying the problem(s), I’m less confident about what strategy will actually set things straight.

Should change be dictated by the government through progressive new digital policies? Or has the government done enough harm already, and what we really need is for them to back off and deregulate? Should consumers speak up through petitions and online activism? Or are our interests better served through direct action, routing around the lousier aspects of our networks and voting with our dollars for services like VPN and Usenet access? How can we move past promises and towards Open Government? What’s to be done about all the geo-blocked content? How do we fight back against the erosion of our privacy and digital rights? So much suck, so many questions…

I put them to you, and also to a number of influential voices on the national tech scene. I left it up to each respondent to interpret the “suck” how they saw it.  Here’s what folks said:

And here are the unsuck solutions that came in via this blog and through Twitter:


•Foreign investment

•Revamp the CRTC

•Abolish the CRTC

•Last mile fibre through community co-ops

•Make Internet access a public utility

•Break-up the ISPs (TV+phone+mobile+Internet = conflict of interest)

•Educate the public on copyright, privacy, data mining, encryption

•Static IPs for a nominal surcharge

•Tax breaks for IPv6 migration

•Symmetric upload and download bandwidth

•Net Neutrality

•Complete deregulation OR fully regulated and publicly subsidized. Stop trying to do both.

•Pay for service w/ ‘bitcoin’

•Abolish or wildly curtail copyright

•Better Internet access for our rural schools!

•Larger, more diverse local and national online shopping options from Canadian retailers

•Have the government take control of the backbone and lease it out to companies to create competitive market

•Drop the caps. Drop the DPI. Drop the traffic shaping.