I’ve always supported the work done by OpenMedia, but mainly in principal. Any industry that provides a service to the people should have competition and should provide it at a cost that is reasonable. That same service should be customer agnostic and it should not keep information about the customer’s usage habits. Lastly, once the service is provided, it shouldn’t be the company’s business to monitor how it is used. It wasn’t until yesterday that I encountered the gravity of the issues that OpenMedia is fighting against.
To give some back story, I live on the outskirts of Kitchener, Ontario. The subdivision that I live in is currently under construction. The road that runs by my new house is being widened with an extra lane and nice side walks. Construction trucks are a frequent sight. We’re a stone-throw away from farm fields and roads with gravel shoulders. I call it a new suburban neighbourhood, my wife call is ‘sub-rural’. You get the point.
There are two (reliable) ways of providing digital services to people – Cable and Digital Subscriber Lines (DSL). Wifi is there, but the speed doesn’t compare with Cable or DSL. DSL uses phone lines, which were paid for by Bell (a government corporation at the time). Cable, was laid down by Rogers. Here you have a duopoly; the only two technologies worth using are owned entirely by two separate companies. A heated court battle ensued which allowed DSL to be sold by any company, with Bell as the controlling body. Rogers eventually followed suit.
Our previous Internet Service Provider (ISP) was a re-seller of DSL. When it came time to move my service over to the new house, they ran into a problem. I’m too far from a station to get DSL, so cable became the only viable option.
Now here is my predicament. Rogers allocated a number of lines to Kitchener for third party ISPs to use. The public jumped at the chance to get cable in the city and ended up using all the lines allocated. Therefore, the only ISP that I could possibly get my service with, was Rogers.
I’m sure this fits the definition of monopoly. Ugh.