It has been interesting to watch Michael Arrington (aka the “Wizard of Web 2.0″) launch a tsunami of outrage against Comcast in California after his high-speed connection was cut off on Friday night, and Comcast failed to provide him with a sufficient response. As Jeff Jarvis notes, Arrington is one guy you “don’t want to piss off”.
What I found particularly interesting about Arrington’s high-speed temper tantrum is how much Canada needs a Michael Arrington – someone to lead the charge against high-speed ISPs that operate sweet profit machines in a market where consumers increasingly get the short end of the stick.
If you’re a high-speed customer in Canada, your troubles include:
- Steadily higher prices, although the ISPs contend you also get faster download speeds (in theory, I would argue).
- Bandwidth shaping/throttling – something the ISPs argue they need to do to “manage the network” to battle all those evil P2P. This includes Bell Canada throttling its wholesale customers that re-sell Bell’s high-speed service.
- Bandwidth caps (They’ve been around for several years, although didn’t get much publicity until recently.
- An unfortunate lack of competition. In most markets, there are only two players but price is never used as a competitive tool. It didn’t help that the Canadian government let Rogers and Bell acquire Inukshuk, our only national Wi-Max player.
- A federal government with no willingness to explore network neutrality, even though it’s becoming an issue that could impact our ability to compete and innovate
Canada needs something who’s willing to lead the charge, wave the flag and make it clear that I the consumer is “mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore! Maybe, it’s Michael Geist or perhaps the Canadian Association of Internet Providers, which recently filed a complaint with the CRTC asking it to direct Bell Canada to cease and desist from throttling its wholesale Internet service.
We need an Arrington to galvanize our high-speed discontent into a loud and vocal rebellion. The time has come.
For more on the throttling issue, check out Wayne MacPhail’s story on Rabble.ca.