Full Interview: Bill St. Arnaud on the state of Canadian broadband

Original image by g_aquarian

About a year ago, we talked to Bill St. Arnaud. Bill is the Chief Research Officer for CANARIE, and last April, he had this to say about Canadian broadband:

We were number two in broadband rankings around the world about 10 years ago. But that gave us a false sense of security. Then we didn't continue to invest in that infrastructure and upgrading it, and now we've fallen down. We're now eighth or tenth ranking in the world, and dropping fast.

According to a recent OECD report on broadband internet access, Canada is at number nine. As Michael Geist wrote in his most recent Toronto Star column

At first glance, the numbers do not seem that bad [...] Yet the situation becomes far more troubling once the OECD delves deeper into Canadian broadband pricing and speed.

Indeed, Canada's broadband access is expensive ("ranking 14th for monthly subscription costs at US$45.65 per month") and slow ("24th out of the 30 OECD countries").

With this in mind, Nora talked to Bill St. Arnaud yesterday to get the lay of the Canadian broadband land. A shorter version of this interview will air on the June 10 & 13 episode of Spark, but you can download the MP3. Special thanks to Mark and Mark whose Twitter-sourced questions Nora used in the interview.

Update: I contacted Bell and Rogers for their reaction to the recent OECD report. Bell responded:

While the OECD has taken one approach to reach its conclusions, conclusions which are already subject to debate among experts (see http://mhgoldberg.com/blog/2009/06/is-oecd-getting-it-wrong.html), others have come to different conclusions.

In particular, the International Telecommunications Union ranks Canada second of 150 countries when it comes to the affordability of wired broadband, a more relevant measure for Canadian consumers when it comes to broadband access.

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