Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The High Cost of Data

Seems we were ahead of the curve with last week’s discussion of the high price of mobile data. (Click here to revisit.)

Basically, I was arguing that the cellular companies’ data rates are too high to be encouraging widespread adoption of broadband wireless. And that’s bad, not just because consumers are paying too much. In stalling the development of a wireless-Internet consumer market, it is also holding up Canadian innovations in this sphere, which has already emerged as a huge worldwide opportunity.

Toronto-based Web 2.0 marketer and consultant Thomas Purves, over at his blog, posted an article yesterday called “Canada Worse than 3rd World Countries when it comes to Mobile Data Access.” He posted a fabulous chart showing data-downloading rates in various countries – from the USA to Rwanda. Bottom line: Canadians are paying up to 20 times more than the Americans for a service that should be becoming a commodity.

But maybe things will change. In an update today, Thomas noted that his blog recorded 10,000 visitors in an hour, received 1300 Digg recommendations, and more than 60 comments. Canadians are getting angry about this.

Among the comments, one visitor said Rogers' new data plan seems to be leading prices downward. Big deal, said Thomas: “Note that this plan would take Rogers rates from 40x New Zealand prices to “only” 5x as expensive. Hooray…”

Another commenter urged anyone who cares to e-mail Maxime Bernier, Minister of Industry; Minister.Industry@ic.gc.ca
Plus, e-mail Prime Minister Harper: pm@pm.gc.ca
Plus, Find and email your member of parliament.

Or, you can sign one of the petitions going around.

This is a job for you.

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