Monday, November 24, 2008
Canada's Information Highway
Kayaking along close to the shore allows a person the chance to chat with people who aren't paddling. A while ago I got engaged with a couple about, among other things, internet access here in Canada, one of my pet rants. They told the story of their neighbour who wanted cable TV back when it started to become available in our area only to be told it would be far too expensive to hook up at his lake-side home. Fine, he said. He bought the cable company, installed the service and then sold the company a few years later at a tidy profit.
A farmer in Ontario recently got tired of waiting for his hi-speed internet connection to arrive, so he began a small company which uses farm silos to transmit the hi-speed signal from farm to farm in his area. Not only did he get service, but he by-passed the monopolistic communication companies, and he was able to provide friends and neighbours with cheaper service than the one subsequently offered by the giants when they finally woke up to what was happening.
On the weekend I got an unbeatable offer. For 'only' $69.99 a month I too can have hi-speed internet access! I 'only' have to agree to a three year contract ($2519.64), a "one time system access fee", a meager $99.00 ($2618.64). With the $200 savings offered, I'd pay only $199 for the satellite equipment ($2817.64). In very small print, I'm informed that unspecified "additional charges will apply" if I live beyond the 50km round trip limit from the dealer - which I do... Naturally the offer omitted any mention of taxes, another amount which brings the total to $3212.11.
You know what? I can buy a pretty nice kayak for that kind of money and go surfing wherever I like. Who needs hi-speed anyway? I'm just glad I'm not trying to run a small business because, thanks to the dinos at the wheel in this country, there are no roads, information or otherwise I could travel on that would help me succeed.