Blog #4 – Axia to the CRTC

Well Canada… Today was the big day. This morning Axia’s CEO Art Price presented to the #CRTC. It was a welcomed conversation about Canada’s digital future and I think a breath of fresh air to the commission. As I have highlighted the past couple days, the conversation has largely centered around minimum standard of service that can be provided on Canada’s existing infrastructure. We took a different approach. We wanted to focus on Canada’s future and that means fibre.

Fibre optic technology is future-proof, meaning that once a fibre line is put in place, the customer will never have to update it ever again. Now imagine if we put the same importance on access to broadband as we do roads, electricity and water. It would be unacceptable if a home in this day of day didn’t have electricity, why can’t we do the same with broadband?

This 5down/1up conversation needs to stop. We believe that everyone should have full access to everything that the Internet has to offer. Art did a great job today outlining this. I specifically liked what he had to say about upload. Right now there is no importance placed on upload. Art gives a great example. Imagine if we had at home patient monitoring system. Meaning that a patient could be set up at home and monitored from the hospital. This would be all upload – we would NEVER be able to do that with a 5down/1up model. This conversation is focused on right now… not where we could go or what we could do as technology continues to rapidly advance.

As Art was speaking I was typing like a madman trying to keep up with the conversation online. People were tweeting like crazy which is awesome to see from a communicator’s perspective. One of the best topics was when Art brought up the fact that competition should not exist when it comes to infrastructure. Think about it. Why would you have more than one infrastructure, this makes no sense. If we turn off the copper and build fibre, anyone should have access to sell their services over it, creating competition which will drive the price down for the end user.

The Axia model works and it has been proven in Alberta. Have a look at the CRTC map. You can see just by looking at it that Alberta has significantly more coverage than the rest of Alberta. The reason for this is because of the Alberta SuperNet. Now, this might be the first time you have ever heard of the Alberta SuperNet. I am not going to get into the details of it as I am still trying to understand ever aspect myself. However, what I can tell you is that it is a provincial wide fibre optic network that was designed to connect every school and hospital. The Alberta SuperNet is also referred to as a community interconnect grid. This is a fibre grid in a region that connects multiple communities to at least one global gateway. This is how we have been able to offer so much coverage across our province. It is time to do the same in other provinces.

Canada has the opportunity to advance into the future with technology to support all that we need it to. Let’s just hope the CRTC sees that and are not afraid to go against the major players.

There was so much more covered today. Art spoke for nearly an hour and a half and my brain is so fried I can’t cover it all. I encourage you to read Axia’s submission to the CRTC as well as the transcript from today’s hearing: https://services.crtc.gc.ca/Pub/ListeInterventionList/Documents.aspx?ID=223947&en=2015-134&dt=P&lang=e

Once we find out if the video from today is posted online we will be sure to share. As always, if you have any comments or questions, please ask. We’re transparent and would love to keep this conversation going as much as possible.

Thanks to everyone who followed along on the journey! We’ll make sure to keep you up to date on everything that Axia is involved in following the hearing.

Good night!

Weston

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