Archive for the ‘Broadband’ Category

Usage-based billing opens up a much larger debate about public broadband

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011

The very serious debate about usage based billing on the Internet cannot be resolved by a mere “yes or no”. It is part of a larger issue around investment and who should be investing. Notwithstanding claims to the contrary by some in Canada, anyone who travels internationally, or reads credible international evaluations knows that Canada is well behind other countries when it comes to our global position with respect to the performance and related cost of public broadband in Canada.

It used to be that our incumbent public communications companies could make a financial return from their services, sufficient to support an investment that kept Canada near the head of the pack internationally. But, to use just one example, the ultra broadband services in other countries that facilitate interactive health care services into the home cannot be charged sufficiently by the communication companies to support the cost of providing a gigabit per second into homes at $60 per month, which is where other countries are heading. Today, the public can have 100 megabits per second in Stockholm, Tokyo, and many other cities, for around $50 per month. In Canada, the standard is closer to 5 mb/sec, with exceptions to 10mb/sec in some places.

The ever increasing opportunities for intelligent ultra broadband infrastructures have a public interest related to our economic and social development that our regulatory, investment and implementation strategies have to consider. We can’t merely start charging more to narrow our cattle paths when others are building super highways and charging less. Equally, we can’t lay all of the problem on the incumbent carriers as it is a broader issue. National economic and social issues are being impacted by our public broadband performance and this is a great opportunity for Prime Minister Harper and his Ministers to address the broader strategy.

Read more about this important issue here on the CATA Alliance Web site, in their statement entitled “CATA, i-CANADA Ask Prime Minister to Use Review to Create New Broadband Policy Model to Deal With Usage-Based Billing, Service Provision.”

Revitalizing city cores, reinventing Canadian society

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010

The following recent article in Backbone Magazine is recommended reading … if I do say so myself!

Revitalizing city cores, reinventing Canadian society
One of North America’s largest urban revitalization projects asks if high-end technology leads to the good life
By Trevor Marshall

October 13, 2010

Backbone MagazineImagine a brand new community designed around ubiquitous ultra-high-speed Internet access. Would the ideal online environment change the way its citizens live, work, innovate and interact? Canadians will start discovering the answer to that question in a couple of years when the first commercial and residential smart buildings open their doors at Waterfront Toronto, one of North America’s largest urban revitalization projects. It will start with George Brown College’s new Waterfront Campus, to be completed in 2012, and “people will start moving into the first condos in 2012 as well,” said Bill Hutchison, chair of Waterfront Toronto’s i-Waterfront Advisory Council and executive director of Waterfront Toronto’s Intelligent Communities.

Read the complete article here.

Engaging i-Canada discussion continues

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

The lively and engaging discussions about i-Canada continue in i-Canada Linkedin Group. Join us and weigh in on where you see the future of public ultra broadband going in Canada.

I have just posted the following comment on the i-Canada LinkedIn discussion:

Yesterday and today John Van Trijp and James Van Leuwen provided two very important postings that are “signs of the times” … outside Canada. John posted a speech by Neelie Kroes, vice president of the European Commission responsible for the Digital Agenda in which she said public funding will be needed to bring about the EU goal of broadband for all across the region by 2013. (Public funding needed to drive broadband across EU) “It is unfair to expect telecoms companies alone to fund the creation of new networks across Europe. We should keep in mind that universal broadband offers benefits beyond the telecoms sector”, she said.

Today, James has posted a report by the International Telecommunications Union to the UN meeting on Millennium Goals (World leaders agree: The future will be Built on Broadband.) In that report, the ITU Secretary-General, Hamadoun Toure, urges all governments to move broadband to the top of their agenda. He said “broadband is the next tipping point, the next truly transformational technology. It can generate jobs, drive growth and productivity and underpin long term economic competitiveness”.

When we look back from 2020 we will know that today’s broadband is the equivalent of gravel roads. Our Canadian challenge is to find government leaders who understand our private sector leader’s views that “paving the roads” properly will be transformative. It will help reverse Canada’s long term decline in innovation, competitiveness and social prosperity.

i-Canada momentum continues to grow

Friday, July 23rd, 2010

As CATA CEO John Reid recently remarked, we now have more than 300 i-Canada members and a further 140 signed Petitions from a broad cross section of the business, government and university communities. Now we would like you to go out to five of your peers and ask them to join the i-Canada Linkedin Group as part of our mobilization across Canada. Our target is 500 members by September 1st.

I will be taking part in a special one-hour Teleforum hosted by CATAAlliance and its partners. It takes place on Wednesday, July 28th at 11:00a.m. EST. For all the details, go to Ultra Broadband for Google-speed cities: New Technology Opportunities in Telecommunications, Health Care, Energy Conservation, Education and Services. I’ll be sharing the Teleforum podium with Ted Maulucci, Chief Information Officer of Tridel, and Rick Otway is Vice President of Central Canada Public Sector Operations for Cisco Canada. Looking forward to it, and hoping you can join us!

How Technology and Economic Development Intersect

Friday, July 16th, 2010

Good day from Reno, Nevada and the annual conference of the National Association of Counties. The county organizations play a bigger role in the US than in Canada, as they often run the cities (for example, LA County).

The focus of this year’s conference is the intersection of technology and economic development and a subtext is how to get a piece of the Obama $1 billion for community ultra broadband in the stimulus fund.

I am the keynote speaker to kick off the day. My focus of my talk is on economic development and the role of technology in economic development. I then sit on a panel in one of three breakout sessions and repeat the panel presentation three times so everyone can hear it. Never done that before … will need a couple of martinis to mend my voice at the end of the day!

National Association of CountiesClick here for more information on the National Association of Counties (NACO) and this conference.

i-Canada and Public Ultra Broadband

Monday, June 7th, 2010

The vision for i-Canada is a nation of provincial and local Intelligent Communities large and small, urban and remote featuring great places to live with innovation cultures and communications infrastructures that ensure economic growth, satisfying employment and social prosperity. Last month in New York, Shawn Graham, the Premier of New Brunswick became the first Canadian to receive the Visionary of the Year award from the Intelligent Community Forum, a global think tank that annually selects the Intelligent Community of the Year. He received the award for his vision and support in moving New Brunswick and its communities to new levels of collaboration and innovation built on a foundation of new communications infrastructures. Premier Graham is supporting i-Canada as are mayors and a core group of hundreds of Canadian citizens and business leaders.

In the future i-Canada’s Intelligent Communities will have blended our traditional values with the best new applications of 21st century digital technology to create new models for effective health care, aging well and world class education and learning. Our companies, large and small, will be able to innovate and compete with the best in the world because they have the ability to collaborate together to establish 21st century clusters of innovation. The foundation for this collaboration will be provided by open access ultra broadband telecommunications networks, mobile and fixed, that compete with the best in the world on price and performance. 21st century digital collaboration will be required to compete with the best in the world by enhancing our business innovation clusters and creating new ones that build on our research initiatives and commercialize them quickly.

Great cities don’t run on gravel roads.
The great industrial clusters of the 20th century grew because of their Collaboration Ecosystem® and we only need to observe today’s younger generation of millennials to know that collaboration is moving to a new space … a space defined by the Internet and characterized by social networking and telepresence systems.

The challenge for Canada is that we have fallen well behind with our public communications networks and infrastructure. Great cities do not run on gravel roads and for the most part, Canadian public broadband is the equivalent of gravel roads in terms of performance and price as evidenced by the fact that Canada has been ranked 22nd out of thirty countries studied by the independent Berkman Center for the Internet and Society at Harvard. Other independent studies have supported the Berkman results and confirmed Canada’s seriously declining world ranking in price and performance of our public broadband communications.

Major cities of the world already provide their residents with 100 million bytes per second, mb/sec of broadband performance (ultra broadband) for around $40 per month, similar to our price for just two to five million bits per second, a Canadian disadvantage of 20 to 50 to one. And a few leading international communities are already talking about one billion bits per second to the home: 1 gigabit per second, (1gb/s). Two months ago Google announced they would work with ten 50,000 person communities in the US to create a public broadband infrastructure of one gigabit per second each: another sign of the times.

Why is low cost Ultra broadband important?
California’s Silicon Valley rose to become one of the world’s great innovation hubs because of its Collaboration Ecosystem®. In the 1960’s other regions like Boston’s “Route 128” had great universities, large anchor companies and plenty of financial institutions but within twenty years Silicon Valley had outstripped Route 128 and all others to become the world’s leading global hub of innovation. Collaboration within the community was the reason for its success and today, collaboration is still at the heart of successful innovation whether it is within a company, within a community, region, country or globally.

Twenty years ago we laid the foundation for national and regional collaboration within Canada’s research and education community when we created the provincial regional research networks and connected them across Canada with a national network, CA*Net, supported by CANARIE, the Canadian Network for the Advancement of Research, Industry. I was honoured to be the founding Chair of CANARIE and over the past twenty years, ORION and BCNet along with our other regional networks and CANARIE have become recognized as world leaders in the Research and Education Network ,” REN”, community. Collaboration has flourished in these communities compared to the days when it was extremely difficult for researchers at UBC to collaborate with those at McGill and others located thousands of kilometers apart.

But why is it that for the past twenty years we have left our public citizens and companies “out in the cold”, lacking the same ability to collaborate at the same high speed and low cost? Why do they not have the same virtual collaboration facilities that have been available to our research and education community?

Around the world we have seen rapid company formation and growth in communities that have open access ultra broadband available at for the same cost that our public pays for slow broadband on closed access systems. It is time for change and i-Canada will promote and support the move to world class public open access ultra broadband networks to allow all communities the same innovation and public services advantages now being enjoying in leading communities around the world.

We’ve got a lively discussion going on LinkedIn, and would love to have you join and weigh in with your thoughts and perspectives. Join us here.

i-Canada … Intelligent Canada: What Does She Look Like?

Monday, May 31st, 2010

i-Canada Alliance

i-Canada is a nation of Intelligent Communities large and small, central and remote, all enjoying the economic development, job growth and social prosperity now available in the world’s leading Intelligent Communities or Smart Cities. We will have expanded upon Canada’s “Islands of Excellence” like Moncton, Fredericton and Waterloo who have all been recognized for excellence by the Global Intelligent Community Forum.

If we ask ourselves what a successful i-Canada looks like we would expect to see:

  • Global companies locating here thanks to the unparalleled quality of place and advanced low cost open access ultra broadband communications supporting an array of talent working in an environment conducive to collaboration and innovation.
  • Canada no longer ranks near the bottom of the pack for its broadband performance as it does in 2010: 22nd out of 30 countries in the Harvard Berkman Centre’s recent study for the US Federal Communications Commission and 32nd in the Net International Index of broadband download speeds, ranking behind Moldova, Hungary and Bulgaria. Canada will have reclaimed her crown as one of the world’s leaders in telecommunications.
  • New forms of telepresence collaboration accelerate our rate of innovation and the growth of young companies.
  • Canadians living in the north, or in aboriginal communities, and throughout Canada will have access to our best interactive and diagnostic health services, learning and training services, and business development services …….. all available without leaving home.
  • Open access ultra broadband will allow our new health caregiver support systems to dramatically expand their support for patients with cancer, diabetes and other debilitating ailments. Ageing well in the home through enhanced caregiver support becomes a reality and our healthcare costs per capita decline significantly.
  • Intelligent Transportation becomes a reality with reduced environmental impacts, improved service, shorter travel times and fewer accidents.
  • Teachers are teaching English as a second language from their own homes to students in other countries where ultra broadband is a reality today.
  • Intelligent buildings are substantially reducing the carbon footprint of our communities.
  • Film editors are working from their homes or community business centres and providing film editing services to directors working in other ultra broadband countries. Directors no longer have to fly to the editing studio between film shoots.
  • Educators are providing a more engaging learning experience to meet the diverse needs of learners making the dream of “classrooms without walls” a reality. Learning truly takes place beyond the classroom, tailored to each individual’s own unique style, pace, place and time. Virtual collaboration between parents and teachers really works.
  • “IMAX” to the home and other advanced forms of entertainment and information services are easily connected to community home entertainment centres presenting new ways to watch the Paris Opera, the Super Bowl, Wimbledon Tennis and hundreds of other events.
  • Business is collaborating with our arts and cultural communities and achieving new frontiers in digital media thanks to a competitive blend of creativity and technology that produces new products, services, investments, international trade and employment opportunities for all Canadians. Once again we “Own the Podium”.

Realizing this vision requires an ultra high speed, pervasive, intelligent and trusted open access communications infrastructure that provides citizens, business and institutions with low cost speeds of gigabits per second to every home, school and business.

We’ve got a lively discussion going on LinkedIn, and would love to have you join us and weigh in with your thoughts and perspectives. Join us here.

Respond to the i-Canada challenge! Canada needs to show more global leadership through ultrafast communications

Friday, May 21st, 2010

i-Canada Alliance

This week, at the Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance (CATAAlliance) gala and awards evening, I announced the formation of the i-Canada Alliance. The i-Canada initiative is a response to the impact of Canada being way behind the rest of the world in terms of our digital economy and broadband infrastructure. Canada’s speed is 1/100 to 1/1000 slower than 20 major competitors. I will chair this initiative, and I’m looking for your support.

I spoke recently about the sorry state of Canada’s digital infrastructure on TVOntario’s The Agenda. The video follows, including the episode description from TVOntario:


Our Digital Future: The Need for High-Speed

Slow down please, this is Canada! Canada’s digital networks are some of the slowest in the world, running between one hundred to a thousand times slower than other countries in the developed world. In this episode of “Our Digital Future – The Need for High-Speed”, Bill Hutchison, Executive Director of Intelligent Communities for Waterfront Toronto describes the sorry state of our digital infrastructure, stressing the need for major investments in advanced broadband networks. Bill Hutchison is a renowned business and social entrepreneur. He has been a founder of four successful business start-ups and CEO of three corporate turnarounds. As a social entrepreneur he has been the founding chair or director of ten industry and social consortia and charitable foundations.

Interested in responding to the challenge through the i-Canada Alliance? Your endorsement and pledge will help start building the necessary ideas, options and commitments. Please sign the i-Canada Declaration today: A New National Dream: global leadership through ultrafast communications.

Our Digital Future: Digital Hubs

Monday, May 17th, 2010

I was very pleased to be interviewed recently for the TVOntario program “Our Digital Future: Digital Hubs”. Here is their description of the program:

TVOntarioIf you have access to fast broadband, your friends all work online and it is easy to find venture capital, then you are in a digital hub. And you’re not in Canada. Our country trails the world when it comes to building these centres of digital innovation. In this episode of “Our Digital Future – Digital Hubs”, leading voices from Canada’s digital community discuss the characteristics of a good digital hub and the investment needed to create intelligent communities for tomorrow’s digital economy. The episode features: Mark Kuznicki, a leader in the field of citizen and community engagement; Sarah Prevette, founder of, an online community for entrepreneurs; Jesse Brown, journalist and an influential voice in the world of social media; and, Bill Hutchison, the Executive Director of Intelligent Communities for Waterfront Toronto and a renowned business and social entrepreneur.

Click here to check out a video overview of the program … and if you like it, I encourage you to click the “Recommend” button to let your friends and colleagues know about it, too.