Tuesday, April 7, 2015

'Select WiFi' Shows Canada's Net Neutrality Crisis

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On a recent visit to the local ice cream parlour, my wife and I were going to connect to the free WiFi to share the latest pictures of our boys with their ice cream filled faces on our social networking accounts.  We found that the free WiFi the ice cream parlour was providing was replaced with 'Sasktel Select WiFi' a WiFi service available in public areas such as restaurants, hotels sports arenas, etc. that is only available to Sasktel's smartphones.  Since my wife and I are Telus subscribers, we were cut off at the ice cream shop.  

Providing what is supposed to be a free public service to subscribers of just one cellular provider is akin to building a highway on public land and then telling drivers that only Ford owners can drive on it.  By contrast WiFi hotspot services offered at Tim Horton's, McDonald's and at Candian Walmarts provided by Bell doesn't place any restrictions on who can access the Internet through their hotspots.   

Net Neutrality hasn't reached critical mass as a hot button issue, but as the days if being able to access anything on the Internet from anywhere from any device start to slip away, Saskatchewan is becoming Canada's Net Neutrality coal mine.  The canary must not be allowed to die.

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