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Canada-Wide Wireless Broadband Network Planned 227

Posted by Zonk
from the big-maple-leaf dept.
twilight30 writes "From the Globe and Mail, Rogers Communications Inc. and Bell Canada have said they will put aside their competitive differences to jointly build and manage a Canada-wide wireless broadband network. It is hoped they will initially reach more than two-thirds of Canadians in less than three years." From the article: "The two communications companies will pool their wireless broadband spectrum into a joint venture called Inukshuk Internet Inc. The network will cover more than 40 cities, and 50 rural and remote communities across the country. Users will be able to access the Internet and use voice, video streaming and data applications both inside their home, as well as on the go."
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Canada-Wide Wireless Broadband Network Planned

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  • by msauve (701917) on Friday September 16, 2005 @01:49PM (#13577848)
    802.11-eh?
    • No they will make a new 802.11 zed standard.
      • Heh.

        When I moved from a suburb of Toronto to a suburb of Seattle, I had to take a drivers' test to get my Washington State license. Almost failed the eye test because I pronounced "Z" in a sequence of five letters and numbers as "zed".

        Of course, when I moved to that suburb of Toronto from a suburb of Dallas, I once went into a convenience store, and, not finding where the cold soft drinks were, asked the manager, "Where do you keep the cold 20oz. Mountain Dews?". He acted as if he didn't understand, and

    • Lol, that is the funniest thing I've read all day. And I am a Canadian, born and raised. +10 Funny ROFLMAO
  • Great name (Score:1, Troll)

    by $RANDOMLUSER (804576)
    Inukshuk Internet Inc.
    IN UK SHUK - yah - people won't have a field day with that.
    • Inuk is one sylable. It means person in Inuktitut.
    • Re:Great name (Score:3, Interesting)

      by freeweed (309734)
      Actually, pretty much everyone in Canada knows what an Inukshuk is, and how to pronounce the name properly. There's a sorta neat one sitting in downtown Winnipeg at the moment, and the logo for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver is an Inukshuk (can't wait to see the mascot for THAT!).

      In fact, over the past few decades they've become a common roadside feature in rockier areas of the country. Northwestern Ontario is positively LITTERED with these things, in some places several per kilometre on both sides o
  • I'm surprised this isn't google announcing this first.
  • If you are just covering the inhabited parts of Canada, I'd say it's doable. Otherwise somebody is smoking some serious stuff.

    Besides, I can see some problems with huge microwave transmitters trying to operate on top of permafrost.

    • I think it is pretty clear it will only cover those areas that where there is normal telephone service. People at their remote weather stations in the northern tundra will most likely need to use satalite internet. :)

      However, isn't a lot of the limits of WiFi caused by the radio signals being blocked by buildings or the landscape... or getting messed up by other radio signals? Shouldn't this mean that a normal WiFi station could cover a lot more area in say some barren northern tundra? Wouldn't the nature
    • Why provide broadband to uninhabited areas? Gladly, they do say they intend to cover rural areas, which the ADSL and cable providers don't.
    • Nah, the antennas are easy -- you just stack the rocks and make sure the inukshuk's arm is pointing at its neighbour...

      __ __
      ___ ___
      __________ >>>>> __________ >>>>>
      ___ ___
      _______ _______
      __
    • I can see some problems with huge microwave transmitters trying to operate on top of permafrost.

      How do you think some communities in the north get phone service?

      From Wikipedia [wikipedia.org]

      This [Alaskan Highway] route was upgraded to modern digital microwave technology in the early 1990s

      The original microwave system was built in 1962. Parts of Ontario and Quebec are also served by microwave links built in the same era. Some of them are probably still on analog links too.

  • Anyone know any details about this other than that it will be Canada?
  • by XXIstCenturyBoy (617054) on Friday September 16, 2005 @01:56PM (#13577933)
    Which is weird, its not even listed in the article either.

    http://www.inukshuk.ca/anglais/index.html [slashdot.org]

    I used to work for Fido, the creator of the Inukshuk project. I'm glad Rogers picked it up after they bought Fido, I could never phantom how the smallest cell network in Canada could have implemented it by themselves.
    (They did try some lame attemp a wireless internet behind the Inukshuk banner, but you needed a bulky wireless modem to go with it... It wasn't very fast and the price was not very competitive)
  • by colenski (552404) on Friday September 16, 2005 @01:57PM (#13577938) Homepage
    ...Hey, Bell, how about completing the fucking Alberta supernet first [globetechnology.com] before you start masturbating with Ted about Canada?
  • Wireless Broadband (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Daveznet (789744)
    Being from Canada and having both Rogers broadband and Bell's cell phone service I can only see good things from this joint venture. Rogers has been doing alot of buying lately, just a couple months ago they bought Fido's wireless network. One problem I can see arising is support, both companies IMHO have less than mediocre support that and the fact that even though the executives have put aside their differences the actual employees have a slight disshate for eachother because they were the major competi
  • T_T Good on Bell! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ChocoBean (890202)

    the article says rogers was pretty much forced into it. Good.

    I'm not really much of a wireless person. Things don't have to be wireless if all they ever do is sit on my desk anyway. And perhaps I'm mistaken but there are a lot more things wireless networks have to take care of than wired devices no? So I for one won't be jumping on the band wagon of wireless things unless it's much cheaper, much more effective and gets me stuff faster than plain old cable broadband.

    and even if I were I wouldn't sign up

    • and even if I were I wouldn't sign up with Rogers. I'm not about to forgive them for renaming the Skydome to Rogers Center and buying out my old faithful cell phone service provider

      The irony in this is that Inushuk was actually owned by Sprint and THEY were going to do something like that together with Microcell.

      It is sort of ironic to now have Rogers do this after they gobbled up both Sprint AND Microcell.

      But yeah, I am with you. I have a kick ass plan from Fido and I won't part with it, alone the per se

  • Antenna (Score:5, Funny)

    by thatguywhoiam (524290) on Friday September 16, 2005 @01:59PM (#13577965)
    Here is the antenna they will be using... [cntower.ca] In other news, construction of the world's biggest Pringles can is now underway in Sudbury.
  • by kyle90 (827345) <kyle90@gmail.com> on Friday September 16, 2005 @02:00PM (#13577967) Homepage Journal
    I live out in the boonies, and I get a great wireless connection from the nearest town (pop. 540). On a good day it's close to 2 mbps, which is faster than my residence connection at the University of Toronto.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 16, 2005 @02:00PM (#13577974)
    But what happens when your AP migrates?
  • Cartel? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    In the rest of the world associations like this would be called cartels.

    Works perfectly fine for NY mob families & OPEC
  • A Canadian's $0.02 (Score:5, Informative)

    by onion_breath (453270) on Friday September 16, 2005 @02:02PM (#13578002) Homepage
    I live in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada. It's just east of Maine for those who may not be aware. I live in a small city of about 50000 people, and we already have had free wireless public internet for a few years now. It's called the Fred-e-zone.

    It's availabe to most as long as you're living close to the valley and not behind some of the hills in town. I just bring my laptop from work, to coffee shop, to home... always connected for free.

    People are under the impression that Canada is huge and is sparsely populated. I can tell you that most cities are south by the US border, and only a small portion of Canada actually has people living together densely. It would be easier to build this type of infrastructure here in Canada than it would be in the States I would guess... just because most major cities are along the border.
    • I looked at the coverage map and it looks like a lot of the city doesn't have coverage.
      Frankly a lot of it seem to cover the river. Maybe that is where the mayor's boat is.
      Frankly I think fiber to the door every where would be more important to business than wifi. I mean for at least 3 months a year you really can not "work" in the park.
    • As you mentionned in discussion with others, the cost of installing the extra capacity was very low- the city was laying down fiber anyways. So you're likely getting service for pennies, and the whole city benefits.

      TFA indicates a cost of $200 million over 3 years for the infrastructure. I wonder what monthly payments that will mean for end users. If their track record is any indication, these companies are likely to overcharge and provide piss-poor customer service.

      If Rogers and Bell are what capitalism is
  • They are looking to own that avenue BEFORE anybody decides to do it. It is a very cheap way to go.
  • by Stavr0 (35032) on Friday September 16, 2005 @02:08PM (#13578068) Homepage Journal
    It's called default
  • Collusion? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by absent_speaker (905145) on Friday September 16, 2005 @02:11PM (#13578093)
    This would be great if telecos were benevelent entities looking after the share interests of society, but they're not. No copetition elimenates the incentive to innovate, the incentive to drive develop cost lowering efficiencies. Of course telco's are willing to put aside their competative differences to create a high-profit monopoly on wireless.

    I admit, There would still be competition in other forms and the telco's couldn't continuously raise their prices. However, I would imagine that the same telco's would also own most of those other means to get broadband.

    I'm a little rusty on my business law, but isn't this overt collusion.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collusion [wikipedia.org]

  • We need to tell Bush, that the real Axis of evil has joined forces in Canada. Spawn of Satan (Bell) and Son of Satan (Rogers), have combined to form the most feared mega-corp the world has seen since Syndicate!

    In typical fashion us Canadians will wait for somebody else to put and end to this evil while we complain about taxes and mutter under our breath.

    Maybe if we get Tim Hortons coupons too it will be ok.
  • Aagh (Score:2, Informative)

    by BlackShirt (690851)
    Finland and estonia also have plans to cover large rural areas with edge network for internet connection. In a year or two.
  • by Lukano (50323) on Friday September 16, 2005 @02:23PM (#13578216)
    I work for Sasktel (incumbent Telco in Saskatchewan - smack dab in the middle of canada for the geographically challenged) and we've had wireless internet services going for the better part of a year now.

    We're part of the 'Bell Wireless Alliance' which is a resource/competition sharing agreement between Bell, Sasktel, Aliant, MTS and most of the other CDMA cellular carriers (excluding Telus) - and yet Bell always seems to trump Sasktel where new technology is concerned.

    First company to roll out DSL in Canada - Sasktel. Who got credit? Bell.

    First company to have broadband/dsl television services in Canada - Sasktel. Who gets credit, Bell and a handful of US carriers who are still working on it.

    First company to have MTC wiress broadband in Canada - you guessed it, Sasktel. Who gets credit - Bell and Rogers.

    An example of this service can be found here https://commerce.sasktel.com/esales/start.swe?SWER owId=1-4NP&SWEField=s_2_2_24_1&SWERowIds=SWERowId0 %3D1-4NP&SWETVI=&SWEApplet=Product+Catalog+List+Ap plet+(eSales)&SWEView=Product+Catalog+View+(eSales )&SWEDIC=false&SWETargetView=&SWEVI=&SWENeedContex t=true&SWETA=&SWETS=&SWEContainer=&SWECmd=InvokeMe thod&SWEReqRowId=1&SWESP=false&SWESPa=&SWEPOC=&SWE BID=-1&SWEC=5&SWEM=&SWEMethod=Drilldown&SWETS=1092 677920239&SMIDENTITY=NO/ [sasktel.com] . It's basically the final step to getting broadband internet services to every single populated square inch of the province (Sitting at 70-80% currently with just regular copper and fibre - the wireless is to bridge the final remote areas).

    [/rant]
    • Well, if it makes you feel any better, the rest of Canada really appreciates Saskatchewan's production of wheat, barely and hops for all that beer goodness!
  • Interesting (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Vaystrem (761) on Friday September 16, 2005 @02:26PM (#13578242)
    Odd as it may seem this is not really about improving access for Canadians to broadband. In many provinces, Saskatchewan included, most communities over 500 people have DSL. Seriously.

    What this is really about is allowing Rogers and Bell to compete on 2 levels with Telco's in other provinces with a minimal investment in infrastructure. This is a comparatively minimal investment because they do not have to trench lines to every house to provide service.

    It will allow them to:
    A) Provide high speed internet access in markets they couldn't access before
    B) Allow them to provide VOIP service in markets they couldn't access before
    C) If they can get wireless VOIP handhelds... they will have coverage about as good as GSM based cell phone services in Canada.

    Its a very strategic move. As it stands the individual telcos, which either WERE or ARE publicly owned put the physical infrastructure in. There have been a series of rulings by the CRTC (our FCC equivalent) regarding what fees must be paid by competing organizations to access that infrastructure, but this bypasses all of that.

    I'm very intrigued.
    • In many provinces, Saskatchewan included, most communities over 500 people have DSL. Seriously.

      I'm curious... why do you say "Saskatchewan included"? You make it sound as though Saskatchewan is or should be way behind other provinces broadband-wise.

      Saskatoon and Regina were pretty much the first two cities in Canada to have DSL service.
      • I know, and I live in Regina currently and you are correct, these were one of the first two cities in North America to have DSL.

        What I am really getting at is that in other countries and states it is rural areas that are largely left behind. I wanted to use an example of a province that has a significant rural population and was still able to deliver broadband to a significant portion of its populace.

        I said 500 population in my initail post. In my talks with Sasktel representatives they have stated any comm
  • ...it'd be nice if a group in each state got together and worked to wire the whole state.
  • Seems like two companies that would normally be driving rpices down decided to form up a new company with a single pricing plan.... anyone else read it that way?

    or, i may be too synical.
    • Not I. I read it as they've teamed up to build the infrastructure. It's unclear how the service will be sold to the customer (for example, presumably they'll also have to agree to lease out their infrastructure for resale by competitors, ala the current situation with cable and telephony).
  • Did I read that right in the article? They're only budgeting $200M to deploy a nationwide wireless network?

    That would be 1/1000th the amount of money Bush pledged the Feds to throw in to rebuilding the Gulf coast.

    Wow.
    • Not too suruprising. Over the last ten years or so a lot of infrastructure was built.

      Alberta for example is building the Supernet [wikipedia.org]which is done by Bell, so they already run Fibre etc. in that province and it IS supposed to be Wireless, so they can probably build on top of that.

      I'd be surprised if there aren't similar efforts being made in other areas.
  • Just like those two announced their VoIP service was to be released soon. Nothing comparable to vonage/primus yet.

    Yes i know about Roger's home phone thing but no, it's not the same.
    • Shaw apparantly has rolled it out quite successfully (judging by some comments it seems almost TOO successful), so has Primus.

      Rogers may be a while though, I worked there for a while and when I left (a year ago) it was still in the "internal testing" phase I think they called it.
  • by joelsanda (619660) on Friday September 16, 2005 @02:40PM (#13578371) Homepage

    Did I read that right in the article? They're only budgeting $200M to deploy a nationwide wireless network?

    The Canadians are not using Haliburton.

  • by WormholeFiend (674934) on Friday September 16, 2005 @02:42PM (#13578395)
    will install hotspots in Iqaluit.

    It's freakin' cold up there.
  • I want me some of that free wifi!

  • This project has a few things working for it and against it at the same time. One thing against it is the sheer size of Canada. Admittedly, I'm sure they're not going for all the middle-of-nowhere places way up in the north, but it's still a huge landmass. One thing for it is that "the phone company" is behind it. This means they can use existing lines, poles, towers, central offices, etc. to deploy infrastructure. I'm pretty sure telcos are deregulated in Canada too, but I also know that something like thi
    • The Telecommunications industry has been more stable in Canada then the US, especially recently due to different management by regulatory agencies, and the fact that it's a smaller market. One of the first DSL providers (40$/mos 7mbp downstream 1.5mbp up) in North America was located in Halifax, Nova Scotia back in the mid 90's. Because the population is small, technically literate and close packed many new technologies are trialed here before being used in larger markets like the US. In fact many plac
  • Both companies mentioned have no presence in Newfoundland. If you can call two towers (Rogers) on the whole island a presence (servicing St. John's poorly.)

    This is kinda stupid; cause all sorts of Americas are buying up the real estate around Deer Lake (because of pristine flora, fauna, and you know there are 6 moose per square kilometer - making moose more abundand than people on the ol' rock.)

    It's funny seeing them say it will be nationwide at such a small number; as I doubt small and/or remote communiti
  • The technology uses licensed spectrum and is VERY portable.
    basically you connect their wireless modem to the power and then via ethernet to your PC. Done.
    It's been "on trial" for years I believe in Richmond BC and Cumberland Ontario.
    I really hope a PC card or (better yet) a USB device will allow for laptop access to the network...
  • Not Cheap (Score:2, Insightful)

    by torok (632410)
    Being a Canadian and knowing the telcos here, it won't be remotely affordable access to the average Joe.
    Many already pay:
    1. $45/month Cable Internet (Or $30/month ADSL)
    2. $30/month telephone
    3. $40/month Cell phone (With some ridiculous per-minute charge for 1X(3G) Net access)
    4. $30/month cable/satellite TV

    And now they figure we'll shell out some money for wireless? What for, when we've got hardwired internet and cell phones with 3G? Guaranteed they'll charge a small fortune for access to their wireless net.
    Whe

  • Having been a customer of both Rogers and Bell, I can honestly say that this news disturbs me. I'd sort of been hoping that the City of Toronto might start its own wireless ISP but this sort of kills that idea.
    Rogers sucks. They play ads while they keep you on hold for their billing department. And I don't mean ads for their other services - I mean Rolaids, Everybody Loves Raymond, etc. Plus they've just installed this crappy voice recognition system that (like most voice recognition systems) doesn't work.

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