Faulty facts lead to faulty conclusions

I don’t get it.

It has never been easier to do fact checking, but I guess a lot of people just don’t bother verifying statements, especially if the point supports their previous bias.

This morning, I saw a piece entitled “Canadian, UK telecom markets share same problem” where the author wrote “On the surface of it, the British and Canadian broadband markets areĀ nothing alike.” In the interests of accuracy, he should have stopped there.

But he went didn’t, and he wound up concluding:

The result, just as it hasĀ been in the United Kingdom, is that little has changed. Prices for both wired internet and wireless services in Canada areĀ just as high as they were a decade ago and nobody wants to bring up the only real solution: full structural separation.

Hold on. Maybe if you say it fast enough, it sounds reasonable but stop and think about it for a minute. “Prices for both wired internet and wireless services in Canada are just as high as they were a decade ago.” Uh, no they aren’t.

For example, let’s take a look at Rogers internet service. A 100/10 Mbps service from Rogers (Rogers Ignite 100u), with unlimited data, costs $65 per month, as you can find on “comparemyrates.ca“. Just a little more than 3 years ago, one would pay $68 for Rogers Extreme Internet, a 35/3Mbps service with 120GB of usage included. So, in just 3 years, we pay less for a service that is 3 times as fast and now includes unlimited data. In 2007, there was talk about Rogers launching “Hi-speed Elite” service, an 18Mbps service with 90GB of usage for $100 per month.

So, while the author claims that prices are just as high today as they were a decade ago, we can easily see that prices have fallen, and speeds have dramatically increased.

That same article claims that “Canada doesn’t fare much better at 7.9%” of broadband connections on fibre, comparing it to the UK at 2%. In fact, the source document for the 2% figure shows the British figure at 1.7% (taken to the same number of significant digits). The OECD spreadsheet [xls] used for the Canadian figure does not list the UK, saying “No fibre data is available.” Still, it is hard to see how any reasonable person would say that 7.9 isn’t much better than 1.7. Indeed, it is 350% better!

It isn’t that hard to get the facts right. Once again, we see a case of faulty facts leading to faulty conclusions.

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