I was visiting with family in the Kawarthas (about 2 hours east and north of Toronto) today and I couldn’t help but notice the signs advertising Wireless High Speed Internet along all of the major roads that I was on approaching this cottage and rural community.
But my cousin still uses dial-up access. One of their questions was whether the “free government broadband” would help them. That’s right, they are holding off in buying this service because they think that the government may have a freebie coming their way.
I actually hope it ain’t so. It seems to me that if there is an entrepreneur offering service in the area, then the last thing my tax dollars should be doing is competing against them! I’m not crazy about the idea of misguided Robin Hood entitlements – let’s be clear: this is not an impoverished region.
There is definitely a role for government assistance in completely unserved territory, but let’s not have government compete against the private sector. And let’s also make sure that there is sufficient public clarity about the government’s plans in order to remove any overhang that may be inhibiting demand in areas outside the traditional telco/cable duopoly.