Bell Canada hands Net Neutrality advocates a gift!


Bell Canada Associate Director of Media Relations Jason Laszlo made a real boner move, boasting on Facebook of his ability to snow journalists with his network management bafflegab, referring to journalists as “lemmings” in a recent status update. [DIGG] Clearly a super-fun guy in real life (note colourful hat and armband tattoo), he further demonstrated the Bell Media Relations department’s apparent unfamiliarity with modern web tools by leaving his Facebook profile wide-open to the public to see. Oops. [UPDATE: Profile is closed now.]

┬áThe blogosphere, 3rd party DSL providers, regular users, technology developers, net neutrality advocates and public sector employees unions have suddenly woken up. This is all thanks to Bell’s politically stupid move to throttle third party DSL providers P2P traffic. The silent, simmering battle is now finally out in the open. Thanks to the indominatable Michael Geist for keeping the embers alive.

How bad is it about to get for Bell and other monopoly last-mile providers in this PR and regulatory battle? Very bad. It’s a perfect storm of factors:

  1. CBC was receiving raves for distributing “Canada’s Next Prime Minister” on Bittorrent file-sharing networks, being recognized as an innovator(!) in digital content distribution. CBC’s move effectively killed the argument that bandwidth throttling of P2P traffic only affects pirates.
  2. Bell Canada’s wholesale customers are now mobilized against it, into lawsuits and advocacy efforts. TekSavvy, Ontario’s technology community’s preferred DSL provider is leading the charge.
  3. The National Union of Public and General Employees (340,000 members strong) has taken on the issue with a letter to the CRTC accompanying a report it produced on the subject of network neutrality.
  4. The F2C: Freedom to Connect conference is happening Monday and Tuesday in Washington DC. This will raise the profile of the net neutrality issue in general, as well as many of the other implications of citizen journalism, human rights and beyond. At the ICE08 after-party there was talk of bringing this conference to Ottawa too.
  5. The technology developer and startup communities in Toronto, Waterloo, Montreal, Ottawa and Vancouver are frustrated with the state of broadband in Canada and can be mobilized to action in ways that will bring the investment community along with them. Anti-competitive broadband policies inhibit innovation and startup growth.
  6. The U.S. is making moves to open up the debate on net neutrality legislation. Barack Obama’s technology policy supports network neutrality unequivocally.

Watch this space.

Metronauts! Explorers of the future of urban transportation

I am proud to announce the launch of a new online community and a series of Transit Camp style events across the Greater Toronto region. The stewards are really excited to launch this new project, which builds upon the success of 2007’s Toronto Transit Camp and takes it to new places and new audiences. Join the community.


What is a Metronaut? is an open community of people from across the sprawling greater Toronto region who care about the future of their cities. Metronauts are explorers of the future form of our cities and the role transportation has in our lives.

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Innovation. Creativity. Enterprise.

iStock_000002456857Medium[ICE08] A vision for Canada’s future in digital and interactive media and technology…

In 2018, Canada has embraced its role as a model power of digital innovation and become a key node in the emerging global network economy.

Accelerating technological change has altered human behaviour patterns and radically reduced the transaction costs of communication, negotiation and enforcement between and among firms and individual creators.

The web is us. We are increasingly aware of each other, our interdependency and the artifacts of our physical lives made digital. We are also rediscovering lost aspects of ourselves through our heightened relationship with the Other. Canada’s digital citizens have embraced the creative age and are rediscovering their individual creative agency, sense of purpose and values.

Significant private and public investment in ultra-broadband fibre and the continuous march of accelerating technological change is reducing the cost of moving bits towards zero, both over fixed and wireless networks. This inevitable technosocial reality has reconfigured the relationship between creator, content and audience.

Infinitely abundant digital content itself has been transformed. Content is currency, signal and signifier of resources that are naturally scarce: attention, the rare and valuable relationship between creator and audience, unique experiences of transcendent collectivity and the appreciation of rare social and physical objects of culture.

Canada’s media and technology industry underwent a painful transformation process, remaking the supply chain from a few large companies into open commercialization networks of micro-enterprises building social web tools and embracing the economics of abundance.

The new Canadian broadband and media conglomerates embraced their roles as pools of brand-power and capital within a broader open commercialization ecosystem. They shifted their business models and attention towards the edges, embracing the 1% as important to their future adding new venture investment arms attached to their innovation groups.

Together, this tightly interwoven but loosely structured network economy is accelerating through time, projecting the cultural creative values of Canadians into a hopeful shared global future.

Enter the DEMOCAMP/ICE08 blogging contest.

experience!tech @ MaRS: glocal format innovation?

Postcard - Feb. 12-2008.pdf (page 1 of 2)

MaRS is offering an interesting new model in a tech conference: keynote sessions simulcast from the IDC Directions Conference Boston onto the state-of-art A/V setup at MaRS in the morning, followed by “Master Classes” that take the form of interactive moderated panel discussions featuring local talent and lots of audience participation in the afternoon. The day finishes with Tom Kelley from IDEO closing with another great keynote from Boston. I’m intrigued by the format, and I’m going to check it out.


I think they’re onto something here – linking the global to the local. Very cool. This an interesting format innovation, and I’m looking forward to seeing it in action.

I also appreciate how Peter Evans, who’s organizing this event, really understands that what people need in an era of accelerating technology change is not just some star keynotes. People also need depth that comes from the rabble rousers we have in spades in this community – people who have sector or tech focus and can accelerate insight into understanding, and understanding into action together with attendees.

Any ideas about other good global conferences the local community would like to see uplinked to MaRS and combined with local face-to-face interaction in this way?

Duh, Community IS the Framework!

A little more than 2 years after David Crow launched the BarCamp unconference meme in Canada with a mighty yawp, it looks like this “community thing” is catching on in Toronto’s technology scene.

The National Angels Organization has found religion, the Financial Post picked up the excitement, the Toronto Board of Trade loves being host to the energy of DemoCamp, Peter Evans and the crew at MaRS are great supporters of the community, John MacRitchie and the Ontario Centres of Excellence is actively engaged, the organizers of the Mesh Conference are kindred spirits and provide an important platform, Greg Wilson and the University of Toronto are onside, Rick Segal, Austin Hill and other VCs and Angels are joining in, Interactive Ontario sees the value and many other established institutions of the technology and business community are taking note of one of Toronto’s main sources of tech excitement.

The community is an open platform for collaboration, where the interests and resources of a diverse set of private industry organizations, educational and public sector support institutions can be pooled for shared benefit.

So who’s not getting it?

More after the jump…

Continue reading “Duh, Community IS the Framework!”

Pedro talks about social tools and social change

I missed this from my earlier post about Pedro’s wonderful workshop at LIFT, but thought I would share it now.

Pedro talks about the possibilities of social software tools and online communities and the possibilities of technology enabling social change. We are working on this all the time, and my practice is more and more focused on the use of both online communities and events linked to social innovation goals. I hope that we can get Pedro to come to Toronto for Mesh, I think he’d be a great addition to MeshU and a panel conversation.