All posts by agahtan

About agahtan

Alan Gahtan is a Toronto-based computer, information technology and e-commerce lawyer who loves technology.

Xplorenet Satellite-based Internet Service – Limited Unlimited

Xplorenet offers Internet service to Canadian locations through satellite technology. However, its “unlimited” pricing plans do in fact have limits. According to its Xplornet Internet Services Fair Access Policy:

To ensure fair access for all Xplornet subscribers, Xplornet maintains a running average fair access policy. Fair access establishes an equitable balance in Internet access across all broadband services by service plan for all Xplornet customers regardless of their frequency of use or volume of traffic. To ensure this equity, customers may experience some temporary throughput limitations. Xplornet Internet access is not guaranteed. This policy applies to all service plans including “Unlimited” plans where customers’ use of the Service is not limited to a specific number of hours per month. Xplornet indicates that approximately 5% of subscribers are responsible for a disproportionate share – often as much as half – of the total Xplornet service traffic. Unfortunately, many of those subscribers are not using Xplornet for its intended purpose. To ensure that all Xplornet subscribers have fair and equitable access to the benefits of the Service, Xplornet has enacted a Fair Access Policy (FAP) to prevent abusive consumption of bandwidth by a handful of users.

The Fair Access Policy (FAP) is straightforward. Based on an analysis of usage data, Xplornet has established a download data usage threshold well above the maximum typical usage rates. When a customer exhibits patterns of system usage, which exceed that threshold for an extended period of time, the FAP may temporarily limit that subscriber’s throughput to ensure the integrity of the system for all subscribers.

7-Eleven Speak-Out Wireless Prepaid Cellular

I noticed that 7-Eleven stores are offering their own wireless prepaid cellular handsets and service. Rates are good (CDN$0.20 for local calls, CDN$0.30 US/Canada long distance) for Canadian users. The expiration lasts for 365 days (which beats out Virgin Mobility Canada’s 120 day period). And the phone comes activated. However, there are some down sides: The service area appears to be much more limited than what other carriers offer for their tri-mode handsets (great if you’re staying near Toronto, Ottawa or Windsor, but not the thing to carry if you plan on a trip to Wasaga beach). The coverage map provided in their brochure only shows Ontario, so its not clear whether they provide coverage elsewhere (but I suspect they likely do in other large Canadian urban centers). They don’t tell you what the roaming surcharges will be or what they charge for non-North American long distance. Also, some of the disclaimers in their fine print may give pause – for example – “map may include areas served by unaffiliated carriers, and may depict their licensed area rather than an approximation of the coverage there” – this appears to say that you can’t even rely on the coverage area pictured in the brochure. Also, “coverage area may be subject to additional charges”, “many government entities impose reoccurring taxes and other fees that will be debited from your account as the law provides”. Speak Out also charges subscribers a $1.50 “911 emergency tax and regulatory cost recovery fee” which may change from time to time. Finally, while the service advertises a 365 day expiration period, the small print states that they may cancel your number if your account has no activity for 120 consecutive days. “A service activation fee and new wireless phone number may be required to reactivate service” – so while your $10 in calling credit is protected for 365 days, you may need to go buy a new phone for $65 in order to use it.

Rogers offers Portable Internet

Rogers is now offering “portable Internet” service based on pre-WiMax technology in 20 cities across Canada. The 2.5 Gigahertz solution offers 1.5Mbps downstream speeds and 256kbps up, with a 30Gig monthly cap, for $49.95 / month (modem costs $100). “Portable” means the modem still needs to be plugged in, so its not the same as mobile.

Apparently, Rogers Communications and Bell Canada (the cable guys and the phone company) have pooled their licensed wireless broadband spectrum into a new company – Inukshuk Internet – which will build and operate the network. Expectation is that within three years, they will be able to offer service to two-thirds of Canadians (40 cities and approximately 50 rural and remote communities). Although Rogers and Bell will share bandwidth, each will compete for its own subscribers.

See: via Daily Wireless, quoting DSL Reports and Digital Home Canada

Australia forces anti-spam on ISPs

Australia has become the first jurisdiction to force ISPs operating in that country to provide anti-spam options to users. The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), through its Internet Industry Spam Code Of Practice, also requires ISPs to inform end-users on ways to combat spam and to have a process for handling complaints from subscribers.

From ITnews

Cybersquatting Non-Famous Names

It used to be that cybersquatters would register the name of a famous person, company or product and then try and sell the name to the rightful owner. But now things have changed. According to Wired News:

These days, cybersquatters seek to register a star’s domain before that person becomes famous, and then develop a business relationship with the new celebrity, offering website hosting or design work. These so-called soft squatters are registering the domains of hundreds of amateur athletes, musicians and other would-be stars in the hope that one or two of the names will become well-known.

There are now even specialized services like sedo.com that make it easy to earn add revenue from parked domain names and at the same time provide a vehicle to help sell such domain names.

ZingoTel files lawsuit against Shaw

Shaw Communications has been hit with a $1.2 million lawsuit filed by U.S.-based VoIP provider ZingoTel which claims that the Canadian cable operator refused to air a ZingoTel television ad because it promoted a competing VoIP-based calling service. The news comes just a couple of weeks after Vonage Canada also filed a complaint with the CRTC about the cable operator’s practices in respect of charging Vonage subscribers a $10 “quality of service enhancement” fee.

From TMCnet