Canada a Digital Ghetto?

CBC’s Search Engine says, provocatively:


With the election of Barack Obama, digital culture in the U.S. hit a tipping point, where a robust online public sphere proved itself capable of changing the world. Meanwhile, here in Canada we’re approaching our own tipping point, where a series of ignorances and capitulations threaten to turn our country into a digital ghetto.

Having spent some time yesterday discovering that Skype is not able to provide Skypein telephone numbers for Canada the way it can for 21 other countries and that Google’s really interesting Grand Central isn’t available in Canada, I’m ready to agree. Other items in the list of grievances, per Search Engine:

  • the CRTC approval of Bell’s internet throttling
  • Bill C-61
  • Twitter’s killing outbound SMS messaging in Canada
  • some of the highest cellphone rates in the world

And a couple more of my own:

  • no access to Hulu or other U.S. TV freebies
  • no Pandora



  1. That American rightsholders have decided to sell their rights in other jurisdictions, rather than make them freely available in other jurisdictions with no additional revenue, is surely a business decision that has nothing to do with any “ignorances and capitulations” that Canadians may have made.

    Rather than show that Canada is a “digital ghetto”, your Hulu and Pandora examples appear only to show that Canada is not under U.S. jurisdiction. (Grand Central is only launched domestically in the U.S. as well. Skype is no doubt a whole other story, and you may be right on that — depends why they are not offering Canadian SkypeIn phone numbers, I suppose.)

    I’m sure that there are good arguments that, to fuel Canadian innovation and access to rilly kewl services, we should apply to come under U.S. jurisdiction. Those arguments just haven’t been publicly aired yet. But they would be interesting to read…