Sorry, Paul McAleese, Shaw's cable network doesn't match the capabilities of the Bell or Telus fibre to the home. That you offer a gigabit download to 99% of your customers is a great advance, worth trumpeting. It's especially welcome where the telco hasn't upgraded to fibre. But coaxial cable is not fibre; calling it fibre+ is simply false advertising.

Shaw's upstream is "up to 25 Mbps." Where Telus has fiber to the home, the upstream can go up to 940 Mbps. Neither company releases actual speeds, but I can tell by the network design what customers can expect. Shaw customers will get 20 Mbps upstream at least 90% of the time. Telus fibre customers will get 400 Mbps upstream at least 90% of the time. (Almost all networks are shared, but a decently designed network rarely see serious degradation. All the Canadian networks are well-designed.)

Telus took Shaw to court on the misleading claim. In the U.S., advertisers are allowed some "puffery," so I don't know what the court will decide. Shaw is defending vigorously, mostly by confusing the issue with irrelevant technical datapoints. It would have been smarter to concede the semantics and point to the facts of upgraded cable - including that it's available in many locations where the telcos don't offer fibre.

Eight years ago, DOCSIS introduced systems for much faster upstream. They haven't been used. I recommended to Mike Fries of Liberty Global, then the world's 2nd largest cableco, that Liberty move rapidly to fast upstream, which would be a major sales advantage over DSL. Mike told me he didn't think customers would demand the higher speed and in practice few have. 

We need the fastest upstream we can get because Jennie does video professionally. Those files are huge. Smartphone videos are also big and most of us have a smartphone. It's now time for faster upstreams but cable is tied up in a struggle over which technology to use. John Chapman of Cisco, the driving force behind DOCSIS, expected the cablecos would upgrade to Full Duplex and a very fast upstream when he spoke to me three years ago. But some of the companies believe the cost of the DAA field units is too high and are looking at less expensive techniques. Meanwhile, TimeWarner here in New York and Shaw in Canada have upstreams much slower than fiber to the home. 

All modern networks are based on fibre; saying that Shaw's network has lots of fibre is about as interesting as saying a car runs on wheels.

A convoy cannot go faster than the speed of the slowest ship. Your Internet speed is determined by the slowest link in the chain. That's almost always the physical connection to your home.

There are many other places along the chain that could be a bottleneck but in practice there is usually more than enough capacity in the rest of the network. It's almost all fiber. Digging fiber is expensive but adding capacity to existing fiber is cheap, Most links are over-provisioned and upgraded before congestion problems develop. Bell Canada told the CRTC that when traffic reaches 80% of fibre capacity, it's upgraded. That's common industry practice.

Many parts of the system are shared, including GPON fiber and the cable local loop. Statistical multiplexing (sharing) works remarkably well for the local Internet. Telcos used to claim DSL was better because cable was shared. My research, to my surprise, showed that the sharing very rarely made a difference.

Shaw would be well-advised to limit claims to those that make sense, including the wider gigabit coverage. 

Telus can, and probably should, publicize a simple test of upstream speeds and make the difference clear. 


 Here's Shaw's announcement. Note it has no information about upstream speeds.


Shaw launches Fibre+ Gig: The largest deployment of gigabit speeds for residential internet customers in Western Canada

With Fibre+ Gig, virtually all Shaw customers can stream, game and connect on more devices at the same time while enjoying superior performance

May 27, 2020

CALGARY, May 27, 2020 – Starting today, millions of Western Canadians now have access to gigabit speeds in their homes with the launch of Fibre+ Gig, a new internet product from Shaw Communications Inc. that offers residential customers gigabit download speeds along with the abundance of bandwidth needed to simultaneously enable the many data-intensive applications that they’ve come to depend on.

“Customers today trust in and rely on their home technology like never before, which is why we have continued investing in growing our Fibre+ network and services — more than $20 billion over the past seven years — to bring Western Canadians the blazing fast speeds and bandwidth they need to power their connected lives,” said Paul McAleese, President, Shaw Communications. “Because of our continuous investments, homes in even the smallest communities that we serve can get the same fast Fibre+ Gig speeds that customers in Vancouver or Calgary are able to enjoy.”

Fibre+ Gig is the most broadly available plan for gigabit speeds in all of Western Canada — now available to more than 99 per cent of Shaw’s residential customers — because of the strategic and ongoing investments Shaw has made to its Fibre+ network. Shaw has offered gigabit speeds to business customers of all sizes since March 2019.

“The best connectivity experiences should not be just restricted to people living in large urban centres. Shaw’s Fibre+ Gig is a huge win for millions of people across Western Canada who have never before had access to these speeds,” Mr. McAleese said.

New internet products for all needs and budgets to complement existing tiers

In addition to rolling out the fastest speeds ever available to its customers, Shaw launched a new entry-level internet plan and a new lineup of internet tiers, giving customers a full range of choices depending on their connectivity needs:

Fibre+ Gig: With speeds of up to one gigabit-per-second (Gbps), customers can download a full high-definition movie in a matter of seconds. Fibre+ Gig is available with unlimited data for $115 monthly on a 2-year ValuePlan.

Fibre+ 750: A new service tier, with download speeds of up to 750 megabits-per-second (Mbps) and starting at $110 per month on a 2-year ValuePlan with unlimited data.

Basic 10: Launched in response to customers’ recent demands for more affordable plans, Basic 10 starts at $50 per month on a 2-year ValuePlan, with download speeds of up to 10 Mbps.

More information about Shaw’s new internet products can be found at

Using Shaw’s self-connect program, existing customers can easily upgrade their in-home internet package and hardware or add new services quickly, easily and on their own terms. New customers can get access to the fastest internet speeds available without the hassle of scheduling a service appointment, needing to interact with a technician, or wait for network upgrades in their neighbourhood.

Shaw’s Fibre+ network is one of the most advanced telecommunications networks in North America. Shaw feeds fibre into every neighborhood it services, allowing customers to access incredible speeds, travelling over a 99.9 per cent fibre route, complemented by highly robust and futureproof coaxial cable.

Offering customers even more value to go along with faster speeds and unlimited data, all internet plans from Internet 150 and above come with the premium Shaw BlueCurve Gateway modem. The DOCSIS 3.1-based modem serves as the hub of the BlueCurve suite of technology that gives customers enhanced speed, coverage and control.

The world needs a good news source on Internet and telecom policy. I hope to create one. Catch a mistake? Email me please.  Dave Burstein


Professor Noam's "Many Internets"

Until about 2010, everyone agreed the Net was a "network of networks," not a monolithic entity. There was a central authority, ICANN, keeping track of domain names, but that was a minor administrative function.
Columbia Professor Noam suggests we might be better off accepting that some nations or groups might want to organize their networks differently. It's easy to see demand for an Internet with much more effective filters against material some think harmful to children. (Any 10 year old can easily find porn today. Many do.)
Internet translation is getting better very quickly. You might want an "Internet" that translates everything into your language. Google Chrome translation isn't perfect but I was able to research most of this story on Russian language sites. With a few more years progress, I might welcome an alternate that brings me everything in English, including caching for better performance.
De facto, Internet news is already split, as hundreds of millions only get their news from Facebook. Google AMP pages, including for news, also favor selected parts of the net
Centralizing the DNS doesn't prevent censorship, as the Chinese have demonstrated. There are many Jewish and Muslim fundamentalists who want to block what they consider blasphemy and limit free speech. See . More from Noam

Russia Orders Alternate Root Internet System
It's actually practical and not necessarily a problem.The Security Council of the Russian Federation, headed by Vladimir Putin, has ordered the "government to develop an independent internet infrastructure for BRICS nations, which would continue to work in the event of global internet malfunctions ... This system would be used by countries of the BRICS bloc – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa." RT
Columbia University Professor Eli Noam and then ICANN CEO Fadi Chehadé have both said such a system is perfectly practical as long as there is robust interconnection.
Actually, the battle over ICANN and domain names is essentially symbolic. Managing the DNS is a relatively insignificant task, more clerical than governing. ICANN Chair Steve Crocker pointed out they had very little to do with policy.
Some will claim this is about blocking free speech but that's rhetoric. Russia doesn't need to fiddle with the DNS for censorship, as the Chinese have demonstrated. The wonders of the Internet will continue so long as the resulting nets" are robustly connected. The ICANN and U.S. policy goal should be to help create that system for interconnection.
I expect contentions that “The Russians are taking over our Internet” and “They are splitting the Internet.” The Internet is a “Network of Networks.” It is not a monolith so what would “splitting” it mean or do?
After the WCIT, China realized that ICANN and the DNS are side issues not worth bothering about. They have been building alternate institutions including the World Internet Summit in Wuzhan and the BRICs conferences.  The Chinese have put their main work where decisions that matter are made. Wireless standards are set by 3GPP, where nothing can be approved without China's consent.
The American battle at ITU is proving to be a historic mistake.
Why does Russia want an independent Internet?
They fear that Western sanctions on Russia could cripple the Russian Net. Communications minister, Nikolay Nikiforov, worries about, "a scenario where our esteemed partners would suddenly decide to disconnect us from the internet." I think that's highly unlikely but Nikiforov points out, “Recently, Russia is being addressed in a language of unilateral sanctions: first, our credit cards are being cut off; then the European Parliament says that they’ll disconnect us from SWIFT."
It makes sense for the Russians to be prepared for such a contingency as the Cold War has been warming up on both sides. "Britain's top military chief Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach just made headlines warning Russian subs "could CRIPPLE Britain by cutting undefended undersea internet cables." Much more

ICANN Continues Excluding Russia & China From the Board
No wonder Russia wants an alternate root. Three years ago, ICANN CEO Fadi Chehadé promised "a seat at the table" to Chinese Premier Li. ICANN welched and this year added two more Americans.
Almost all the ICANN board is from the U.S. and close allies; only about 4 of the 18 board members are from countries on the other side of the North/South divide in Internet policy.  Claiming ICANN represents the Global Internet is inappropriate. China is 1/3rd of the Internet but has no representation on the board.
I know many of the board members. They are all basically honorable but generally share a strong opinion on North-South issues.
Larry Strickling of the U.S. government knew just what he was doing with the IANA transition. He handed over to a board with similar positions as the U.S. government.
"The system is unsustainable while it excludes half the world," I have been saying since 2012. More, including the transcript of Fadi's statements,

Sorry, Ajit Pai: Smaller Telcos Did Not Reduce Investment After NN Ruling
Pai justifies his NN choice with the claim, "The impact has been particularly serious for smaller Internet service providers." #wrong (Actually, NN has minimal effects on investment, up or down, I’m convinced. Competition, new technology, customer demand and similar are far more important.)
The two largest suppliers to “smaller ISPs” saw sales go up. Adtran's sales the most recent nine months were $540M, up from $473M the year before. 2016 was $636M, 2015 $600M. Calix the last nine months sold $372M, up from $327M. The full year 2016 was $459M, up from $407M in 2015. Clearfield, a supplier of fiber optic gear, was up 8% in sales in the smaller ISPs.
There is nothing in the data from others that suggests an alternate trend. Anyone could have found this data in a few minutes from the company quarterly reports.
The results in larger companies are ambiguous. I can "prove" capex went up or went down by selecting the right data. The four largest companies' capex - two/thirds of the total - went up from $52.7B in 2015 to $55.7B in 2016. The result remains positive after making sensible adjustments for mergers and acquisitions. That's as close to "proving" that NN led to increased spending as the facts chosen to prove the opposite.
Actually, whether capex went up or down in 2016 tells us almost nothing about the choice on neutrality. Everyone knows a single datapoint could be random or due to other causes. Much more, including the source of the errors

Elders Bearing Witness: Vint, Timbl, & Many More
Vint Cerf, Tim Berners-Lee, Steve Wozniak and more than a dozen true Internet pioneers wrote Congress to protect Neutrality. The best Congress money can buy didn't listen but I wanted to reproduce their letter.
I hope they are wrong believing "is an imminent threat to the Internet we worked so hard to create." My take is the impact will be moderate in the short run.
From the letter:
We are the pioneers and technologists who created and now operate the Internet, and some of the innovators and business people who, like many others, depend on it for our livelihood. ... The FCC’s proposed Order is based on a flawed and factually inaccurate understanding of Internet technology. These flaws and inaccuracies were documented in detail in a 43-page-long joint comment signed by over 200 of the most prominent Internet pioneers and engineers and submitted to the FCC on July 17, 2017.
Despite this comment, the FCC did not correct its misunderstandings, but instead premised the proposed Order on the very technical flaws the comment explained. The technically-incorrect proposed Order ... More, including the full list,