December 2013 in review: Roaming caps and floppy disks

As the year came to an end, the federal government promised a holiday gift to Canadian cellphone users: To in some way limit the domestic roaming charges paid by subscribers at startup carriers like Wind Mobile, Mobilicity, Videotron and Eastlink.

Industry Minister James Moore hasn’t said exactly what kind of cap he’ll impose — and the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has already promised to hold a hearing into the matter — but with competition struggling in the wireless industry Ottawa wants to be seen to be doing something.

The small carriers are being stung by incumbents when subscribers roam outside their home networks.

“The roaming rate that Canada’s largest wireless companies are charging domestic providers can be more than 10 times what they charge their own customers,” Moore observed in a statement.

But one financial analyst said it’s too late to be of help to the startup carriers.

Also in December came the surprising allegation that the U.S. National Security Agency paid security vendor RSA $10 million to use a less-secure encryption method in one of its products, presumably so the electronic spy agency could crack data of people it’s interested in.

In response, the CTO of one company has decided to snub an upcoming RSA conference.

Will this start a trend?

Elsewhere, the province of Saskatchewan did some research and found people didn’t find its Web site very user-friendly. So it was overhauled. Read how it was done.

User dissatisfaction prompts Saskatchewan web site revamp

Finally, for all you readers who don’t like to let go of familiar technology there was something comforting in the news that a U.S. agency still accepts certified copies of documents on floppy disks.

Apparently, some federal departments in Washington won’t surrender PCs with those narrow slots.

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Howard Solomon
Howard Solomon
Currently a freelance writer, I'm the former editor of and Computing Canada. An IT journalist since 1997, I've written for several of ITWC's sister publications including and Computer Dealer News. Before that I was a staff reporter at the Calgary Herald and the Brampton (Ont.) Daily Times. I can be reached at hsolomon [@]

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