Local Phone Competition Arrives – and it’s About Freaking Time

It was a year ago, almost to the day, that I welcomed an early Christmas gift to the North from Canada’s telephone regulator, the CRTC: the end of NorthwesTel’s telephone monopoly (Happy Xmas (Northwestel is Over) – December 17, 2011).

Unfortunately, that present’s been sitting unopened under the tree ever since. It’s only with this holiday season that we’re finally able to tear the gift wrap away.

And what’s inside?

Why, it’s local phone services in Whitehorse and other major northern cities, care of Iristel, an Ontario-based “global phone company”.

We are no longer restricted to purchasing fixed line phone numbers in the 867 area code from just one company. At long last, there is an alternative.

So in the true holiday spirit, I declare: hallelujah!

Iristel is bringing a lower-cost product to our northern market that promises both business and home customers a larger and much more advanced feature set than we’re accustomed to. Continue reading

A Tale of Three Tech Giants

A few days ago I had the opportunity for direct consumer interaction with three of the technology world’s biggest companies – Google, Microsoft, and Apple.

These were an oddly symbolic series of experiences.

It started with an email from Google Play, the search giant’s online store.

The Nexus 4, Google’s new marquee Android phone, was going to be available for Canadians to purchase online later that day.

It was big news. The Nexus 4 is the “pure” Android experience, and represented Google’s most direct response to Apple’s iPhone.

And it’s in very, very short supply.

So at the allotted hour I clicked on the link in the email message and was taken to a Google Play web page that announced the Nexus 4 was “SOLD OUT”. Continue reading