Netflix exec: Canada’s broadband caps “almost a human rights violation”

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There’s no love lost between Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos and Canada’s big Internet providers: “It’s almost a human rights violation what they’re charging for internet access in Canada,” Sarandos said during the Merrill Lynch Media, Communications & Entertainment conference in Los Angeles Wednesday.

Sarandos was referring to the low broadband caps in place at Canadian ISPs like Bell and Shaw, which force their customers to pay more if they exceed monthly caps that can start at just 15 GB. Netflix has sharply criticized broadband pricing in Canada before, with CEO Reed Hastings calling caps and overage fees like these “grossly overpriced.”

However, Hastings had initially said that he didn’t anticipate the caps to be a problem for Netflix’s business in Canada. The company eventually adjusted its streaming rates in the country, making non-HD streams the default option for Canadian users, and now it looks like it’s acknowledging that the caps are having an impact on subscriber growth.

Asked about it on Thursday, Sarandos had to concede that business in Canada could be better if broadband access came without caps and expensive overage fees. Said Sarandos: “The problem in Canada is… they have almost third-world access to the internet.”

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Image courtesy of Flickr user LWY.

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