Low broadband caps in Canada put that country close to third-world countries, and overage charges almost amount to human rights violations: Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos blasted broadband caps and usage-based-billing employed by Canadian ISPs during an investor event Thursday afternoon.

parking meter

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.”

To learn more about the future of TV, check out my ebook Cut the Cord: All You Need to Know to Drop Cable.

Image courtesy of Flickr user LWY.

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  1. wow. well netflix should go ahead and liberate me from this tragic circumstance by building their own infrastructure so they don’t need the carriers.

    how silly. on so many levels.

    1. Let me guess twospruces – you work for a Canadian Carrier?

      1. Does it matter if he does? Or does it matter if you work for Netflix?

        Who builds a business plan that depends on deliverying product to their customer without having to compensate the deliverer for the delivery?

        The ISP sets a price for their service based on the cost of offering the service. When the cost of deliverying that service exceeds the revenue received the ISP has to do something to recoup the cost. They can either raise their rates or reduce their costs. The caps allow them to do that.

      2. @onespruce You are completely misled or intentionally misleading others. Shaw’s lowest Exo package costs the consumer $90 a month. It costs Shaw less than $20 to offer that service to the customer, which includes cable, internet and phone. They are incredibly profitable, right now.

        The bandwidth limits have nothing to do with profitability. They have to do with protecting their cable offering by limiting bandwidth consumers already paid for, from being used for cable alternatives (youtube, netflix, bittorrent, etc…).

      3. @Domenic Polsoni
        You guys are forgetting about people.
        There are other cost.
        Paying employees.
        Paying R&D.
        Paying for legal fees for future development.

        Please think outside the box.

      4. @Fred, the cost of employing people does not go up the more bandwidth someone use.

        NO cost goes up the more bandwidth you use. Bandwidth is not a finite resource, that can be “used up”. Sure, you can oversaturate it, or you can have excess, but at the end of the day you are not using up a commodity that Bell and Rogers have to go buy to resell to you.

        Even if Bell or Rogers had to pay additional peering costs because you are using more bandwidth, the price they are charging the consumer are about 10,000x what they would pay their peers.

        This is nothing like a business delivering a physical product, like a cart full of turnips. It does not cost more to deliver more, like turnips would. The people who can defend this from anything other than it “Theyre a business, they can charge you whatever they want” standpoint do not understand the technology. Think of the internet like a painting. Do you pay more for a painting the longer you plan to look at it each day? If an art dealer was to say “You will look at this painting an hour a day, so I will charge you 10,000 dollars. If you were only going to look at it, say, once a week, it would be 4 dollars”, would you be able to justify that in any possible way? The amount that the painting can be looked at is not a finite resource. If youre not looking at it, the painting is still there and its possible to go and enjoy it. Why would that cost extra?

        Also, websites do pay. They pay a hosting company for bandwidth so they can deliver their site to you, or they have an ISP that allows them to host their own servers. So the “Dotcoms shouldnt get a free ride” argument also cant really be justified. The money comes out in the wash at the peers, which connect the two ends.

        So tell me again why canadian telco’s should get a bigger cut at the consumer level? They can either take it up with their peering providers (Like Comcast tried to do with L3), or use the money you are paying to upgrade their infrastructure if thats where their problem is.

      5. @onespruce: Do you ever make a phone call to a mobile phone? Who pays for that airtime?

        Do you not realize that it’s the *consumer* who pays for access to the Internet, and that they should therefore be getting reasonable access for what they’re paying for?

      6. I’m sorry Fred, that’s included in the quoted bandwidth cost of $20, you’ll have to find someone else to try and feel superior to today.

      7. @theTruth – the ISPs have been shown to be price gouging over and over and over again. Their prices are not connected to their costs. Do a little of your own research, and try to go beyond the information given by the ISPs – you might broaden your horizons, and learn the world isn’t as you thought it was.

      8. Jeff seems to be the only one who gets it here. Maybe its because I’m an engineer, who knows, but I can’t even comprehend a world without the internet, let alone not understand how it works. The real key point here to take home with you is what has been mentioned above:

        The internet is NOT a finite resource.

      9. The internet speeds in fucking MALAYSIA void all the arguments of you idiots who think the prices here are justified for what we get.

      10. @onespruce

        Who builds a business plan that depends on delivering product to their customer without actually delivering products to their customers? If it weren’t for great internet products out there like Netflix, ISPs would have far fewer people demanding their product. People would be fine going back to dialup speeds. ISPs are in the business of delivering internet content. Without great internet content, they wouldn’t have anything to deliver and wouldn’t exist. The internet is continually becoming more advanced, and now Canadian ISPs are lagging behind and are unable or unwilling to satisfactorily deliver this content.

    2. what would you propose for the online book retailer who wants to set up shop in iqaluit? should bell aliant run a subsea cable into frobisher bay for them?

      canada is a large and thinly populated place; not the lowest cost place to operate a network. I dont work for a carrier but i defend their right to run their business.

      the copper loop was unbundled; competition should happen to flatten things down.

      1. twospruce it seems you know very little about the big Canadian telecom companies and not much about economics either. Even in Ontario the most densely populated province our rates and caps are unbelievable. 3 massive corporations hold almost all of our infrastructure and they know it. They push out new competitive firms and are able to charge waaaay above reasonable prices because people will pay them. Its more of an oligopoly than a competitive market where their prices would be around their average total cost to provide the service.

      2. @funion

        So, what would you propose…? Last i checked it is referred to as free enterprise.

        Complaints bin by the door.

        I will repeat. The copper loop has been unbundled. Competition is possible. I use an alternative ip service provider, because i happen to live where that is possible.

      3. Funion – Canada and the US tried competition, tried deregulation. In the US alone, dozens of CLECs started up trying to compete. With rare exception, they are all gone today. Now it is true that Canadian companies do play hardball, but the fact of the matter is that building new infrastructure is ridiculously expensive, so expensive that new competition can’t enter the market. Who is to blame? It’s not just the incumbents, it’s the suppliers of the equipment, and the overall state of affairs. This isn’t just in Canada, in virtually every 1st world nation the competitive landscape is an oligopolistic situation. What could regulation do? Zilch. The market controls the competition, not the government.

      4. Give me a break, Rogers, Bell and Shaw have been gauging their customers from the onset. Our country is so big. What a load of crap. I am from Southern Ontario, one of the most populated areas in North America. And our internet speeds and rates suck! Why do they do this? No competition. That’s why. Tax payer money subsidizes the infrastructure these guys built. I am still waiting to see the benefit of these subsidies!

      5. Wow, you are really clueless about network infrastructure and basic business models aren’t you? Copper is the last thing an ISP in that situation should be looking at.

      6. that is a misconception, most high network usage is condensed urban areas, they just use that excuse to justify charging insane rates

      7. twospruces : God, are you being intentionally thick? You clearly don’t know shit about the whole issue, as others have subtly pointed out. So I suggest you STFU and get properly informed. Also, lay down Atlas Shrugged, it’s a load of crap. Free market/free enterprise does not foster healthy competition. It fosters monopoly unless the government steps in and cockblocks them to allow startups to be competitive. Wake up from your fantasies and again, get informed.

      8. Actually @twospruces Rogers (the largest cable provider in Canada) offered an unlimited internet plan for $80 CA per month (I was a subscriber). The week that Netflix announced that they were coming to Canada, Rogers scrapped the unlimited plan and gave me an awesome 80Gb cap, citing that they were protecting us poor consumers from bandwidth throttling (which they do anyways). It has absolutely nothing to do with how “thinly” populated Canada is, and has everything to do with the fact that our Government has allowed Rogers, Bell and Telus to carve out a monopoly in our country, and this includes Cable, Internet and mobile service. Google the total cost to the consumer for an iphone 4, in Canada a three year plan costs the consumer $3,300, compared to $1,000 in the US.

      9. “bell aliant run a subsea cable into frobisher bay for them?”

        Did bell actually do this? Lat time I checked the big two are reinvesting zero of their profits into infrastructure (aside from maintenance and newer cellular networks) – and the lines that all ready exist were installed by HYDRO CANADA and funded by the PUBLIC through taxes.

      10. Canada is big, but southern Ontario is not. Even with enough people in rural areas we are still lucky to get anything better than basic wireless broadband. Bell keeps slowing down smaller ISPs development.

    3. Sure thing. Only Netflix will require several tens of millions of government subsidies in order to do so. I mean, it’s only fair when you consider that just about every other provider did. Ok? Thaaaaanks.

      1. Google is already proving telecoms lie and inflate the true cost of installing a new updated fibre network by at least a factor of 50 . Competition will come and believe me when I say the telecoms giants all over the world will be looking for new business models just to stay relevant. WI-FI networks are the future but not in the way most people expect.

    4. The infastructure is there, all that has to happen is consumers need to be educated. Not sure why people still buy capped connections.

      I use Distributel which resells me Rogers Cable internet (28mbit down/1mbit up) with no download or upload bandwidth cap. All for $60 per month.

      Teksavvy is another large reseller of Rogers Cable and Bell Fibe as their own without silly caps. I guess Netflix could also resell the internet service as ‘netflix internet’ without caps :) win – win!

      1. It depends on where they are available. I tried to find an alternative, in Vancouver, and nothing was available in my area (near Metrotown). Now I live in an even smaller city and have no alternatives.

        $60 a month is not affordable either.

      2. Wow, even the little-guy suppliers rip you guys off pretty bad. I’m paying $30/month for 25mb down/5mb up, no caps.

      3. angela, try Telus. They don’t monitor bandwidth and have very cheap introductory prices with no contract. I’ve been very happy with them.

    5. That would be illegal. Pretty much all places have laws forbidding anyone from setting up new networks because some people don’t want tons of cables hanging from every telephone pole or streets constantly being dug up.

      Internet service needs to be a public utility. It fits every criteria of a utility that I have ever heard of, and the benefits to society and the economy would be monstrously huge.

      1. *AHEM**Sweden has free public internet**AHEM*

    6. The infrastructure exists, the problem our gov. is allowing us to be gouged to a pathetic level. There is over 1000% markup on broadband costs in this country.

  2. I’m so thankful I have TekSavvy available in my area. They offer 300GB and unlimited packages.

    1. More power to TekSavvy!

    2. Guillaume Couture-Le Simon Friday, September 14, 2012

      Teksavvy really is amazing. I don’t know how I could ever go back to Rogers/Bell after this.

    3. They are still ripping us off. I don’t put it on them, but on those who they rent the network from.

  3. If the CRTC approves Bell Canada’s acquisition of even more of the market share we will see even higher prices and less choice in Canada. Bell wants to squish Netflix and all other competition like a bug.

    1. Frankly, if I was Bell I’d want to take out Netflix as well. The very notion of an Internet company going after a high-margin service like video on demand without having the same infrastructure requirements must be infuriating. They have a highly unfair advantage and what do we see? They find a low-cost, low-data cap package on Bell’s website and go whining to their investors that with data caps like that, Canada must be a 3rd world nation. Meanwhile Netflix secretly knows that the majority of Canadians don’t own a base Internet package, they have a package 2 or 3 tiers up where customers have 5x to 20x more data allowance, which is enough for entire months of Netflix. So really, you are just seeing posturing from Netflix, they’re acting like bitches.

      1. With respect, Canada’s internet pricing and infrastructure is still second rate, despite you being correct in most of your assertions. Unlimited bandwidth options in Canada exist, but they’re on average 90 times more expensive than other countries. The inability of Canadian carriers to provide competitive levels of service and pricing compared to other countries is a sad testament to the lack of diversity and competition in the Canadian marketplace.

      2. Yeah, every restaurant should run their own water infrastructure and every retail business should run their own electrical grid. The fact they exploit the infrastructure like that is just disgusting! I want a cable for every single Internet-based business running from telephone pole to telephone pole. Just because the phone companies have fought every single step of development of the Internet, and depend COMPLETELY upon government protection from competition to remain in existence, that’s no reason why society should expect them to contribute something. We’re only talking about enabling the largest and most abundant economic opportunity for wider society that has ever been developed. The phone companies should definitely remain the sole ISPs and continue to be able to provide services like telephone and video distribution even though the Internet makes those services millions of times cheaper and easier to provide. When automobiles were developed, the government stepped in and forced automobile companies to require a buggy whip to be inserted into a special slot in the car before it could start because the buggy whip manufacturers wanted to continue making money, so they should step in again here and give the phone companies all of the benefit of connecting to the Internet even though the phone companies fought to stop it from happening!

      3. You’re arguing against technological advancement. Netflix can offer a cheaper better service becuase of advances in technology. It’s not their fault Bell was too near sighted to set up the service before they did. Now, instead of competing in a fair market with netflix, they’re going to create unfair disadvantages for netflix to ensure their dominance and artificially high prices.

        It’s about as ethical as buying the world’s entire supply of flour and then quadrupling it because “it’s good business”.

      4. My “2 or 3 tier up” Rogers cable package gives me 60GB of bandwidth a month, most definitely not enough to stream netflix like I watch TV. That was part of the reason I canned my netflix subscription, I wasn’t using it because there wasn’t enough content, and I don’t really wanna slam through my bitcap and have to fork more money to rogers.

  4. Wow. Compare that to Finland, where the courts have ruled that broadband access really IS a human right. Or Sweden, where I just spent several weeks, and saw TV adds for 200 MBPs service with no bandwidth caps for SEK 499 a month (about USD $75). See https://www.comhem.se/bredband. By comparison, the rates in Canada are criminal. And the US isn’t much better. I’m paying Comcast $70/month for 30 MBPs at home.

    1. You think that’s bad? I moved to Canada (where I’m a citizen), and we’re paying $170/month for 6 up/1 down, with a 125 gig cap, standard phone (no long distance, no caller id, nothing), and standard satellite – no DVR or anything.

      1. Where do you live, John, and which carrier? And what are the names of the packages that you have? Please be specific. That seems rather high unless you are in a remote location. You can get all of that or more for under $100 from every ISP and Telecom company in Canada.

      2. I would look for a better package dude, I live in souther ontario- wightman ISP – $59.95 10 calling feature phone with 2cents per minute long distance AND unlimited bandwidth on fibre optic from CO- to home with 20 meg down guaranteed speed- usually average 40 meg down 8 meg up

      3. Sounds about right, I pay $170 for my 15d/1u 60gb capped + VIP cable on rogers, and I can’t even hit the 15Mbit. Compared to my $60 15/1 300GB capped only during day time hours Teksavvy DSL. I live in Kitchener,

      4. Actually, to be fair, you can find areas in major cities with little to no access available.

        Case in point, an area in NW Edmonton has no Shaw access (estimated 9-12 months) for data or regular cable. Dish only.

        So, you figure you’ll go to DSL service. Well, that’d be Telus… Hmmm…6Mbps down, and 1Mbps up. Period. No eta when 15Mbps will be available.

        And this is in the provincial capital. I was shocked, since Calgary has much better coverage.

    2. Please use Mb/s or Mbps when referring to Megabits per second. Your abbreviation of “MBPs” looks like Mac Book Pros.

    3. I live in a very small town in Texas with DSL & get phenominal download speeds (very fue people on my node) & only pay $40 a month. you are getting ripped off @ $70 a month bro.

  5. $100/mo here in Australia for 15up/2down 100gb on-peak + 100gb off peak per month. If my wife uses Tumblr too much we go over our cap :\

  6. This is tight. On an average evening we download 20GB. I can imagine what a bill for a month would look like :)

  7. I like your articles Janko. They are always informative and to the point. Thank you for sharing.

  8. John Christopher Supertramp Friday, September 14, 2012

    Please help us!!! We have a 4Mbps down and 56Kbps up. Mamimum plans outside big city for New-Brunswick is Rogers Cable with 150Mbps down and 10 Mbps but for 229$/month and no dedicated IP

    For symetrical bandwidth, Bell Aliant charge for a 36 months commitment to service.
    – 550$ (+600$ installation) for 5/5Mbps
    – 750$/month (+600$ installation) for 10/10Mbps.
    – 1100$/month (+600$ installation) for 20/20Mbps


    We can’t run a business which need Internet as it cost more than the price of renting an office per month.

    1. Not sure where you live in New Bruswick as internet of 10Mb/1Mb is available EVERYWHERE for about 60$ a month and pretty much every city is wired in Fibre for 50Mb/40Mb for 60$ a month…

      1. I’m assuming those are business rates, and not residential rates. The last time I had a look at them they were insane. Fortunately, our business doesn’t need a fast speeds, or a high download cap, so a mobile stick suited our needs nicely.

  9. I wonder if the fact that movie and show selection in Canada is just a fraction of what’s in US has a smidgen to do with subscription growth…

    1. Nailed it. I’m sure that selection vs US Netflix (and word of mouth about the lacking Canadian service) has bigger impact than bandwidth caps in Canada. Better selection = more subscribers.

      I’m not letting the internet companies (who are also the cell phone companies, who are also the cable/satelite/IPTV companies) off the hook though. What a cartel they are!

      1. Its absolutely about content. Canada Netflix has a horrible selection compared to US Netflix. I know several people who go out of their way to specifically get US Netflix, even though its costing the more money. Also its super frustrating that only a few titles are available in HD on the PC. I dont feel like running out and spending $100+ for a box just to watch the same stuff on my TV that I can through my already connected PC. Add more HD content to the PC and I’d be more willing to recommend the service to others.

        Shaw backed off of Usage Based Billing last year and actually provides a very good service now. I’m paying about $50/mo for 25mbit down, and 2.5mbit up with a 250gig cap. Plenty for us. For $10 more I could get 50mbit down and 3mbit up, and 400gigs of bandwidth. Also for $110/mo you can get 250mbit down, and 15mbit up with 1terabyte of data (they eve have an unlimited data plan).

        I think the real issue is out in Eastern Canada where Bell and Rogers are screwing their customers. Shaw tried to follow suit, but after a huge pushback from their users they smartened up.

    2. The irony is the poor selection is ALSO caused by those selfsame incumbent carriers that are offering the moronic caps, as they are huge, vertically integrated companies that are not only providing the connections, but are huge media distribution owners/producers as well. They buy up the rights to everything under the sun for “Canada”, and then refuse to share those rights with Netflix and other alternate entertainment providers, while at the same time squeezing those providers with the ridiculous and ethically questionable data caps. And the only ones who might be able to step in and so something about it, the regulators, are almost entirely under the sway of said incumbents.

      1. This. I know that Netflix Canada has an uphill battle getting the content people expect from them, but I’m happy as a consumer. And even if I wasn’t, I’m happy to support a company that is trying to make it work in such a terrible market for them to be in.

        And Netflix Canada still gets content that the US doesn’t. And not just crappy stuff. People just never talk about the positive aspects. People just like to complain.

    3. You can thank the lovely CRTC and their Canadian content laws for that!

    4. For sure it’s the selection in Canada. If it has been released after 2005 it won’t be on Netflix in Canada. This is exactly the same issue we have paying MORE here than the same product in the US. And what does NetFlix say? Oh your market is too small to support more content. This would be like me buying a car made in the US but it doesn’t come with Tires and windows because the market doesn’t support it. Yet i’m pay the same or More the same product. Netflix is just as bad as the ISP’s here in Canada they truly don’t care about the customers.

  10. HAHA

    No, wait…



    The not funny part is that people believe this guy. I love how people these days are so detached from the cost of something.

    1. Unlimited bandwidth options in Canada are 90 times more expensive than other countries. Even if we’re to look at the costs in other countries and limit it to roughly a 300gb cap, Canadians still pay twice as much. The inability of Canadian carriers to provide competitive levels of service and pricing compared to other countries is a sad testament to the lack of diversity and competition in the Canadian marketplace. Canada is by far the most expensive country to surf the web in.

    2. Are you having a bout of old unwarranted patriotism with denial? Rates here SUCK BALLS and the TRUTH is that poorer countries than us have better rates than we do.

  11. Meanwhile, Netflix continues to grow really rich off delivering content free of charge over other peoples networks. Carriers have to pay for infrastructure, support, maintenance and be accountable to their investors as well. Netflix gets a free ride. I guess the carriers could start charging Netflix for delivery, just like the post office did when they delivered DVD’s by mail, but then you all would be bitching about the increase cost that Netflix will pass on to you. Why weren’t you complaining that all the mail is not delivered for free under this model? Other than the fact that Netflix paid the freight for that, but now makes you pay it through your internet provider. Who is worse here, the carriers who are trying desperately to keep up with the demand, or Netflix who dramatically decreased their expense by handing it over to you. Now they complian that you aren’t able to watch enough movies for your $8/month without having to pay a little more. I bet they wouldn’t be encouraging all that movie watching when they were paying all the postage. In fact their policy prevented it by only allowing one movie out at a time, or did you forget about that? Why couldn’t you rent 4-5 movies at a time via DVD? You can certainly stream that many providing you have the bandwidth and the devices to do it. Get over it people. Technology and access to it costs money whether you like it or not. Why don’t you complain about the post office charging per letter? You already pay taxes to support them. Shouldn’t you have unlimited access to mail as many lettes as you wish? Sounds rediculous when put into that context, doesn’t it?

    1. But the network operators (ISPs) are being paid to run the network, it’s not free to access their network is it? You don’t pay the post office a subscription in addition to stamps to send mail. Bandwidth is INCREDIBLY cheap, and the ISPs are not struggling at all, they’re trying to cling on to their decade old pricing schemes to rip off their customers for as much profit as is possible. Networking technology, like all computers, has dramatically increased in power at the same cost compared to 10 years ago, so it costs a fraction of what it used to for x amount of bandwidth, or x amount of data transfer.

      1. >Bandwidth is INCREDIBLY cheap
        But maintenance is not.
        Canada has some of the highest paid workers in the world.
        Even at base hire rates.
        And employees have been working for some time since our companies have been in businesses for a long time. So they get raises of course.

  12. GoogleOm again parrots Google’s corporate agenda: ISPs should be charities so that Google can make more billions.

  13. The wholesale costs for bandwidth vary from $1/Mbps to $900/Mbps in the US. The major carriers like AT&A, and Comcast own the infrastructure. They don’t like to participate in rural areas because its not profitable enough for them. Small ISPs fill that void. I run one in rural California. I have to charge more than it costs me to provide the service. I service customers that can’t even get a phone line from the phone company.

  14. Clearly, at some point, these service providers would provide their own infrastructure (Google is a good example).

    The pipe operators are not going to say “yes, that is right, we built the pipes, these guys used that and made tonnes of money while we were bleeding”

  15. Good work CRTC, HOPE YOU ENJOY THE KICKBACKS Friday, September 14, 2012

    I live in Ontario, I am a subscriber to internet services. I dislike third world as a term used to describe internet access as it exaggerates the issue a bit; I wouldn’t say internet is a human right or basic need. That said, what they are charging is COMPLETELY, ABSOLUTELY 100% CRIMINAL. Rob-us….excuse me the RoBellus Triopoly is milking the candy bar effect to its fullest and there’s nothing anyone can do. Prices do go down over time yes, but the quantity of bandwidth decreases at a disproportionately larger rate; the result is the same amount of bandwidth will cost you more. And the only way to avoid it? Sign a 5 year contract that locks your service options into a tightly confined contract that costs thousands to get out of. Dealing with the companies to get the best deal is practically impossible; none of their reps offer the same deals, and they try to rip you off as hard as they can — in fact, rep options are intentionally limited so that if you argue someone else got a better deal, they retort with “Hmm well that doesn’t seem right, I don’t think thats possible because our systems (that you can’t see), don’t show us as having those options; maybe it was a special deal we used to run (because they always run “special deals” as the costs go up forever)”. When I renegotiated my plan with fido-rogers, it took 2 months to get a fair deal out of them. 2 months of calling, every-single-day; I now pay 45$ a month and have unlimited incoming long distance (only because I had this plan from 6 years ago, and nothing new compares to it) and 6gb of data (a special they have only run twice at 30$/m). I used to also get 100 local minutes anytime, 1000 after 7pm. What do I get for being a customer of 6 years? They bumped my anytime minutes by 100 and bumped my 1000 minutes up to 5pm ONLY because I called a thousand times about it and called them out on their shit over and over and over again. ALL of these companies STILL charge to unlock their phones EVEN THOUGH IT IS ILLEGAL TO SELL A LOCKED PHONE IN CANADA WITHOUT AN UNLOCKED COUNTERPART OR TO UNLOCK FOR FREE UPON REQUEST. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cell_Phone_Freedom_Act_%28Bill_C-343%29 So yes, rogers, bell and telus are all committing wide scale criminal activity, but no one does a shit about it. They say they base their pricing plans on usage statistics, which is why if you have a data plan USE ALL YOUR DATA EVERY MONTH, OTHERWISE THEY JUST THINK “OH LOOK PEOPLE ARE USING LESS DATA THIS MONTH BECAUSE THEY HAVE TO CONSERVE WHAT LITTLE DATA THEY HAVE, THAT MEANS WE DON’T HAVE TO PROVIDE AS MUCH”. I’d say they are f*cking morons, but its far, far too greesy to be just plain old ignorance.

    1. What do I get for being a customer of 6 years?
      What do they get for being your provider for 6 years?

  16. We use vianet out of Sudbury, exactly like teksavvy – cheap prices, no bandwidth caps. We only watch TV through the internet. No cable or sat. in our house at all. Love it, $39.99 a month.

  17. Why would I stream when it is simply cheaper to download and watch many times offline?

    To conserve bandwidth and get around the capping, most *SMART* users would just download movies, put it on their HDD or NAS or HTPC and run it off locally. Duh..

    Having a home made DIY Netflix like system is CHEAPER than online streaming.

    1. I suppose … if you don’t mind the little legality issue.

      1. In Canada it is legal to download, and illegal to upload.

  18. Bell keeps the caps low because they want to join the fight.

  19. I pay here in Finland 15 euros for 10 Mbps down/10 Mbps up. I used to have 2/2 mbps service, but the service provider for our building offered us an upgrade costing only 5 euros more.

  20. This is all about greed…plain an simple…once the price of data goes down, they gotta find a new way to get money out of it…and here in the US the FCC has no balls to go after them…

  21. I am very sad to hear this…

  22. Exactly, couldn’t have said it better myself

  23. In parts of a Iowa medium sized city Google offers free access. Yup I want to move there.

    1. Kansas City, Kansas, and the free Internet is 5 Mbps, which is by today’s broadband standards in North America incredibly slow.

      1. That is not correct. The speed in the KC project is 1 gigabit.

  24. Hungary, 80/25 Mbps unlimited for $20/month.
    I move around 2 TiB of data every month.

  25. I’m sure everyone defends their right to run their business. We also have a right to criticize it as being similar to third world in nature.

    They’re setting record profits and not upgrading infrastructure. Prices aren’t coming down. And that’s just fine to you. Sad.

    1. Have you herd of fibre optics?

    2. Record profits in this economy? I don’t think so. And if you think carriers aren’t constantly upgrading their infrastructure you need to actually talk to them instead of slandering them and making comparisons to 3rd world nations.

      Canada and the US share the same telecom landscape, and the prices I see from US ISPs are pretty shocking.

    3. My garbage collection service is dropping to once every 2 weeks. I hereby criticize that service provider. My tax bill wont decrease. I guess i live in the third world now.

  26. I don’t have a Netflix account because there is a crappy selection of video content for Canadians.
    Canada does have unlimited usage providers.
    Like any other country in the world we Canadians vote and empower with our wallets.

    1. Nope, we don’t.

  27. Shaw’s lowest plan is $50 for 125GB. It’s expensive but it’s not third world.

    Other ISPs are similar. The prices are too high, but the level of services aren’t atrocious like the Netflix shills make it out to be.

    It’s not spectacular but it’s nothing like the way Netflix shills are painting the picture.

  28. @Fred


    Quote: when you factor in fixed costs like fibre optic cables and networking gear, as well as operating costs such as technicians and electricity — can range anywhere from a few pennies to between 10¢ and 15¢ per GB.

  29. I just took a look at Shaw’s Internet packages. Their smallest bandwidth cap is 125GB, almost 10x what Netflix is suggesting. So… take what they are saying with a grain of salt, I suppose.

  30. They forgot the other crook… ROGERS.. people stand up! Take your business to teksavvy or ACANAC… You’ll save more than what ever slight percentage off the big 3 offer for bundling… AND there is no 3 year contract

  31. In Calgary its $55 for telus’s stand alone internet package that’s they fastest they have its 25mbps download/ 3mbps upload and 500gb cap. No family anywhere should or needs a cap of more than that. if you are downloading more than 500gb of data in month you should have to play more.

    1. NO you shouldn’t… because it doesn’t cost anything more.

  32. Forget about the big ISP find someone different I’m with teksavvy and my cap is 300 gigs for the month..I will never get close to that

    1. Big ISPs are the guys that rent their infrastructure at prices that force resellers to push still too high prices on us.

  33. To provide some perspective: In Sweden I pay around 20 USD a month for a 100 MBIT (both up and down speed) fiber line.

  34. I’m on Rogers, Ive have to cancel Netflix twice because when I have it I go over my internet usage cap. I have the 120 gigs a month.

  35. The author should check their facts. Shaw has yet to charge anyone for any overage on their plans, even the ones who double or triple their caps. I know because I work there. The most we do is call the heavy users and offer them an upgrade to their package.

  36. In Colorado USA , I get 20Mbps and no caps for about $40 a month. I go through Centurlink a phone company and broadband provider. We have alternatives such as cable companies like Cocmast who offer similar deals.

    We started to see price drops when the the copper people and the fiber people started getting aggressive on the speeds vs price. The cable companies have a package for phone, tv, and internet for about $99

  37. I’m in Ottawa Canada, and I have unmetered bandwidth, 28mbit from Teksavvy for 70/month

    I wouldn’t touch rogers/bell with a 100 foot pole. But options do exist!

  38. That feel when I live in New York and have over-provisioned internet that hangs around 20/2 mbits.

  39. You guys can justify all you want for your crappy ISP caps up north, but I pay $50 a month for no caps nor bottleneck. You guys are getting screwed, whether you want to admit it or not. If I wanted to, I could leave Netflix running 24/7 and my bill wouldn’t change. You guys should stop being pansies and taking it up the rear. Complain to your ISPs and boycott them. You’re the customer so you have every right to demand a better product/service.

  40. Denis Nickoleff Sunday, September 16, 2012

    Canada’s internet is fine in most locations. Netflix is failing to expand because they have terrible selection in canada. when it first launched here the only ‘improvement’ they made was that it no longer displays thousands of titles we want with ‘not available in your area’. They also make us think we got new content by cycling content no one watches into the ‘new content’ area

  41. @grahamfair,
    equipment providers are to blame?!?!?! you are off your rocker. margins are very low on most network equipment. heard of huawei?

    service providers will charge what they can. get over it folks.

    i read so much baloney here. angry consumers wbo thought they heard somewhere that bandwidth elwas free.

  42. This is the one and only reason I cancelled my Netflix subscription: being charged for bandwidth overages w/ cogeco cable


  43. Wow, this comment thread is just flooded with insiders and astroturfers.
    The big ISPs must be terrified they will lose control.

    I have not ever personally seen them invest this heavily to try and corrupt free expression!

  44. Rogers has a faster DL rate, but severely cap their UL. Trying to UL photos or even a text document takes a lot longer than it should. The connection always drops as well, had to reset the modem constantly. Switched to Telus, slower DL (don’t even notice since most people have a huge UL cap), but the UL is a lot faster. I haven’t had to reset the modem since switching (more than half a year ago). I won’t use Bell ever again since using them for satellite. They made me pay 3 months up front, and when I tried to cancel they made me cancel one month early and didn’t refund the first two months. Their customer service is awful, as is Rogers (especially for phone service). Telus was the friendliest and the most helpful. Their digital TV service constantly cuts off and has errors. The TV listing often shows the wrong schedule, the sound glitches. Have to change the channel and put it back to fix. So it is really just picking the least bad of the three.

  45. content sucks on netflix already.

  46. Dear Netflix Canada if you fail in Canada it will be u have 1/10th the movies in the Canadian catalogue that you have in the US not because of Canadian bandwidth caps.

  47. I live in Newfoundland and have 80 megabits of download 30 megabits of upload + Home Phone + HD TV for around $150 in a bundle. All with no caps at all… So if Netflix needs an excuse to leave Canada because they have an incredibly weak catalogue that is fine blame someone else like the ISPs.

  48. I grew up in Canada and now live in the UK but have lived in many countries around the world. Canada has to be the worst for not only usage caps and cost of broadband but also mobile phone usage costs as well. Netflix is right (even if biased).

  49. I have 2 internet connections at my home, they both run out of bandwidth in approx 14-15 days (dont have teksavvy in area). The speed for both is great, but its like a driving a car without seats – can’t use it for very long

  50. dude bandwidth is dirt cheap. the only reason this arbitrary institution of bandwidth caps arise solely due to government granted monopolies of the local loop.

  51. Come on Spruce 1 and 2! Its not legitimate competition if “competitors” like TekSavvy have to use Rogers lines to provide their service! Canada promotes Domestic Economy growth to the point of ridiculousness. And thats coming from an Australian for christs sake.

    Explain the cost of telecoms in Canada in comparison to US? The difference is insane! To be honest, this will come back to haunt at some stage. A competitive market is a healthy market.

  52. I know they’re not available everywhere in Canada, but go with Teksavvy. Seriously. Aside for one hiccup where they couldn’t meet demand because they were growing too quickly and Rogers refused to meet their demand for new bandwidth, Teksavvy has been flawless. I have never even hit half of my caps and watch Netflix constantly (I have a kid) as well do all of my work online.

    If Teksavvy and Netflix were smart, they would partner and offer some sort of bundle.

  53. http://speedtest.net/result/2144714270.png

    just wanted to throw that out there i have no problem doing HD streams and I am pretty far north

  54. I’m hoping that companies like Netflix and Google will either drive the current carriers out of the market with a better more affordable product, or cause legislation changes that benefit the consumer.

  55. The Crunch Tickler Sunday, September 16, 2012

    But guys come on! Rogers and Bell need to charge lots or they wont be able to continue to purchase sports teams like the Toronto Maple Leafs. Let us all stop complaining and help them continue to fill their pockets okay?

  56. @onespruce yes it does matter. It’s not third world access let me assure you that. it’s probably much lower than that. I am in Pakistan and I am paying roughly $15 for my internet connection which has 2MB speed and unlimited download or cap.

  57. As a Canadian who understands Internet pricing this article is 100% accurate. We have some of the lowest caps and most expensive plans it is unreal. Companies like Bell and Rogers should be boycotted by every person possible. It is disgusting the amount we are being gouged. I feel that paying 40-50 dollars a month for a 60-80gb cap is comparable to being raped. And no I’m not going overboard by stating this, it’s the pure truth.

    1. I was completely on board with you until you compared it to rape. Please, an expensive bill has absolutely no comparision to the worst violation a human can experience. So *John* take your man-priviledge elsewhere cause you have no idea what you’re talking about

      1. Apparently you dont know how to take a joke ?? I dont think the guy was trying to say rape is OK. I think you should relax a bit lol.

  58. Send google fiber to canada! or Santa Clarita so at least I can have it :p

  59. I used to work for shaw and they have gotten a lot better. The bandwidth caps have been expanded like crazy. The lowest tear internet package has about a hundred gigs of bandwidth and no charge if you go over. The only thing that happens is that after two consecutive months of going over you get bumped to the next package up. As well as the 10 megs per second download speeds for 45 dollars and no contracts i’d say we are way different from the competition.

  60. Internet access here is ridiculous. I’m “rural”, about 90 minutes outside Toronto, and my family still doesn’t have high speed internet. We have to pay even higher usage rates for satellite internet, which does not even compare with speed of city internet.
    So frustrating.

  61. Does this mean we should consider this in ALL streams? I’d prefer a better limit on my cellular. Actually, has anyone even bothered to ask “how much bandwidth do I need for this service?” Honestly, coming from a family of 5 with multiple options be it netflix online gaming streaming media etc, I never hit my limit. And it is used frequently.

  62. How much I am an advocate of non-capped internet connectivity. Especially for the price per byte that it costs compared to what we pay for accessing it. To say that it is a human right to be able to go online is a bit far fetched.

    Basic needs of (most) living things:
    4.homeostasis (Although I don’t fully agree with either)

    I think that internet connectivity is far from being considered part of that list. Especially since society has yet to find a way of providing the first 3 to every Canadian.

  63. I hit my monthly cap well within 2 weeks sometimes. It’s disgusting. And to see countries in Europe with average speeds of 100Mbps while we have to pay $50/mo just for 25Mbps, it’s highway robbery. For such a free, diplomatic country you’d think we’d have a little more freedom with our world wide web access.

  64. Guesty Guestenstein Sunday, September 16, 2012

    I was gonna write something pithy and wry but my computer kept rebuffering this page…

  65. Abused Canadian Consumer Sunday, September 16, 2012

    I have had internet access with ALL of the big Canadian ISPs and I agree. Canadian ISPs are the some of the shittiest companies in the world. And Telus is positively the shittiest of the shittiest. Period.

  66. I can see how the lack of bandwidth might affects new subscriber growth for Netflix. But I am absolutely certain that a lack of new, fresh movies and TV shows at Netflix affects that growth much, much more.

  67. نامل الكثير من التقدم والتحسينات وعدم زيادة تكاليف

  68. Wow, Canada is lagging behind the entire developed world.
    It’s almost impressive how these internet providers can come up with with this nonsense regardless of that.

  69. Australia is the same and it doesn’t seem to be changing any time soon.

  70. Has this idiot ever been to Canada and or used our internet?

    Go check out netindex.com you useless twat.

  71. I remember the days when Canada was a leader in the internet. Now the CRTC has taken that away from us. What a joke.

  72. I’m on mid-level Shaw subscription, and I use Netflix frequently. I come nowhere near the bandwidth cap each month. What kind of users are running out of bandwidth? Their usage patterns must be pretty different from mine, and I can’t think that they’re common.

    1. They are probably downloading alot of torrents.

  73. I don’t even get broadband. Canadians ISP’s are evil

  74. i streamed 5 season 23 ep or so each one in full HD and never got close to half my cap in one month. ipay 45 or so a month for 550gigs with shaw cable. the isp is not at fault its the dumb user who join a restrictive isp.

  75. http://unblock-us.com/4544.html on a side not use this to watch american netflix with your same user and login its realy worth it then

  76. Co-sign!! #completely

  77. CompetitionDude Tuesday, September 18, 2012

    The OECD studies these things using hard data. For “high-level service” of 33Gb/month, Canada has the 7th-highest cost of 34 member countries. Prices are 20% lower in Australia and 25% lower in Sweden, so the argument about population density doesn’t hold. These prices are adjusted for the general price level in the country (you can’t just convert USD to CAD because things are in general cheaper in the US but wages are lower, too).


    The cause is simply lack of competition because no foreign providers are allowed to invest here and build infrastructure. Google “OECD FDI restrictiveness index” and you will find a nice little spreadsheet showing that Canada has the most restrictions on investment in telecommunications of any developed country. Cozy arrangement for Shaw, Bell and Telus, an oligopoly without fear of foreign competition. Eliminate these barriers (but keep the Canadian content rules if you want), and you will see Telefonica, O2, T-Mobile enter the market and drive prices down and service quality up.

  78. Ok, this is a pile of crap actually. I’m with Shaw and the cap on their lowest internet is 125 GB, next step up 250 GB, then 400 GB. Maybe Janko Roettgers should learn how to report on the current caps rather than those from 5 years ago.

    1. Soiptik, the 15GB quoted is the current cap for Bell’s lowest tier…

  79. Shameless commercial announcement: I just published an ebook that digs into this a bit in terms of rural broadband entitled “I’ll Vote for You If You Make My Netflix Work” see http://www.illvoteforyouifyoumakemynetflixwork.org
    It is based on the my last two years working with rural communities across Colorado in improving their respective broadband environments. If you can stream Netflix, you have broadband (per FCC 4 Mbps down 1 Mbps up). If not, you need to put “the 5 a’s” to work…

  80. I hate companies that cap, shame on them all. Cell phones used to charge by the minute (sorry if yours still does), are we going backwards? My broadband has no cap, for now. HOWEVER Netflix is the biggest bandwidth hog around. One Netflix stream eats almost 6 times more bandwidth than a Hulu stream. I bet if everyone in any tall building started a Netflix stream at the same time, it would cause DOS city wide. By the way Hulu sucks now too. After a good four year run, they have turned into a coin vaccuum like Uverse, Xfinity, Netflix, etc. Does anyone know if ATT caps apply to streams from Uverse web site?

  81. Propose a law against ISP such as Videotron, Bell and Shaw,etc : No limit for all customers that pays in time their bills. or at least increase the limit to a normal 250-300+GB/month wich will be only fair for those that like me pay 130$/month(trio) for 20Mb/s D 2Mb/s U for a dam 220GB and a 50$ if I go over the limit.

  82. Ontario is the must heavily cabled area in the world. The government is in bed with Rogers. The caps are because Netflix came onto the scene and threatened the bottom line, end of story.

  83. Get Primus Canada idiots. No caps, under $50, 7 MBps and don’t look back. Not hard. Leave the big ISPs for the secondary ones, and they won’t be so big for long.

  84. CRTC desrves to be shut down. Bell, Rogers, Shaw, Videotron should all go to jail. Caps at 2GB???? $10 per GB????? Imagine you are a Web designer and you need Internet?? Imagine how you could stay in business with monthly internet bills close to $100 for just over 5GB????? Suck it up people. There are many people way worse off than you in Canada. and to think… 10 min from the 401, 10 min from the 416, 20 min from the Capital of Canada? Imagine telling your daughter now she cant use Facebook or YouTube anymore????? THEY ARE SCREWIING US!!!!!!

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