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


There’s no love lost between Netflix (s NFLX) 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.



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.

D.j. Lynch

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


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.


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

Timmy K.

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.


@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.

The Crunch Tickler

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?


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.


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.


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.

da bot

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.


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


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).

Joseph Dawson

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.

Joseph Dawson

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.


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.


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!


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



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.

Denis Nickoleff

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


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.


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


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!

Bob Ethirteen

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


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.


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.


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


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


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


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.


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

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