Netflix Says Canada Has Third-World Internet Access

    September 17, 2012
    Zach Walton
    Comments are off for this post.

It’s obvious that we in the U.S. have it pretty bad when it comes to Internet. Our ISPs charge too much while providing little service. We can, however, take refuge in the fact that our Internet isn’t quite as bad as Canada’s. In fact, Netflix thinks the Internet situation up north is “almost a human rights violation.”

Netflix Chief Content Office Ted Sarandos was in attendance at the Merrill Lynch Media, Communication & Entertainment conference in Los Angeles last week. During the conference, he said that the situation with Canada’s ISPs is hurting their bottom line.

For those who don’t know, Canada’s ISPs enforce strict data caps that make U.S. ISPs look like saints. Many Canadian ISPs offer a measly 15GB a month and charge ridiculous overage fees for those who go over said cap. The ISPs that don’t use caps are actually much worse because they charge by use. The average HD stream from Netflix is a few GB of data which translates to a rather hefty bill each month.

To help offset the price for its consumers, Netflix defaults to SD streaming in Canadian territories. Unfortunately, it was a middling solution to a much larger problem. Now Netflix is seeing that the terrible state of Internet access in Canada is affecting their bottom line. The abusive data caps put into place by Canadian ISPs are making it difficult for subscribers to get all their online work done each month, let alone stream a few movies via Netflix.

Data caps are about the most evil thing that an ISP can inflict upon its subscriber base. Thankfully, the concept hasn’t really taken off in the U.S. ISPs like Comcast and Time Warner Cable have dabbled in the idea of implementing data caps in some markets, but the moves have been met with a lot of resistance. Perhaps Canadian lawmakers should start looking out for their constituents’ best interests and ban low data caps.

[h/t: Gigaom]

  • Andrew K

    I can’t tell you how painful this actually is. It wasn’t until recently that I found an ISP that had truly unlimited internet, solid speeds( actually higher than what I got at Bell or Rogers) and didn’t charge an arm and a leg.

    Bell and Rogers (the big two in my area) are bullies. When they aren’t bulling the competition (what there is of it) they are ripping off their customers. I can’t tell you how many times I have had to call to complain about a problem with a bill. Sure they would always fix it, but I shouldn’t have to double check their work and call them on everything they get wrong.

    Everyone should be looking to local 3rd parties. You can usually find a good deal. They might have some higher start up costs, and not as wide ranging in service. But they wont trick you into signing a contract, or tell you after the fact that you went over your quota. Letting you know you can upgrade now to avoid future fees, but doing nothing for your current overage.

    We live in a country where our two biggest telecommunications companies just went into together to buy a sports team.

  • http://invisibler.com/ donottrackme

    Well, thanks to CRTC.

  • http://www.ethicalfan.com ethicalfan

    Canada certainly is like a third world country in regards to copyright laws on the Internet. Canada is the number 1 country that seeds (illegally distributes) content on BitTorrent illegally to US infringers. There is nothing that US musicians, filmmakers, video game designers, software developers and authors can do to stop it under current Canadian law.