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]