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Netflix claims Canada has 'third-world' Internet access

updated 06:53 pm EDT, Sun September 16, 2012

Low bandwidth caps, high excess charges hurting users

Broadband caps in Canada are too low and too costly, according to a Netflix executive. Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos called out the Canadian Internet service providers at the Merrill Lynch Media, Communications and Entertainment conference earlier this week, echoing other bandwidth-related comments against the country's ISPs earlier this year.

In reference to the caps, Sarandos claimed "It's almost a human rights violation what they're charging for Internet access in Canada." ISPs in the country, such as Bell and Shaw, set caps as low as 15GB for the month, with extra charges being billed for excess usage. Later he added "The problem in Canada is... they have almost third-world access to the Internet."

Last year, Netflix was forced to help its Canadian audience by lowering the bitrate of films to around 300MB per hour, two-thirds that of the same footage used in other countries. Earlier this year, comments by CEO Reed Hastings against Comcast's cap exemption for its Xfinity TV service for the Xbox 360 caused the FCC to examine the ISP. The "free pass" given to Xfinity TV was seen as unfair, with Netflix, HBO Go, and Hulu Plus all being counted within the bandwidth cap. Comcast believed its service fell within net neutrality principles as Xfinity TV uses a private IP on the cable system instead of the Internet, therefore exemptable. [via Gigaom]

By Electronista Staff


  1. Eriamjh

    Addicted to MacNN

    Joined: 10-20-01

    Big whoop. So does the US. We both suck.

  1. Charles Martin

    MacNN Editor

    Joined: 08-04-01

    There MIGHT be a service that caps as low as 15GB a month somewhere in Canada (it's a big place, with lots of areas that have very small populations), but in the cities it's more like 60GB a month and up. 15GB would be more like the "slow pitch" high-speed caps intended for cheap old people who barely use their computers.

    Also, saying Canada has "third-world" internet access is a) #firstworldwhining and b) not really true -- in fact the average household speed here is actually a bit FASTER than the US, though as the commenter above me points out, that's not the best yardstick to measure by. :)

    I certainly agree we a) overpay and b) the cable companies here want to slow down services like Netflix compared to their own similar offerings, but too late -- Netflix is a way better deal. Give it up, ROGERS (in particular).

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