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Huffington Post: Netflix exec says “Canadians have almost third-world access to the Internet”

Big telecom companies across Canada are continuing to employ 'usage-based billing', an punitive billing practice that restricts data allowances. Though many of you fought back against UBB via the Stop The Meter campaign—you prevented it from being imposed across the entire Internet service market—Big Telecom continues to use it to price-gouge Canadians. Tell the CRTC that we want a full and comprehensive review of Big Telecom's Internet rates and hidden fees at Together, we can put an end to this deceptive data pricing. A recent study suggests that some 10 per cent of Canadians now use the streaming video service Netflix. But the company evidently believes it could be doing better — and providing a better service to Canadians — were it not for Canada’s internet service providers. Article by Daniel Tencer for Huffington Post Canada “It’s almost a human rights violation what they’re charging for internet access in Canada,” Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos told a conference in Los Angeles last week, as quoted by GigaOM. “The problem in Canada is … they have almost third-world access to the internet,” he added in an interview a day later. At the heart of the matter for Netflix is "usage-based billing," or limiting the amount subscribers can download per month, a practice some Canadian ISPs put into place at roughly the same time that Netflix was preparing its move into the Canadian market. Some ISPs that already had caps lowered those limits in response to Netflix's arrival.

Using Netflix on an internet service with a low download limit can lead to prohibitively expensive overage fees.

Internet providers in Canada are frequently “vertically integrated” as part of larger media companies, such as Bell and Rogers. As a result, Netflix is in effect a competitor to those companies’ on-demand cable TV services, which charge on a pay-per-view basis rather than offering a flat monthly fee like Netflix does.

All major Canadian ISPs now employ usage-based billing. The lowest cap is on Videotron’s basic service — 5 gigabytes per month, or slightly more than one typical high-definition movie per month. Bell’s lowest-tier service, by comparison, has a gig cap of 15 gigabytes, or three hi-def movies. All ISPs have high-end services that provide at least 200 gigabytes per month.

In a sign that Canada's big media companies see Netflix as a threat, Bell Canada recently announced plans to launch its own Netflix-style streaming service. Read more »

Read more at The Huffington Post Canada

Speak out in telling the CRTC that we want a review of Big Telecom's pricing practices at »

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