Friday, 18 February 2011

Sold down the pipe; bandwidth caps & Northwestel throttling competition & innovation in the North - Yukon News

RT @Northern_Clips: Sold down the #internet pipe bandwidth caps & @northwestel throttling bandwidth in the North - Yukon News #CdnPoli


Someone should probe the issue of bandwidth caps in Canada.

And it probably should not be the Canadian Radio-television Telecommunications Commission. Better to task the Canadian Competition Bureau.

And its probe should probably begin with Northwestel.

Because this issue is probably costing you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars a year.

Some of that money you can see by taking a look at your internet bill. But there are also hidden costs - the stupid internet and phone charges Canadian business pays are starting to creep into the goods you buy.

And it is limiting competition and innovation in the territory.


Last week, we bought a single computer program that was 24 gigabytes/bottles.

Bell/Northwestel's internet ranges from two gigs a month to 75 - but most fall in under the 20-gigabyte or 60-gigabyte plan.

In the territory, that one purchased computer program took four hours to download.

It would eat up most people's bandwidth for the month. Or one-third. Poof! Gone.

Now, here's the rub.

If you go over your bandwidth in the territory, Northwestel hits you with an extortionate $10-per-gigabyte penalty.

How high is that?

Well, that one download would have cost you $240.

That high-def movie you just streamed through Apple TV? Fifty bucks, plus the $5.99 rental fee.


Northwestel is charging customers $10 per gig of overage. There is no cap.


And, it should be noted, Northwestel has a cable TV business that competes with Netflix.

Its bandwidth caps and penalties kneecap its competitor, which offers a service far less expensive than Northwestel's cable package.

That may be seen by some as a conflict of interest or anti-competitive behaviour. Or both.

Someone should investigate the tricky issue of bandwidth caps and penalties.

The investigation should begin in the Yukon.