When it comes to Internet access, Canadians aren’t getting the bang for their buck when compared to countries of similar economic standing.
Canadian Internet access is, “almost a human rights violation,” Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos told reporters during a September Merrill Lynch Media, Communications and Entertainment conference in Los Angeles .
“Canada does pay some of the highest prices for some of the worst Internet (access) in the industrialized world,” said Lindsey Pinto, the communications manager for OpenMedia.ca, a company working towards affordable Internet service for all Canadians.
Canadians see some of the steepest pricing in bandwidth overages and can face throttling – a process in which Internet providers control the speed of a user’s Internet.
Pinto said “big telecom” has a “strong ability to price gouge” because with little competition, they can afford to.
“One of the key things that we need to do is push back against big telecom, in order to create competition and to create a competitive check,” said Pinto, adding that OpenMedia’s Stop the Meter campaign is a good way for Canadians to fight for their Internet rights.
Michelle Noorenberghe, 18, a firstyear kinesiology student at University of Guelph-Humber and resident of North campus’s residences, said the available options are a concern.
The Internet bandwidth cap in residence – which limits her ability to download files, watch videos, and browse the internet to five gigabytes per week – can make completing school work difficult, she said.
“You find when you actually have to do your work, you have to ask friends to use their Internet,” said Noorenberghe.
Steve Lilley, an application developer for Union Gas Limited and freelance developer, uses Bell as his provider and said bandwidth caps can have an affect on his ability to complete his freelance work.
“There are times when I’m moving large documents to clients and it can concern me that I’m going to end up going over the bandwidth limit,” said Lilley.
Lilley has gone over his bandwidth limit before, and said that he had no idea that it had happened.
“My eyes just about popped out of my head,” he said. “There was no warning. I had to threaten to cancel my service just to get them to reduce the bill.”