The Audacity of Shaw: How Canada's Internet just got Worse

It is really, really, really hard to believe. But as bad as internet access is in Canada, it just got worse.

Yesterday, Shaw Communications, a Canadian telecommunications company and internet service provider (ISP) that works mostly in Western Canada announced they are launching Movie Club, a new service to compete with Netflix.

On the surface this sounds like a good thing. More offerings should mean more competition, more choice and lower prices. All things that would benefit consumers.

Look only slightly closer and you learn the very opposite is going on.

This is because, as the article points out:

“…subscribers to Movie Club — who initially can watch on their TV or computer, with phones and tablets planned to come on line later — can view content without it counting against their data plan.

“There should be some advantage to you being a customer,” Bissonnette said.”

The very reason the internet has been such an amazing part of our lives is that every service that is delivered on it is treated equally. You don’t pay more to look at the Vancouver Sun’s website than you do to look at eaves.ca or CNN or to any other website in the world. For policy and technology geeks this principle of equality of access is referred to as net neutrality. The idea is that ISPs (like Shaw) should not restrict or give favourable access to content, sites, or services on the internet.

But this is precisely what Shaw is doing with its new service.

This is because ISPs in Canada charge what are called “overages.” This means if you use the internet a lot, say you watch a lot of videos, at a certain point you will exceed a “cap” and Shaw charges you extra, beyond your fixed monthly fee. If, for example, you use Netflix (which is awesome and cheap, for $8 a month you get unlimited access to a huge quantity of content) you will obviously be watching a large number of videos, and the likelihood of exceeding the cap is quite high.

What Shaw has announced is that if you use their service – Movie Club – none of the videos you watch will count against your cap. In other words they are favouring their service over that of others.

So why should you care? Because, in short, Shaw is making the internet suck. It wants to turn your internet from the awesome experience where you have unlimited choice and can try any service that is out there, into the experience of cable, where your choice is limited to the channels they choose to offer you. Today they’ll favour their movie service as opposed to (the much better) Netflix service. But tomorrow they may decide… hey you are using Skype instead of our telephone service, people who use “our skype” will get cheaper access than people who use skype. Shaw is effectively applying a tax on new innovative and disruptively cheap service on the internet so that you don’t use them. They are determining – through pricing – what you can and cannot do with your computer while elsewhere in the world, people will be using cool new disruptive services that give them better access to more fun content, for cheaper. Welcome to the sucky world of Canada’s internet.

Doubling down on Audacity: The Timing

Of course what makes this all the more obscene is that Shaw has announced this service at the very moment the CRTC – the body that regulates Canada’s Internet Service Providers – is holding hearings on Usage Based Billings. One of the reasons Canada’s internet providers say that have to charge “overages” for those who use the internet a lot is because of there isn’t enough bandwidth. But how is it that there is enough bandwidth for their own services?

As Steve Anderson of the OpenMedia – a consumer advocacy group – shared with me yesterday “It’s a huge abuse of power.” and that “The launch of this service at the time when the CRTC is holding a hearing on pricing regulation should be seen as a slap in the face to the the CRTC, and the four hundred and ninety one thousand Canadians that signed the Stop The Meter petition.”

My own feeling is the solution is pretty simple. We need to get the ISPs out of the business of delivering content. Period. Their job should be to deliver bandwidth, and nothing else. You do that, you’ll have them competing over speed and price very, very quickly. Until then the incentive of ISPs isn’t to offer good internet service, it’s to do the opposite, it’s to encourage (or force) users to use the services they offer over the internet.

For myself, I’m a Shaw customer and a Netflix customer. Until now I’ve had nothing to complain about with either. Now, apparently I have to choose between the two. I can tell you right now who is going to win. Over the next few months I’m going to be moving my internet service to another provider. Maybe I’ll still get cable TV from Shaw, I don’t know, but my internet service is going to a company that gives me the freedom to choose the services I want and that doesn’t ding me with fees that apparently, I’m being charged under false pretenses. I’ll be telling by family members, friends and pretty much everyone I know, to do the same.

Shaw, I’m sorry it had to end this way. But as a consumer, it’s the only responsible thing to do.

55 thoughts on “The Audacity of Shaw: How Canada's Internet just got Worse

  1. Mark

    Couldn’t agree more with your statement, ” We need to get the ISPs out of the business of delivering content. Period. There job should be to deliver bandwidth, and nothing else.”Rogers here in Ottawa does something similar with “Home Phone”. It’s VoIP service that doesn’t count against your bandwidth cap. All other VoIP services do.Key question: besides voting with our wallets (which is difficult in this market), what can we do? Is there a legal course of action? Another avenue?

    Reply
    1. Francois

       I see nothing wrong with bundling of services. Its not uncommon for companies to bundle their products at a discount. And if shaw happens to sell Internet access and movies, I see nothing wrong with them bundling those two services together.
      I think, however, that it will still be ultimately difficult for Shaw to compete with the likes of netflix and itunes even with this bundling.  Its not easy to build up a good service like netflix and itunes. Shaw VOD has existed for a long time but I haven’t been using it because the interface is clunky. Its a terrible user experience. Hopefully Movie Club will be better, but its not realistic for shaw to throw the same resources towards this sort of service that Netflix does. Netflix is targeting a huge market whereas I assume Shaw is primarily targeting their existing customer base which is much smaller. 

      As far as I’m concerned Shaw is by far the best internet service provider where I live (BC).   Shaw customer service is actually based in our country and when they need to roll out a tech to do an installation, it takes usually a couple days instead of weeks like the competition. And Shaw has the fastest speeds by far where I live.

      Reply
  2. beltzner

    I’m not sure I agree with you that this is a Net Neutrality issue, Dave. Also, it is by no means the first time a telco in Canada has done something like this. To understand that, you need to understand how pay-per-view works.

    When a telco brings cable or IPTV to your house, they build a lot of network infrastructure to do it. Lately, when upgrading the “local exchanges” (which connect your house to the main network plumbing) they’ve been dropping “content distribution nodes” (CDNs) alongside them which store a bunch of data right near your house; data like movies. That’s enabled the newer style of pay-per-view which is “on demand” instead of “unlock a fixed broadcast time.” Those movies are being delivered digitally, but because the data transfer is from the local exchange/CDN to you, it doesn’t really affect the telco’s overall bandwidth to the Internet. Put another way: the CDN is a fixed cost that can be used without limit to the telco; downloading a movie from apple.com costs the telco for its connection to apple.com

    Now, no telco has ever included IPTV or on demand content against the caps on your Internet account – which is essentially what Shaw’s doing. That’s because they built out the additional CDN infrastructure specifically for this purpose, and as mentioned, it doesn’t really interfere with general internet bandwidth (since the data is stored at the local exchange).

    The interesting difference is that Shaw is (presumably, I haven’t looked!) making Movie Club available to non-Shaw subscribers, or to people who are connected to the Internet from another location (like when travelling). In those cases it would count against your cap as Shaw would be acting like apple.com, serving the content through the Internet at large.

    Reply
    1. guest

      As far as I know, Netflix is also using CDNs and has been for a while now. For many if not most customers, dowloading a movie from Netflix goes through a CDN close to the customer the same way you claim Shaw is doing it with their Movie Club.

      Reply
    2. Marthaj03

      Sometimes I get the feeling that someone like beltzner is paid by Shaw, or other company, to make us think what Shaw is doing is quite alright. We are not all Geeks here, just ordinary people who have to trust that those who seem to know what they are talking about, are not people who are shafting us. Just doesn’t feel right…sorry, beltzner

      Reply
      1. beltzner

        I’m not employed by or paid by Shaw, no, nor am I a particular fan of them
        or any other Canadian telco. I don’t think any of the big three charge fair
        and reasonable rates for Internet usage or overages.

        I do understand that not everyone has a deep knowledge of how network
        infrastructure, which is why I tried to explain my position above.

        Reply
    3. Herman Thind

      It will be interesting to see if the ISPs begin to pay “we the people” for the use of our utility rights-of-way, and other “public” spaces to host this “infrastructure” which “we the people” also bankrolled during their fledging years of birth (by way of tax credits, government backed loans and subsidies.

      The internet is a public utility which is STILL built on a fiber backbone which was PAID FOR by the TAXPAYERS of this country.

      Time to free the net!

      ps:  I can clearly tell from the jargon used in one of the early post, that some of these comments are not just from “average users”.

      Reply
      1. beltzner

        No more so than we are free to use the rights of way for the electric, gas
        or water networks simarly bankrolled.

        Frustratingly, I am very much on the side of net neutrality and a strong
        advocate for a free and open web. I simply think that the costs must be
        acknowledged.

        Reply
  3. AngelDeath82

    @beltzner:disqus  Your missing an important point that is being made in this article… the issues the Telcos are citing have nothing to do with peering charges… the issues they have been citing (up until they eventually told the truth to the CRTC) was issues of bandwidth congestion.  They finally admitted that no, it’s not bandwidth congestion that’s the issue… it’s that they don’t want to have to compete with services which may be/are better than those they offer.  CRTC hearing transcripts are available at http://www.crtc.gc.ca/eng/transcripts/2011/index.htm.

    In addition, they are launching this service without it affecting it’s users data caps… it doesn’t matter if the data is coming from their own CDN or another network altogether, it’s still traffic over their infrastructure.  Thus, this is clearly (a) an affront to net neutrality, and (b) anti-competitive behaviour being wielded via having too much power in the market.

    Reply
    1. beltzner

      It does matter if the data is coming from CDNs installed at the local exchanges, as the data transfer never goes further than the “last mile”. That affects both their costs as well as their ability to serve traffic to external network sites.

      Conflating this with UBB is misleading. I still very much believe that telcos charge for usage in ways that are destructive, but that’s not what’s happening here. Shaw’s providing a flat-rate on-demand pay per view system, and making it available over the Internet. If they said “it’s also available through your Shaw set-top box” I don’t think anyone would be outraged, despite the fact that it would be the same thing (digital delivery not counting to usage cap).

      Reply
      1. ndj

        I am afraid, beltzner, you are ignoring the point that Shaw IS harnessing an option that is available only to itself due to its owning the back-bone of the internet. This option is not available to others. If Shaw were to make the same options (buffering content closer to the target area being services) – available to netflix so that they, Shaw, could recover their costs, I would have no problem with it. However that is not the case.  The unfairness lies in the fact that Shaw and other telco companies did get discounts to build these backbones in the first place and now they have monopolized them, leading to the dismal state of Canadian internet availability. 

        The comparison of internet to other utilities such as water and electricity is misleading. Providers of these services do not make money from what you do with these services – only from the quantity you use. If hydro quebec came to your home and sold you appliances that worked better with their system, compared to that of other appliance makers, the analogy would be more appropriate. And even then the comparison would not be entirely fair. The utility of what comes through the internet lines is in their content. The ISPs want to control the content. Water and electricity on the other hand, are mostly uniform in content. 

        Reply
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  5. Curious Guy

    “It wants to turn your internet from the awesome experience where you have unlimited choice and can try any service that is out there, into the experience of cable, where your choice is limited to the channels they choose to offer you.”
    You lost a lot of credibility with this statement. First of all, there are many services/pages that are not available to Canadians. And second, your internet choices are not limited to “the channels they choose to offer”. Geoblocking prevents us from using hulu.com, and turntable.fm, and numerous other sites, not Shaw, or Rogers or Bell policies.
    To suggest that Shaw is on the road to limiting my choices of internet access is fear mongering and misleading, plain & simple. And this leads me to wonder if you know what you’re talking about. The only way to get net neutrality is for the infrastructure to be a public works, where internet access is controlled not by private companies, but treated as a service to every home much like water and electricity. Its an interesting idea, but fraught with other issues. So far only Chile and the Netherlands have passed laws that ban providers from charging customers extra for accessing certain web services.
    “There should be some advantage to you being a customer,” Bissonnette said. And I agree with him, there should be some perks with being a customer. Bell already does this with extra content available to their mobile subscribers that is not available to others. It sounds like you’re advocating a world where every service is available to every customer on every device. This is a really crappy business model. Why would I choose Bell over Rogers if they offer nothing different?  
    Very interesting times, indeed.
     
     

    Reply
    1. David Eaves

      Fernando, I’m aware that all sorts of content already gets blocked (like Hulu) and I find that frustrating too. I’ve got to balance the thrust of the argument and keeping it readable for people with exploring in detail every issue. Sorry if that made me lose credibility – but those are the choices I have to make.

      As for your last point. I couldn’t disagree more. I want there business to be driven by speed and cost and let those who offer services on top of the network to compete on quality of content and type. Mixing the two creates the worst incentives. So should there be advantages to being a Shaw customer? Yes, they should be speed and cost. But we may just have a very different vision of what internet access should look like.

      Reply
    2. Mike J

      Perk or not the point is this is moving in a bad direction.  It’s not feat mongering, it’s  a pre-emptive strike.  Unless the populous is loud and clear and repetitive about these issues this technology will go the way every other one has.

      Let’s not let the internet go the way print, radio and TV have gone; controlled by big dollars to the extent where the average citizen has no hope in hell of broadcasting their ideas.  This is what makes the net truly great.  It’s not an entertainment medium but these companies will do everything they can to turn it into one.  It’s in their best interest to do so.  Don’t kid yourself that they don’t want to limit your choices on the web.  Net neutrality has existed for some time but the lack of competition is what will kill it for good.  That would be more than a shame, it would be a step backwards in our evolution.

      Reply
    3. ndj

      I must point out the the blase’ approach such as yours has led to the current dismal state of the internet in Canada. David isn’t proposing a massive conspiracy to control your choices – large companies are rarely as nimble to be as devious (unless its GS :)). However small optimum choices over several years add up to a point where suddenly you are looking at a dismal situation and are left wondering – how did I get there ?
      Internet services started almost everywhere at almost the same time – and yet, Canada’s internet scene is worse than some developing nations.  How did that happen ?

      Reply
  6. MakeSensePlease

    One additional point to make – this service is only available to Shaw customers.  You cannot subscribe to Shaw Movie Club and be a TELUS customer for internet and video.  So… how is this even relevant to a Net Neutrality argument?

    Reply
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  8. Mstovens

    Horribly uninformed article.  Streaming movies online through the Movie Club DOES count against your cap.  They are referring to watching movies through the set-top box, which does not count against your cap, since it is not over the Internet.  Regardless, Shaw does not charge for overages.

    Reply
  9. Shaw_Nick

    I would like to add to the conversation here as a representative of Shaw.

    We are absolutely committed to Net Neutrality. The new Movie Club service is delivered in two ways. The first way is using our QAM infrastructure to narrow cast the shows to your set-top box. This does not go over the internet infrastructure, so will not count against your usage.
    The second way is an online streaming method from vod.shaw.ca. This does use our internet infrastructure and will count towards your usage.

    We also wanted to add that we launched our new internet packages a couple of months ago. We have kept the option for customers to not pay for usage, and maintained our acceptable usage policy for those customers. If our customers choose, they will not pay a fee for usage. There is more detail here: http://shaw.ca/Internet/newpackages/

    Nick (Shaw_Nick)

    Reply
    1. Mike J

      Yeah, when you launched your new packages there was no option to only subscribe to internet service without having it bundled with TV!  It took yet more outraged feedback from your customer base for you to “allow” us to have internet access only at the new speeds.  How is that not “limiting choice”?

      And another insult to your customers is that I can pay $75/month for internet only or $85/month for that same level of service (speed and cap) to have it bundled with TV.  Wow great savings there eh?

      It’s obvious that “vertical integration” is not in favour of the consumer.  If you weren’t trying to save your legacy TV service most of the arguments we are seeing repeated over and over would be moot and unnecessary.  

      Shaw keeps saying they are committed to net neutrality.  I have been a customer for over a decade and was very happy until very recently.  The moves I have watched them make in the past few months are very bad.  Actions speak louder than words and it’s obvious to anyone paying attention that shaw is *not* committed to net neutrality as it stands in the way of them loosing the TV profits they are accustomed to with the advent of Netflix and other so called “over the top”  providers.

      Reply
  10. Orillian

    I’m glad you have the choice to move to another ISP but some of us get Shaw or crap services that are much slower or more expensive.

    That said I would love to see the isp’s forced to split the service providing off from the rest of their services.

    Reply
  11. Ryan White

    Sounds like early AOL days. Where everything ‘WITHIN’ AOL was free (didn’t count against hours? I can’t remember) but if you wanted to connect to the real internet it would cost more. 

    It’s really a classic struggle that telcos and cablecos have between being a ‘dumb’ tube vs cashing in on the value add.

    Reply
    1. Craig

      Ryan Iis the first to mention telco and cableco. Shaw is a cableco NOT a telco. TELUS is a telco and not a cableco. beltzer where do you get your info regards “CDN”? You are also wrong about Shaw. Where are these exchanges which you speak of?

      Reply
  12. davemacdonald

    Dave,

    I think this is the definition of price discrimination that is prohibited under The Competition Act (so long as the services are deemed ‘identical’). I’m not a lawyer, but usage of Netflix is essentially taxed under this practice because of how Shaw is using its channel. No matter what happens to Netflix’s price plan, it is being discriminated against because the provider of its delivery channel is giving preferential treatment to its own service.

    I’ve gone back and forth on this here at home and read the comments here, but I did a quick skim of this short piece on Canadian Antitrust Law (http://www.mccarthy.ca/pubs/antitrus_overview.pdf) and I think what’s going on here is pretty straight-forward (again, so long as the services are ‘identical’).

    Dave

    Reply
  13. Mike Kamermans

    There is a fundamental flaw in your argument, which sadly invalidates your entire post.

    Getting Netflix means you have to get data from Netflix, carried from one network to another, to another, to another, until it reaches you. This can easily cover 10 or 20 privately owned networks and cable infrastructure clusters. Of of which cost money to maintain. In that respect, using Netflix is the same as getting a CNN.com webpage, browsing YouTube.com or playing a silly game on Facebook. So it should cost the same – and it does.

    Of course netflix uses far more bandwidth per second that you use it than those things, so if you constantly watch Netflix, you’re going to bog down the networks between your house and netflix’s servers much more than if you were to just browse webpages, or even youtube. While I find the concept of overcharging rather ridiculous – after all, any competent ISP will check how much data people ACTUALLY use, not “on average”, but as a distribution curve, and then come up with monthly packages that cover that and offer package upgrades, not overcharge fees – Shaw does not inherently charge more because you use Netflix rather than picking up your email from a remote server.

    Here’s where I find your article uninformed: if Shaw wants to offer their own video service, on their own hardware, streamed directly to their own subscriber lines – which are physically plugged into their network, you have a direct line to shaw’s internal networks – then why would they have to charge you for that as if it’s part of the world wide web? Unlike watching Netflix or pulling down CNN.com, in an ISP-run video stream service the data does NOT run over “the web”: the web requires the rest of the world to help get the data, an ISP video service does not. It will work regardless of whether the rest of the world stop working completely.

    Here’s what happens: your packet request goes from your house to your nearest ISP-owned point, and then stays in their network, being routed to an internal (set of) server(s) that are  dedicated to streaming video. It doesn’t touch any of the infrastructure that is required to get to the “real” internet, and goes straight back to you. So unlike a normal web request, a request for streaming video make it to your ISPs routers, which are set up to understand “retrieval from the rest of the world”, for which you are expected to pay, and then (unlike requests for Netflix, or CNN, or GMail) stops. It doesn’t go into “the rest of the world”, you don’t pay the additional “getting the rest of the world to help” fee, and the request is simply routed to another machine in the same local network at the ISP. So why would I pay an internet charge for a service that uses internet technologies (HTTP, streaming video over TCP/IP) but _DOES NOT USE_ the internet?

    I understand where your original argument came from, and if you think the internet is a single network that services every request you make on your internet line then it seems a sensible argument to make, but that’s just not how thins work. “The internet” is not one big network, it’s millions of individually owned and run small networks, many hooked up to secondary internal networks for local data services that never touch the rest of the internet, but use the same protocols so that it’s easy to get data from one server in the local network to another. So, if you need data that crosses tens of differently owned networks, you pay for every hop you make. Thankfully, that’s where ISPs do the dirty work, agreeing with other ISPs as well as large private non-ISP networks what a fair price per unit of bandwidth is (although squeezing out some extra dollars because you can has made those contracts more expensive than they should be, if you look at how the rest of the world deals with these things), but if your requests never leave the private network that you are physically directly connected to through your phoneline, why would the owner of that network charge you the fees associated with outside internet use? You’re _NOT_ using the internet. You’re only a company’s local network, with a direct connection to your house. Pay the monthly fee for the privilege of being plugged in, and no additional fees should be required.

    So, calling for Shaw to apply “fair pricing” on this issue misses the point about how the internet actually works. By not charging you more for never leaving the private network, they are charging you the correct price they should be charging. You might demand they charge a monthly fee for the cost incurred by having to run these new servers and the license fees for the films, but I’m pretty sure the latter is already covered by their video on demand over cable service, and the first is just infrastructure budget that’s allocated anyway. I don’t see anything in their plan that actually requires a new, special budget that needs to be recovered via customer charges. And now you know a bit more about how the internet works, hopefully you’ve learned enough to evaluate whether your opinion still holds up to scrutiny.

    You learn something every day =)

    Reply
    1. Keith Mann

      Umm, that’s not the point. Using dominance in one market to compete in another is illegal under the Competition Act. I’m surprised Netflix hasn’t brought suit, but you can always write to your MP and ask him or her to urge the Competition Bureau to take action. Shaw is 100% wrong.

      Reply
      1. Francois

        but offering movies is not a new area for shaw to compete in. Offering movies has been a core service of cable companies since before the Internet even arrived.

        Reply
  14. Nobodies

    Yeah dood, before you go posting screaming “bloody murder”, maybe actually investigate something first.

    SOOOO uninformed…..

    Reply
  15. Sniper_4_hired

    I entirely 100% agree with this article. It’s complete clean and clear what shaw is f*ing up. I’ll state that, and be clear again, shaw has ALOT to learn about net neutrality. They’re seriously not getting the point. And all this technical mumbo doesn’t change the bottom line, shaw is seriously warping the truth to suit their needs, instead of being open and honest to the last cent, to the last bit and byte, to the last every damn thing… Shaw= fail in progress daily.

    Reply
  16. Shaw_James

    Hi Sniper_4_hired

    James from Shaw here. As Nick (also from Shaw) mentioned above, the basis of the article is that Shaw Movie Club traffic does not count as Internet traffic, but Netflix (and similar services) does. However, this is actually not the case.

    If you watch Netflix over the Internet, it counts as Internet traffic, and if you watch Shaw Movie Club over the Internet, it also counts as Internet traffic. The two are treated exactly the same. Shaw Movie Club only doesn’t count as Internet traffic if you watch it on your TV, since then it’s not on the Internet. So as you can see, net neutrality is actually not an issue in this situation.

    -james
    Shaw

    Reply
      1. Francois

        Keith – shaw has been offering movies to its subscribers since before it ever offered internet services.  How is continuing to improve a service they have offered for years an abuse? Isn’t that what companies are supposed to do?  

        Reply
  17. Sniper_4_hired

    To James and the rest of shaw tech, have you not checked out your advertisement’s?

    Take a CLEAR look. As many hours as the day…  Unlimitedly watching, etc… The word TV is mentioned once, but not as a factor that’s key to watching it ONLY and SOLELY on the tv. Bandwidth is not stated that it’s used at all on your internet when watching via the internet.

    the long story short is, Shaw is misleading and lieing to the customers. Until the advertising is changed substantially to explain the differences IN the advertisements, technically anyone “going over” their useage, has full rights to fight shaw 100% due to Shaw’s FAIL of advertising in this manor.

    Fix the advertising, explain it clearly to all with 100% free ease of access, clearly dictate it in tv and radio ad’s, and fix this info immediately, or anyone who wants to fight their bandwidth useage against shaw, can freely do so anytime, repeatedly, continually.

    I rest my completely factual case.

    Reply
    1. Clarissaflowerdew

      I think you may have linked to the wrong page.  Your attached image clearly says: ‘Watch as many movies as you want, instantly on your TV’.

      Reply
        1. Clarissaflowerdew

          This is exactly what that page says:

          The Movie Club by Shaw features unlimited access to hundreds of the best
          Hollywood hit movies. Watch as many as you want, instantly on your TV —
          the only limit is the number of hours in your day. And with titles
          being added monthly, you’ll never run out.

          That sounds like you can watch as many movies from the Movie Club as you like on your TV, which is true.  I think you’re confused.  Some of the movies have an online option, which will obviously count as part of your bandwidth since it is over the Internet.  Although, Shaw doesn’t charge for overages, so it’s kind of a moot point.

          Reply
  18. Michael Zajac

    The mobile theme on this site makes it unreadable in Twitter/iPad held in portrait mode. The “Mobile Theme: Off” button doesn’t work. Hate these things.

    Reply
  19. Alex Sirota

    Bell offers a similar service without the Internet option – it’s called FibeTV in Ontario and Quebec. You can watch lots of movies, without affecting your internet usage. It is done over a separate private channel directly between you and Bell.

    What is confusing for most people is that the technological line between Internet and using TCP/IP to deliver packets is being blurred. And that is a good thing. Because maybe we’ll have 1 nice connection, reasonably priced for everything eventually.

    Reply
  20. Alex Sirota

    Bell offers a similar service without the Internet option – it’s called FibeTV in Ontario and Quebec. You can watch lots of movies, without affecting your internet usage. It is done over a separate private channel directly between you and Bell.

    What is confusing for most people is that the technological line between Internet and using TCP/IP to deliver packets is being blurred. And that is a good thing. Because maybe we’ll have 1 nice connection, reasonably priced for everything eventually.

    Reply
  21. Herman Thind

    … And Canadian enterprises NEED an open, competitive, and accessible (re: reasonably and fairly priced) internet to compete in a very competitive world.  Canadian businesses which “live” on the net (particularly) require an opening up of our internet, and reassessment of non-competitive actions in the industry.

    Reply
  22. Gillian Shaw

    After trying out the Movie Club, it seems little more than a stepped-up version of Shaw’s existing Movie Central subscription service for its cable subscribers. When I called to add the Movie Club, I was told since I already had Movie Central, at $17 a month, the extra cost of the Movie Club would only be $3/month. The explanation being there is some duplication in movies. When I checked there wasn’t anything making it worth the extra $3. I don’t think Netflix has to worry about competition from the Movie Club in terms of its pricing or selection. But as you suggest David, Netflix is at a disadvantage in that it is competing in the content marketplace against a company that also owns the means of delivery for that content.

    Reply
  23. David Walker

    Shaw has been delivering television over the same wire as internet for over a decade. Does anyone here think that should count against your bandwidth cap? Of course not. Telus now offers television. They use the same wire as the internet and they also don’t count that against your bandwidth cap. So far they look the same.
    However, Optic TV and Movie Club use your internet connection whereas cable TV doesn’t. Should the format of the data really matter? None of those services, whether they use internet protocol or something else, counts it against your bandwidth limit even though it’s coming in on the same wire and, in the case of Optic TV or Movie Club, using up a significant chunk of your internet capacity.
    Are the commenters here really suggesting that content delivered using one protocol is different than content delivered using another? Are you seriously saying that Telus needs to count Optic TV usage against your bandwidth cap just because it’s delivered using internet protocol and therefore unfairly competing against companies like Netflix? Shaw cable TV doesn’t use IP, but it does travel along the same wire as internet content. Is that unfairly competing against Netflix or is it simply competition?
    Unless we can somehow completely separate the task of selling content from the task of delivering it there will never be true net neutrality. Given that I can’t see that separation ever happening we need to make the best of the situation.
    Shaw recently gave me 6 times the upload speed, up to 6 times the download speed, more than 6 times the bandwidth cap and twice as many HD channels for exactly (to the penny) the same price I was paying before. I could never have subscribed to Netflix before because I’d have run out of bandwidth. Now I can. So if they want to give their existing movie service a new name and use different technology to deliver it so what.

    Reply
  24. Jamie Johnson

    wow you are all dumb asses and lies for you guys. coming this fall with the price package i am on i am getting an upgrade from 150gigs a month to someware between 700gigs to a tarabyte.  shaw is also not slaping a data charge for over bandwith other then increasing for that month only you to the next bandwidth pricing package. much cheaper. on top of that starting right away before the network upgrade. i got and increase of 150 gigs to 400 gigs. you have to love shaw cable for listening to its subcribers. with the bandwidth packages now avaliable at the great prices. i dont ever have to worry about going over even if i use netfilx. mabey you should tell the whole story about shaw instead of the small so called negitive you are pushing

    Reply
  25. Pingback: Episode 143 – R.I.P. Dudeface | Dyscultured on WordPress

  26. John Rauser

    The Audicity of YOU Mr. David Eaves!

    How can you say this crap
    All this talk about being free and open … except not to do business!! You know David Eaves, you would have none of this, neither your beloved data nor your soapbox to stand on, if it wasn’t for big business. The world is not always fair, Eaves, and no one expects it to be either, you know this just as well as the next guy – in life there are always winners and losers, people on the top and on the bottom. Encouraging everyone to pay fair (typopun unintended) and be nice is only going to give the wolves more prey. But maybe you’re one of those wolves.

    Reply
  27. Mike Folka

    1. You aren’t being penalized for using Netflix. You are being rewarded for subscribing to yet another Shaw service. You don’t pay for bandwidth on VOD or PPV do you and that’s effectively what Movie Club is.

    2. Shaw just upped their bandwidth caps and are making 50mbs w/ 400GB the flagship Internet package. Name another provider that can match those speeds w/ that GB and at a reasonable price point.

    3. Shaw has upped their bandwidth allotment before and they’ve done it again. The idea is that the cap is placed at a value that fits the vast majority of users. At even 250GB on the extreme plan you’re looking at 7.5GB of usage PER DAY! That’s more than enough to accommodate streaming content.

    Reply
  28. Jodi Stark

    Who did you switch to Dave?  I’m having different problems with Shaw.  My connection has been more than patchy (including and not limited to over 4 days without the internet at all last month).  I call, but there’s over 2 hours wait time to speak to tech support or customer service (which means, I can’t even cancel my service unless I have 2 hours to wait on hold.  They don’t call me back when they give me the option for a call back (which isn’t even offered by all departments). They took over 4 days to return an ‘instant’ chat and a separate email.  It’s just not acceptable service.  

    Reply
  29. Barb RUBY

    Just to let Shaw know that their so called service SUCKS!!!! To be held on hold for @ least an hour or two is absolutely rediculous and rude. Then to top it off I get to TRY and speak to someone that cannot speak proper ENGLISH and have to say PARDON OVER AND OVER!!!!!( I am NOT a prejudice person in any way but when trying to explain my complaints, they simply do not understand what I am talking about. This is very frustrating to say the least. I was QUOTED A PACKAGE DEAL IN SEPTEMBER 2011 FOR INTERNET AND UPGRADED PROGRAMMING. When I received my bill it was 3 times the amount I had been QUOTED. After numerous calls to have this straightened out they have cutoff my cable and Internet. I had told them I was not paying a cent on this bill until it was corrected and this is how they deal with their customers. I also have been a Shaw customer for over 13 years and this is their way of taking care of their loyal customers!!!! I am so angry and frustrated that when I try and call them again I wait for 2 hours to talk to someone who might know what is going on with their billing. I will continue by e-mail, phone or comments on this site to get this cleared up. I have been told so many different stories regarding Shaw doing this to other customers. Can they really be trusted to do their BEST for their customers???????????????????  Maybe Telus or some other provider wasn’t so bad after all!!! (But they do noy have reliable customer service either) They also Quote deals and don’t stick to them. There are always, always extra charges that I don’t understand. Soooooooooo what is next??? Who knows???

    Reply
  30. Dband

    How does this have anything to do with net neutrality? 

    You seem to be making a big fuss out of things you are apparently very uneducated in.  Do your research first, then come back with an argument. 

    Reply

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