Canada, the land of metered and capped Internet bandwidth (BOO!) and social healthcare (YEA!) and…I have to say it Luke, back bacon (Yea!). But back bacon aside, the important thing is that Netflix has taken a hard look at the service they're offering in the Great White North and have found some places where they can trim the fat (not off the bacon!)So here is the deal, some Internet backbone providers up there are proving to be the greediest of bastards as BCE Inc (Bell Canada Enterprises) is attempting to impose metering of data for both retail consumers and resellers leasing network usage. That certainly sounds like double dipping on the same data throughput to me and is extremely poor form in my book. I now dub BCE the AT&T of Canada, that is not a compliment, FYI.
Netflix has decided to help out and cut back on the data throughput while only mildly impacting video quality. They are now bandwidth light and using a full 2/3 less than before for standard streams. There are also two higher quality streams that will suck more bandwidth and all three will be available to all subscribers of the $7.99 streaming package.
Well done Netflix! They have managed to cut down streaming of "thirty hours of film or television from 30GB to 9GB." That's quite the accomplishment if indeed it doesn't impact picture quality. It also really helps them fit it into the horribly low data packages offered which are usually like 20-60GB.
I checked in on Bell Canada (the erstwhile villain of the story). They have a so-called 'performance' Internet connectivity package which offers 6Mbps and only 25GB a month. That's both skimpy and sad for $35 CAN a month. They should be ashamed of themselves. Their highest package, the Fibe 25 offers up to 25Mbps and a sad 75GB a month for $56 CAN. Plus, they are raising rates later this year. So, like I said, the AT&T of Canada as that Fibe package will be like $70 or about $1 per GB.
What can Canadians get for their $7.99 on Netflix? Well more than 350 films were recently added to the catalog from Paramount Pictures in a deal which also saw Netflix nab first-run subscription television film right again, as I have been saying they should do, cutting out the middlemen (in this case Canadian companies Corus Ent and Astral Media according to Reuters). I sure wish Netflix would read ReelSEO and email me one day.
If you think what BCE is doing now is wrong, did you hear about their failed plan to charge ISPs a per-user fee? Apparently, it was so unpopular that the government got involved. So instead they moved from that plan to this new plan, which I bet will also, hopefully for the good of the Canadian people, get the government involved.
Reuters also said:
Canada's communications regulator will hold a hearing in July to decide what pricing arrangements should be in place for wholesalers. It does not plan to rule on what companies such as Bell can charge their own customers.
If you're in Canada and in the online video industry or just love your online video, you might want to hook up with Openmedia.ca and get involved with their petition to end metered Internet. If ISPs and network providers are going to start such underhanded tactics then it's time that you all get connected and fight back through whatever means necessary including political action.