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Shaw Sneakiness: Company Lowers Usage Limits, Hopes Nobody Noticed

Shaw sets the bar lower.

Shaw Cable, western Canada’s largest cable company, has quietly lowered usage caps on virtually all of their broadband plans, while “forgetting” to change the date on their Terms of Service:

  • Lite was 13GB, now increased to 15GB ($2/GB overages)
  • High Speed was 75GB, now decreased to 60GB ($2/GB overages)
  • Xtreme was 125GB, now decreased to 100GB ($1/GB overages)
  • Warp was 250GB, now decreased to 175GB ($1/GB overages)
  • Nitro was 500GB, now decreased to 350GB ($1/GB overages)

Shaw’s terms of service page documents changes implemented by the cable company and includes the revision date, changed whenever the terms change.  Not this time.  Blogger “Thewunderbar” documented Shaw left the revision date on the document unchanged, suggesting the cable company hadn’t made any adjustments to their service since July, 2010.  After publishing his piece, Shaw quietly updated their website to reflect the correct date.

Cable and phone companies in Canada have established a unique, unchecked duopoly.  They are systematically increasing prices while decreasing the amount of service provided to Canadian consumers.  Shaw’s decrease in usage limits comes with no corresponding price cut for Internet service.

At a time when Netflix streaming is attempting to make inroads into Canadian homes, broadband providers who also have interests in pay television (cable, phone or satellite) are working overtime to make sure no consumer believes they can safely cancel their cable-TV service and watch everything online.

Over the past four years, Canadian ISPs have embarked on a wide range of Internet Overcharging schemes:

  • The elimination of flat rate, unlimited broadband service;
  • The introduction of low usage allowances designed to trip up an increasing number of consumers leading to,
  • The introduction of stinging overlimit fees for customers exceeding usage limits, at prices marked up from 500-5000 percent above wholesale;
  • The introduction of speed throttles which artificially slow your broadband experience to speeds sometimes just above dial-up;
  • The ongoing limbo dance of usage caps that decrease in size over time, exposing more consumers to overlimit fees, making them think twice about everything they do online.

Nobody has successfully monetized the broadband experience like Canadian ISPs have.  Even as their costs to deliver the service continue to rocket downwards, companies keep on increasing prices, exposing Canadian consumers to unwarranted bill shock from unjustified overlimit fees.  What does it cost Shaw per gigabyte?  An estimated 1-3 cents.  What do they charge you?  Up to $2.

It’s nothing short of a rip-off, and Stop the Cap! urges Canadian consumers to contact their member of Parliament and demand immediate action to ban these innovation-killing, job-retarding, unjustified overcharging schemes.

Currently there are 6 comments on this Article:

  1. Jonah Fost says:

    ** “UBB” (Usage Based Billing) – Otherwise known as METERED BILLING.  The CRTC is allowing ISPs to put a METER on your internet access, so you PAY BY THE BYTE! **

    Matt Stein, Vice-President of Network Services for Primus, calls UBB overage fees:

    “an economic disincentive for internet use” since the charges levied by Bell Canada are “many, many, many times what it costs to actually deliver it.”

    The CEO of Teksavvy ISP said:

    “UBB is pure profit. IP transport of internet data is somewhere between $3 and $10/Mbps for companies like ours…. So doing basic math we’re talking of $3-$10 per 300GB of data… So 1 to 3 pennies per gig of downloading on the Internet transit side.”

    Shaw uses misleading information, and tells customers that their limits are generous, and overstates the cost of bandwidth. In fact, bandwidth is 1-3 PENNIES per GB, but Shaw is charging $2 PER GB!

    Did you know that just as Shaw began charging for “overuse of the internet”, they also (quietly) reduced all of their usage caps by 30% without telling customers? 

    Funny part is, the infrastructure most of these ISPs use was FUNDED BY CANADIANS!  Now they are charging us massive overage fees for using it.

    Shaw, and other Canadian ISPs are using UBB as a method to control access to their TV competitors, ie: Netflix, Hulu, etc.  It is clearly a conflict of interest to allow a TV Broadcaster who is also an ISP, to limit our access to their competition.  

    With these massive new overage fees, once you are over your recently lowered “usage cap” with Shaw, every HD Netflix movie will cost you an extra $8!

    This is how Netflix feels about this situation:
    http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2011/01/netflix-charging-by-the-gigabyte-is-ridiculous.ars

    Here is what YOU can do to put a stop to metered billing:
    http://www.antiubb.com/what-can-i-do/

    If you want to contact your local MP, and ask them what THEY are doing to prevent the destruction of the Canadian internet, please send them a FAX or written letter.  You can find out who your local representative is here:
    http://howdtheyvote.ca/findmember.php

    Fight back!  Visit Open Media’s facebook page, and join the fight – Thousands of Canadians working together to put an END to metered billing!
    http://www.facebook.com/openmedia.ca

    Please sign the petition!  Forward it to your friends, family, and co-workers. We need to act on this, or every single Windows update, web page, and email will cost you money.
    http://openmedia.ca/meter

  2. peter says:

    Good luck Shaw believe me you may need some. What’s the matter you finally realized after 40 years the interweb is no fad. Why aren’t our greedy hands in the pot? The technical expertise already exists to bypass your service.

    Stop the BS already your losing ground on Cable, phone, and yes movie rentals all because your company was too arrogant, greedy and ignorant. The power of creative minds residing on the web does not discriminate between rich or poor we are equals. What happens when Google TV hits the planet or Google cell phone services comes to Canada? Yikes Shaw time to play catch up.

    darknet guru

  3. R Lewis says:

    Has any one Checked Telus?

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  • hillary clinton: if you need a set top box on each tv for $7 my price will go up for that also unless I use a roku stick. $7 x $4 is $28 TWC I only use 1 hd box a...
  • James R Curry: It's also worth noting that in Maxx areas, 50/5 is the same price as 15/1 in non-Maxx areas. So without the Charter buy out, you would have eventuall...
  • Ricardo S: The DVR is treated as an umbrella charge. For example: customer wants 4 DVR's so cost would be 4.99 a piece and one 19.99 DVR service fee. Modem cost ...
  • John: My rates went up so I dropped my cable with the intention of signing up for a streaming service. However, dropping cable caused my 50mbs service to g...
  • Phillip Dampier: You missed my point. Many customers prefer a lower price over faster speed. You started with 50/5Mbps. Most TWC customers choose to pay for 15/1Mbps b...
  • Jk: The article is misleading. You compare the price of 15/1 internet to the price of Charter 60? I have 50/5 from a TW non max area, but I'm paying close...
  • Charles Dennett: Regarding the modem, from what I've heard, Charter includes the price of the modem rental in the price of the Internet access. They don't break it ou...
  • Derpson: Interesting, I have only seen 4megabits/sec advertised as the upload speed. They should be forced to show the upload speed in their advertisements, t...
  • Andy: Thought maybe AT&T and Verizon would consolidate all the land lines in the U.S. at one point. With Verizon shedding systems year after year, I gue...
  • Dan: Fun facts: "Maglan" means "ibis" in Hebrew. Ibises probe mud for crustaceans and maggots. FairPoint's operating margins are among the industry's highe...
  • Josh: Why the heck does this need a $50 "activation" or a "service call"? Isn't it just buying a modem that supports it and swapping it out? It was PAAA...
  • DANA: Thanks again comcast for slowing innovation by adding an artifical upload connection cap of 35megabits. Seriously. Enough is enough....

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