Home » Canada »Competition »Novus »Shaw »Video » Currently Reading:

Shaw Cable Launches Price War in Vancouver – $9.95/Month Sparks Complaint from Competitor Novus

Paul-Andre Dechêne July 28, 2009 Canada, Competition, Novus, Shaw, Video 71 Comments

Shaw's flyer distributed to Novus customers (click to enlarge)

Shaw's flyer distributed to Novus customers (click to enlarge)


Letting Shaw get away with this will let them buy up competitors like Novus for a pocket full of Toonies.

[Update 10:16am EDT 7/29] — Brion, one of our loyal readers, had a chance to visit Novus’ website and discovered that Novus has usage allowances on its own broadband service.  That’s naughty.  They are far more generous than Shaw’s, which start at 10GB and are more commonly in the 60GB range for average customers, but that’s besides the point.  The Comments section is where the discussion about the usage allowances are taking place.  We call on Novus to explain their limit policy, and more importantly, consider dropping it altogether and using that as a competitive tool against Shaw, which has far lower limits.  If the vast majority of customers are unlikely to hit them, why have them at all?  Write an Acceptable Use Policy that allows for informal communication with the extreme users consuming terabytes of bandwidth a month and offers them a commercial plan for them to consider.  Don’t be a part of the Internet Overcharging crowd.  We celebrate the kind of competition Novus can provide residents of Vancouver and Burnaby, but we’d like to make sure the competition is worth fighting for.

[Update 6:12pm EDT] — Welcome to Novus customers who discovered this site through Novus’ campaign website. Stop the Cap! is an all-consumer website designed to promote and defend the competitive broadband marketplace in both the United States and Canada.  Paul-Andre Dechêne is our Canadian editor. We are unalterably opposed to Internet Overcharging schemes, which include bit/usage caps, consumption-based pricing, and fees or penalties imposed by providers for exceeding them.  We are pro-competition, pro-Net Neutrality, and opposed to throttles.  Companies like Novus which provide needed competition in the cable television, telephone, and broadband marketplace are essential for a healthy marketplace with rational pricing.  Shaw’s obvious predatory pricing tactics are designed to drive away Novus’ customers, making the company ripe for takeover, by Shaw of course, for a pocketful of Toonies.  While those Shaw prices sound good today, driving away competition guarantees much, much higher pricing tomorrow in a monopoly environment.  Novus is installing fiber optic-based service, which means they are already kilometers ahead of Bell and the usual assortment of the Shaw/Rogers/Vidéotron old school cable companies.

We welcome your views.  Just leave your public comments in the editor box at the bottom of the page (or click the comments link just below the headline).  You can explore more than 400 articles on our issues from the menu bar at the top.  Drop down menus will let you read about the issues that are most relevant to you.  Thanks for joining us.  The fight for affordable broadband continues across Canada, and we welcome your participation.  Bookmark us and drop by regularly. — Phillip M. Dampier, Editor]

Imagine paying $9.95 a month for a digital cable package with two free high-definition set-top boxes with personal video recorders, more than 200 digital channels, more than 25 high-definition channels, and a movie channel package.  Not convinced?  How about also getting two free months thrown in.

Need telephone service?  How about free nationwide/U.S. calling, free installation, and a whole mess of phone features for $9.95 a month?  Don’t forget broadband.  That’s just $9.95 a month as well for 15Mbps service with free Powerboost.  To sweeten the deal to diabetic coma proportions, Shaw will throw in two free months of service for each of those packages, too.

What’s the catch?  You have to live in an area currently served by Novus Entertainment, Inc., an upstart independent fiber-based competitor wiring metro Vancouver, British Columbia.  Novus has aggressively wired high rise condominiums and other densely populated neighborhoods and buildings in Vancouver.  Novus is a tiny company compared to Canada’s national cable companies.  Shaw provides cable television service to 2.1 million customers in several Canadian provinces.  Novus has 9,000 subscribers in 220 buildings in Downtown Vancouver and Burnaby and is planning an expansion into Richmond. Those buildings are being peppered with marketing from Shaw, including this special pricing offer.

Existing Shaw customers, and those who live outside of Novus’ service area, cannot obtain the special pricing.  That is the heart of a complaint lodged by Novus against Shaw at the Competition Bureau of Canada and in the British Columbia Supreme Court, charging Shaw is engaged in predatory pricing designed to put Novus out of business.

“Shaw is abusing its dominant position in the market by offering services – which it normally makes nearly 50 per cent margins on – at a sizeable loss as a means to destroy a local competitor,” said Donna Robertson, Co-President and Chief Legal Officer of Novus Entertainment Inc. “The millions of existing Shaw customers paying full price should be outraged because they’re unwittingly subsidizing the costs that customers with a competitive alternate pay, which is unethical and unfair. If they don’t make the offer available to everyone, current customers should call Shaw and demand the same deal.”

Novus points out Shaw has been “on a buying spree” picking up smaller cable operators and independent providers, but has “been unsuccessful in getting traction with Novus,” company officials suggest.

Stop the Cap! has discovered Shaw’s discount offer is a remarkable one, compared with the regular pricing Shaw customers pay elsewhere:

Shaw Deal for Novus Cable TV Customers

$9.95 digital cable with two personal video recorders, movie channel package, digital channel package
Two free months service

Shaw Deal for Other Canadians

$67.85 HD package
$16.00 Movie Central/HBO or Super Channel premium movie network
$26.95 digital cable “specialty channel” package
$ 3.95 time shifting option
$30.00 Shaw HD personal video recorder set-top box

The grand total: $144.75 per month, with no free months.

“Shaw enjoys increasing cable margins of nearly 50 per cent, which it boasts to investors is ‘best-in-class’ compared to other North American cable companies,” said Robertson. “We believe that Shaw’s targeted campaign is an attempt to eliminate Novus from the competition, which would allow Shaw to maintain its near monopoly status and raise prices for all customers whenever it sees fit”

“Based on Shaw’s actions, we can only assume that they are trying to buy our customers by gouging their own prices,” said Robertson. “They’re offering these services at an enormous loss, while forcing the rest of their customers to make up the difference. We aren’t big enough to compete with Shaw’s predatory pricing, but we are faster and more reliable, and our service is actually less expensive over the long term.”

Novus has launched a website and is busy on Twitter asking Shaw customers across Canada to demand the same special offer they are making available in Novus’ service area.


p style=”text-align: center;”>

Do you want the 10 Bucks Offer too? Sign our Petition and call Shaw to request this special rate.

Greater Vancouver – 604-629-8888
Kelowna – 250-762-4433
Prince George – 250-562-1345
Fort St John – 250-785-3039
Victoria – 250-475-5655
Edmonton – 780-490-3555
Calgary – 403-716-6000

Currently there are 71 comments on this Article:

  1. BrionS says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more blatant predatory pricing scheme. Canada’s government equivalent of the FTC and/or FCC is really impotent/corrupt if they can’t (or won’t) do anything about this move by Shaw.

    A 93% discount for services? I’ve never seen a legitimate promotion that sweet.

    • Michael Chaney says:

      Well I have no comment on their impotence, but I totally agree on their corruptness 🙂

  2. Smith6612 says:

    Heh, I’d love to see a 93% discount on all of the services I pay for here…

  3. Yes, this was among the most obvious, ridiculous, predatory schemes I’ve ever seen, and it’s transparent. It’s designed to kill off Novus’ revenue to the degree that they are forced to sell… to Shaw, of course.

    I love the pricing as well, but it’s obviously way below their cost. Signup bonus promotions are one thing, this is something else.

    The one nugget from this I intend to harvest is their claim that Shaw’s current regular pricing represents a 50% margin. Cable television is typically the most expensive component of a cable company’s product line, telephone second, and broadband third. Can you imagine the margin on broadband? Something to keep in mind when contemplating Internet Overcharging schemes.

  4. James Raymont says:

    This should be against the law it is so unfair just another monopoly.

  5. Gerry White says:

    Is Novus going to price match? That would raise the ante…

    • BrionS says:

      I think that’s the point…they can’t price match and as such are being driven out of business by predatory pricing by the incumbent. In the U.S. this is an illegal abuse of market dominance or local monopoly.

  6. DoorDoc007 says:

    These clowns know exactly what they are doing. Once Novus gets their fiber optic cables installed Shaw will be dead in downtown
    Vancouver, because their speeds will be 1,000 times (no exaggeration) faster than present providers. There will be no competition, therefore Shaw must use any scheme legal or not to stop this from happening. If we are ever going to see first rate services in Canada we all have to do what we can to stop Shaw from being able to shut down Novus.

    • Fiber optic deployment in Canada is well behind the United States, all because of the “rationed Internet” approach in Canada. Between Bell on the telco side and Rogers/Shaw/Vidéotron (and others) on the cable side, they’ve got consumers stuck with Overcharging schemes like caps and limits, high prices, and traffic throttles.

      What is remarkable to me is that this nonsense started in North America in Canada and not in the USA. The Canadian CRTC has basically gone into a coma and is regulating telecommunications like the Securities and Exchange Commission regulated Bernie Madoff in the USA.

      We’ve seen what happens in a “free market” where a handful of providers dominate the market — they informally collude to keep prices high and service slow and rationed. When a player like Novus comes along, the “overbuilder” starts by cherry-picking the low hanging fruit of multi-dwelling units like apartments and condos, get a foothold, and sufficient return to expand their wiring out from the Vancouver core. When they get too uppity and noticed by Shaw, they get stepped on.

      Of course, Shaw could wire fiber optics to the home and compete on price, service, and technology, but it’s actually cheaper for them to practically give away service to a hand-selected group of 9,000 current Novus customers, while carefully avoiding pitching the fire sale pricing to their current customers who will be outraged by it, and of course restrict it only to where Novus serves. Every other Shaw customer ends up underwriting the giveaway, at least until Novus throws in the towel, and then prices go up again for everyone.

      These kinds of anticompetitive and anti-consumer practices are part of the bigger fight here, even when they aren’t directly on point with usage caps and limits. Where competition is limited, your broadband will be as well.

  7. Jenn says:

    We’ve also set up a Facebook group that you can join http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=107302697894 as well as a mobile campaign. Text ’10buckstoo’ to 82442.

    Thanks for the great coverage of our campaign and helping us to spread the word on Shaw’s predatory pricing campaign to try and drive Novus out of business.

  8. Amlex says:

    predatory pricing? more like Shaw finally charges what their services are worth, no wonder prices for everything are so high here, the second a company that exists in more than one province drops their price they are accused of trying to kill the competition. So its a huge drop in price, its also in a city where the existing infrastructure is fairly up to date. I’ve noticed that most of Shaw’s deals only last for a limited time anyways, and they do have a tendency to just jack up the price on you. I would rather see a company try to make communication ridiculously affordable here in Canada than to have even the current handful of providers all over-charging.

    • BrionS says:

      Yes, predatory pricing — http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Predatory_pricing

      It’s immaterial whether or not we think it’s how much services should cost. What’s important here is:

      1.) Shaw customers outside of the Novus service area and existing customers are not offered this pricing. This means they are specifically targeting Novus customers to switch to Shaw with a nigh unbeatable deal

      2.) Novus cannot bring their prices to parity with this offer without losing money and eventually going out of business. It’s sort of the opposite of price gouging.

      If I have the majority of the market in one state and a small competitor tries to start up in that state, dropping my prices for new customers in that competitor’s region below his cost is predatory pricing. I can survive because the profit margins in the rest of my market will make up for the loss incurred by the pricing in this small region and I don’t need to sustain it indefinitely — only until that competitor goes out of business.

      The only way this wouldn’t be predatory is if Novus can match that offer and stay in business.

      I’m not familiar with Novus’ rates — are they exorbitant? Are those rates in line with Shaw’s (before this) but they offer a superior product? And probably most importantly, do you honestly believe Shaw would have this promotion if Novus did not exist?

      Before you answer that last question consider the conditions of Shaw’s offer: must be a new customer in Novus’ area of coverage…

    • On the surface, I’d love to pay $9.95 a month for each of my telecom services as well and laugh myself silly for paying so little. But there’s a difference here. If Shaw was offering this sign-up promotion to everyone in their service area, or at least everyone in Vancouver, they’d have at least some defense. But when they carefully target it to just current customers of Novus, where Novus is sold, and that cost obviously represents a loss for them (and in Canada that cost is below what the programmers are charging Shaw per customer), that’s predatory behavior.

      Personally, if Shaw ran this promotion everywhere, as a loss leader, Novus would have a harder time proving their case, and Canadians could sit pretty ping-ponging back and forth every year switching from one promotional deal to another.

      If we had four competitors in every city in Canada with nearly identical levels of service – Bell, Cable Company X, a fiber optic overbuilder, and perhaps a high speed wireless option, you’d see some real savings. When a company like Shaw does this kind of deal, investors are going to think twice about putting money into a company like Novus that is going to have a hard time keeping the lights on competing at those prices, much less providing that investor with a nice return on his or her investment.

      In my opinion, one of the big reasons we have trouble attracting competition in the first place is the prevailing attitude in the investor community that more than two competitors will dilute returns to a mediocre level, so best not sink money into new competing private ventures and wait “forever” for a return.

  9. BrionS says:

    Since we’re defending Novus here we (meaning Stop the Cap!) really need to recognize that the Novus Internet plans are *data capped* plans.


    So while part of the mission of StopTheCap.com is to foster ethical competition, the other part is being diametrically opposed to data caps and we would be hypocritical not to criticize and condemn Novus for implementing such data caps.

    I invite the folks at Novus to explain clearly on this site why they feel data caps are necessary or what it affords them that other types of limits do not (such as speed tiers). By comparison, in the U.S. Verizon offers FiOS fiber-to-home products in many areas with higher transfer rates than Novus offers and no data caps at all. Even Novus’ highest tier of Internet access does not offer an unlimited data package. $0.50/GB/month overage still seems excessively high as overcharging fees go, but much lower than those proposed by the U.S. cable and telcos.

    For shame Novus on your data caps! We want Shaw to have competition but we mostly want consumers to win with lower prices and fewer restrictions (in theory competition will provide those things).

    • I agree with you Brion. I think that there are two distinct issues here, and I have no problem tackling both:

      1) The clear-cut case of predatory pricing at work here to put a competitor out of business, or reduce its value to allow Shaw to pick them up for a song on one of their acquisition frenzies.

      2) For a fiber optic competitor to be throwing consumption limits that are akin to what AT&T is testing is a big problem for me. I hadn’t had a chance yesterday to explore their site while I was on the phone trying to get an explanation from Shaw over what their pricing argument was for the Vancouver-Novus market.

      There may be one potential explanation for this — if they are getting their connectivity through Bell (Canada). Bell has slapped usage based pricing on their commercial wholesale accounts, and if Novus is getting connectivity through Bell, they would be following most of the other ISPs in Canada that are forced to put limits on their own customers. Bell is an extremely major problem for independent Canadian ISPs.

      I will add an update highlighting the caps they have in place, and hopefully we’ll see some sort of response. I also believe dropping caps would give them a dramatic competitive advantage against Shaw, which has caps ranging from 10-150GB, and according to customers, no measurement tool.

  10. dnb778 says:

    I don’t get it.

    Since this offer has been sent to select customers, some of which are outside Novus’ service area, and since Novus, like all telecom companies, has offered promotions to some of its customers that were better than others (like suite 411 gets a free PVR and 9.95 cable, whereas suite 513 wasn’t offered it)

    Other than being a really good offer, how is this so different from other promotions? It seems like the issue at hand is that a company offered a lower price to some of its customers, which happens ALL THE TIME!

    I understand the costs, but its not like its a permanent drop in price.

    Also, what is the legal issue that is specifically at issue here?

    Upon researching this I found that the article referenced in the wikipedia entry was actually repealed on June 1st. I’m not very experienced with these laws, but I couldn’t see anything that referenced this sort of thing. If anyone does know, I’m happy to have a further read into it.

    Just my $.02

    • BrionS says:

      Good find. I’m having a hard time finding out exactly what the rationale was for removing that section (or what it used to say) but it seems that the section that the Wikipedia article referred to (section 50) was repealed in 2009.

      I wonder if that means Novus will have a harder time fighting back because the law they could have used was repealed for some reason.

      P.S. I did suggest on the discussion page of the Wikipedia entry that the page should be updated and gave them a link to the current law.

      **Update** It seems section 50 was removed because it was already covered by sections 78 and 79 – the Abuse of Dominance section(s). More info here: http://competitionbureau.gc.ca/eic/site/cb-bc.nsf/vwapj/ct02270e.pdf/$file/ct02270e.pdf

      • dnb778 says:

        yeah i see how some of that is covered by the Abuse of Dominance section, but it seems to me like Novus is likely to open such a large can of worms that it is unlikely to go anywhere.

        This type of pricing, although highly aggressive, is not targeted only at Novus customers, and is completely temporary. Its a 12 month promo. All kinds of companies have sales, and this is exactly that.

        • BrionS says:

          The more I read about this in the Canadian news the less sympathy I have for either side.

          Shaw is stating that while it’s offer is only targeted at multi-dwelling units in Vancouver (that’s a VERY narrow market segment in my opinion) it is not limited that offer to only Novus-wired dwellings.

          At the same time, Shaw is stating that Novus has been anti-competitive in the past by not allowing Shaw or other competitors into buildings it has wired with “fibre [sic] optic cable”.

          Reactions in the comments to the quality of Shaw’s service are mixed as well – some like them, some hate them. I guess Canada will have to sort itself out, but I feel sorry for the people stuck in the middle of all this nonsense and no one with any real power is on their side (except them of course).

          The article also suggests Novus has stated Shaw has been ramping up their efforts of targeting Novus customers and this is simply the latest and most aggressive campaign.

          Source: http://www.cbc.ca/consumer/story/2009/07/29/novus-shaw-competition-complaint.html

          • Since Novus’ primary customer base is in multi-dwelling units (MDU), it’s completely ludicrous for Shaw to claim their offer is fair because it’s supposedly not just targeted at Novus customers. They know perfectly well Novus lives or dies based on their MDU customer base.

            There is no reason to target just MDU sign-ups. It’s an afterthought damage control response.

            Additionally, Shaw could also provide evidence it is blast-mailing all MDU’s in Vancouver and not just those buildings it knows perfectly well are wired by Novus. Current Shaw customers in MDUs don’t get the deal, and you can be sure the majority of those that will find out about it were target marketed and:

            a) live in an MDU;
            b) do not appear on Shaw’s current customer list;

            I’d take Shaw’s accusations about access to buildings with a grain of salt. The landlord has final say there, and although many providers, including cable companies, try for exclusive agreements, those are becoming far less common than they used to be, and most of them were with the cable company. Shaw has been around longer than Novus, and you can bet virtually all residential MDUs were wired for cable television or, at least, satellite television years before Novus turned up.

            Also, why is Shaw only bringing this “problem” up now?

            I’m sure Shaw is about on par with most cable providers. When they work fine, consumers will like the service and hate the price. Those that don’t routinely get a bad picture, lousy service, or a rate hike notice.

            • BrionS says:

              Well as I said, it seems that this is just another case of corporations behaving badly (Novus and Shaw). I applaud Novus for attempting to provide a competitive alternative to Shaw but they are by no means the golden poster child of what a customer-friendly ISP should look like in my opinion.

  11. Duane Storey says:

    I think the cap argument is fairly weak actually. I was a Novus customer for a few years, and the only time I hit the cap was when I was running a server and accidentally had a file hotlinked off of a few major sites. I simply called Novus, paid a small fee, and my cap was raised.

    Other than that, I never came close to hitting the cap, and as a power user, it’s basically a non issue. I think a cap has to exist somewhere such that not everyone has to pay to support people who use crazy amounts of bandwidth, like Torrenters — let them pay for their excess.

    • BrionS says:

      Am I correct in understanding that you felt sorry for hitting the cap and felt you owed Novus more money for doing so accidentally?

      The cap isn’t about being hit by accident, or indeed on purpose. It’s about nickel-and-diming those who accidentally hit it….unless you’re Time Warner, then you set the cap so low as to virtually guarantee a significant portion of your subscriber base will hit it. (The latest out of TWC is that TV Everywhere would not be exempt from caps, so you get to pay for your TV shows on cable and again when you use this ‘free service” and blast through your cap.)

      If any ISP wants to put a cap in they can do so but only for the purposes of being able to detect so-called “heavy users” and address those individuals.

      From a bandwidth standpoint the cable providers have been very successful at muddying the waters enough to confuse everyone into thinking at 5GB movie is 5GB of consumed bandwidth. It would be if you pulled the entire movie down in 1 second – then you’d have a throughput of about 40Gbps! (note the case difference between GB and Gb – it makes a difference. The first is 8 times larger than the second,) – otherwise you’re probably downloading at 10 or 15Mbps of bandwidth which is an order of magnitude less. A 5 GB movie at 10Mbps will take approximately 68 minutes to download.

      So if you jumped online with your super-high-speed FiOS Internet with 40Gbps and you actually connected to a server that served up your full speed, you could use 5GB of bandwidth in one second…..but then you’d be done and not be using bandwidth anymore (because the transfer is complete). So….someone else can now use the space you took up for 1 second.

      High speeds (a.k.a. high bandwidth) are not a problem unless a large number of people are using their full capacity at the same time.

      I’ve talked extensively on Twitter with Alex Dudley the Vice President of Public Relations at TWC. He stated over Twitter (which was public of course) that the real “heavy users” that they’re concerned with are the “always on” people. People who constantly use their full bandwidth 24×7. It doesn’t even matter to TWC if they’re on RoadRunner Lite using it 24×7 – the fact that they are occupying their full bandwidth all the time is a point of contention with TWC.

      In other words, one possible theoretical solution would be to increase everyone’s speeds thereby reducing the amount of time any one person is likely to spend maxing out their connection and freeing up bandwidth for more people to use.

      Think about it. If it takes you 5 minutes to download a video from the Internet at your full connection speed then for that 5 minutes there is that much less available bandwidth for others to use. But if your connection speed were increased tenfold, then that 5 minute download would turn into something more like a 30 second download and the remaining 4m 30s of time you would have spent using your connection is now free for others to use.

      Obviously that solution isn’t immediately available because as mentioned in other articles roll-out of DOCSIS 3.0 (which would enable something like that to happen) will take a significant amount of time and money, though not as much as some would have you believe.

      My long-winded point is that data caps are neither the problem nor the solution to bandwidth concerns. Putting a cap on usage doesn’t do anything beneficial except to deter people from using the Internet for large data-bound activities like online video and (legitimate) file sharing. The caps only cost you money if you bump into it by accident and they don’t alleviate the problem of congestion when everyone wants to get online at the same time (evenings primarily).

      P.S. It’s not my intention to insult your intelligence by explaining GB vs. Gb and bandwidth vs. data. I’m merely trying to make this comment digestible to anyone who reads it.

  12. Duane Storey says:

    I’m saying I hit the cap because of an excessive amount of bandwidth usage on my part. Given that I was happy with Novus, that they’ve provided great service, that they were cheaper than Shaw, I had no problem paying the $10 or whatever to increase my limit for the month. I never felt like the cap was arbitrarily low — I torrent all the time and never hit it until that point.

    >> Putting a cap on usage doesn’t do anything beneficial except to deter people from using the Internet for large data-bound activities like online video and (legitimate) file sharing. The caps only cost you money if you bump into it by accident and they don’t alleviate the problem of congestion when everyone wants to get online at the same time (evenings primarily).

    I dunno, I disagree. I only hit the cap when I did something out of the ordinary, and never hit it for anything legitimate. I think it’s doing what it was intended to do.

    • Our larger problem with caps here is that what looks generous today is punitive tomorrow. Not every provider increases them as people, in general, consume more bandwidth. Hell, Bell just lowered their caps a few weeks ago. That’s the limbo dance craze of usage caps. If they establish a beachhead, and consumers grudgingly accept them, then it simply becomes a new profit point for the provider to overcharge you for broadband. What might start at a low price can always increase later.

      What a lot of people do not understand is that bandwidth costs are rapidly declining, not increasing. People see $1/GB in overlimit fees and somehow think that’s reasonable. In the US, most major providers are paying pennies per gigabyte. The rest is pure profit, and has the extra benefit of making consumers think twice about using their broadband account for fear of going over the limit.

      Canada’s online video marketplace, limited as it is, is a direct result of pervasive usage caps. Businesses see little interest in using broadband to deliver video content to Canadians because of the usage caps, which will make consumers think twice about using such services. That’s music to the ears of cable and satellite providers who fear consumers’ dropping cable television service and watching TV online instead.

      In the United States, the presence of legitimate online video is now consuming lots of bandwidth, and now the providers themselves promise to make hundreds and hundreds of individual TV shows and specials available 24/7 online, on demand, for existing cable TV subscribers. I assure you if such a service were available in Canada, and people started using it, those 100GB caps would not be as generous then. The difference is such services are not available in Canada, precisely because it doesn’t make business sense to try.

      I think when we’re talking about consumer use of broadband, historically Acceptable Use Policies have always provided protection for companies that discover a user consuming an insane amount of bandwidth (terabytes per month). Usage caps came into place in Canada because of concerns about bandwidth availability, and providers, whether they had an issue on their network or not, went along for the ride because the extra money and reduced demand on their networks made good business sense to them.

      Meanwhile, Canada rapidly is falling behind in broadband rankings, and at an accelerating rate. You are paying too much for too little service, and too often it’s also throttled.

      Our view is that broadband is becoming increasingly plentiful and profitable, and pricing should be stable or declining for existing service, not increasing, with limits and penalty fees.

    • BrionS says:

      Your case is rather interesting though. You said you got hit with overage fees because you were running a server and some content you were serving became popular on Reddit or Digg or whatever and caused a spike in traffic.

      Do you think it was unfair of you (or to you) that people wanted to see your content enough to punch you through your cap? Do you think that traffic would have lasted for a long time (or has it)? And do you feel that what you did was outside the realm of legitimate Internet use? That is, were you intentionally trying to generate a lot of traffic and therefore abusing the network? Should people not be allowed to run their own servers (personal sites, etc.) for fear that they might produce something that a lot of people want to see?

      Your case is also special in that you were able to get your cap raised. I’ve never seen that here in the U.S. Usually there is one cap for your service level or there is one cap for all levels. The only way to increase your cap (for the ones that are capped by level) is to increase your monthly / annual payment by a somewhat significant amount for a somewhat higher cap (though again, I’ve not seen much of a significant increase in caps between levels, mostly an increase in speed and/or cost to the customer).

  13. Uncle Ken says:

    I actually felt / still feel bad about novus until I looked at their site, the
    pricing tiers with caps. Then again I think they all do it in Canada. Top
    tier as I remember was like $179 with a 50 10. Look you might have 50 10
    in their system but you hit the big bad world you not going to hit those
    numbers if you try. You go as fast as the pipes allow and maybe a little
    faster if they pay for some extra space and I doubt that. Shaw is a sham…
    Think how customers will feel when the full price kicks in. Screwed. Caps are
    evil anywhere. Who said caps are not in out future? It’s already being done
    and the providers are all holding a nuclear hand grenade with the pin
    pulled waiting for the other guy to let the lever go. Total caps in the US in a
    month after that. Nothing going on in Washington to stop it that we know
    of. Maybe you know something I do not. But Canada is another country
    so Not much we can do about it. There are only two ways to fight it.
    Regulation or sign off till they come around. You and call me the eternal
    pessimist but im seldom wrong because I always look at things from
    two sides. It is coming. You can not fight something when you have
    no options and they know it. To think they do not talk to each other
    often I would have to put some in the Fool category.

    • BrionS says:

      As long as Internet access is not mandated we still have the power because we have the money. Until there are zero providers left in the United State who offer Internet without data caps I will not concede to pay any ISP for a capped plan.

      Yes it’s bleak but it doesn’t mean we should throw up the white flag and cry in our soup for bygone days when the air was clean and Internet was unlimited. 🙂

  14. Duane Storey says:

    Would you guys rather have a fixed price with a cap, or a pay as you go pricing scheme where you pay directly for bandwidth? I mean, someone has to pay for all that equipment. Fiber doesn’t just light itself up — lasers have to be replaced, receivers have to be serviced etc, not just on your local loop, but on other loops that Novus has peering agreements with. You really think every user should be allowed to max out the capacity of their pipe no matter what? If not, what safeguards do you propose?

    • Fiber deployment is not just driven by broadband. As we’ve seen in the States, Verizon is aggressively deploying fiber optics in many of their service areas because they see enormous profit potential from having an easily scalable technology that can do far more than their old copper wiring could ever do.

      Verizon, which was just a phone company, can now sell telephone service AND video and broadband services to their customers. They can make money on all of these services, plus pay per view, and whatever new services they can dream up that fiber can provide. Average revenue per customer has more than doubled, and customers who sign up for a multi-service package are traditionally more likely to stay loyal to that provider.

      Verizon doesn’t place usage caps on their customers. They deal with the heavy users by marketing speed-based tiers to them. Heavier users want faster speed, so they create broadband packages that offer much faster speeds, and charge a premium price for that tier, which consumers GLADLY accept. Verizon FiOS is a technology consumers clamor for, sign online petitions to get, beg for in the areas where it is not available, and become very happy customers, even if they are paying a higher price for much faster service. These are the power users usage caps are supposed to control. Instead, Verizon rakes in giant profits by selling these people better, faster service at considerably higher prices.

      Everyone wins. Customer is thrilled with faster speed. Verizon’s bandwidth costs are more than covered by the premium pricing on fast speeds. The fiber network has tons of capacity so it doesn’t slow down anyone else.

      That’s a winning formula. Canadian ISPs decided to antagonize a lot of their customers with a winning Money Party formula. First they throttled the speeds of certain online applications, by 90% or more at times, then they stuck arbitrary usage limits on broadband service… and then raised the price anyway. Broadband speed in Canada, at the prices being charged, are expensive compared to service in the States.

      When new Canadian higher speed tiers are introduced, they charge insane amounts of money for them, and only incrementally raise the usage cap, making them a horrible deal.

      The marketing and propaganda departments of broadband providers want to sell you on one theory of broadband management, and then the actual stockholder financial reports tell a remarkably different tale, usually about companies that are so stuffed with profits from their broadband divisions, they have no idea where to put all the money. Then they also show their infrastructure investments, the things usage caps, limits, and fees were supposed to help pay for to make the network better, are actually DECLINING. Why? Because their networks suffer reduced demand from reduced usage, the cost for upgrades is very low on a per subscriber basis, and their bandwidth pricing is actually declining, often rapidly.

      Revenue up, customers up, profit up. Costs down, investment on infrastructure improvements down, cost to perform upgrades to improve service very low.

      The safeguards, for a change, should be for the customer, not for the provider, because they’ve built in plenty for themselves over the years. Any Acceptable Use Policy already contains clauses that allow a company to stop a customer from negatively impacting a broadband network, which could easily include overuse into the terabyte realm. ISPs have always had these issues and have always dealt with them as needed.

      A lot of usage caps, especially on tier based pricing schemes, are designed to trip and trap many more consumers with penalty fees. They also are typically not flexible enough to allow a customer’s use of their account to fluctuate as needed. Many providers with caps let you upgrade effective only with the next billing cycle, and several do not allow more than a limited number of changes per year. Some even charge a fee for changing a plan, and those on price protection agreements or contracts can only upgrade, not downgrade service for the length of the contract.

    • BrionS says:

      That’s a false choice.

      It’s like asking, “Would you rather be shot in the hand or the foot?” I would respond with, “why must I be shot at all?” Or in your case, “How does having a cap that I’m supposedly not going to hit going to help pay for network upgrades?”

      This is exactly why data caps are a fantasy in terms of revenue generation for upgrades (if they’re too high so as not to catch “legitimate use”) and in terms of solving network congestion (you can still get congestion if users choose to access the Internet at the same time, even well below their caps).

      Here’s a few other ways to mitigate network costs and congestion:
      * Use money from investors and re-invested profits to upgrade network hardware
      * Reduce the amount of oversold bandwidth to a more manageable ratio (if selling at 100:1, sell at 75:1 or lower)
      * Remove excessively heavy users from the network (ban their accounts)
      * Incrementally upgrade the network so the cost is amortized over several years (which it is anyway so I don’t understand the whining about it costing too much)
      * Create tiered pricing by speed and charge more for higher speeds for those who want it — they will effectively subsidize the network upgrades for those who don’t want the faster speeds, but it’s voluntary.

      None of those remediations involve data caps or sticking me with a higher bill at my current level to pay for network improvements.

      Why do we need a faster network (aside from customer desire)? To manage oversold and crowded network traffic? See points #1 & #2. Because heavy users are causing a drain? See points #2 and #5. To remain competitive in the market? See points #1, #4, and #5.

      Data caps are illusory as a solution to anything. Please don’t fall for the line that there is no other way.

  15. Uncle Ken says:

    Duane: I would prefer a fixed price with no caps. It is those TB guys they
    need to shut off…. not by tier but by canceled accounts. I do not think many
    are abusing the system. Caps and tiers are a money grab to support a
    sagging TV sector.

  16. Duane Storey says:

    See, it sounds like you want the best of both, like a client who wants the cheapest price and yet the best service. I don’t agree caps are a money grab all the time — if 99% of people aren’t affected, then really who cares? If it doesn’t affect you, why do you care?

    Maybe it’s more of a money grab with Shaw, but as I mentioned above, the only time I hit the cap was when I really had excessive usage one month, and even then the charge was minimal (still under the competition’s normal monthly rate).

    • Ron Dafoe says:

      What we want, is to continue to enjoy the internet the way we have been enjoying the internet for the last 10 years and they way that they have advertised their services. ISPs have somehow managed to make alot of money off of us without arbitrarily limited our usage based upon some companies current economic condition. All you have to do is look to Canada, where the caps have actually been lowered and they now sell some kind of “cap insurance” for just in case you go over your cap. These caps have also practically stalled broadband deployment in Canada as well.

      I would encourage you to research what is happening around you. It may not matter to you, but it may matter to your family, a few years down the road (if it applies, that is).

      There are no needs for caps. The speed tiers do the same thing that a tiered cap system does without having to worry about some kind of metered billing. They can deal with abusers as they come up. AS far as I am conscerned they can manage the traffic as they see fit as well. Just don’t expect me to be satisfied with their service if 75% of the day, my speed is reduced by 98% for regular use.

      TWC has shows they are spending less year after year onthe internet side of their network, DESPITE the increase usage.

      Those of us see what caps are for what they really are. These companies claim that they want to save people money, but really – if that were true, their profits would suffer alot and they would be in a world of financial hurt. What this is is a way to increase the cost to consumers without increasing the base price. The less people that use their network out of fear of going over their cap, the better.

    • BrionS says:

      I can’t say I’ve ever fully understood this line of thinking. If it doesn’t affect you (now) then it’s not worth thinking about until it does affect you? Sometimes allowing certain things to occur creates a snowball effect that is difficult if not impossible to stop later on when it suddenly does affect you. It’s a very short-sighted way to think.

      You know, dumping my trash and toxic chemicals into this stream that is flowing away from me doesn’t affect me so why should I care?

      Eating McDonald’s Big Macs every day hasn’t affected me yet and I love ’em so why should I care?

      Capping my data usage at 250 GB doesn’t affect me now, so why should I care?

      In 10 years do you think that the trash dumped in the river will not have an affect on you (or your neighbors downstream)?

      Or in 10 years do you think you’ll be as healthy on an all-McDonald’s diet?

      In 10 years do you think your Internet usage will be the same is it is today and that 250 GB will still be high enough (indeed, will it still be the limit)? Is your usage of the Internet more or less today than it was 10 years ago?

      I think it’s naive to believe that Shaw or Novus or TWC or Comcast or any corporation has you in mind and has any intention of increasing caps as Internet use grows over time. To be sure, they’re putting caps and overage fees in place now to stunt or prevent that growth so they don’t have to spend their profits building out a more technologically advanced system (or spend it on R&D to create the technical advances).

      It’s in everyone’s best interest to picture themselves 5 or 10 years in the future with your past as a guide and see how data caps will affect you, even if they don’t now.

  17. Uncle Ken says:

    I have alot of good to say about Novus. A start up trying to do everything
    right. They are considered one or the best up there. To Shaw that was a
    danger. I do not have the cheapest price but i will be damned if they here
    are going to nickel dime me to death. Im sick of people reaching into
    my pocket given any chance. Reach in my pocket you might find your
    fingers cut off.

  18. Uncle Ken says:

    Duane: How about if you limit was 1 gig or 5. what would you think then?

  19. Duane Storey says:

    I’d be upset with any cap that I hit doing legitimate usage. But that’s never been the case with me. Have you hit the cap?

    • Ron Dafoe says:

      I would like to know what you beleive is legitimate usage?

      Is legitimate usage Netflix streaming to the Xbox? I can watch 1 movie from netflix and easily hit 5Gb in one night. What about Steam gaming?

      Is legitimate usage http://www.direct2drive.com?

      What about WotC’s pay site for Dungeons and Dragons where every month you download an update to their character builder or magazines online? Ot the compendium searching while your gaming?

      What about World of Warcraft? or Cartoon network for your kids?

      Is legitimate usage listening to internet radio that you are interested in?

      What about uploading digital pictures to http://walmart.com for them to print for you?

      All this stuff adds up in the end. Arbitrarily limiting your usage is not the right way to manage traffic on a network.

      Businesses use much more traffic than a home user uses on average in one day. I would guess that despit the 2x cost, most of them use more than 2x the data – and they get other perks by being able to run their own servers.

    • On July 31, 2008 this site was started because Frontier Communications, our local telephone company in Rochester, NY slapped a 5GB monthly usage cap on DSL customers which they’ve decided not to enforce at this time. Their claim is that the majority of their customers never come close to hitting 5GB of usage.

      Comcast, meanwhile, has a 250GB monthly usage cap. Many others have no caps at all.

      The wide variations in caps should tell you something — they are highly subjective and you can be sure are also designed knowing full well what kind of additional revenue overlimit fees will likely bring in to the revenue side.

      My concern is not about whether a cap will affect me personally or not. I wouldn’t be affected by Comcast’s cap, for example. That’s entirely beside the point. A “generous” cap today is a punitive one tomorrow, in many ways.

      I also realize that what they get away with extracting more cash from my neighbor’s wallet will eventually come back to haunt me when they find a way to redefine me as a “heavy user” as well. Sooner or later, we’re talking about lowest common denominator broadband, which is grandma logging in to check her e-mail and look at a few web pages. With companies like Frontier, we’re already there in the Acceptable Use Policy department.

      First, accepting us vs. them rhetoric from providers about “heavy downloaders” somehow costing you more is ridiculous on its face. Providers are not reducing broadband pricing. It’s increasing along with their profits. Bell cut their pricing on their DSL service but dramatically decreased the caps, exposing more customers to overlimit fees. Their marketing, of course, only talks about the lower base price for the service, not the cap.

      When Time Warner experimented with their tiered pricing scheme, it would have gutted an existing light user plan, replacing it with a very punitive new light user plan with just a 1GB usage cap. It would have saved nobody a thing. Current customers like myself who wanted to keep the same level of service I have today for $50 a month now faced paying $150 a month… for no improvement whatsoever.

      Second, broadband with usage caps stifles innovation. The reason you are not sitting down to watch Hulu or a Netflix (in Canada the equivalent is Zip.ca) online movie tonight is because those services are not available in Canada. Why? Because the business model won’t work with onerous usage caps. The CBC distributes some online video, often by peer to peer, a service many providers in Canada throttles to the point of making it a pain in the butt to bother with.

      Of course, Rogers Cable just happens to partner with Zip.ca, so if they found it in their hearts to exempt online movie streaming for their customers who also use Zip, that’s a sweetheart deal for Rogers, and in a competitive marketplace would quickly be the end of competitors like ‘CINEMAil’ and Canflix.

      What new high bandwidth applications of the future are in store for Canadians? Not a whole lot with 60GB average usage caps for most residential customers.

  20. Uncle Ken says:

    No at the moment we do not have caps but my day is usually a lot of
    news video, NASA TV, and a few U tubes. Maybe sometimes a movie.
    But it will end up over 5 gig and im not paying extra for that. Ill trash the
    damn thing before that Then I can spend more time in banks and libraries
    with a hood.

  21. Uncle Ken says:

    Ron why don’t they just raise everybody’s price $5 a month and be done
    with it. After 10 years a guess a $5 raise is in order.

    • Ron Dafoe says:

      Ken – I don’t know why. There would have been the standard cable company raising their rates argument but really – at least for internet they have not. I think most people here would gladly pay a $5 or $10 a month increase in price for no caps.

      My best guess is the internet video streaming is what they are trying to limit. After all if you are charged more for the movie to watch it online then on your cable system, then that could stop the cable bleeding.

  22. Incognitojoe says:

    Novus and 6s Marketing are behind this pr campaign. Not sure what axe 6s has to grind with Shaw but it`s odd that they would involve themselves directly with this.

    Novus should have sold to Shaw when they first starting talk to them years ago, instead of playing the fool. Good for Shaw for putting the hammer down on these time-wasters.

  23. Duane Storey says:

    Why is it odd? It’s a social media campaign run by a company that specializes in (amongst other things) social media.

    Clearly you’ve never used Novus — it’s a far superior service to Shaw.

  24. Incognitojoe says:

    Clearly you`ve never been talked to by the Novus bandwidth police, had to pay out of your arse for a service call, or ever done business with Terry. Here`s $9.95. Use it to buy a clue.

    • My Choice says:

      Hey Incognitojoe I would suggest that ALL of your comments are meaningless dribble. And yes I am an example of an extremely HAPPY Novus Customer. If you are privy to the information you post about i.e.. ” You have no idea how many have already switched before this new campaign, do you? They were already switching in droves which is why Terry approached Shaw a while ago about selling. He knew what was coming down the pipe”. then you must be associated with Shaw in some regard. At which point your “information” is probably fabricated. And if you are not associated with Shaw then where do you get your “information” from. You click your heels twice and it just comes to you? I will not switch back to Shaw and allow them to remove the competition. If I were to help Shaw succeed, where would I be in 1 year? I would no longer have the choice to utilize a far superior service. Since day 1 with Novus I have been paying cheaper rates for better services. This is why Shaw wants them gone. Shaw is scared of decent competition. And as for you “sheeple” I would suggest that you get your facts straight before posting. For instance you suggest that Novus services only Concord buildings. I now live in a Cressey Developments building and have their service. Before that I lived in a Bosa Development building with the Novus service. My biggest problem was when I first moved into the Cressey building my only option was Shaw. Thankfully Novus was available shortly thereafter. Without competition we have nothing.
      Since moving to Novus I have been bombarded with promotions via the phone and mail from Shaw. It has gotten to the point where I actually consider it harassment. At least I still have a choice as to who receives my money. If the time comes when I feel Shaw would be the better provider I would still like it to be MY CHOICE.

      • blah says:

        incognito don’t know anything special. plenty of people know bits and pieces of what is going on behind the scenes. Here’s what I know. Novus is fast as hell, shaw has decent speed now that they doubled the high speed. Docsis 3 will make things just lovely but still not the speeds of Novus. Novus isn’t competition, however Telus is. Especially now that they are teaming up with Bell. They are probably being alittle more aggressive considering both the economy and the threat that Telus/Bell poses.

        Shaw ain’t even close to a monopoly. They may want to be one they grow up but they got a lotta growing to do.

  25. Duane Storey says:

    Well first, way to hide behind an anonymous name.

    Second, I was a happy Novus customer, and if you read through the comments, you’d know that. I even exceeded bandwidth once, and was happy to pay the small amount to bump my limit up. Also in the comments above.

    I’m paying about $50 a month now for internet service through Shaw that goes down a few times a month, and is turtle slow compared to the Novus service I had in Vancouver. I paid about $30 on Novus, and it never went down on me in about 3 years.

    So go ahead and keep your $9.95. We’ll see what happens when the smoke clears and the legal battle heats up between these two companies. But judging from the response on Twitter, not too many Novus customers are even considering jumping to Shaw at $9.95 — what does that tell you?

  26. Incognitojoe says:

    “But judging from the response on Twitter” You have no idea how many have already switched before this new campaign, do you? They were already switching in droves which is why Terry approached Shaw a while ago about selling. He knew what was coming down the pipe.

    Once he started playing games, Shaw decided they had enough. So, now they target MDU’s, many of which are Terry’s. Novus isn’t the only winback target. They give away thousands of dollars a month in free PVR’s just to get Telus customers back also.

    Although “social networking” is fantastic, it sure creates a whole lot of clueles sheep.

    Baaaaaa Baaaaaa.

  27. Uncle Ken says:

    Morning Ron: Yes you are correct some would view a raise of $5 a month
    for internet just another raise for the providers. Everyone here knows that
    that is not the case with the internet. From day one my cost is always the
    same every month… has been forever. Education for the masses would
    teach them the real screw job is from cable TV. Maybe 10 percent a year
    while adding 5 more BET channels and even more junk filler. Anything
    worth watching is always PPV or on some bundled extra cost sub. I do
    not pick up the tab for TV in this house so I do not even know how many
    channels are here. Hell I dont even know how to run a TW remote. I have
    little interest in TV. Now lets say I did a study based only on me out of
    that 100 channels how many would I watch? maybe 6 or 8. My point being
    Shaw $145 a month for TV and finding out very quickly the economy will
    no longer support such a price when it offers nothing. To add to the misery
    Take an hour long American chopper clip. Record it then run it through
    a video edit program and remove all the ads and junk then recombine it.
    What is left is about 30 to 35 minutes of actual show meaning almost
    50 percent is ads they also get paid for. Some may miss Billy Mays but
    I think he created the mute button, The toilet break, and microwave pop
    corn. Anything to get away from it.

    Brion: You said somewhere that we have the money and so the control.
    You forget the human element of addiction. Addiction to TV and the
    internet. Many without it for a day would either kill themselves or dehydrate
    to the point of becoming dust. Ask any drug dealer how important
    addiction is to support their business model. We are not in control.

    • Ron Dafoe says:

      I do not think that TWC has ever raised the price of RoadRunner, at least not in the Rochester area.

      I am a Direct TV sub. When netflix streaming came to the Xbox, I stopped subbing to all of the premium channels – HBO, SHO, MAX etc. I saw that I could pay netflix $8 a month and get alot of those streaming, or if not available, the discs through the mail.

      A TV show is typically around 40 minutes when the commercial are gone.

      I never watch live TV except for Football games. I record anything that I am interested in and FF through the comercials. I spend less time watching what I want to watch, and I can watch it WHEN I want to watch it.

  28. Sheeple says:

    Saw this comment on another site. Had no idea that Novus was run by those Concord-Pacific people. No wonder they are complaining. Developers losing big money in a terrible real estate market. Go figure!

    “Novus creating jobs? Ha! Everytime I hear this I LOL. They employ a total of what, 40 employees? Shaw just hired 15 reps last week alone! All within your community. Novus has such poor support, they had to hire a company to make posts and tweets and such to try and discredit Shaw?

    Shaw has is Canadian owned, employees over 10,000 Canadians, supports Canadian Athletes, supports Fire efforts in Kelowna, Charities, received top awards for environmentally-friendly office buildings(only 2 other bldgs in Canada got this), and so on, and so on, and so on.

    What has Concord/Novus done for your community lately? Besides building overpriced, poor quality condos to help inflate this nasty housing bubble, or creating a hostile environment for competition in its own buildings?

    While the “grassroots” Yaletown hip-yuppies strut around in their lululemon and lather themselves with Patchouli long enough to complain about big bad Shaw vs “tiny” Novus, they don’t do their research first.

    6s Marketing, the company Novus hired to do their complaining for them, should have done more due diligence before not only taking on Novus as a client, but buying the domain for them and all. Usual practice or is there something else going on? Does 6S normally own the domains of clients they take on? I hope their other clients don’t fall into that trap of not even owning the site/blog that they hire 6S to market. You’d have to be crazy to allow any company to create a site/blog for you, yet you don’t even own it!

    What about Terry Hui? You know, the owner of Concord/Novus? If the “little guy vs big guy” team took a closer look at the ownership of the people they are mistakenly rallying around, they’d know this. Terry buys off city councilors with Canucks tickets, lavish dinners on his yacht, tickets to other events , pays off political campaign debts to the tune of thousands, all for the sake of building more condos INSTEAD of sustainable social housing or even affordable to the average worker-type housing.

    The same people that are complaining about Shaw being a “bully” for trying to be competitive in this market, are also the same people that are up in arms about urban sprawl and the lack of affordable housing for all. Yet, they didn’t put 2+2 together and realize that companies like Concord Pacific are behind the mess we find ourselves in. I wouldn’t be too surprised if Bob Rennie, Terry Hui and city officials sit around Terry’s massive boat, laughing at the piles of money they make, all while the common person can’t afford a house in Vancouver without having a 40 year mortgage and live-long mortgage debt slavery.

    The more I hear and read the misinformed and misguided rhetoric, the more I wonder how the clueless will ever get a clue. Perhaps never?

    • BrionS says:

      I’m just curious, did you come her to rail against Novus because of their housing and urban development practices or because you have an opinion on competition and/or data caps?

      I don’t know much about Novus – never heard of them before this article. I’ve found out a little bit more since this story broke and I’m not ready to judge one way or the other (I’m also not Canadian).

      However the facts I have found show three things:
      1. Novus as a company is far smaller than Shaw
      2. Shaw’s promotion is suspiciously narrow in its scope and low in it’s price to suspect less than fair competition (i.e. selling far below cost because they have the market elsewhere to sustain their business through the promotion in this area)
      3. Novus implements fairly stringent data caps on all their plans

      #1 is not a concern, just a fact. #2 is something of a concern if the intent is for Shaw to eliminate their competition (and this could include Telus, not just Novus). #3 is a concern because data caps serve no real purpose other than to either discourage full use of your Internet connection or rake in additional revenues while discouraging competing video distribution channels.

      Novus isn’t innocent and Shaw isn’t innocent, I don’t think we’re claiming either is.

      As for Novus schmoozing with city officials and politicians, you’re fooling yourself if you think they’re alone in that game. Every large corporation (and small ones with the right connections) play the schmooze game. It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.

      Maybe Shaw is a saintly company who donates time and money to blind orphans and maybe Novus execs wear baby seal slippers. On this site we’re primarily reporting this story because of their dubious Internet service practices not the moral cleanliness of the company or its officers. I suggest you take those rants elsewhere if that’s your main concern. Maybe someday Phillip will create Stop the Greed! – a sister site to Stop the Cap! but focused on corruption in America, but not today.

    • Hi Sheeple. I honestly don’t know enough about Novus to declare them good or evil. I do know enough to say they are a competitor. I’m sure the people who work for Shaw are good people, just like you and I. In our battle, we’ve never involved the common worker who puts in a hard day’s work. This is simply a dispute between management and consumers.

      I also don’t have enough information to say Novus’ building practices are good or evil, either. That’s way off our topic here.

      How do you know about 6s Marketing and Novus’ involvement with them? I’m just curious to find more information about this, and you might be able to point me in the right direction.

      Brion is right about the schmoozing practices of telecom companies large and small. It happens every day, and it’s up to our elected officials to not allow that kind of stuff to influence them, even though most of us suspect it does.

      But let’s stay on point — can you tell me who wins if Vancouver is stuck between a phone company DSL product and a Shaw cable modem product?

  29. Sheeple says:

    Did a whois on the domain that 6S set up to help Novus.

    Created on ………….2009-07-23-
    Expires on ………….2010-07-23-
    Record last updated on .2009-07-24-
    Status ……………..ACTIVE

    Administrative Contact:
    John Blown
    John Blown
    402-1120 Hamilton Street

    Vancouver, BC
    V6B2S2, CA

    [email protected]

    John Blown is the Marketing Co-Founder & Director of 6S. My issue there is…Do they buy and own the domains of all their clients? I mean, if I was a client, paid them tons of $, only to find out that they own the domain, I’d be choked.

    If I didn’t have better things to do, I’d build a list of their clients and see how many of those domains they own. Talk about unethical.

    Shaw isn’t a monopoly in Vancouver for internet, far from it. While admittedly Novus itself is small and only operates in Concord’s buildings, the only reason they aren’t any bigger is Concord-Pacific itself isn’t building right now due to the real estate market here. Playing the “poor little Novus” company it like saying “poor little FaceBook company”. Millions of dollars in their pockets. Period.

    So who wins as Shaw battles Telus, Bell, Techsavvy, etc, etc …The consumer of course!

  30. Bill says:

    Incognitojoe, you are WRONG about Novus charging for service calls because they don’t. I know because they just came and fixed my datajack for free. Also, if you go over the bandwith, a pop up page with appear on your screen and advise that you have gone over the limit. At that point, you have 2 options. One is to continue with what you are doing but a reduced speed and wait till the month is over before your usage is reset to a fresh start. Option 2 is to buy extra bandwith at 50 cents per Gig and continue on at the 10 Mbps connection. Bye the way, they are uping the speed to 20 Mpbs on August and the price will remain the same.
    In general, I have no problem with Novus. Unforunately, I can’t say the same for Shaw. For example, when I booked a service call with Novus, they gave me specific and showed up on time. What does Shaw do? They will give you a 3 hour time frame and you would have to stay home for that 3 hours to wait for them to show up. Oh, yeah, I only had to wait one day for the service. With Shaw, you would have to wait at least 1 to 2 weeks!!!

  31. outraged Shaw customer says:

    So if Peter Bissonnette (Shaw’s president’s)quote is TRUTHFUL(from business in Vancouver article) we should all feel ripped off. Peter is quoted as saying “that Shaw’s pricing is not below-cost”. If this is the case then their mark up is astronomical. After doing the math on this offer, it works out to $24.87/month, after factoring in the 2 months free, for all 3 services from Shaw. Now after this promo is done and you pay their regular rates, you would now be paying around $240.00/month!!!!!! That works out to approximately a 1000% MARK-UP!!!!!!!!
    This is what I call GOUGING your customers. I am appalled at this. No company should be allowed to have these kind of mark-ups. This is why they want Novus gone. No competition = 1000% mark-up.

    • Yeah, I don’t believe Shaw for a second when they say this is at cost pricing. Of course it’s not. Programming costs alone for the various networks on the cable TV side would add up to nearly that themselves.

      The markup varies on what service we are talking about. Cable used to enjoy enormous markup on the television side, but programmers have been eating into that with higher and higher program costs, and cable companies can’t raise rates fast enough to guarantee the same enormous profits they used to enjoy from the cable TV business.

      That was one of the reasons why cable has branched into telephone and broadband service. Broadband, in particular, enjoys enormous markup profits.

      My suspicion here is that Shaw’s cable TV offer would probably break even at around the $20 a month mark, still leaving them tons of profits at their $50+ pricing just for the TV side. The costs Shaw has to contend with includes labor, infrastructure, service, customer support, and… defending themselves in court.

      Even in the most competitive markets in the States, pricing is usually a maximum of 25% off the pricing charged in nearby non-competitive markets.

  32. Novuskicksazz says:

    I have no problems with Novus and I had no problems with Shaw before.

    I have a problem with people/companies trying to insult our intelligence. Strange that they are paying 6s to try and sway public opinion,yet the 6s staff are Shaw customers. Talk about not putting your money where your mouth is. I hope Novus has a money back guarantee on what they paid 6s Marketing to create the 10buckstoo site. Hiring a company owned and staffed by Shaw customers, to create a blog and post on FB about how terrible Shaw is just not quite right. Ya know?

    When Jenn Lowther(6s) tries to kick off the “debate” on ther FaceBook group by complaining about her cable bill. I question her motives. What else would she say? She’s being paid to say negative things!

  33. Repeater says:

    Since “outraged Shaw customer” is posting the exact same message on numerous messageboards relating to this topic, they must either work for 6S Marketing or Novus themselves…Otherwise who would take the time to spend hours searching and cutting and pasting?

    So, let’s play cut and paste too!

    What Novus failed to mention is that they offered everyone in their areas $9.95 internet/cable to switch to them, and as Peter Bisonette mentions has been very unwilling to allow others into the building they’ve run fiber to. That is LITERALLY a “barrier to entry” into the market for Telus, Shaw, etc, wouldn’t you say?

    Costs to maintain the services to 50-200 units in a single building are drastically different than providing them to 50-200 houses, and pricing is different. MDUs (multi-dwelling-units) are a highly competitive space, and pricing is different accordingly.

    While Shaw is clearly flexing its muscles here, it’s in response to Novus acting like a “big boy” itself, and duely being treated like one. What do you think Shaw, Telus, and Rogers do to each other every day of the week? Novus brought it upon itself.

    And every customer in those buildings wins. Remember, those are real people saving real money. If you want the same deal, you can move into an MDU too!

    Market at work, nothing more. Welcome to the big leagues Novus, you finally made it. =)

    • That is news to some of the people in Vancouver writing me who are not Novus customers and cannot get Novus service, which is common in high rise buildings but not individual homes, and Shaw told them they were not “qualified” to obtain that offer.

      It seems a lot of these flyers were target mailed to Novus-wired buildings and that even in greater Vancouver a lot of Shaw (or even competing satellite) customers never received them. In fact, the first time a lot of our Vancouver readers even recognized this was going on was when the story broke here, other online news sites, and in the local media.

      While it is true that the costs are different to serve multiple dwelling units than individual homes, they don’t come close to making that kind of pricing defensible. MDUs can have their own complications, such as wiring into tight spaces, protecting the existing building’s architecture, etc. Verizon is dealing with that in NYC as they wire FiOS.

      Other costs, from set top equipment to programming to service and support are the same no matter where the service is provisioned. The networks that Shaw carries on its system charge the same per subscriber rate regardless of where the consumer lives.

      As to accusations about Novus creating barriers to entry into buildings, Canadian telecommunications law should have defined this already. If Canadian law says building landlords cannot impede provision of competitive wired television/broadband service, than Shaw has a case in the court to force entry and collect damages. I honestly don’t have any evidence to prove or disprove this accusation, other than to note thus far I’ve only seen it come from Shaw representatives in response to the media attention Novus has generated.

      I’m all for competition, but not paid for on the backs of other Shaw customers living in areas where they don’t get a choice or this deal. If Shaw can truly demonstrate it is not engaged in predatory pricing, then consumers can reap the benefits.


    Hey Repeater- I think it’s time to stop the inaccurate postings from you and the other Shaw employee’s posting here and on other message boards. I say this because ANYONE that agrees with what Shaw are doing have been either extremely MISINFORMED or are associated with Shaw in some regard. So I may do a little “cut and paste!” myself. As for your misguided notion that there is a “barrier to entry’ into the market for Telus, Shaw, etc” guess again. It was only SHAW that complained to the CRTC at which point their complaint was DENIED. So you think it’s unfair for Novus to have an advantage in 1% of the new buildings in Vancouver whereas Shaw has the advantage in the other 99%. I can see how this is VERY UNFAIR to Shaw and annoys you so. This is a moot point as Shaw gains access shortly after Concord turns the building over. Therefore there is no “barrier to entry”.

    And yes you’re correct in that “every customer in those buildings wins”, but you fail to mention that this is a win for only 1 year. After that year they are back to Shaw’s 1000% mark-up as Shaw will have successfully eliminated the competition. And no, Telus is not a viable competitor at this time as both their TV and Internet services are inferior to both Novus and Shaw. I now give you a “cut and paste” from a posting I found elsewhere.

    “WHEN ONE COMPANY (SHAW) with a subscriber base of more than 2 million, OFFERS and OFFERS and OFFERS EVERY SINGLE CUSTOMER of another MUCH SMALLER company’s (Novus) client base and ONLY THEM a promo of this magnitude it can only be construed in one way. It is called predatory pricing with the sole purpose of putting the other company out of business. THIS IS WHAT THE PROBLEM WAS ALL ABOUT.”

    You will now accuse me of being either a Novus or 6s employee of which I am not. I am simply an INFORMED CONSUMER that would like to get the FACTS correct. If this doesn’t paint a nice picture of Shaw, then so be it. They are the ones that have created this.
    And yes “the truth is out there” it’s just not coming from you!!

  35. dnb778 says:

    Hi Informed consumer.

    This offer has been advertised to many non-Novus customers in Richmond, Port Moody, Coquitlam, and Burnaby where Novus does not service.

    I know that 10buckstoo.com says otherwise but I assure you this is misinformation.

    I can understand your frustration, but I assure you that you are equally misinformed.

    Good day.

    • If you have copies of any newspaper ads or other media showing this, I’d love to receive copies. You can use the Contact button at the top of the page to arrange this.

    • Carmen says:

      @ dnb778
      I never got those promo offers, and I was with shaw and I am a richmond resident. In fact all we saw was our pricing being jacked up by 10% every month. Predatory pricing experience 1st hand. That was when we quit and left them for telus. Only reason we didn’t switch to novus is because they haven’t come in yet. When they do, we’re switching to novus.

      Please don’t try to tell people that they offered ok? We never received the offer. I can attest to that

  36. Nick says:

    I live in a low-rise in downtown Vancouver where there is no Novus service. I’m not a Novus employee, nor Shaw. Just a customer who get hit by this price war.

    I had heard about Shaw’s promotion from my friends so I call them up to request for the promotion. They said I can’t get that price because my address do not receive service from their competitor. It sound odd but it’s fair enough to me until last month when I received the invoice. The base price for my bundle service increase from 96.95 to 100.95. That’s $4 increase. That doesn’t sound like much but wait. I went back and check my older invoice and found that, in March, I was charged $92.95 for the base price of the bundle service. So That was $4 increase in April and another $4 increase September. Talking about good deal for Shaw existing customers? While Shaw is offering a massive deal to potential departing customers as a retention plan, it is doing this on the expense of other customers who do not have an option like me.

    Maybe I’m wrong about having no other cable and internet options in my building. My address is 1339 Burnaby St. You can check on that and if there is other provide with cheaper package, please let me know. I, also, don’t want to pay too much.



  37. Nick says:

    PS. I just file the complain to CRTC and if anyone have the same problem like me, please file the complain. If there are enough case, we could make the difference.



  38. Joshua Lemmens says:

    Nick has the idea…. if there was an action to create new rules on caps then we would get somewhere. I would spend my time on some sort of action that would actually eliminate a cap. In Korea the market is at the bidding call of the consumer as they don’t take any sh– from them and will organize in force to put them out of business using internet blogs and web demonstrations. We are a passive people who love to talk but don’t act. Email me if you are planning a real course of action. I am busy with a business, but would love to take part in something real.

    thanks, Joshua [[email protected]]


  39. brio says:

    I live in Novus-served building and have had Novus service, quite happily, since the company began. Recently, after trying unsuccessfully to log on to my Novus account I called Customer Service and was shocked to discover that some stranger had called Novus and simply closed my Novus account. I have no known enemies — at least none so unsophisticated that they’d waste their time closing my internet account. As for the fate of all of my precious data, well, it’s the old story: I’d never thought there was any urgency to back up my archive, and everything is lost. I have no proof, but my gut feeling is that the Novus-Shaw war has escalated beyond pricing disputes. I’ve been bombarded for years by Shaw robo-calls (until the DoNotCall registry came along), and an endless — and truly ridiculous — amount of Shaw promotional material in my mailbox. But I’d always refused to change my service to Shaw, inasmuch as I harbour a deep personal dislike of that company. Of course, I do blame Novus for failing to protect my account by having inadequate ID features in their security protocol; but the problem (tactic?) of accounts suddenly being closed may be widespread; using a basic search I came upon a report of random and unmerited account closing of a Telus customer as well. I guess the feeling that nags me the most is that consumers may be caught up in cable company warfare that is much bigger and uglier than anyone ever imagined

Search This Site:


Recent Comments:

  • Matt: Another option for the urban areas. Still nothing for the 25 million rural Americans currently without broadband. If internet service is not going to...
  • Ed: I wish I would've seen this before ordered....
  • Ed: I just ordered 2 of live wave units. Those cicksuckers better work it give money back....
  • Arron: If you are looking stable internet at your location, then Irgdigital.com is providing best internet deals of 2019. You choose according to need at IRG...
  • Dave: Got this ridiculous fee on my bill after Spectrum basically told me I should switch to the newer modem because mine was old. There was never any menti...
  • alan jacoby: Thanks all you guys i was ready to hit the buy button!! Sounds like more b/s to me THANKS AL...
  • Don Rull: I just received the pods for both of my homes that have horrible coverage using the Xfi router. Unfortunately, the app will not work for me and, of co...
  • John: If Starlink and OneWeb deliver on the promise that their internet service from space will be comparable to ground based fiber optic cable, with speeds...
  • Dylan: Definitely for the better. Expect more companies to follow as soon as cord cutting ramps up further....
  • Dylan: Windstream is barely alive as is. Besides. I would be switching to Charter Spectrum if Windstream was declaring bankruptcy and trying to reorganize an...
  • karen: Please HELP ... how do we get rid of the annoying advertising for Spectrum's on Demand show LA's Finest!! I am tired of it showing up on our TVlineu...
  • Lee: And all 1000 property owners approached with an offer for a cell tower should hire a law firm that specializes in cell phone tower contracts. To avoid...

Your Account: