Telus Download Limits Reduced, Upsetting Home Internet Service Customers

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TELUS BANDWIDTH CAPS REDUCED
Some Telus customers are upset after the phone and internet service company started sending out notifications that it is reducing upload and download limits on its internet service. (The Canadian Press Images/Lee Brown) | CP

Some Telus customers are upset after the phone and internet service company started sending out notifications that it is reducing upload and download limits on its home internet service.

The change, which comes into effect on Feb. 1, 2013, affects only Telus customers who use the company’s land-line internet service, which is available in Alberta and British Columbia.

Users of the Telus High-Speed service will see their upload and download cap reduced to 100 gigabytes per month from the current 150 gigabytes. Users of its highest-level service — Telus High Speed Turbo 25 — will see their download caps halved, to 250 gB from the current 500 gB. (A complete list of the new bandwidth caps is available at the Telus website.)

Telus senior communications manager Shawn Hall told The Huffington Post the changes are being put in place “to better manage internet investment,” and added the company’s bandwidth caps are high enough that even the heaviest bandwidth users “have more than enough.”

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Hall said that, unlike some other internet providers, Telus doesn’t actually charge customers overage fees for exceeding their caps. Users who exceed their caps are encouraged to switch to a higher service plan.

But the changes have unleashed a wave of anger at Telus on social media, with commenters on news site Reddit echoing now-familiar complaints about Canada’s internet infrastructure.

Technology usually becomes more available and cheap as time moves on. We're in a backwards time warp,” commenter Cerulilly wrote.

“This is a perfect example of the non-competitive bulls--t we have to put up with. Where's the CRTC in this? Isn't it part of their job to ensure a competitive marketplace?” asked commenter nachochease. “I hope people switch away from Telus in droves to show the big telcos that we're not sheep who are willing to pay top dollar for garbage service.”

Commenters wondered whether the point of the change was to limit usage of Netflix, the streaming movie and TV service that competes with telecom firms’ on-demand TV services. Telus offers satellite TV service and Optik TV, a TV service through the internet that offers on-demand movies and shows.

Netflix now reaches at least 10 per cent of Canadians and accounts for about a third of Internet traffic in the country.

Netflix itself has expressed frustration with internet access in Canada. Ted Sarandos, the company’s chief content officer, recently said at a conference that Canadians “have almost third-world access to the internet” because of high prices, a relative lack of competition, and bandwidth caps.

It’s almost a human rights violation what they’re charging for internet access in Canada,” he said.

But Telus argues it has been improving internet service for its customers, pointing out the company has invested $30 billion into its internet infrastructure since 2000.

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