A couple weeks back, I wrote about how a new CRTC report found Canadian internet services to be lagging other peer countries in several measures. With low-end plans specifically, the authors had trouble making a proper comparison because a few of the countries didn’t even have the sorts of low speeds offered by Canadian ISPs.
That’s what made the recent news from Charter Communications, one of the big four cable companies in the United States, that much more interesting. The company is doing away with its two slowest and cheapest plans – those at 3 and 15 megabits per second – and is instead offering only 30 and 100 Mbps plans, according to Multichannel News. It’s amazing that the slowest speeds available from the company are now 30 Mbps, while many Canadian ISPs are still selling services in the 3 Mbps range.
What’s even more interesting are the prices Charter is charging. The 30 Mbps plan, which has an upload speed of 4 Mbps and 250 gigabytes of monthly usage, is $30 for 12 months and then $50 afterward. The 100 Mbps plan, with a 5 Mbps upload and 500 GB of usage, is $90 for the first year and $109 after.
Naturally, I wondered how that compares with what major Canadian cable companies are offering. In that vein, I made up the handy-dandy chart below, based on the most comparable packages available from the three biggest, Shaw, Rogers, Videotron, and Charter, using non-promotional prices:
(A few notes: Rogers doesn’t actually have a 30 Mbps plan, so I used its 32 Mbps offering instead. Rogers and Videotron don’t have 100 Mbps plans, so I used their respective 75 and 120 Mbps services instead.)
A few things stand out in the comparison, with the first being the dramatically lower usage limits on Rogers and Videotron. Conversely, the two cable companies also have significantly higher prices than Charter on the 30 Mbps service. Rogers’ is actually cheaper on the higher-end plan, but let’s not forget that it’s also giving up a full 25 Mbps in speed. The other thing that’s notable is that Shaw compares favourably in both measures.
Are there any conclusions that can be drawn from such a limited comparison? Obviously, yes – that Rogers and Videotron are generally more expensive and stingy in monthly usage when compared to one of their big U.S. counterparts.
The more telling fact, however, is the difference between the three Canadian cable companies – Shaw clearly has better plans. Why? The common denominator between Rogers and Videotron is that they share a common main rival – Bell, in Ontario and Quebec, respectively – while Shaw competes mainly against Telus in the west. If there’s anything that the above numbers seem to suggest, it’s that Bell’s presence in a market results in worse internet plans.
I’ll do afuller comparison of all U.S. and Canadian cable companies when I get back from vacation.