I was comparing internet and cable rates and policies between Canada and the U.S. and some of the differences are startling.
- U.S. for $25 a month you can get unlimited bandwidth without throttling of any kind if you look hard enough.
- Canada for $30+ a month you can get 50 MB of bandwidth that is throttled to under 1MPS. For an additional $20 you can raise the bandwidth to 8MPS and for an additional $20 you can raise it to 15+MPS. Yet another $20 will also allow you to increase the total bandwidth usage by 15 MB. For $20 more you can buy unlimited speed for a day, but you'd better spend $20 to increase bandwith or you'll speed by your limits and incur surcharges, in $20 increments up to $50 max. Don't worry, you can buy mini-packs of additional bandwidth for, you guessed it, $20.
In other words what U.S. citizens enjoy for the price of a Pizza is going to cost the price of a dinner at a nice restaurant, complete with a decent bottle of wine in Canada, $20 per bottle too.
A look at the difference in cable rates and it's the same.
- U.S. for $25 a month you can get a basic cable package that includes a lot of channels, twice as many as you receive in Canada for the same price.
- Canada for $20 a month you get basic cable of less than 20 channels, half of those being shopping network and government news related. For another $20 you can get a 5 channel movie package that shows only old movies. For another $20 you can buy a 10 channel package if the basic channels aren't enough. Another $20 increases that to a 30 channel package. You've also got to pay $20 for a cable box if you don't want to spend $5 a month to rent one indefinitely.
I should point out that in Canada regulations prohibit or make competition exceedingly expensive. The major cable network is owned by the phone company who also owns the major broadcasting company, a virtual monopoly with deep ties to political circles. Sure you can bypass it all with something like Netflix but then you're going to burn up your internet bandwidth quickly and they still have your money, $20 at a time.
My conclusion - getting an extra $20 out of you doesn't involve providing additional services in Canada, it involves slicing up what you may want into as many $20 pieces as possible! I wonder if Canada will let go of the monopoly or if the U.S. will raise fees to match, then the difference won't be as startling and what's common is accepted.
As the U.S. continues to fight for net neutrality and such remember to take a quick peek over the northern border to see what it might be like without rules prohibiting bandwidth throttling etc.