Canadian Internet TV ‘is capped’

According to a study conducted by Media Technology Monitor, 34 per cent of Canadian internet users watch TV online, for about 30 minutes each week. The percentage of Canadians who accessed the internet through their television, whether rose to eight per cent in spring 2011, up one percent since last autumn.

And while this evolution is giving Canadians more freedom in the way they access television content, the technology remains in its infancy in this country, largely because of the heavy caps put on internet use by the major internet service providers. The mid-range priced plan with Rogers, for example, caps users at 60GB per month.

John Lawford, counsel for the Public Interest Advocacy Centre, a consumer watchdog group, says these caps will continue to leave Canadians in the dark in comparison to countries like the US, where over-the-top television services like Netflix and Hulu are used by a large amount of online users.

“[The caps] are effective barriers to entry for over-the-top television and movie services in Canada because they’re lower than most other countries,” he said. “In the States, where caps can average 200 or 300GB per month, the average viewer can get away with watching a decent amount of high quality content.

“Here, our caps are low enough that they overage fees may kick in just when those services, like Netflix, might be useful.”

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