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Canadian broadband needs an upload overhaul.

Yesterday YouTube doubled the upload limit available to users in response the increasing number of high definition videos that are being sent to the site.  Now you can upload a 2G file, instead of a 1G file.   YouTube has made it easier to upload a high definition file as well. According to Liz Gannes at NewTeeVee.com, YouTube has done this because “HD videos are now becoming a significant part of the YouTube library”.

They look gorgeous, no doubt.  Check out this trailer from Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince.  Click the full screen button to see the full impact.  It’s really darned impressive.

Don’t expect to see a lot of Canadian high definition content, however.   Not that there aren’t people in this country shooting high definition video, who might have a strong desire to share that video.  It’s simply a matter of bandwidth and usage caps. All broadband providers in Canada, excepting a few small outfits in Vancouver, cap usage at between 50 and 150G of transfer per month, and restrict upload speeds to under 1 megabit per second, except Shaw who have raised their upload limit to a meagre 2 megabits.  We’d be in our graves before YouTube received our videos at these speeds.

Uplink Speed Downlink Speed Monthly Allowance Price
Rogers “Extreme Plus” 1Mbps 16Mbs 95G $99.99
Bell Internet “Max 16” 1Mbs 16Mbs 100G $72.95
Telus “High Speed Turbo” 1Mbs 10 – 15Mbs 100G $43
Shaw “High Speed Warp” 2Mbs 25Mbs 150G $94
Videotron “Ultimate Speed Internet 50” 1Mbs 50Mbs 100G $89.95

Pathetic, no? Even worse, most of the small business offerings from these providers consist of repackaged residential service, with a better service agreement and a higher price.

Does it matter if a few people can’t upload video?  Perhaps not, unless you’re a Canadian culture supporter or Heritage Minister James Moore.  But what about the other impacts of capped usage and restricted upload bandwidth – the economic and environmental impacts?  Applications like VPN, remote desktop, and VoIP are the cornerstones of telecommuting strategies.  Those applications are dependent on high speed upload as well as download.  When telecommuting is impaired, it has an economic impact to business, and an environmental impact on society.  We should all care about that!

So how about it Rogers, Bell, Telus, Shaw and Videotron?  Download speeds have increased steadily over the last decade, but we’ve had upload speeds of under 1Mbs since the dawn of broadband.  Shouldn’t we have better?

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{ 3 comments… add one }

  • Brad June 27, 2009, 2:03 pm

    We should. It’s terrifying to me that Canadians don’t seem to place that much importance on it. We all like the internet, right? It’s kind of the future?

  • Roland Tanglao June 27, 2009, 11:43 pm

    10 Mbps bidirectional now!

  • Craig Fitzpatrick June 28, 2009, 10:38 pm

    The state of Canadian telcos reminds me of the US auto industry a while back. Living large for the moment but ready to crumble if only a competitor could bust in the same way foreign car companies broke into the US auto industry and disrupted the ridiculous state of the things – offering better products at better prices and seeing a massive consumer shift to the imports.

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