TELUS Cracks Down on Heavy Streaming: Will Shaw be Next?


Charges to target the one in five customers who exceed data limits

By Scott Brown and Matthew Robinson, Vancouver Sun        February 19, 2015
Thousands of Telus users may get dinged for data          Telus customers may want to start paying attention to the amount of Internet data used.

Internet users beware: Telus will soon start charging customers who exceed their monthly data allowance.

Telus has data caps built into its various Internet plans, but it had never before charged customers for exceeding them.

Starting March 30, the company will automatically bill customers for additional 50 gigabyte “data buckets” if they slip past their allowance, according to its website.

The first “bucket” will cost $5, subsequent pails of data will go for $10 apiece up to a monthly maximum fee of $75, and any unused data will expire at the end of the month.

Shawn Hall, a Telus spokesman, said consumer demand for Internet data has doubled in the last 16 months, causing the company to “re-examine” its policy.

“The usage charges allow us to continue to support the investment required to meet growing demand for Internet data without impacting the majority of customers who stay within their monthly data allowance,” he said.

Those allowances start at just 30 GB a month for Telus’ Internet 1 service and increase to 500 GB for its top Internet 100 plan. Shaw Internet has similar data allowances, but at this point the company does not penalize those who exceed monthly caps.

Some Internet users may not be aware of how quickly data can be eaten up.

When Netflix users stream a movie in standard definition they are using about 1 GB of data per hour — or 3 GB per hour for high-definition video. Just a handful of HD movies on Netflix would push some users over their monthly data cap, and that’s without any other Internet use.

Even households that don’t stream television could exceed small monthly data caps without much effort. Updating computer software, downloading or updating apps from the Apple or Google store, video conferencing on FaceTime or Skype, and sharing or syncing photos or videos all use heaps of data.

“Internet capacity is not infinite,” said Hall, noting that Telus’ residential customers are now using 104,000 terabytes per month. A terabyte is one thousand gigabytes.

Asked if Telus customers were approaching the upper limit of the company’s overall capacity, Hall could not say, but noted: “we invest billions of dollars to stay ahead of demand.”

Hall said about 80 per cent of users stay within their data allowance and customers can look at their past bills to get a sense of how much data they are using.

“We don’t want customers to be surprised by this,” he said.

Telus has 1.5 million Internet customers in B.C., Alberta and eastern Quebec, but the company does not break down its subscribers by province, said Hall.



  1. Wow!
    Here in Australia, the telecom companies take a real advantage of data on mobile plans. My current data plan on my phone is just a mere 7gigs for…. $60.00 AUD. If I go over this 7gig, it is around 35cents per meg. Or, I can choose to upgrade to 10gig for an additional $40.00. It’s unbelievable in comparison to other countries around the world. And it’s one of the reasons why Australian’s are sticking to more ‘traditional’ ways to view and listen to their media, (although NetFlix launches here in March, so it will be interesting to see how much take up of that there is and how the telecom companies adjust their mobile data rates accordingly) instead of streaming it … because it just costs so much here for mobile data plans.

    Just a bit of insight to how things look outside of Canada!
    Jarrad B

  2. Hey Jarrad,

    That doesn’t seem like a bad deal to me. I’m paying $40 cdn for just 1 gig on my mobile plan through Sears Connect. I don’t know what they charge if I exceed my 1 gig. I’m not a heavy user so I’ll never come close to exceeding it.

    By the way my wife and I will be arriving in your beautiful country for the first time on March 20th. We’re looking forward to exploring Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth.

  3. Data, bandwidth, et al, is not a resource it is in fact, unlike natural resources, an endless stream and it’s just the infrastructure that they need to upgrade to keep things flowing. Any caps, fees, penalties etc… is in fact a PONZI SCHEME. Period!


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