Cable internet prices reveal competitive reality

10 Aug

Two weeks ago, I posted a chart comparing internet plans from Canadian cable companies to new ones unveiled by U.S. provider Charter Communications. That post turned out to be pretty popular and I did promise a fuller comparison with more participants. In that vein, I looked at four major U.S. cable companies and all five major Canadian counterparts to produce the new chart below.

The U.S. providers included were Comcast, Cox, Charter and Time Warner, while in Canada I compared Rogers, Shaw, Videotron, Cogeco and Eastlink. As with the previous chart, I looked at plans with download speeds of 30 megabits per second and 100 Mbps, or the closest speeds offered by each provider, and compared prices and data caps. Canadian providers are in red. Notes follow the chart:

Notes: In the lower tier, Charter, Time Warner, Videotron, Cogeco and Comcast offer 30 Mbps, while Shaw offers (20), Cox (31), Rogers (32), Eastlink (40). In the higher tier, Shaw and Charter are the only two offering 100 Mbps, while Time Warner’s fastest speed is (50), Cox and Cogeco (55), Rogers (75), Eastlink (80), Videotron (120), Comcast (105). Time Warner also apparently doesn’t have usage caps, but I used a figure of 500 gigabytes simply for chart formatting purposes. Comparisons were made across services offered in major cities; prices and speeds may vary in other markets that weren’t looked at.

A quick glance at the chart suggests two things: on the lower 30 Mbps speeds, Canadian cable companies are expensive relative to their U.S. counterparts. In terms of monthly usage, the Canadian providers are comparatively woeful. Only Shaw, in the higher 100 Mbps measure, stacks up favourably.

Price-wise on that faster speed, Canadian cable companies also don’t compare well. Only Comcast’s high prices save them from looking outright terrible. Once again, though, Shaw is the outlier with relatively good prices.

So how can this chart be interpreted? Well, it clearly shows that Canadian cable customers are generally getting less for more than their American counterparts. But, just as with the previous chart, the deeper meaning is gleaned when the cable companies’ competitors are factored in.

Four of the five Canadian providers all compete against the same phone company: Bell. The only one that has good prices and usage – Shaw – is the one that doesn’t. Coincidence?


Posted by on August 10, 2012 in bell, internet, rogers, shaw


13 responses to “Cable internet prices reveal competitive reality

  1. Andrew Robulack

    August 10, 2012 at 3:53 am

    This is very interesting stuff, Peter. Would you mind sharing your spreadsheet? I’d like the opportunity to add Northwestel for a northern Canadian perspective. My email is

    • petenowak2000

      August 10, 2012 at 10:01 am

      Sure thing, I’ll email it over. I’d like to add phone companies to the comparison, when I have time.

      • Don't Listen To Me

        August 10, 2012 at 2:16 pm

        Google Docs Spreadsheet is the way to go. Then you can permit people to edit it.

  2. Jason Rhinelander

    August 10, 2012 at 10:56 am

    It would be nice to add (in a third colour, perhaps) a couple TPIA providers (for instance, Start and TekSavvy). Start offers cable internet service through both Cogeco and Rogers territory, while TekSavvy offers in Rogers territory. If you add the phone companies, you could also pick a few DSL third-party providers (both TekSavvy and Start would qualify, but there are many others as well), most of which offer service in Bell territory.

  3. Munly Leong

    August 10, 2012 at 2:38 pm

    Time Warner is trialing usage caps though

  4. Jadondre

    August 10, 2012 at 3:00 pm

    The distinction between Eastern and Western Canada is troubling. Telus and Shaw offer significantly better options than Rogers and Bell.

    “Four of the five Canadian providers all compete against the same phone company: Bell. The only one that has good prices and usage – Shaw – is the one that doesn’t. Coincidence?”

    I’m intrigued as to why competing against Bell leads to higher prices? Certainly Rogers could implement Shaw like rates.

  5. DarwinSurvivor

    August 10, 2012 at 4:21 pm

    You said you compared “all five” major Candian internet providers, but you forgot Telus which has a HUGE market share on the west coast (close to Shaw’s). Telus uses DSL, so their services are the only one available in some areas.

    • petenowak2000

      August 10, 2012 at 4:38 pm

      I’m only comparing cable providers at this point.

  6. petenowak2000

    August 12, 2012 at 11:10 am

    For anyone who’s interested, I’ve made my data available as a Google Doc spreadsheet here:

  7. R Brown

    August 21, 2012 at 8:31 pm

    It’s so nice to see prices for services I can only dream about I live in a town of 14000 in a coastal town in BC. We pay $34 a month for 7Mbps and whwe have old PVRsen we add in TV we pay $143 and we have old PVR’s no video on demand and no IP phone I cant imagine what 100 Mbps is like Shaw sucks

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