The End of Unlimited Internet in Canada

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Telus recently announced it is implementing user-based charges in B.C. and Alberta, meaning all Canadian Internet service providers are now using data caps. It seems the days of unlimited Internet are over, and customers can instead expect to see user-based pricing, where extra fees are applied for exceeding monthly data caps.

Telus has said it will charge its biggest users up to $75 per month for going over their limit. Before now, Telus had one of the best price-per-gigabyte deals on data, and data caps were not enforced.

Many users already have usage-based pricing, and are perfectly content with it. In fact, a 2013 survey from the Public Interest Advocacy Centre showed 78 percent of Canadian consumers were satisfied with their monthly data caps. However, the same survey showed 42 percent weren’t familiar with the concept of data caps and how it affected their monthly payments.

“I don’t think people know how much data is used when they download an episode of Modern Family or download a movie,” said Chris MacDonald, a business ethics professor at the Ted Rogers School of Management at Ryerson University. “People don’t have a sense of how data intensive something like Google Maps is.”

“Companies need to provide fairly explicit information about data usage and not bury it six levels deep on their website — just like a car company needs to be transparent about gas mileage,” MacDonald said.

Telus has told its customers not to worry, promising users will be notified when they have reached 75 percent, 95 percent, and when they have exceeded their monthly data allowance. It says most customers won’t notice a difference in their new billing system.

“No one will be surprised when they open their bill,” said Telus spokesman Shawn Hall. “We have a robust usage notification system, and will be sending email alerts to customers as they approach and pass their allowance, and at every 50 GB bucket.”