northwestel cable service revisited: it’s still lame in comparison

Last April I posted about the improved internet access service from Northwestel’s new cable internet division. Some time between then and now somebody at Northwestel bumped me down from their “ultra” level of service to “classic” (no wonder the internet felt so slow) and I’ve been forking over about an extra $50 a month on data charges for exceeding the 10 GB data cap.

Major bummer, but I’ll let it slide. It feels like all I’ve been doing lately is arguing about one thing or another with somebody and I just need to chill a bit. They can have my money.

So I upgraded back up to “ultra” today and re-checked the speed test results.

Since the service was introduced last year, quality seems to have remained about the same, as you can see from the embedded graphic. I was getting download speeds of about 9.37 Mbps last April and upload speeds of 461 kbps.

What’s more interesting, though, is this graphic: - Summary
Uploaded with plasq‘s Skitch!

Based on the collective results at, my service from Northwestel Cable is vastly superior to the Canadian average. But this information should be taken with a grain of salt.

Look at the overall Yukon average versus the Canadian average: it’s 2051 kbps for us up here to 4592 kbps for them down there. Not only are we forced to freeze our arses off every day, but, clearly, Yukon internet users in general suffer a far inferior quality of internet service compared to what our southern compatriots enjoy.

But it gets worse. Check out this graph: - Summary
Uploaded with plasq‘s Skitch!

Upload speeds from our neck of the woods to the rest of the world are downright pathetic. The Canadian average is 936 kbps. The best speed I could reach on a service termed “ultra” was a paltry 479 kbps. Clearly, here, Yukoners are at a disadvantage.

What about cost?

Indeed, as Shaw’s annoying couch-potato Snailskis would have us believe, the best quality of service come from cable down south. So, if I wanted a comparable quality of service to Northwestel from Shaw, what would I pay? $42 for a service called High-Speed Xtreme-I which is rated at 10 Mbps for downloads, 1 Mbps upload, with a 100 GB data transfer cap.

Northwestel’s $89.95 ultra service isn’t exactly the same however. It gives me up to 10 Mbps for downloads, like Shaw, but only half the upload speed (512 kbps), and a measly 20 GB data cap.

Pathetic. Penthouse prices for basement dwellings up here.

But what if I actually wanted to pay an exorbitant fee for internet access down south, comparable to what I’m being fleeced for up here? From Shaw I’d get High Speed Nitro: $102 per month for 25 Mpbs downloads, 1 Mbps uploads, and a whopping 150 GB of data each month.

Why this extreme disparity in cost and quality in the North? Does Northwestel not receive sufficient subsidy from the southern telcos so as to provide a more reasonably comparable level of service? Is this what happens when a northern industry remains unregulated? Should we be demanding that some government organization like the CRTC step in?

Oh, who knows. I just hope they take that money they charged me for the extra data and make some small improvement.

3 thoughts on “northwestel cable service revisited: it’s still lame in comparison

  1. Pingback: mon dieu! quebec internet is da bomb « bad robot

  2. Pingback: the gourmet internet: Navigo and a salmon alfredo on a budget « bad robot

  3. Pingback: Northwestel Cable: It’s Getting Worse « bad robot

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