Low-Down on Northwestel Internet Service Upgrade

Northwestel has posted details about the upgrade to their cable internet services which go into effect on September 1 (Internet Service Changes).

I’m particularly satisfied by the three-fold increase in data use limitations for the highest level package. It’s gone from 20 GB per month to 60, which is definitely an improvement. The $10 monthly drop in price is pretty sweet, too.

While these improvements are welcome, and I don’t want to look a gift horse in the mouth, there’s still room for improvement, both from a service and cost perspective.

For example, Northwestel’s new High Performance Internet package includes 60 GB of data transfer, tops out at a data rate of 16 Mbps, and costs a whopping $80 (without television service, as I order it).

Shaw, on the other hand, offers a High-Speed Xtreme-I package that includes 100 GB of data transfer and tops out at 15 Mbps. That extra 40 GB of data per month is huge, though, when you consider that Shaw offers this package for just $52 (again, without television). That’s almost $30 less than Northwestel.

Even on the low end, Shaw is still ahead. Their High-Speed Lite package offers a 256 kbps download speed, 10 GB of monthly data usage, and costs just $30 without TV.

Northwestel’s High-Speed Lite package offers 356 kbps, just 5 GB of monthly data usage and costs $10 more per month without TV.

It’s worth noting that in both packages Northwestel compensates by offering slightly-faster download rates. But I’d argue that data volume carries more value than data rate, since that’s really the true “ceiling” on a package. After all, that’s where you’ll ending up paying extra if you exceed the package limitations.

So, again, I don’t want too whine too much, because I’m stoked with the new service (or, I will be when it actually arrives in a month or so), but there’s still clearly a premium Northerners must pay for high speed internet. Or, as the age-old saying goes, Northerners can’t be choosers!

Now we’ll just have to wait and see if the new fibre line lives up to the speed promises of the forthcoming services…

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