Canadians' download limits shrink

As competition from Netflix arrives in the fall

TORONTO -- Fortress Canada is girding for battle against online movie distributor Netflix starting this fall.

Rogers Communications, the country's largest cable operator, has shrunk bandwidth caps on cable broadband services for new customers.

As of July 21, new Rogers' "Lite" broadband service customers will be able to download up to 15GB of data per month, knocked down from 25GB.

And new "Extreme" subscribers will see their monthly usage capped at 80GB, down from 90GB, as their Internet speed increases.

Rival Bell Canada similarly caps its broadband data plans at up to 76GB a month as Canadians increasingly embrace YouTube and get ready for Netflix and Hulu down the road.

The move by Rogers follows Netflix on July 19 unveiling plans for Canadian subscribers to download a variety of online movies and TV shows for a still-to-be-determined monthly fee (HR, July 19).

Netflix said its Canadian offering will initially bow in English only, with a French-language service to follow.

Canadians with lower-limit data plans could see their bandwith usage jump when they download Netflix movies, and be forced to pay overage fees.

Netflix will not provide a DVD-by-mail service north of the border, at least for now, and has given no pricing details for its Internet streaming service.