Spot the [bandwidth] difference

Like most Canadians, we have a bandwidth cap with Videotron, our internet (and phone + TV) provider. We have one of the larger “packages”, which gives us 120GB per month. The chart above details our usage this month, and if you add it all up, it currently shows we used 188.7GB so far, with 3 days to go until our billing cycle is over.

The above usage exploded recently, and I was trying to find the culprit, since it’s costing us extra every month now. If you look at the usage in the last 3 days, compared to earlier in the month, you’ll see I’ve now found it. Was it Netflix? Nope. Roblox maybe (a known bandwidth hog)? Nuh-uh, still not it. It was in fact YouTube!

You see, they now have this option to switch to the highest possible resolution when entering full screen mode. One of my kids is really into watching Minecraft screencasts these days. Since most players play full screen, on large screens, their videos end up being uploaded in full HD, consuming between 1 to over 2GB per hour of video.

Just see the difference turning that option off on my kid’s laptop made:

  • Saturday February 18th: 18.78GB
  • Saturday February 25th: 4.12GB

Keep in mind he’s running a 14″ widescreen laptop at 1336×768, which means anything over 720p is basically useless as far as increased quality is concerned. So the switch did not even downgrade his experience (he watches most at 480p now, with no artifacts).

And there you have it. No more extra bandwidth fees for a while for the Daury household (we were at an extra $36 over our regular monthly bill already this month).

5 thoughts on “Spot the [bandwidth] difference

  1. This is exactly why there was uproar with the usage based billing proposals in Canada. They were looking at bandwidth usage from 2009, before HD video was really mainstream (and Netflix). Bandwidth usage will explode in the next few years making the current caps way off the mark.

    You cap does seem very low though? My middle tier cap on Telus was 250gb, the equivalent plan on Shaw was about 500gb.


    • Yeah, Videotron is great at not throttling or filtering, but they’re not so great at bandwidth caps… :p Getting better though. The funny thing is that I’ve been able to do on 30GB/month until 1.5 year ago, when the kids really started going online. Bandwidth usage won’t explode in the next few years. It already has! :)


  2. Good to know. I have similar issues with my Internet bill this month. 30GB over my monthly limit, 80$ more to pay, and I don’t know how I could download that much. I didn’t think of Youtube before though, I will look into it!


    • If it’s the 1st time you go over your limit, call them and discuss it with them. They’ll likely knock it off and explain to you how to add “extra top up packages” for cheaper when that happens. If I don’t call them, I’m also charged ridiculous amounts, like $15/GB. But if I monitor it, I can add extra 30GB packages for $12.50.


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