Shaw’s PowerBoost: Not Idle Hype


I was a bit dubious when my cable ISP, Shaw, released a new service called PowerBoost recently. The claim is that it provides a significant boost of speed for 5 to 20 seconds, but no specifics were given about what speeds should be expected. They’re charging $2.95 a month for this feature, but I received it for free because I’m already paying an extra $10 per month for Shaw’s 10 mbps Extreme package. I didn’t think much of it at the time, and honestly hadn’t noticed any difference (most servers can’t saturate a 10 mbps connection), but today I was downloading a series of files from my own server and noticed an impressive burst of speed: 2.4 MB/s real-world speeds when downloading two files.


The speeds didn’t last longer than a few seconds, which is unfortunate because when you’re downloading big files you need the speed for longer than a few seconds, but it’s nice to see that more speed is possible. Too bad Shaw wants $93/month for their 25 mbps package and it doesn’t offer more upload speed – I’d pay a bit more to get 2 mbps, but they don’t offer that as an option. Then again, compared to the 30 KB/s speeds a friend on the other side of the world is getting, I shouldn’t be complaining at all. 😉