Canadian Fiber Broadband Services Meet or Exceed Advertised Speed Rates

  • Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC)
OTTAWA-GATINEAU – The majority of broadband Internet services sold in Canada meet or exceed their advertised download and upload speeds, according to new findings from the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC). ISP's that participated in the study included all the main Canadian facilities-based companies except SaskTel.

A preliminary report found that services using cable/hybrid-fiber co-axial (HFC) and fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) technologies delivered download speeds in excess of the rates advertised by ISPs. FTTH services delivered 119 percent of advertised download speed on average, while cable/HFC services delivered 103 percent. Most digital subscriber line-based (DSL) services met or exceeded the advertised rates too. However, DSL services in the 5 to 9 Mbps category only attained 88 percent of the advertised speed rate.

Performance was largely consistent across all regions, with the vast majority achieving between 109 percent and 122 percent of advertised download speed.

Shaping Future Broadband Policy

The data will enable the CRTC to improve its future broadband policy-making, and will ultimately form part of its annual data collection and monitoring activities. The report will enable Canadians to gain additional insight into network performance, including connection speeds, as well as provide a greater understanding of whether certain Internet services from participating ISPs are delivered at the advertised speeds. A second report will be published later in 2016, which will detail the performance of individual ISPs and their specific service offerings.

The CRTC launched a project in 2015, to measure broadband Internet performance in Canadian homes and is collaborating in this project with major ISPs across the country and SamKnows, a UK-based company contracted to undertake the study. Volunteers were selected to ensure a Canada-wide distribution among the various participating ISPs: Rogers, Vidéotron, Shaw, TELUS, Cogeco, Bell Canada, Eastlink, MTS, Northwestel and Bell Aliant. SaskTel declined participation in the project.

A device called a “whitebox” was sent to nearly 4500 Canadian volunteers’ homes across a range of ISPs and products. The devices measured the performance of the Internet connection at different times during times when it was not in use. DSL, Cable/HFC and FTTH services were the technologies measured for the purpose of this study.

Quick Facts

  • Most broadband services sold in Canada met or exceeded their advertised download speeds according to the report.

  • The data presented in the report was collected between October 1, 2015 and November 30, 2015.

  • Most test results shown in the report reflect results gathered during the peak usage period of 7-11 p.m. (local time) on weeknights.

  • To protect the privacy of participants, no information about their online activities was collected.

  • The CRTC collaborated with major Internet service providers (ISPs) across the country and SamKnows, a company specializing in measuring broadband for this initiative.

  • Although network connectivity is an important factor in determining the broadband speed experienced by subscribers, other factors (such as home Wi-Fi, website capacity and device limitation) may also impact performance. This broadband measurement project focused on the service provided by ISPs.

  • The CRTC will hold a public hearing in April 2016 to review which telecommunications services, including broadband Internet services, Canadians need to participate in the digital economy.

“We are pleased that Canadians now have better insight into the performance, including the actual connection speeds, of the broadband Internet services provided to them by the major ISPs in the country," said Jean-Pierre Blais, CRTC Chairman and CEO. "Based on the preliminary findings, Canadians are receiving the broadband speeds they are paying for. This national project was the first of its kind in Canada, and we are grateful to the volunteers across Canada who participated as well as to the ISPs that partnered with us. It has provided us with information that will help improve broadband policy and will no doubt be valuable during the public hearing in April 2016 to review which telecommunications services Canadians need to participate in the digital economy.”


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