Measuring Broadband Canada Project
What is the Measuring Broadband Canada Project?
In 2015, the CRTC launched a project to objectively measure broadband Internet performance, including actual connection speeds, in Canadian homes. The first phase wrapped up in 2016 with the publication of SamKnows’ Analysis of Broadband Performance in Canada - March & April 2016. The project’s second phase was launched in May 2019, with testing occurring in October 2019. For more information on the second phase, please see the Measuring Broadband Canada report.
The CRTC collaborated with a number of Canadian Internet service providers (ISPs) and SamKnows, a UK-based company specializing in broadband measurements.
The data, collected during both phases from approximately 5,000 Canadian volunteers from across the country:
- Informed the CRTC’s broadband policy-making;
- Allowed Canadians to get a greater understanding of whether Internet services from participating ISPs are delivered at the advertised speeds; and
- Enabled ISPs to improve their networks to better serve existing customers, and promote products to potential new customers.
How is data collected for the Measuring Broadband Canada Project?
A device known as a Whitebox is connected to a volunteer’s home modem or router and monitors the broadband performance when no one is using the Internet connection. This performance data is made available to the volunteer via a Web portal and is also available to the CRTC and the ISP providing the service.
Several performance indicators are measured, including Internet speed, latency and web access times. The data used to measure Internet speed is taken from the location of the service provider to your doorstep. It does not test for Internet speed within different parts of your home. There are many factors that may impact broadband speed and user experience inside the home compared to broadband performance up to the doorstep of the home.
Factors that may impact broadband performance include:
Who were the participating ISPs?
ISPs that participated in this project in 2016 include the following major Canadian wireline service providers:
- Bell Aliant
- Bell Canada
ISPs that participated in this project in 2019 include all the following major Canadian wireline service providers:
- Bell Aliant
- Bell Canada
- Bell MTS
A report with data on the performance of individual Internet service providers and their specific service offerings was published in September 2020. The report provides regional performance metrics and compares the performance of various forms of fixed and wired Internet technologies. The data from this report was collected from October 1, 2019 to October 31, 2019. The report indicated that:
- The vast majority of participating Canadian Internet service providers (ISPs) have met or exceeded the maximum download and upload speeds they advertise.
- The quality of Internet service is consistent across the participating ISPs, regardless of the time of day.
The following elements were measured:
- Download speed, upload speed, latency, packet loss and Web access time.
- Tables presenting all of the data can be found in the Measuring Broadband Canada report.
Final Report 2016
A preliminary report with data focusing on performance by region and access technology was published on March 31, 2016. A final report with data on the performance of individual Internet service providers and their specific service offerings was published in September 2016. The reports indicated that:
- The majority of ISP service offerings, regardless of the access technology in use, met or exceeded their advertised speeds, but with some notable exceptions.
- Even the highest latencies and packet loss exhibited during testing would be imperceptible to most Canadians accessing common applications on the internet. In addition, latency and web-browsing results in Canada compares favorably to those measured in other jurisdictions including the United States.
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