Measuring Broadband Canada project
What is the Measuring Broadband Canada project?
This project measures broadband Internet performance, including actual connection speeds, in Canadian homes.
First and second phase
We completed the first phase with the publication of the SamKnows’ phase 1 report in 2016. The project’s second phase was conducted in October 2019, followed by the publication of the SamKnows’ phase 2 report in September 2020. Both phases measured the fixed wired Internet service performance of Canadian Internet service providers (ISPs).
We collaborated with several Canadian 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 our 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.
In 2022, the CRTC in partnership with Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) started conducting the third phase of the project. This phase is focused specifically on the performance of fixed wireless Internet services using any technology, with download speeds of 50Mbps or faster provided to Canadian homes. The goal of the testing is the same as the previous phases, although the testing will be focussed on fixed wireless.
If you have a fixed wireless Internet service and are interested in participating, you could be part of the Measuring Broadband Canada project.
What is fixed wireless?
If your Internet modem connects to your service provider without wires or cables using a technology similar to mobile or an outdoor antenna, you may be using fixed wireless technology and may be eligible to participate in phase three of the Measuring Broadband Canada project. Please note that a fixed wireless connection is independent of your cell phone service.
How is data collected for the Measuring Broadband Canada project?
A device known as a Whitebox is connected to a volunteer’s home Internet 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 in anonymized form.
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:
- Inside your home:
- Number of devices in use at the same time in a home
- Faulty equipment (e.g. router)
- Poor Wi-Fi connectivity
- Outside your home:
- Heavy Internet traffic on a particular site
- The time it takes for data to travel to and from their destination (e.g. latency)
- The amount of data packets that travel from their destination but fail to reach your home (e.g. packet loss).
Measuring Broadband Canada 2020 report
A report with data on the performance of individual ISPs 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 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
- packet loss
- web access time
Tables presenting all the data can be found in the Measuring Broadband Canada 2020 report.
Measuring Broadband Canada 2016 report
A preliminary report with data focusing on performance by region and access technology was published on March 31, 2016, and a final report with data on the performance of individual ISPs and their specific service offerings was published in September 2016.
- SamKnows Analysis of Broadband Performance in Canada – October & November 2015 - Preliminary report published March 31, 2016,
- SamKnows Analysis of Broadband Performance in Canada - March & April 2016 - Final report published September 2016
Both reports provide regional performance metrics and compare the performance of various forms of fixed and wired Internet technologies. The reports indicated that:
- Most 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 not be noticed by most Canadians accessing common applications on the internet. In addition, latency and web-browsing results in Canada compares favourably to those measured in other jurisdictions including the United States.
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