Current trends - High-speed broadband

The data in this publication has been made available on Open Data in Excel and CSV format. View this on Open Data.

Sources: joint CRTC-Statistics Canada Quarterly Survey, CRTC annual Facilities survey and CRTC annual Pricing Survey.

Mini-methodology & definitions

The financial, subscription and traffic data below is representative of approximately 90% of the communications industry, excluding all video-based services such as Netflix or Spotify. The data is collected on a quarterly basis and is not adjusted for seasonality.

The pricing data, from the Pricing Survey, is representative of 90% of the industry for a sample of 55 rural communities and 24 urban centres across Canada and is collected on an annual basis, as of December 31 for each year. Additional pricing methodology is available.

The coverage availability data, from the Facilities Survey, is representative of closer to 100% of the telecommunications market and is also collected on an annual basis. Additional facilities methodology is available.

  • Average monthly download or upload traffic refers to the entities’ calculation of average download and upload traffic generated each month for high-speed subscriptions (excludes dial-up).
  • Average revenue per user (ARPU) is a measure of revenue generated per subscriber. This is calculated by dividing the quarter’s revenues by the number of subscribers in that quarter, and generating a monthly statistic. This calculation differs from the ARPU formula used in the Telecom Highlights section.
  • Broadband Internet access (hereafter referred to as “broadband”) is the same as high-speed access but the minimum download speed is 1.5 Mbps (megabits per second).
  • A dissemination block is an area bounded on all sides by roads and/or boundaries of standard geographic areas. The dissemination block is the smallest geographic area for which population and dwelling counts are disseminated. Dissemination blocks cover all the territory of Canada.
  • The estimated number of households in Canada is calculated by dividing the 4th quarter population estimate for Canada by Statistics Canada by the population to dwelling ratio. In turn, the population to dwelling ratio is calculated by dividing the population of Canada by the number of households found in the Statistics Canada Census 2016.
  • High-speed access (hereafter referred to as “high-speed”) refers to Internet services with download speeds of 256Kbps (kilobits per second) or faster that are accessed via DSL (Digital Subscriber Line), cable, FTTH (Fibre-to-the-Home)/ FTTP (Fibre-to-the-Premises), satellite, and fixed wireless technologies. This access excludes dial-up and mobile wireless services.
  • First Nations reserve areas refers to land set aside by the federal government through the Indian Act or through treaties for the use of a specific band or First Nation. The band council has "exclusive user rights" to the land, but the land is "owned" by the Crown. The Indian Act states that this land cannot be owned by individual band members.

    The analysis of availability was based upon First Nations reserve areas, representing total population and dwellings on reserves according to the Statistics Canada census data and, as such, it may differ from other official sources.

    Statistics Canada uses census subdivisions to represent different areas in Canada. Census subdivisions are municipalities or areas that can be equated to municipalities for statistical purposes. The different census subdivisions used by Statistics Canada were assessed. Those that represent First Nations reserve areas were used in the data analysis and mapping of this population.
  • Fixed wireless refers to Internet from a wireless network that uses either licensed or unlicensed spectrum to provide communications services (voice and/or data), where the service is intended to be used in a fixed location. Typically, this service is provided between towers and customers using radio waves and is primarily found in rural areas.
  • Internet access refers to Internet provided by DSL, Cable modem, FTTH/FTTP technology, dial-up (56 Kbps), satellites and other fixed wireless technologies.
  • Internet revenues includes revenues generated from Internet access services and Other Internet revenues.
  • Internet subscriptions are the number of individual household subscriptions to the Internet service.
  • Internet subscription adoption rates refers to the percent of Internet subscriptions that have opted for a certain level of Internet speed.
  • OLMC (official language minority communities) refers to English speaking populations in Quebec and French-speaking population in the rest of Canada. More than two million Canadians belong to an official language minority community.
  • Other Internet revenues includes revenues from equipment, web hosting, and data centre services.
  • Population areas (rural, small, medium and large/urban). Small population centres are considered to have populations of between 1,000 and 29,999. Medium population centres are considered to have populations of between 30,000 and 99,999. Large population centres are considered to have populations greater than 100,000. Rural areas have populations of less than 1,000, or fewer than 400 people per square kilometre. Rural communities are defined as areas with a population of less than 1,000 or a density of 400 or fewer people per square kilometre.
  • Pseudo-households refers to points representing the population in an area. These points are placed along roadways within each area, and the population of the area, determined by Statistics Canada, is distributed among these points. Additional data regarding addresses and the position of dwellings is used to guide this distribution. The use of pseudo-households aims to improve the accuracy of the availability indicators over the use of the assumption that the population within an area is located at the centre of the area.

Financials and operations: revenues, subscriptions and ARPU

Key takeaways for financials and operations

  • Increased revenue growth for high-speed Internet: Revenue growth for residential high-speed Internet has increased since the pandemic as many Canadians rely on it more for work and entertainment at home and have increased the speed of their service packages.
  • Canadians continue to subscribe to high-speed Internet: The demand for wireline internet remains steady as exhibited by a steady increase in subscribers since 2014.


Visual data browsing cannot be done through the screenreader but the equivalent of that graphed data can be downloaded for browsing.

Please note not all of the items listed on the following page apply to our dashboards: Keyboard Accessibility for Tableau on the Web (opens a new window to an external link)

Network availability: broadband coverage across Canada

CRTC targets for national broadband availability:

  • Target to reach 90% of households with 50/10 unlimited by 2021. This target has been met.
  • Target to reach 100% of households with 50/10 unlimited by 2031. This target is on track.

For more information on broadband access targets, access the latest CRTC Departmental Results, Telecom Regulatory Policy CRTC 2016-496, and the report on High-Speed Access for All: Canada’s Connectivity Strategy.

Key takeaways for network availability:

  • Broadband access for all speeds (in particular, faster speeds such as Gigabit) continues to improve across the country as billions of dollars are being distributed from various federal, provincial, territorial funds (e.g., CRTC Broadband Fund, Connecting Canadians) to successful applicants.
  • Coverage in official language minority communities, the Northern territories, and First Nations reserve areas are still catching up with the rest of Canada.

Download:   Broadband coverage in KML and MapInfo formats

Download:   Broadband coverage in First Nations reserve areas in KML and MapInfo formats

Download:   Broadband coverage in OLMCs in KML and MapInfo formats


Visual data browsing cannot be done through the screenreader but the equivalent of that graphed data can be downloaded for browsing.

Please note not all of the items listed on the following page apply to our dashboards: Keyboard Accessibility for Tableau on the Web (opens a new window to an external link)

Consumer behaviour: prices, subscriptions and data usage trends

Key takeaways for consumer behaviour

  • Many Canadians are spending more and subscribing to faster speed tiers: Due to the deployment of new technologies such as fibre, additional Canadians are able to subscribe to faster Internet speeds. More and more Canadians are subscribing 50/10 Mbps download/upload speeds or higher.
  • Internet traffic is increasing: Although Internet traffic has increased steadily over the last years, the pandemic saw atypical growth as more Canadians have come to rely on their home Internet for school, work and entertainment.
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