Communications Monitoring Report 2019

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Communications services in Canadian households: Subscriptions and expenditures 2013-2017

This snapshot provides an overview of the adoption of communications technologies by Canadian households from 2013-2017, and illustrates the trends in household communications expenditure. The data presented here was drawn from Statistics Canada’s Survey of Household SpendingFootnote 1 and CRTC sources. Additional data on Canada’s communications industry can be found in the Commission’s 2018 Communications Monitoring Report (CMR).

On this page

  1. Quick Facts
  2. What communications services do Canadian households use?
  3. What do Canadian households spend on communications services?
  4. Who is covered by broadband and mobile networks across Canada?
  5. Methodology
  6. Appendices

i. Quick facts

Infographic 1.1 Canadian households’ subscriptions and expenditures quick facts
Subscriptions
Infographic 1.1 Canadian households’ subscriptions and expenditures quick facts
Expenditures
Long description
Communication Services Subscriptions
(% of households)
Subscription penetration growth (2016-2017) Monthly spending ($) Monthly spending
2016-2017 Growth
Landline 63% -5.70% $25.25 -8.20%
Mobile 90% 1.80% $101.00 9.70%
Internet 89% 1.80% $54.17 9.40%
Television distribution 72% -3.30% $52.58 -2.20%
Source: Statistics Canada’s Survey of Household Spending, Table 11-10-0223-01

Note: “Television distribution” refers to cable, Internet Protocol (IPTV), and satellite services used to provide television services to households.

In 2017:

Canadian households continued to abandon landline telephone service in favour of mobile service, with almost a third subscribing to mobile service only.Footnote 2

Household subscriptions to television distribution servicesFootnote 3 continued their gradual decline, with about three-quarters of households subscribing, while the percentage of households with Internet service increased slightly to 89.0%.

Canadian households spent an average of $233.00 per month on their communications services, an increase of $10.17 (4.6%) from 2016. In comparison, the average annual inflation rate in Canada was 1.6% in 2017, according to Statistics Canada.

Canadian households spent more per month on mobile ($101.00) than on Internet services ($54.17), television distribution ($52.58) and landline services ($25.25).

ii. What communications services do Canadian households use?

Infographic 1.2 Communications services of Canadian households
Infographic 1.2 Communications services of Canadian households
Long description
  • Almost all households subscribe to landline and/or mobile service: 99.0%
  • New Brunswick had the lowest percentage of mobile-only households, at 15.6%.
  • Quebec had the highest percentage of landline-only households, at 14.1%.
  • 19.8% of Canadian households own 3 or more mobile devices.
  • Households within the first income quintile allocate 9.1% of their annual income towards communications services.
Household subscriptions
Landline 63%
Mobile 90%
Internet 89%
Television distribution 72%
Source: Landline, mobile, and Internet subscription data from Statistics Canada, custom breakdown of Table 11-10-0223-01. TV subscription data from CRTC data collection.

Within the Canadian communications system, it is important to highlight individual service subscriptions for landline, mobile, Internet, and television distribution services. Most, if not all, Canadians subscribe to one or more of these services, which play a major role in their everyday lives. This subsection reports Canadian adoption patterns by service type, income, and province.

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Source: Landline, mobile, and Internet subscription data from Statistics Canada, custom breakdown of Table 11-10-0223-01. TV subscription data from CRTC data collection.

Mobile and landline subscriptions

In 2017, slightly more households subscribed to mobile services (89.5%) than Internet services (89.0%). Nearly all Canadian households (99.0%) subscribed to either mobile or landline service in 2017 (Table 1.2), and households owned on average 1.7 mobile phones.

Over the last decade, the percentage of households with landlines has decreased, while the percentage with mobile phones has increased (Figure 1.2). Fewer households are subscribing to both services – in 2017, almost a third (36.0%) of Canadian households were mobile-only households, and 9.5% had only a landline.

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Source: Statistics Canada’s Survey of Household Spending, custom request for a breakdown of Table 11-10-0223-01

While the transition to widespread mobile phone use – partly as a substitute for landline service – is a long-term process, the historical data in Table 1.2 shows how rapidly Canadian households have embraced mobile phones. In 2004, landline-only households (40.0%) far exceeded their mobile-only counterparts (2.7%). However, landline and mobile penetration data show opposing trends over the last decade and a half. Take-up of mobile services surpassed that of landline services when landline dropped 5.6% between 2011 and 2012, which was exceptionally fast considering that the annual decline in landline penetration between 2004 and 2017 was 3.2%. By contrast, the number of mobile subscribers increased at the rapid rate of 4.2% between 2011 and 2012, ultimately reversing the penetration trends of both services.

In 2017, 36.0% of Canadian households subscribed to mobile services only and 9.5% of households subscribed to landline services only. As mobile and landline service take-up fluctuated, revenues reflected the change. From 2013 to 2017, mobile revenues increased by 4.9% annually (2018 CMR, Table 6.3) and landline revenues decreased by 5.8% annually (2018 CMR, Table 4.6). During this period, mobile revenue growth outpaced subscriber growth. Mobile data revenues generated much of the growth, as they increased at an average rate of 11.9% each year between 2013 and 2017 (2018 CMR, Figure 6.1). From 2016 to 2017 alone, average data usage per subscriber increased by 37.5% (2018 CMR, Figure 6.15), generating greater revenues per subscriber in addition to the increase in mobile subscriptions. For more insight on consumer spending habits, refer to the Canadian household communications spending section below.

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Source: Statistics Canada’s Survey of Household Spending, Table: 11-10-0228-01

Subscriptions by income quintile

Infographic 1.3 Household characteristics and communications expenditures by income quintile
Infographic 1.3 Household characteristics and communications expenditures by income quintile
Long description
First income quintile Second income quintile Third income quintile Fourth income quintile Fifth income quintile
Income Household income less than $32,914 Household income from $32,915 to $56,495 Household income from $56,496 to $86,098 Household income from $86,099 to $132,808 Household income over $132,809
Average annual income $19,852 $44,725 $70,794 $107,287 $208,203
Average members per household 1.47 2.01 2.53 2.93 3.39
Average annual communications expenditures $1,806 $2,304 $2,852 $3,202 $3,809
Communications expenditures as a percentage of annual income 9.1% 5.2% 4.0% 3.0% 1.8%
Source: Statistics Canada’s Survey of Household Spending, Table: 11-10-0228-01

The data on telephone subscriptions by income quintile (see Table 1.1) illustrated different consumption patterns in higher- and lower-income households. While 99.0% of Canadian households had telephone service, just 2.4% of Canada’s highest-income households relied solely on a landline, compared to almost 23.9% of the lowest-income households. Forty-two percent of low-income households subscribed to mobile service only, as did about a quarter of the highest-income households.

Of the five income quintiles, households in the fifth quintile changed their telephone usage habits the most in 2017. The number of landline-only households in this income quintile decreased by 29.4%. Households in the fourth income quintile changed their telephone usage habits the most when it came to exclusive use of mobile service, showing an increase of 18.3% in 2017.

Financial resources appear to play a role in whether households subscribed to both mobile and landline services. Over the past five years, households in the highest income quintile consistently recorded the lowest percentage of households subscribing to mobile services only. Conversely, households in the lowest income quintile recorded the highest percentage of households subscribing to landline services only.

Subscriptions by province

Subscriptions by population

In 2017, 99.0% of Canadians were covered by long-term evolution (LTE) networks, and with the exception of the North, which had 63.5% coverage, every province had over 90.0% LTE coverage (2018 CMR Table 6.13). Although LTE coverage was largely available in most regions, Alberta led in terms of mobile penetration, with 91.6% of its population subscribing to mobile services (2018 CMR Table 6.15). Prince Edward Island led in terms of coverage. However, it had the lowest penetration rate of the provinces (71.3%), demonstrating that the availability of a network in a certain region doesn’t necessarily translate to a higher penetration rate.

Subscriptions by household

While a majority of Canadians had access to LTE networks and 89.5% subscribed to mobile services, Quebec and the Atlantic provinces (New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador) continued to have more landline service subscribers than Ontario and the Western provinces (Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia) (see Table 1.3). Furthermore, there were more mobile-only households in the Western provinces and Ontario than in the Atlantic provinces and Quebec, even though LTE was available to a greater percentage of the population in the Atlantic provinces (2018 CMR Table 6.13). Quebec had the highest percentage of landline-only households (14.1%) and the lowest percentage of households with mobile service (84.4%). Households in New Brunswick were the most reliant upon landlines – 83.4% had landlines and just 11.2% had mobile service only. In contrast, 43.1% of Alberta households relied on mobile service alone, and only 55.6% had landlines. Overall, the coverage of almost 97.0% of Canadians, with two or more networks, gives Canadians some options when making communications services subscription decisions.

Internet subscriptions and computer ownership

In 2017, 99.0% of Canadian households had access to fixed broadband Internet access and 89.0%Footnote 4 of Canadian households had a home Internet subscription. Internet use from home increased slightly in all income quintiles except the fourth quintile, an overall average increase of 1.8% (see Table 1.5). The vast majority of high-income households subscribed to Internet services in 2017, compared to less than two-thirds of the lowest-income households. Internet use from home in the first income quintile was 20.0 percentage points lower than the overall average of 89.0% and 16.3 percentage points lower than in the second income quintile.

With mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets, Canadians can access the Internet from nearly any location. However, home computers still played an important role for Canadians. As Table 1.5 shows, most Canadian households had home computers (84.1%).

Overall, more households owned mobile phones (89.5%) than home computers (84.1%) in 2017. This trend was more pronounced in the lower income quintiles. For example, 73.1% of Canadian households in the first income quintile owned mobile phones (see Table 1.3), compared to 63.4% of households that owned home computers (see Table 1.5). Home computer ownership was unchanged between 2016 and 2017, except in the second income quintile, where it increased by 1.4%.

iii. What do Canadian households spend on communications services?Footnote 5

Infographic 1.4 Canadian households’ average expenditures on communications services
Infographic 1.4 Canadian households’ average expenditures on communications services
Long description
  • Average monthly household communications spending in 2017: $233.00
  • Canadians spent an average of $101.00 per month on mobile services, and $54.17 per month on Internet services.
  • Spending as a percentage of income: 3.1%
  • Average annual household income in Canada: $90,185
Distribution of the average household communications spending
Landline 11%
Mobile 43%
Internet 23%
Television distribution 23%
Source: Statistics Canada’s Survey of Household Spending, Table: 11-10-0223-01

Households make decisions about the amounts they are willing to spend on communications services, with spending habits varying for many different reasons. Some habits reflect personal choice and others are influenced by service availability, affordability, and household resources. This section focuses on household spending for various services by income, household location (urban/rural), and age, to inform a better understanding of Canadian households’ communications spending habits.

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Source: Statistics Canada’s Survey of Household Spending, Table: 11-10-0223-01

Data on communications services spending provides insights into how communications services affect the household budget, but there are limitations when using expenditure data to assess adoption and spending patterns. The data does not reflect consumption of free services, such as over-the-air television and radio services, which remain valuable to many Canadians. The data presented here reports average expenditures and takes into account all households, including those that do not subscribe to any services. As a result, the average expenditures may over- or under-report actual spending for individual households. Most communications subscriptions, like those for television distribution, landline, and Internet services, tend to be purchased at a household level (and often in a bundle)Footnote 6, meaning that there is a single subscription per household. However, larger households may have higher expenditures for these services (e.g. purchasing more Internet data or a broader selection of television channels). Households may have several subscriptions to mobile services. The data presented here does not allow for analysis of individual expenditures on communications services.

Statistics Canada reported that average annual household incomes before taxes in Canada in 2016 and 2017 were $91,347 and $90,185 respectively. Average income increased in all income quintiles, except in the fifth quintile. In 2017, the Canadian provincial average annual household income before taxes ranged from $76,820 (New Brunswick) to $111,212 (Alberta). The most significant shift in average household income was in Alberta, which saw a downward shift from $129,102 in 2016 to $111,212 in 2017.

Throughout 2017, the average Canadian household spent $233.00 per month on communications services, an increase of $10.17 (4.6%) from 2016 (see Table 1.6). As in 2016, Internet and mobile services drove household expenditure growth and telecommunications industry revenues (see Figure 1.4). In 2017, expenditures on mobile services led in terms of annual growth (9.7%), followed by expenditures on Internet services (9.4%). These increases occurred as consumers shifted to services offering higher Internet speeds and more mobile data. (See Retail Fixed Internet Sector and Broadband Availability and Retail Mobile Sector in the 2018 CMR for more details on Internet and mobile services respectively.)

Expenditures by income quintile

Infographic 1.5 Household expenditures on communications services by income quintile
Infographic 1.5 Household expenditures on communications services by income quintile
Long description
Quintile and income Measure Landline Mobile Internet Television distribution Total
First quintile
(household income less than $32,914)
Average income: $19,852
Monthly expenditures $21.50 $53.67 $36.00 $39.33 $150.50
Annual expenditures $258 $644 $432 $472 $1,806
Annual expenditures as % of average income 1.3% 3.2% 2.2% 2.4% 9.1%
Fifth quintile
(household income over $132,809)
Average income: $208,203
Monthly expenditures $29.08 $154.75 $65.50 $68.08 $317.42
Annual expenditures $349 $1,857 $786 $817 $3,809
Annual expenditures as % of average income 0.2% 0.9% 0.4% 0.4% 1.8%
Source: Statistics Canada’s Survey of Household Spending, Table: 11-10-0228-01

See Table 1.6 on Open Data for data of all quintiles

In 2017, similar to previous years, household incomes in the fifth quintile were approximately 10.5 times higher than those in the first quintile, while expenditures on communications services as a percentage of household income were about five times higher in the first quintile than in the fifth. Annual expenditures on communications services represented 9.1% of the average income of households in the first quintile, compared to only 1.8% of the average income of households in the fifth quintile.

While there was considerable variance among the average amounts spent by Canadians in each income quintile, households tended to devote a larger proportion of their communications services budget to either mobile or television distribution services. On average, household spending on television distribution services decreased by 2.2% from 2016 to 2017, while average household spending on landline telephone services decreased by 8.2% during the same period. During the same period, household spending on mobile, Internet, and overall communications services continued to grow.

Overall, households spent the most on mobile services ($101.00 per month on average; see Figure 1.4). On average, for all income quintiles, spending on landline services declined from 2013 to 2017 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of ‑8.2%. However, average expenditures on Internet services showed the largest growth (9.4%) between 2016 and 2017, and the highest 2013 to 2017 CAGR (7.4%), for all income quintiles (Table 1.6).

Households in the highest income quintiles spent more on communications services than those in the lower income quintiles. Household expenditures increased across all quintiles between 2016 and 2017, with expenditures in households in the first income quintile increasing the most (7.4%).

Even though total spending on communications services by the lowest-income households was more than two times lower than total spending by the highest-income households, as shown in Table 1.7 , expenditures on communications services represented a significantly larger percentage of their annual incomes, about five times more to be more precise. In addition, households in the first income quintile spent more on communications services on a per person basis than all other income quintiles, spending almost $8.75 more per person per month than those in the fifth income quintile.

Average monthly expenditures by location - urban centresFootnote 7 vs. rural communitiesFootnote 8

Infographic 1.6 Average provincial household expenditures on communications services comparison in urban centres and in rural communities
Infographic 1.6 Average provincial household expenditures on communications services comparison in urban centres and in rural communities
Long description
Year Average monthly spending by households in rural communities Average monthly spending by households in urban centres
2017 $247.58 $228.11
2013 $210.25 $208.22
Infographic – Highest vs. lowest (urban)
Total Landline Mobile Internet Television distribution
High Newfoundland and Labrador Newfoundland and Labrador Alberta Prince Edward Island Newfoundland and Labrador
$274.83 $39.00 $132.22 $64.92 $66.04
Low Quebec Alberta Quebec Quebec Quebec
$181.83 $19.86 $63.67 $46.19 $48.50
Infographic – Highest vs. lowest (rural)
Total Landline Mobile Internet Television distribution
High Newfoundland and Labrador Newfoundland and Labrador Saskatchewan British Columbia Newfoundland and Labrador
$277.75 $57.25 $119.33 $70.42 $72.42
Low Quebec Quebec Quebec Saskatchewan Quebec
$199.83 $30.50 $67.17 $44.75 $53.00
Source: Statistics Canada’s Survey of Household Spending, Table 11-10-0223-01

As seen in Table 1.6, expenditures on mobile and Internet services increased from 2013 to 2017, landline service expenditures decreased, and television distribution service expenditures remained relatively stable (see Figure 1.5). Internet expenditures surpassed landline service expenditures in urban centres in 2013, whereas in rural communities (see Figure 1.6) this occurred in 2015. Further, mobile service expenditures were fairly similar to television distribution service expenditures in rural communities prior to 2013, but more was spent on mobile services in recent years.

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Source: Statistics Canada’s Survey of Household Spending, custom request for a breakdown of Table 11-10-0223-01

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Source: Statistics Canada’s Survey of Household Spending, custom request for a breakdown of Table 11-10-0223-01

Households in rural communities increased their spending on all communications services to a greater degree than urban households. On average, households in rural communities spent $247.58 per month, an increase of 8.7% from 2016, compared to those in urban centres, which spent $228.11 per month, an increase of 4.5% for the same period. The difference in average household expenditures between urban and rural communities reflects the slightly higher prices offered in rural areas, where there are typically fewer service providers.

Expenditures also varied by province. For instance, Quebec residents spent significantly less on communications services in both urban and rural communities (see Table 1.9 and Table 1.10) than all other provinces, while Newfoundland and Labrador residents spent the most on communications services. Overall, the highest total monthly service spending was in Newfoundland and Labrador, at $274.83 and $277.75 in urban centres and rural communities respectively.

Expenditures by age

Infographic 1.7 Household expenditures on communications services by age in 2017
Infographic 1.7 Household expenditures on communications services by age in 2017
Long description
  • Younger households (reference person aged 30 or younger) spent about $214.67 per month on communications services in 2017.
  • Older households (reference person aged 65 or older) spent about $191.17 per month on communications services in 2017.
Source: Statistics Canada’s Survey of Household Spending Table: 11-10-0227-01

Data on household spending by age was segmented based on the age of the household’s reference person,Footnote 9 the person who typically handled financial matters in the home. Households whose reference person was aged 40 to 54 spent the most on communications services ($266.08 per month, up 3.2% from 2016), while those whose reference person was aged 65 years or over spent the least ($191.17 per month, up 4.8% from 2016).

In all Canadian households, the smallest communications expense was for landline services (Figure 1.7), which were also the services with the biggest age-related differences in household expenditures. Although landline subscriptions are declining annually (as seen in Figure 1.2), landlines remained important for Canada’s older households. While younger households spent just $6.08 per month on average on landline services (an average expenditure that includes many households that do not have a landline), the oldest households spent on average more than six times that amount ($37.83 per month).

This difference between age groups was also reflected through their usage habits. Older households (whose reference person was aged 65 years or over) spent the most on television distribution services and the least on Internet services. Typically, the younger generation (households whose reference person was under 30 years old), which watched an average of 18.6 hours of television per week, spent on average $24.00 a month on television distribution services. This spending was more than 50% lower than the oldest generation, which watched on average 42.2 hours per week and spent $62.83 per month on television distribution services (2018 CMR - Broadcasting, Figure 9.6). Figure 1.8 is comparable to Figure 1.7, showing how the trends for mobile, Internet, and landline were fairly similar in terms of both expenditures and percentage of users per age group.

Figure 1.7 illustrates stark differences in spending between the youngest and oldest households. The youngest households tended to spend much more on Internet and mobile services than their older counterparts. Ninety-seven percent of the youngest generation surveyed used mobile services and allocated a large portion of their spending towards it ($127.92 per month). A similar pattern was visible with Internet services. The correlation between spending and usage suggests that different services have varying levels of importance to each generation, and that individuals spent more on the services they tended to use the most.

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Source: Statistics Canada’s Survey of Household Spending, Table: 11-10-0227-01
Footnote 10

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Source: Media Technology Monitor, Fall 2017 (respondents: Canadians aged 18+)

iv. Who is covered by broadband and mobile networks across Canada?

Infographic 1.8 Broadband and mobile coverage in Canada in 2017
Infographic 1.8 Broadband and mobile coverage in Canada in 2017
Long description
Canada Rural communities OLMCs Indigenous reserve areas
Broadband at 1.5 Mbps 98.7% 94.0% 98.9% 90.8%
Broadband at 50/10 Mbps unlimited 84.1% 37.2% 88.4% 27.7%
Mobile 99.4% 98.0% 99.5% 88.2%
Mobile LTE 99.0% 95.9% 99.0% 72.8%
Source: Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) and CRTC data collection

Notes: For the purposes of this report, the official language minority population is defined in terms of the first official language spoken metric as defined within the Official Languages Act, using data from the 2016 Census. In all provinces and territories except Quebec, the official language having minority status is French. The presence of official language minority populations within a 25km area of an official minority language school was used to model and map OLMCs.

Indigenous reserve areas, representing total population and dwellings on reserves, were used in the analysis.

Broadband was measured on a household basis, at 1.5 Mbps and at 50/10 Mbps unlimited service availability. Mobile and mobile via LTE availability were measured on a population basis.

Arguably, broadband Internet services and mobile services have become the two most important services to Canadians over the past several years. The two services combined made up more than 66.6% of total household expenditures of communications services at the end of 2017. Hence, access to these services was fundamentally essential to enable Canadians to fully participate in society and to benefit from the digital economy.

The availability of broadband at 1.5 Mbps and mobile services across Canada varied by province or territory and level of service, especially in certain communities. Generally, Canadians who resided in official minority language communities (OLMCs) and rural communities had similar levels of access to Internet and mobile services to households and Canadians who resided in Indigenous reserve areas.

In Newfoundland and Labrador, only 67.9% of Indigenous reserve areas had access to mobile services, compared to 96.1%, overall, of all residents of Newfoundland and Labrador; this was even lower than in each of the three territories. Two other provinces where the Indigenous reserve areas had considerably less access to mobile services than the overall provincial level were Quebec and Manitoba, at 75.6% and 77.6% respectively.

Broadband Internet services

For the purposes of this section, broadband availability at 1.5 Mbps and at 50/10 Mbps unlimited is reported on a household basis. Availability of 1.5 Mbps broadband in OLMC and rural communities was closely aligned to the provincial average, while availability in Indigenous reserve areas in certain provinces was significantly lower. There were four provinces (Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick) where broadband availability was greater in Indigenous reserve areas than the provincial average, which may suggest that these communities were well served in 2017. However, in Indigenous reserve areas in the North and in the provinces of Quebec and Ontario, broadband availability was much lower than the provincial figures, suggesting that these communities were less well served overall.

The availability of 50/10 Mbps unlimited broadband was noticeably different from availability at 1.5 Mbps. Across Canada, 50/10 Mbps unlimited was available to 84.1% of Canadians. However, only 37.2% of rural communities and 27.7% of Indigenous reserve areas had access to the faster speeds of 50/10 Mbps unlimited, demonstrating a divide between the various communities for faster broadband services. In the northern territories (Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut), 50/10 Mbps unlimited broadband is unavailable altogether, which further illustrates the urban-rural divide in terms of access to service, especially at the faster speeds.

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Source: Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) and CRTC data collection

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Source: Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) and CRTC data collection

Mobile services

Mobile services via LTE were available to 99.0% of Canadians at the end of 2017. In rural communities, OLMCs, and Indigenous reserve areas, LTE was available to 95.9%, 99.0%, and 72.8% of the population, respectively.

The largest difference in coverage between the provincial average and the Indigenous reserve areas was seen in Manitoba. Only 19.5% of the Indigenous reserve areas in Manitoba had access to LTE, compared to 93.4% of Manitobans in general. Two other provinces that also showed noticeable differences in access to LTE were Newfoundland and Labrador and Ontario where 67.9% and 62.3% of the Indigenous reserve areas are covered by LTE, respectively, compared to their overall provincial figures of 94.7% and 99.7% respectively.

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Source: Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) and CRTC data collection

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Source: Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) and CRTC data collection

New Brunswick has the largest official language minority population, at 31.0% of its overall population, followed by Quebec at 13.4%.

See Table 1.11 (Open data) for 2016 data on Canadians whose mother tongue is an official language with minority status in the province or territory in which they reside, and in Canada overall. In all provinces and territories except Quebec, the official language having minority status is French.

Map 1.1 Population distribution of OLMCs across Canada, 2016

Map 1.1 Population distribution of OLMCs across Canada, 2016

Download:  MapInfo for Map 1.1 Download:  KML for Map 1.1

Source: 2016 Census, Statistics Canada, and data collection from both Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) and CRTC

Map 1.1 displays areas across Canada where OLMCs are present. The blue circles are OLMCs, modeled as areas within 25km of an official language minority school. The interactive map for OLMCs is also available online.

Map 1.2 displays areas across Canada where Indigenous reserve areas are present. The colour and number inside each circle represents the specific type of reserve where Indigenous reserve areas are present and the number of reserves in each area. Broadband availability within each census subdivision is available as part of the data set. Zoom into the map to update the tooltip with the broadband availability or review the Data Panel at the bottom of the map for full details. The interactive map for the number of reserve areas is also available online.

Map 1.2 Distribution of Indigenous reserve areas across Canada, 2017

Map 1.2 Distribution of Indigenous reserve areas across Canada, 2017

Download:  MapInfo for Map 1.2 Download:  KML for Map 1.2

Source: 2016 Census, Statistics Canada, and data collection from both Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) and CRTC

v. Methodology

Urban centres and rural communities

Urban centres, also known as small/medium/large population centres, are defined as follows: small centres have populations between 1,000 and 29,999, medium centres have populations between 30,000 and 99,999, and large centres have populations greater than 100,000. For the purposes of this report, data for urban centres reports the average of small/medium/large centres.

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.

Official language minority communities

To identify official language minority communities (OLMCs) in Canada, a number of different criteria can be used. These include identifying the first language learned at home, the language spoken at home, and the language of education.

For the purposes of this report, the official language minority population is defined in terms of the first official language spoken metric as defined within the Official Languages Act, using data from the 2016 Census. In all provinces and territories except Quebec, the official language having minority status is French.

The presence of official language minority populations within a 25km area of an official minority language school was used to model and map OLMCs.

As a means of mapping OLMCs and calculating the availability of 50/10 Mbps unlimited service, a method of OLMC population placement was chosen that concentrates on areas within 25 km of official language minority schools to represent the locations of the communities. This methodology, which was developed by Canadian Heritage, was used to assign OLMC populations to areas and to calculate 50/10 Mbps unlimited availability to OLMC communities.

Indigenous reserve areas

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 reasons. The different census subdivisions used by Statistics Canada were assessed. The census subdivisions that represent Indigenous reserve areas were included in the data analysis as well as mapping of this population. The analysis was based upon total population and dwellings on reserves according to the Statistics Canada census data and, as such, it may differ from other official sources.

Income quintiles and household spending

Income quintile information regarding household expenditures on communications services comes from Statistics Canada’s Survey of Household Spending and does not include any projections or CRTC data. Canadian household incomes and household monthly expenditures were reported for the five income quintiles. An income quintile is a measure of the socioeconomic status of 5 different household groups (specifically household income levels), with each household group representing about 20% of the total population.

Table 1.1 Average annual household incomes and average monthly expenditures by income quintile ($/month), 2017
Type First quintile Second quintile Third quintile Fourth quintile Fifth quintile
Income Less than $32,914 Between $32,915 to $56,495 Between $56,496 to $86,098 Between $86,099 to $132,808 Over $132,809
Average annual income $19,852 $44,725 $70,794 $107,287 $208,203
Landline $21.50 $25.17 $23.58 $26.67 $29.08
Mobile $53.67 $71.67 $103.08 $121.67 $154.75
Internet $36.00 $49.33 $58.00 $61.92 $65.50
TV distribution $39.33 $45.83 $53.00 $56.58 $68.08
Total $150.50 $192.00 $237.67 $266.83 $317.42

Source: Statistics Canada’s Survey of Household Spending, Table: 11-10-0223-01

vi. Appendices

Table 1.2 Canadian landline and mobile service subscribers per 100 households, 2004-2017
Year Landline Mobile Landline
and/or
mobile
Landline only Mobile only
2004 96.2 58.9 98.9 40.0 2.7
2005 94.0 62.9 98.8 36.0 4.8
2006 93.6 66.8 98.6 31.8 5.0
2007 92.5 71.9 98.8 26.9 6.3
2008 91.1 74.3 99.1 24.8 8.0
2009 89.3 77.2 99.3 22.1 10.0
2010 89.3 78.1 99.4 21.3 10.1
2011 86.6 79.1 99.3 20.2 12.7
2012 83.8 81.3 99.2 17.9 15.4
2013 79.1 84.7 99.3 14.6 20.2
2014 75.5 85.6 99.2 13.6 23.7
2015 71.9 86.1 99.3 13.2 27.5
2016 66.8 87.9 99.3 11.4 32.5
2017 63.0 89.5 99.0 9.5 36.0

Source: Statistics Canada’s Affordability Study (2004-2007) and Survey of Household Spending, custom request for a breakdown of Table 11-10-0223-01 (2008-2017)

Table 1.3 Canadian landline and mobile service subscribers per 100 households, by income quintile, 2013-2017
Service Year First quintile Second quintile Third quintile Fourth quintile Fifth quintile Average of all quintiles CAGR of average of all quintiles (2013-2017)
Landline 2013 65.2 75.0 82.2 84.7 87.5 78.9 -5.5%
2014 65.3 69.1 74.3 80.2 88.3 75.5
2015 63.6 68.6 72.1 74.1 81.0 71.9
2016 58.2 65.3 63.6 70.6 76.1 66.8
2017 54.9 59.7 62.7 65.2 72.5 63.0
Growth
2016-2017 (%)
-5.7 -8.6 -1.4 -7.6 -4.7 -5.6
Mobile 2013 66.8 79.7 88.5 92.9 96.4 84.9 1.3%
2014 67.4 83.2 89.4 93.2 95.0 85.6
2015 69.9 80.3 89.9 93.9 96.7 86.1
2016 68.7 85.6 92.7 96.2 96.4 87.9
2017 73.1 86.8 94.4 96.3 96.9 89.5
Growth
2016-2017 (%)
6.4 1.4 1.8 0.1 0.5 1.8
Landline and/or mobile 2013 97.5 99.7 99.7 99.6 100.0 99.3 -0.1%
2014 97.8 99.4 99.2 99.5 99.8 99.2
2015 98.6 99.0 99.5 99.8 99.8 99.3
2016 98.2 99.5 99.6 99.6 99.8 99.3
2017 97.0 99.6 99.5 99.5 99.3 99.0
Growth
2016-2017 (%)
-1.2 0.1 -0.1 -0.1 -0.5 -0.3
Landline only 2013 30.7 20.0 11.2 6.7 3.6 14.4 -9.9%
2014 30.4 16.2 9.8 6.3 4.8 13.6
2015 28.7 18.7 9.6 5.9 3.1 13.2
2016 29.5 13.9 6.9 3.4 3.4 11.4
2017 23.9 12.8 5.1 3.2 2.4 9.5
Growth
2016-2017 (%)
-19.0 -7.9 -26.1 -5.9 -29.4 -16.8
Mobile only 2013 32.3 24.7 17.5 14.9 12.5 20.4 15.3%
2014 32.5 30.3 24.9 19.3 11.5 23.7
2015 35.0 30.4 27.4 25.7 18.8 27.5
2016 40.0 34.2 36.0 29.0 23.7 32.6
2017 42.1 39.9 36.8 34.3 26.8 36.0
Growth
2016-2017 (%)
5.2 16.7 2.2 18.3 13.1 10.5

Source: Statistics Canada’s Survey of Household Spending, custom request for a breakdown of Table 11-10-0223-01.

Each quintile represents 20% of households.

Table 1.4 Landline and mobile service subscribers per 100 households, by province, 2017
Province Landline Mobile Landline
and/or
mobile
Landline only Mobile only
British Columbia 59.3 92.0 98.7 6.7 39.4
Alberta 55.6 93.6 98.7 5.1 43.1
Saskatchewan 57.3 93.5 99.7 6.2 42.4
Manitoba 65.6 90.1 99.5 9.4 33.9
Ontario 61.2 90.8 99.3 8.5 38.1
Quebec 67.6 84.4 98.5 14.1 30.9
New Brunswick 83.4 87.8 99.0 11.2 15.6
Nova Scotia 68.2 87.1 98.9 11.8 30.7
Prince Edward Island 67.8 87.3 98.6 11.3 30.8
Newfoundland and Labrador 83.0 89.1 99.6 10.5 16.6
All of Canada 63.0 89.5 99.0 9.5 36.0

Source: Statistics Canada’s Survey of Household Spending, custom request for a breakdown of Table 11-10-0223-01

Table 1.5 Home computer ownership and Internet use from home per 100 households, by income quintile, 2013-2017
Technology Year Household income less than $32,914 (first quintile) Household income from $32,915 to $56,495 (second quintile) Household income from $56,496 to $86,098 (third quintile) Household income from $86,099 to $132,808 (fourth quintile) Household income over $132,809 (fifth quintile) Average for all quintiles
Home computer 2013 64.4 80.6 89.8 95.4 97.9 85.6
2014 64.3 78.1 87.7 94.0 97.4 84.3
2015 61.9 79.6 89.1 95.3 96.6 84.5
2016 63.9 78.0 89.1 93.4 96.2 84.1
2017 63.4 79.1 89.5 93.5 95.1 84.1
Growth
2016-2017 (%)
-0.8 1.4 0.4 0.1 -1.1 0
Internet use from home 2013 59.7 77.6 89.0 94.9 98.4 83.9
2014 63.5 78.5 88.7 95.5 98.3 84.9
2015 64.4 82.1 92.8 97.2 98.2 86.9
2016 65.2 82.7 93.3 97.9 98.1 87.4
2017 69.0 85.3 94.1 97.7 98.5 89.0
Growth
2016-2017 (%)
5.8 3.1 0.9 -0.2 0.4 1.8

Source: Statistics Canada’s Survey of Household Spending, custom request for a breakdown of Table 11-10-0223-01

Table 1.6 Average five-year monthly household spending on communications services, by service and by income quintile ($/month/household), 2013-2017
Service Year First quintile Second quintile Third quintile Fourth quintile Fifth quintile Average of all quintiles CAGR of average of all quintiles (2013-2017)
Landline 2013 29.08 33.50 36.08 38.17 41.00 35.58 -8.2%
2014 26.58 31.08 32.50 36.17 40.33 33.33
2015 25.50 28.08 29.83 31.50 36.08 30.17
2016 22.75 26.67 27.75 26.92 33.25 27.50
2017 21.50 25.17 23.58 26.67 29.08 25.25
Growth
2016-2017 (%)
-5.5 -5.6 -15.0 -0.9 -12.5 -8.2
Mobile 2013 42.42 55.92 77.25 91.75 127.00 78.92 6.4%
2014 43.92 60.42 80.83 100.42 127.83 82.67
2015 43.75 62.25 84.83 105.33 140.08 87.25
2016 47.42 66.08 95.42 110.67 141.00 92.08
2017 53.67 71.67 103.08 121.67 154.75 101.00
Growth
2016-2017 (%)
13.2 8.5 8.0 9.9 9.8 9.7
Internet 2013 25.58 35.25 42.08 48.00 52.42 40.67 7.4%
2014 29.50 37.17 44.17 48.75 52.67 42.42
2015 30.58 41.58 49.92 53.75 56.83 46.50
2016 32.17 43.58 52.00 58.00 61.92 49.50
2017 36.00 49.33 58.00 61.92 65.50 54.17
Growth
2016-2017 (%)
11.9 13.2 11.5 6.8 5.8 9.4
Television distribution 2013 37.00 49.33 57.67 64.58 74.50 56.58 -1.8%
2014 38.92 49.42 56.92 62.25 74.17 56.33
2015 38.83 46.92 55.42 58.75 72.42 54.50
2016 37.75 47.92 52.50 59.58 71.08 53.75
2017 39.33 45.83 53.00 56.58 68.08 52.58
Growth
2016-2017 (%)
4.2 -4.4 1.0 -5.0 -4.2 -2.2
Total 2013 134.08 174.00 213.08 242.50 294.92 211.75 2.4%
2014 138.92 178.08 214.42 247.58 295.00 214.75
2015 138.67 178.83 220.00 249.33 305.42 218.42
2016 140.09 184.25 227.67 255.17 307.25 222.83
2017 150.50 192.00 237.67 266.83 317.42 233.00
Growth
2016-2017 (%)
7.4 4.2 4.4 4.6 3.3 4.6
CAGR of total services 2013-2017 2.9 2.5 2.8 2.4 1.9 2.4 -

Source: Statistics Canada’s Survey of Household Spending, Table: 11-10-0223-01

Table 1.7 Expenditure per service and by income quintile as a percentage of average annual income, 2017
Metric First quintile Second quintile Third quintile Fourth quintile Fifth quintile Average of all quintiles
Average income $19,852 $44,725 $70,794 $107,287 $208,203 $90,185
Landline 1.3% 0.7% 0.4% 0.3% 0.2% 0.3%
Mobile 3.2% 1.9% 1.8% 1.4% 0.9% 1.3%
Internet 2.2% 1.6% 1.0% 0.6% 0.4% 0.7%
Television distribution 2.4% 1.4% 0.9% 0.6% 0.4% 0.7%
Total communications expenditures 9.1% 5.2% 4.0% 3.0% 1.8% 3.1%

Source: Statistics Canada’s Survey of Household Spending, Table: 11-10-0223-01

Table 1.8 Household spending on communications services as a percentage of annual income, by income quintile, 2013-2017
Year Characteristics First quintile Second quintile Third quintile Fourth quintile Fifth quintile All quintiles
2013 Minimum household income threshold $0 $30,669 $51,805 $79,723 $121,292 Less than $30,668
Maximum household income threshold $30,668 $51,804 $79,722 $121,291 n/a More than $121,292
Average annual income $18,582 $41,105 $64,854 $98,634 $199,702 $84,575
Average members per household 1.49 2.11 2.49 2.95 3.34 2.48
Communications expenditures as a percentage of average annual income 8.3% 4.9% 3.8% 2.8% 1.7% 2.9%
2014 Minimum household income threshold $0 $30,520 $53,275 $81,295 $124,839 Less than $30,519
Maximum household income threshold $30,519 $53,274 $81,294 $124,838 n/a More than $124,839
Average annual income $19,664 $42,122 $67,083 $101,177 $201,752 $86,360
Average members per household 1.50 2.05 2.51 2.91 3.40 2.47
Communications expenditures as a percentage of average annual income 8.5% 4.1% 3.8% 2.9% 1.8% 3.0%
2015 Minimum household income threshold $0 $31,609 $54,588 $82,710 $126,879 Less than $31,608
Maximum household income threshold $31,608 $54,587 $82,709 $126,878 n/a More than $126,879
Average annual income $19,403 $42,887 $68,331 $103,021 $210,693 $88,867
Average members per household 1.43 2.11 2.57 2.91 3.35 2.47
Communications expenditures as a percentage of average annual income 8.6% 5.0% 3.9% 2.9% 1.7% 2.9%
2016 Minimum household income threshold $0 $32,091 $55,471 $85,337 $130,046 Less than $32,090
Maximum household income threshold $32,090 $55,470 $85,336 $130,045 n/a More than $130,046
Average annual income $19,559 $43,436 $70,178 $104,533 $219,031 $91,347
Average members per household 1.47 2.01 2.51 3.00 3.36 2.47
Communications expenditures as a percentage of average annual income 8.6% 5.1% 3.9% 2.9% 1.7% 2.9%
2017 Minimum household income threshold $0 $32,915 $56,496 $86,099 $132,809 Less than $32,914
Maximum household income threshold $32,914 $56,495 $86,098 $132,808 n/a More than $132,808
Average annual income $19,852 $44,725 $70,794 $107,287 $208,203 $90,185
Average members per household 1.47 2.01 2.53 2.93 3.39 2.47
Communications expenditures as a percentage of average annual income 9.1% 5.2% 4.0% 3.0% 1.8% 3.1%

Source: Statistics Canada’s Survey of Household Spending, Table: 11-10-0223-01

Table 1.9 Household average monthly household communications services expenditure in rural communities, 2012-2017
Region Service 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
Can. Landline 47.25 47.42 42.83 42.00 41.08 36.92
Can. Mobile 58.17 63.08 76.17 77.00 77.67 94.17
Can. Internet 34.00 37.42 39.25 43.75 46.17 54.83
Can. Television distribution 59.25 62.33 62.75 63.17 62.92 61.67
N.L. Landline 58.33 58.50 56.17 55.83 53.08 57.25
N.L. Mobile 60.67 62.33 76.92 87.92 93.67 95.67
N.L. Internet 31.75 37.83 37.42 45.33 49.33 52.42
N.L. Television distribution 61.92 65.33 70.25 70.75 76.67 72.42
P.E.I. Landline 51.83 56.00 52.58 46.42 46.33 47.50
P.E.I. Mobile 55.25 51.08 89.58 89.75 92.92 94.33
P.E.I. Internet 35.50 40.50 39.67 50.42 58.83 59.08
P.E.I. Television distribution 60.83 73.08 62.00 58.92 70.83 63.58
N.S. Landline 55.42 54.67 53.17 54.08 44.58 44.42
N.S. Mobile 58.50 67.42 67.67 66.08 84.33 86.00
N.S. Internet 35.83 38.17 42.75 45.92 52.92 57.00
N.S. Television distribution 67.92 65.92 65.50 66.25 61.92 63.58
N.B. Landline 50.17 47.58 47.00 45.75 44.42 43.83
N.B. Mobile 53.67 58.67 73.42 66.50 63.33 86.08
N.B. Internet 31.75 33.83 38.58 39.25 41.08 51.08
N.B. Television distribution 60.17 59.42 57.75 65.33 64.83 59.42
Que. Landline 43.50 41.83 38.25 38.00 37.08 30.50
Que. Mobile 31.17 45.25 49.42 49.50 53.42 67.17
Que. Internet 31.83 33.00 33.67 37.08 36.42 49.17
Que. Television distribution 51.75 55.75 50.67 50.83 54.08 53.00
Ont. Landline 46.33 45.33 41.92 43.83 44.33 38.42
Ont. Mobile 50.75 55.33 80.50 78.25 70.50 108.42
Ont. Internet 36.83 43.00 44.42 47.42 54.92 57.50
Ont. Television distribution 57.67 65.83 69.17 66.83 61.92 69.92
Man. Landline 46.83 49.25 46.33 43.33 40.50 40.08
Man. Mobile 70.42 83.83 91.42 104.17 103.50 111.50
Man. Internet 29.58 37.83 42.33 38.00 52.92 57.83
Man. Television distribution 55.75 58.83 55.67 70.33 77.83 65.50
Sask. Landline 54.92 52.83 51.17 48.33 47.67 39.00
Sask. Mobile 68.75 88.25 98.83 109.17 116.00 119.33
Sask. Internet 34.08 29.25 37.92 41.42 44.75 44.75
Sask. Television distribution 67.75 64.58 74.75 70.50 73.75 70.42
Alta. Landline 46.25 56.92 39.58 36.25 36.17 35.00
Alta. Mobile 130.17 114.67 139.67 118.75 121.17 117.75
Alta. Internet 41.33 42.42 42.17 52.58 46.08 56.33
Alta. Television distribution 76.17 72.75 80.08 74.42 70.42 66.58
B.C. Landline 47.08 43.25 39.83 30.42 34.00 31.42
B.C. Mobile 63.08 48.92 53.25 94.92 88.92 98.17
B.C. Internet 31.17 38.33 37.83 54.17 52.92 70.42
B.C. Television distribution 55.92 59.75 59.00 68.92 64.58 51.67

Source: Statistics Canada’s Survey of Household Spending, custom request for a breakdown of Table 11-10-0223-01

Table 1.10 Household average monthly communications services expenditure in urban centres, 2012-2017
Region Service 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
Can. Landline 38,83 35.89 34.31 30.72 28.44 25.86
Can. Mobile 63,42 76.22 74.19 84.06 85.39 94.14
Can. Internet 34,89 39.11 41.00 45.47 47.08 52.97
Can. Television distribution 56,61 57.00 59.00 55.72 57.33 55.14
N.L. Landline 48,29 43.67 42.83 41.00 42.83 39.00
N.L. Mobile 76,50 83.83 91.83 99.17 110.71 115.75
N.L. Internet 37,46 42.04 42.63 46.67 48.71 54.04
N.L. Television distribution 62,75 61.63 67.92 61.96 64.42 66.04
P.E.I. Landline 39,67 43.63 43.50 45.92 39.58 34.58
P.E.I. Mobile 56,92 64.38 71.25 68.79 84.13 96.50
P.E.I. Internet 34,92 39.96 45.67 47.13 51.92 64.92
P.E.I. Television distribution 58,71 61.08 63.75 58.17 58.58 52.92
N.S. Landline 45,22 43.44 39.00 40.31 39.08 37.17
N.S. Mobile 64,28 71.75 62.69 76.72 91.25 88.89
N.S. Internet 36,53 40.00 43.36 47.64 52.11 56.89
N.S. Television distribution 64,03 59.00 65.58 57.67 60.28 59.19
N.B. Landline 41,69 40.86 36.22 36.22 36.78 33.44
N.B. Mobile 63,03 64.22 69.25 77.08 82.92 82.67
N.B. Internet 38,17 40.94 41.14 46.17 46.92 51.42
N.B. Television distribution 57,25 58.50 59.47 55.39 57.83 59.03
Que. Landline 34,03 33.08 34.25 28.97 28.00 23.47
Que. Mobile 41,08 43.47 46.06 51.11 56.14 63.67
Que. Internet 33,22 35.17 32.83 35.50 37.08 46.19
Que. Television distribution 46,39 45.75 47.64 47.83 48.72 48.50
Ont. Landline 43,58 40.92 36.94 33.86 33.61 29.81
Ont. Mobile 60,47 79.39 70.47 82.31 76.83 93.17
Ont. Internet 37,06 39.89 45.08 49.36 46.28 53.58
Ont. Television distribution 59,72 60.47 62.56 57.67 60.44 57.42
Man. Landline 36,28 36.47 34.92 30.92 25.67 27.17
Man. Mobile 69,78 78.19 79.89 89.53 85.06 114.81
Man. Internet 35,61 38.78 38.69 43.92 46.69 49.61
Man. Television distribution 64,47 59.69 57.83 59.44 55.00 50.06
Sask. Landline 41,47 36.56 34.92 30.64 29.17 25.72
Sask. Mobile 80,22 87.11 88.28 102.39 109.31 116.33
Sask. Internet 31,58 33.86 35.53 42.17 44.92 51.39
Sask. Television distribution 64,33 67.83 67.19 64.33 64.22 58.64
Alta. Landline 35,81 32.81 30.67 25.22 21.31 19.86
Alta. Mobile 97,25 118.67 110.11 135.94 128.69 132.22
Alta. Internet 33,97 42.36 44.89 51.64 55.08 60.00
Alta. Television distribution 65,14 65.03 66.11 65.86 67.50 60.61
B.C. Landline 33,97 28.39 30.11 27.86 22.00 21.28
B.C. Mobile 67,11 90.50 87.25 94.14 96.17 110.25
B.C. Internet 33,33 40.75 43.03 47.47 53.08 57.19
B.C. Television distribution 54,33 58.64 61.64 55.19 58.08 56.67

Source: Statistics Canada’s Survey of Household Spending, custom request for a breakdown of Table 11-10-0223-01

Contents of the Report

  1. Communications Services in Canadian Households: Subscriptions and Expenditures 2013-2017
  2. 2018 Communications Services Pricing in Canada

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Data from this report and additional data is available on Open Data in .xlsx and .csv:
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Communications Services in Canadian Households: Subscriptions and Expenditures 2013-2017 Households data
2018 Communications Services Pricing in Canada Pricing data
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