CRTC broadband study reveals Canadian ISPs meet or exceed advertised download speeds [Update]

Blais CRTC

Canadian carriers largely meet or exceed their advertised download speeds, according to a national, independent study on Canadian broadband performance.

Participating ISPs (internet service providers) include Bell Aliant, Bell Canada, Rogers, Cogeco, Eastlink, MTS, Northwestel, Shaw, Telus and Vidéotron — all the major carriers in Canada with the exception of Sasktel, which declined to participate.

The report was commissioned by the Canadian Radio-Television Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) in 2015 with the collaboration of major Canadian ISPs as well as SamKnows, a company that specializes in measuring broadband.

The report also determined that factors inside an average home, such as a large number of devices using the internet at once, might affect connectivity speeds. Faulty equipment and poor Wi-Fi connectivity may also have the same effect. External factors, those that come from outside the home, include heavy traffic to a particular website, latency and packet loss may also affect broadband performance.

However, the report also revealed that these results reflect more consistency, reliability and speed in Canada than connectivity levels in most other broadband markets — especially the United States.

Download speeds across all ISPs were consistent in peak and off-peak hours. While most carriers delivered speeds that met or exceeded advertised rates, Bell Aliant and Bell DSL underperformed, achieving just 81 percent and 85 percent of their advertised upload speeds.

“The results of the first phase of the project provide valuable insight on the real-world performance of Internet services across Canada. Stay tuned for details about the second phase of the project, which will be launched in the coming weeks,” said CRTC Chairman and CEO Jean-Pierre Blais.

The measurement devices were known as Whiteboxes and collected data from thousands of volunteers across the country. Approximately 4,808 devices were distributed to Canadian volunteers when the study was issued this past May. 3,056 of those devices were used to compile the study. Data for this report was collected between Mar. 15, 2016 and April 14, 2016.

The second phase of this project will be launched by the CRTC in the fall of 2016.

Those who wish to review the report can do so here: Broadband Measurement report

*This story has been updated to reflect new information revealed by SamKnows.* 

Related: CRTC will implement wholesale access to fibre optic internet