CRTC data shows Canadians are spending more on Internet than TV for the first time


In the second half of its 2016 Communications Monitoring Report, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) revealed that, for the first time ever, Canadians are spending more on internet than TV subscriptions. This change makes internet the second largest sector in the communications industry after wireless.

Internet subscriptions saw a 3.3 percent uptick from 2014 to 2015. In full, 98 percent of Canadian households can now access a download speed of at least 5mbps. At the same time, subscriptions to plans 50mbps and higher have doubled in adoption over the past year and Canadians are downloading an average of 93GB of content monthly.

residential connections chart crtc

It wasn’t just home internet that saw growth, either. In fact, mobile data usage outstripped the former’s growth rate with a 3.4 percent increase in subscriptions from 2014, translating to nearly 30 million individual subscribers.

Data usage — meaning the amount of data that subscribers actually used — grew at a much more outlandish rate, with a 44 percent increase from 2014 to 2015. The percentage of mobile subscribers with a data plan has also increased, with 74 percent of subscribers using a data plan in 2015, compared to 67 percent in 2014.

All this doesn’t bode well for the landline. Service providers reported 800,000 cords were cut in 2015, while wireless services gained about one million new subscribers.

cellphone and landline ownership rates
“Our report illustrates how online and wireless services are becoming critical to Canadians’ day-to-day lives,” said CRTC Chairman and CEO Jean-Pierre Blais in a statement.

“This trend will only continue to increase in the years to come. The explosive growth in data consumption clearly demonstrates that Canadians are relying more and more on streaming and real-time communication applications to consume content and communicate with the world. ”

Just as wireless and internet pushed growth in the telecommunications sector, telecommunications propped up the broader communications industry (which includes broadcast) by hauling in 73 percent of the industry’s revenue in 2015, amounting to $47.8 billion.

Overall, the Canadian communications industry saw a 2.5 percent increase in revenue last year, an impressive feat considering the saturation of the mobile market, an important growth driver.

In terms of data collection, the CRTC says it “collects data from all the registered telecom and broadcasting entities,” and that a variety of different research firms were utilized. In some cases, the regulatory agency says estimates were used, though its mentions that in these instances this fact is mentioned under the table or figure.

Related: CRTC 2016 Communications Report says 8 percent of Canadians are cord cutters