Technology & Science

Broadband internet speeds in Canada as fast as advertised, CRTC finds

Are Canadian broadband internet packages as fast as advertised? The CRTC reveals the results of a nation-wide study that aims to answer that question.

One exception is slower DSL services, which are slightly slower than advertised

The test also looked at measures of internet 'quality,' such as ping and jitter – a measure of round-trip data travel times. When they're too long, people experience them as garbled voice calls or Netflix time-outs. (CBC)

Most internet packages sold in Canada are as fast or faster than advertised, a new CRTC-commissioned study has found.

That applies to both download and upload speeds offered by major internet providers across the country using fibre, cable, and DSL technologies, according to a preliminary report released Thursday. It found most services deliver between 109 and 122 per cent of the advertised download speed and 100 per cent of the advertised upload speed.

Based on the preliminary findings, Canadians are receiving the broadband speeds they are paying for.- Jean-Pierre Blais, CRTC chair

The one exception was DSL services advertised as offering speeds of 5 to 9 megabits per second, which delivered, on average, only 88 per cent of the advertised download speed and 85 per cent of the advertised upload speed.

"We are pleased that Canadians now have better insight into the performance, including the actual connection speeds, of the broadband internet services provided to them by the major ISPs in the country," said CRTC chair Jean-Pierre Blais in a release. "Based on the preliminary findings, Canadians are receiving the broadband speeds they are paying for."

The preliminary report doesn't offer details about the performance of individual internet providers. The CRTC said that will be included in a more detailed report later this year.

The new study, conducted by internet-measurement firm SamKnows, included Bell, Bell Aliant, Cogeco, Eastlink, MTS, Northwestel, Rogers, Shaw Telus and Videotron, but not SaskTel.

SamKnows measured upload and download speeds between Oct. 1, 2015 and Nov. 30, 2015 using devices called whiteboxes. More than 4,400 of the devices were installed in the homes of volunteers across the country, although only 3,471 were used in the end. The rest were from internet providers that were not included in the study or were excluded due to other factors that interfered with the measurements.

The measurements were conducted during the period of the evening when internet use typically peaks — between 7 p.m. and 11 p.m. local time — but while the internet was not in use at the home where the measurements were taken.


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