CRTC report shows more Canadians are adopting broadband Internet and wireless services

OTTAWA-GATINEAU, July 28, 2011 — Today, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) issued its annual Communications Monitoring Report providing an overview of the Canadian telecommunications and broadcasting industries. The report reveals that by the end of 2010, the number of Canadian households subscribing to broadband Internet services rose by 9.2% to approximately 9 million, while the number of Canadians subscribing to wireless services grew by 8.5% to 25.8 million.

“It is encouraging to see Canadians taking up broadband Internet and wireless services in such large numbers,” said Konrad von Finckenstein, Q.C., Chairman of the CRTC. “This not only signals a strong participation in the digital economy, but is also a clear indication that Canadians are increasingly using a variety of platforms to communicate and access content and services.”

Between 2009 and 2010, overall revenues for the communications industry increased by 3.6%, or from $55.3 billion to $57.4 billion. Revenues for telecommunications services grew by 1.8% to reach $41.7 billion for the year, while those for broadcasting services climbed by 8.9% to $15.7 billion.


Growth in the telecommunications industry was driven by newer services, including broadband Internet services and wireless services.


Broadband Internet

The CRTC’s report found that 77% of the 13.4 million households in Canada had an Internet subscription, with many subscribers preferring higher download speeds. The percentage of households with an Internet connection featuring download speeds of at least 1.5 megabits per second (Mbps) jumped from 62% to 70% in one year. Additionally, subscriptions to Internet download speeds of at least 5 Mbps rose from 44% to 52%.

A broadband Internet connection allows users to stream and download high-quality audiovisual content, and access online government, health and educational services. With an average of 5.5 Mbps, Canada ranked second only to Japan in an international comparison of Internet download speeds.

During 2010, the average residential broadband user downloaded 14.8 gigabytes per month, which is the equivalent of viewing more than 20 movies.


Wireless services

In 2010, advanced wireless networks that support smartphones and other devices that connect to the Internet extended to 97% of the Canadian population. Adoption of wireless services continued to grow as the number of subscribers increased by 8.5% to 25.8 million. This contrasts with the number of subscribers to home telephone services, which decreased by 0.9% to 12.6 million.

New competitors began making inroads in the major Canadian markets, capturing 25% of new subscribers. Although they offered mostly prepaid subscriptions, their competitive presence contributed to a reduction in the average revenue per user from $58.81 to $57.86 per month.


After revenues for conventional television and radio stations declined in 2009, all sectors of the broadcasting industry experienced growth in 2010. Pay and specialty television revenues increased by 11.1%, conventional television stations by 9.9%, broadcasting distribution by 8.9% and commercial radio stations by 2.9%.

Although Canadians are increasingly accessing broadcasting content on the platform of their choice, the most popular devices are by far televisions and radios. In 2010, Canadians watched an average of 28 hours of television and listened to 17.6 hours of radio each week. In contrast, anglophone and francophone Canadians spent 2.6 hours and 1.5 hours, respectively, watching television programming online. Both linguistic groups also spent 4.8 hours per week streaming radio programming.

In addition, the number of Canadians who watched a video on their cellphone nearly doubled to 9% of anglophones and 4% of francophones.

In 2010, the broadcasting industry contributed more than $2.9 billion to the creation of Canadian programming.


CRTC Communications Monitoring Report


The CRTC is an independent public authority that regulates and supervises broadcasting and telecommunications in Canada.


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These documents are available in alternative format upon request.

Additional information on the 2011 Communications Monitoring Report

The Communications Monitoring Report contains broadcasting data for the year ended August 31, 2010 and telecommunication data for the year ended December 31, 2010. The report reflects the steady growth experienced by the broadcasting and telecommunications industries.


Broadcasting highlights



  • In 2010, Canadians could access 1,208 radio services, including 904 English-language services, 266 French-language services and 38 services in other languages.
  • The average time spent listening to radio services remained relatively unchanged from 17.7 hours in 2009 to 17.6 hours in 2010. Private radio stations captured 79.2% of the weekly radio tuning share, the CBC, 13.3%, and other stations, 7.4%.
  • The revenues of private commercial broadcasters increased by 2.9%, going from $1.5 billion in 2009 to $1.55 billion in 2010.
  • In 2010, commercial radio stations contributed $46.1 million to the creation of Canadian content.


  • In 2010, Canadians could choose from 716 television services, including 469 English-language services, 116 French-language services and 131 services in other languages.
  • Canadians watched an average of 28 hours of television per week, which was higher than the 2009 average of 26.5 hours. This increase is attributed to the use of a new, and more accurate, measurement tool.
  • Overall revenues for commercial television services experienced a 10.6% growth, from $5.48 billion in 2009 to $6.05 billion in 2010.
  • Private conventional television stations generated $2.15 billion in revenues in 2010, which represented an increase of 8.9% from previous year.
  • The CBC’s conventional television stations reported $450 million in advertising and other commercial revenues, a 14.8% increase from $392 million in 2009.
  • Specialty, pay and pay-per-view television and video-on-demand services saw their revenues increase 11.1% from $3.11 billion in 2009 to $3.46 billion in 2010.
  • In 2010, private conventional television broadcaster invested $681.2 million on Canadian programming, $81.8 million more that the $599.4 spent the previous year.
  • During the same period, spending on Canadian programming by specialty and pay television services totalled $1.1 billion, a slight increase from 2009.

Broadcasting distribution

  • In 2010, 11.5 million Canadian households subscribed to television services offered by broadcasting distributors, an increase of 2.5% over the previous year. Of those subscribers, 71% subscribed to cable services, 25% to satellite services and 4% to services that deliver television programming through phone lines (also known as Internet Protocol Television).
  • The number of subscribers that receive digital television services jumped to 8.8 million in 2010, an increase of 15% over the 7.6 million subscribers a year earlier. Seventy-six percent of all subscribers now receive digital television services.
  • Revenues generated from the distribution of television programming went from $7.4 billion in 2009 to $8.1 billion in 2010, an increase of 8.8%.
  • On average, subscribers paid $3.55 more per month for their services in 2010, an increase of 6.4% over the previous year. This increase can be explained by higher monthly fees, a greater consumption of pay, pay-per-view and video-on-demand services, and consumers upgrading to digital or high-definition television.
  • In 2010, broadcasting distribution companies contributed $368 million to Canadian programming, including programming for community channels. This total was 3% higher than the $356 million allocated for this purpose in 2009.

New media broadcasting

  • Canadian Internet usage increased. Anglophones spent 17.1 hours online per week in 2010, up from 14.5 hours the previous year, while francophones spent 12.7 hours online, up from 11.8 hours in 2009.
  • Anglophones spent 2.6 hours per week viewing online television content and 4.8 hours per week streaming radio content. At the same time, francophones spent 1.5 hours per week viewing online television content and 4.8 hours per week streaming radio content.

Telecommunications highlights


Revenues, expenditures and penetration

  • Telecommunication revenues increased by 1.8% in one year, growing from $41 billion in 2009 to $41.7 billion in 2010.
  • Competitors of established companies accounted for $18.8 billion, or 45%, of total revenues in 2010.
  • In 2010, telecommunications companies allocated $8.4 billion for capital expenditures, which are used to maintain, improve or expand networks. This amount represents a slight increase from the $8 billion spent in 2009.

Wireless telephone services

  • In 2010, wireless services made up 43% of all telecommunications revenues as revenues increased from $16.9 billion in 2009 to $18 billion in 2010, a 6.6% increase.
  • The number of mobile telephone subscribers rose from 23.8 million to 25.8, an increase of 8.5% in one year.
  • Four new competitors began offering wireless services, primarily in major markets. By the end of 2010, they had captured 25% of new subscribers for a national market share of less than 2%.
  • Wireless networks reach approximately 99% of Canadians. More advanced wireless networks, which support smartphones and other devices that connect to the Internet, were available to 97% of the population.

Internet services

  • In 2010, revenues generated from the provision of Internet services increased by 4.2%, or from $6.5 billion to $6.8 billion. Internet services accounted for 16% of all telecommunications revenues.
  • In 2010, the number of residential Internet subscribers grew by 3.1% to 10.4 million.
  • Canadians continued to adopt faster Internet services. Seventy percent of households had a broadband service that offered download speeds of at least 1.5 megabits per second, as opposed to 62% a year earlier.
  • In addition, the percentage of households that subscribe to Internet download speeds of at least 5 Mbps rose from 44% to 52% in one year.

Local and long-distance telephone services

  • The number of local residential telephone lines dipped slightly from 12.7 million in 2009 to 12.6 million in 2010. There was little movement in residential revenues, which came in at $4.73 billion, down from $4.79 billion in 2009.
  • In 2010, local and long distance services accounted for 30% of all telecommunications revenues, compared with 52% in 2002.
  • Cable companies that provide home telephone service had captured approximately 31% of the market by year-end 2010.