Broadband Measurement Project

What is the Broadband Measurement Project?

In 2015, the CRTC launched a project to objectively measure broadband Internet performance, including actual connection speeds, in Canadian homes. It collaborated in this innovative project, a first for Canada, with major Canadian Internet service providers (ISPs) and SamKnows, a UK-based company that has built a global Internet measurement platform that spans five continents.

The data, collected from approximately 5,000 Canadian volunteers, from across the country, will inform the CRTC’s future broadband policy-making.

The data will also provide Canadians with a greater understanding of whether Internet services from participating ISPs are delivered at the advertised speeds and allow ISPs to improve their networks to better serve existing customers, and promote products to potential new customers.

The key output of the project is the annual report, developed and reviewed by all participants.

How is data collected for the Broadband Measurement Project?

A device known as a Whitebox is connected to a volunteer’s home modem or router and monitors the broadband performance when no one is using the Internet connection. This performance data is made available to the volunteer via a Web portal and is also available to the CRTC and the ISP providing the service.

Several performance indicators are measured, including Internet speed. The data used to measure Internet speed is taken from the location of the service provider to your doorstep. It does not test for Internet speed within different parts of your home. There are many factors that may impact broadband speed and user experience inside the home compared to broadband performance up to the doorstep of the home.

Factors that may impact broadband performance include:

Internet speed was measured from the location of the service provider to your doorstep.
Long Description

Internet speed was measured from the location of the service provider to your doorstep.

In your home:

  • Number of devices in use at the same time in a home
  • Faulty equipment (e.g. router)
  • Poor Wi-Fi connectivity

Outside of your home:

  • Heavy internet traffic on a particular site
  • The time it takes for data to travel to and from their destination (e.g. latency)
  • The amount of data packets that travel from their destination but fail to reach your home (e.g. packet loss)

A preliminary report with data focusing on performance by region and access technology was published on March 31, 2016. A final report with data on the performance of individual Internet service providers and their specific service offerings was published in September 2016. The reports indicated that:

The following tables rank the ISP products based on the download speed as a percentage of advertised speed for each speed bucket.

Table 1: Download Speed as a percentage of Advertised Speed (5-9 Mbps)

Ranking ISP Product Percent
1 Bell Canada 5Download X 1Upload 135%
2 Shaw 7.5Download X 0.5Upload 105%
3 Cogeco 6Download X 2Upload 103%
4 Videotron 5Download X 1Upload 102%
5 MTS 5Download X 0.512Upload 100%
6 Telus 6Download X 1Upload 85%
7 Bell Aliant 7Download X 0.64Upload 77%

Table 2: Download Speed as a percentage of Advertised Speed (10-15 Mbps)

Ranking ISP Product Percent
1 Bell Canada 15Download X 15Upload 124%
2 MTS 10Download X 2Upload 111%
3 TELUS 15Download X 1Upload 104%
3 Bell Canada 15Download X 10Upload 104%
4 Shaw 10Download X 0.5Upload 102%
4 Videotron 10Download X 1.5Upload 102%
5 Cogeco 15Download X 2Upload 101%

Table 3: Download Speed as a percentage of Advertised Speed (16-39 Mbps)

Ranking ISP Product Percent
1 Bell Canada 25Download X 25Upload 125%
2 Shaw 30Download X 5Upload 110%
2 Shaw 25Download X 2.5Upload 110%
3 Videotron 30Download X 10Upload 109%
4 Rogers 30Download X 5Upload 107%
5 Bell Canada 25Download X 10Upload 106%
6 Eastlink 20Download X 2Upload 105%
7 TELUS 25Download X 5Upload 104%
8 Northwestel 16Download X 0.768Upload 101%
9 MTS 25Download X 2Upload 100%

Table 4: Download Speed as a percentage of Advertised Speed (40+Mbps)

Ranking ISP Product Percent
1 Bell Aliant 150Download X 50Upload 126%
2 Bell Aliant 100Download X 50Upload 125%
3 Bell Canada 50Download X 50Upload 124%
4 Rogers 100Download X 10Upload 115%
5 Shaw 50Download X 5Upload 114%
6 Videotron 60Download X 10Upload 108%
7 Rogers 60Download X 10Upload 107%
7 Bell Canada 50Download X 10Upload 107%
8 Eastlink 100Download X 10Upload 106%
9 Telus 50Download X 10Upload 105%
10 Rogers 250Download X 20Upload 102%
11 Cogeco 40Download X 10Upload 101%
12 Cogeco 60Download X 10Upload 100%
12 Rogers 70Download X 10Upload 100%
13 Eastlink 50Download X 5Upload 99%
14 Eastlink 150Download X 10Upload 95%
15 Northwestel 50Download X 2Upload 94%

Who are the participating ISPs?

ISPs that participated in this project include all the major wireline service providers in Canada with the exception of SaskTel, which declined to participate. Participating providers include:

What is the next phase of this project?

The next Phase (Phase II) of the project is scheduled to begin in the fall. The CRTC is currently in discussion with additional ISPs to join the project including Distributel, Nexicom, Primus, Teksavvy, VMedia, and Xplornet. The CRTC is also seeking more Canadian volunteers to participate in the project. Those interested in participating should submit their request to Measuring Broadband Canada.

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