Canadian ISPs deliver speeds faster than advertised: CRTC

Canadian wireline Internet Service Providers (ISPs) deliver speeds that on average meet or exceed their advertised download and upload speeds, according to an independent study by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) and SamKnows.

The first phase of the study was first contracted by the CRTC to broadband measuring firm SamKnows in January 2015. Described as “the first of its kind in Canada,” the project measured the speeds of all major ISPs except for Sasktel, which declined to participate. Participating ISPs include Bell Aliant, Bell Canada, Rogers, Cogeco, Eastlink, MTS, Northwetel, Shaw, Telus, and Vidéotron.

The CRTC notes that the speeds measured are those delivered to the home by ISPs, and might not be the same experienced by users in the home. Factors such as using multiple devices at the same time, faulty equipment, or poor Wi-Fi connectivity could impact speeds for users. Or a specific website or service with high latency could impact how “fast” the Internet seems to a user. All measurements were taken from between 7-11 PM local time on weekdays, considered peak period for Internet usage.

The study was conducted with Canadian volunteers that installed a SamKnows Whitebox device in their homes, which automatically measures connections speeds. Data was collected between March 15 and April 14 from 4,808 volunteers involved in the project and more volunteers are being sought for phase two.

While most ISP plans exceeded their advertised speeds, the study names two ISPs that missed the mark. Bell Aliant’s 7×0.64 Mbps DSL service delivered 77 per cent of the speed advertised. Telus’ 6×1 Mbps DSL plan also was below its advertised rate, delivering 85 per cent of the speed expected.

Here’s a chart from the CRTC report breaking down the download speed by ISP, as a percentage of the advertised speed, in the lowest speed bucket:

CRTC SamKnows - download speeds

And a similar chart representing the fastest services available:

CRTC SamKnows - download speeds 40Mbps

As you can see in the chart below, both upload and download speeds exceeded the advertised speeds across all ISPs on average:

CRTC SamKnows - ISP speeds

The CRTC hopes to involve more ISPs for the next phase, including Distributel, Nexicom, Primus, Teksavvy, Vmedia, and Xplornet.

Aside from this study, Canadians looking to compare their ISP against others may want to peruse Netflix’s ISP Speed Index, which measures performance during Netflix prime time usage.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Brian Jackson
Brian Jackson
Editorial director of IT World Canada. Covering technology as it applies to business users. Multiple COPA award winner and now judge. Paddles a canoe as much as possible.

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