An analysis of Internet speed tests in 53 locations across Canada identified Quebec City as having one of the best results.
A Local News Data Hub review of nearly 69,000 speed tests conducted in 2020 found that Quebec and Surrey, B.C. were the only two places where 50 percent or more of tests met basic service targets. for upload and download speeds set by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC).
The commission says Canadian households should have Internet connections with access to broadband speeds of at least 50 megabits per second (mbps) for downloads and 10 Mbps for downloads.
Half of the 855 tests performed in Quebec met or exceeded CRTC speed standards, while median speeds also exceeded board performance targets. The median download speed was 54.17 Mbps, while the median download speed was 11.36 Mbps. (The median is the median value between the top half and bottom half of a range of numbers.)
The only place with better results was Surrey, BC. Analysis of the data showed that internet testers in suburban Vancouver inhabit a whole different reality of connectivity compared to their counterparts in other cities and towns: 55% of Surrey’s 871 tests met or passed the CRTC. standards. The median download speed was 82.61 Mbps, while the median download speed was 20.09 Mbps.
In all of the other 51 locations, however, the majority of tests did not meet speed standards.
The CRTC says 87.4 percent of households in Canada can access speeds of at least 50/10 mbps, but that figure drops to 45.6 percent in rural areas. Higher download speeds allow users to retrieve online content such as web pages, videos, files, or music faster. Download speed determines the speed at which images, music, and documents can be downloaded and shared.
The Local News Data Hub, launched in January by the Local News Research Project at the Ryerson University School of Journalism, analyzed the results of 68,813 tests using a performance test managed by the Authority. Canada for Internet Registrations (CIRA). CIRA, a national nonprofit that promotes trust in the internet, launched the test in 2015, and since then people who want to determine their connection speed have taken nearly a million tests.
While CIRA’s test results are not necessarily representative of all internet services in a community, they highlight the challenges many people across the country have faced in a year of pandemic where a Fast and reliable internet service was a lifeline.
Test results confirmed, for example, that although problems with high-speed internet access are most pronounced in small towns, rural residents were not alone in their digital misery. Of the 690 tests carried out in 2020 by internet users in Regina, Saskatchewan, for example, only 23% met both the CRTC’s minimum upload and download speed standards. The median download speed was only 23.555 Mbps and the median download speed was 6.685 Mbps. In Milton, Ont., A suburban community of over 110,000 people just west of Toronto, only 13% of CIRA’s tests met CRTC targets and median upload and download speeds were well below at the levels prescribed by the commission.
Data Hub analysis also showed that even though median speeds exceeded CRTC standards in some major cities, poor test results still indicated problems with access to good quality internet. In Toronto, for example, the median download speed was 55.46 Mbps and the median download speed was 12.74 Mbps. However, only 42 percent of speed tests met or exceeded the CRTC’s baseline standard.
In Gatineau, Quebec, the median download speed for the 820 tests in that community was 49.665 Mbps and the median upload speed was 17.84 Mbps, but only 43 percent of the tests met or exceeded 50 performance targets. / 10 of the CRTC.
Factors that can affect upload and download speeds include the make and model of the device being used, whether other apps are running in the background, and whether other devices are online at the same time. The type of service purchased from Internet service providers is also a factor. Details of service provider contracts submitted with 11,385 tests, however, showed these users were not getting what they paid for. A comparison of contract details with test results showed that contracted upload and download speeds were only delivered nine percent of the time.
A Burlington, Ont., Tester with about 183,000 people said he bought a download speed of 350 Mbps and a download speed of 30 Mbps. But in comments to CIRA, the tester said it was impossible “even to connect to a Zoom meeting due to the low internet speed despite purchasing the higher plans.” The test results for this user’s location documented a download speed of 27.42 Mbps and a download speed of 6.27 Mbps. Both are well below the CRTC’s 50/10 service targets.
Another customer in Huntsville, Ontario. reported paying $ 200 per month for 70/10 service. The client’s CIRA test, however, recorded a download speed of 5.52 Mbps and a disappointing download speed of 0.07 Mbps. “NO OTHER OPTION. Unable to work or study at home, ”the tester wrote in CIRA’s comments section.
Testing in communities of less than 50,000 people fell significantly below the CRTC’s 50/10 standard. The best results among these small places were in Bracebridge, Ontario. but they weren’t enough to brag about: only 23 percent of all tests met or exceeded both CRTC performance standards, the median download speed was 15.56 Mbps, and the median download speed was 1.53 Mbps.
“Internet performance in rural and remote areas has essentially stabilized during the pandemic …
In emailed statements, Bell Canada and Rogers Communications, two of Canada’s largest telecommunications companies, both pointed to a CRTC study released last September which concluded that the majority of Canadian Internet service providers are meeting or exceeding prices. maximum advertised download and upload speeds.
Nathan Gibson, a spokesperson for Bell, said in his email that it is “difficult for us to offer a specific comment on your datasets without seeing them.” (CIRA officials have said the detailed test results are proprietary, but they are ready to share them with the Local News Data Hub on the condition that only the scan results are released.)
Gibson added, however, that the CRTC expects 90 percent of Canadians to have access to 50/10 Mbps by the end of this year.
“Providing broadband to the remaining 10% in a country as large as Canada is a challenge,” he wrote, “but Bell is leading the way in accelerating the roll-out of our residential and rural fiber wireless Internet networks. . “
In its response, Rogers said the company “is committed to providing reliable Internet service to more than
rural, remote and indigenous communities. The advertised speeds, the release said, “reflect the total speed to the house to support multiple devices online at the same time.” The maximum speeds for each Internet tier that we offer are advertised as “up to” as many factors can affect a customer’s actual speeds.
The federal government has created a $ 2.75 billion Universal Broadband fund to extend 50/10 Mbps Internet service to rural and remote communities. The CRTC, meanwhile, is raising $ 750 million from major Canadian telecommunications service providers for a broadband fund to improve broadband Internet access in underserved areas.
The Data Hub analysis only included the 53 communities with at least 500 test results. In cases where less than 40 tests were performed from a single location during the year, the results of each test were included in the analysis. In some cases, however, dozens or even hundreds of tests have been performed from one location. To prevent these “super testers” locations from skewing the data, each is represented in the data as a single test result reflecting the median upload and download speeds for all tests from that location. Accordingly, the results of 68,813 tests performed from 26,677 test locations were used in the analysis.
This story was produced by the Local News Data Hub, a project of the Local News Research Project at the School of Journalism at Ryerson University. The Canadian Press is an operational partner of the initiative. Detailed information on the data and methodology can be found here: https://localnewsdatahub.ca/2021/08/how-we-did-it-internet-speed-story-methodology/