Crowdsourcing data to improve Internet performance in Canada

In May 2015 CIRA launched the .CA Internet Performance Test (IPT), an online tool to measure how Canadians experience Internet speed and quality. By the end of the 2015, more than 126,000 tests had been performed by individual Canadian users, and today we are pleased to release some of the initial findings.

Our new report, Canada’s Internet Performance: national, provincial and municipal analysis (pdf), unveils some interesting information regarding how our Internet is performing:

  • Cities in eastern Canada appear to perform the best with, Toronto, Ottawa, and Montreal topping the list for a combination of speed, quality and future-readiness. In fact, no western cities rank within the top 10.
  • The IPT reports a national average download speed of 18.65 Mbps, however there are considerable geographic differences. Not surprisingly, cities generally rank better than rural areas on Internet performance, but outperform them by less than some may have expected.
  • There are also measurable differences within cities. For example, while Ottawa averages a download speed of 22.53 Mbps, the suburb of Stittsville experiences a mere 12.87 Mbps.

There is a lot more information in the report, and I encourage you to read it (pdf).

Fast, reliable and affordable Internet service is a critical part of the economic and social well-being in the modern digital economy. While Canada’s relative global ranking for broadband speed and price has been declining over the past decade, there is a national discourse emerging on reversing that trend. The CRTC is currently holding hearings on broadband as a basic service, and this year’s Canadian Internet Forum (to be held on June 1 in Ottawa) will focus on identifying innovative solutions to the challenges in deploying broadband in Canada. Good data informs good policy development – with the IPT report we hope to provide Canadians with reliable, unbiased data about Internet performance.

This is the first release of the data we have gathered from the IPT, and it represents Internet performance for a particular timeframe – May to December 2015. The more tests that are performed, the better quality the data will become. If you want to contribute to helping us build a better Internet experience for Canadians, please run the test – you’ll find out your upload and download speeds as well as a the results on a few other Internet health indicators. And, your results will contribute to further reports and, ultimately the national dialogue on broadband in Canada.