CRTC Kicks Off First National Study Measuring Broadband Internet Service Performance

by Istvan Fekete on November 23, 2015

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has started gathering data from the homes of 4,500 citizens across the country in a study aimed at improving its broadband policymaking by gaining a better understanding of network performance.

The “Measuring Broadband Canada” program has been established in collaboration with SamKnows. The program is a key element of a wide-ranging review of Canada’s basic telecommunications systems. First announced in April, the program will allow the regulator to explore a number of issues in the country’s telecom systems to find out which areas are underserved.

Measuring Broadband Canada is the first national, independent report on how well or how poorly high-speed networks are performing.

To measure network performance, the CRTC is cooperating with the country’s major ISPs – Rogers, Vidéotron, Shaw, TELUS, Cogeco, Bell Canada, Eastlink, MTS Allstream, Northwestel, and Bell Aliant. The data will be gathered from “Whiteboxes” installed in the homes of selected participants.

Nearly 28,000 Canadian citizens have expressed interest in measuring the performance of their broadband Internet services. Of those, the CRTC has selected 4,500 citizens for the study to offer a “fair geographical presentation” of Canadian Internet customers.

“Through this project, that we launched with SamKnows and major Internet service providers across the country, we will be able to take into account the actual performance of their Internet services during the development of our policies,” said Jean-Pierre Blais, chairman of the CRTC. “This initiative illustrates concretely the CRTC’s approach to evidence-based decision making.”

During the test, the installed Whiteboxes won’t collect information about participants’ online activities, and testing is only done when participants are not actively using their Internet connections, the regulator stated.

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