Internet in Canada

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Canada ranks as the 20th country in the world for Internet usage with 28.47 million users as of June 2012.[1]

Web use[edit]

According to the CIRA 2013 Factbook, Canadians spend more time online than anyone else in the world—an average of 45 hours a month. They also watch more online video, with an average of 300 views per month in 2011.[2]

The most popular websites in Canada are major international sites such as Google, Facebook, and YouTube.[3]

The most popular native Canadian websites are the major Canadian news media companies, which maintain an extensive web presence. According to a February 2008 report by comScore, the most popular Canadian sites are Quebecor Media, principally Canoe.ca, followed closely by CTVglobemedia which includes globeandmail.com and CTV.ca.[4]

According to Harvard researchers, Canada has some of the lowest internet standards among OECD countries, as a result of high costs and slow internet speeds.[5]

File sharing[edit]

Main: File sharing in Canada

Canada has the largest number of file sharers per capita in the world.[6]

Canada's copyright laws are unclear on the legality of some file trading. In general, the unauthorized copying or distribution of copyrighted material, whether for profit or for personal use, is illegal under Canada's Copyright Act.[7] However, certain exemptions are made for fair dealing copying of small portions of copyrighted works, for activities such as private study, criticism, and news reporting. Furthermore, the Act allows that the copying of sound recordings of musical works for the personal use is not copyright infringement. This is supported by a levy on blank recording media, which is distributed to record labels and musicians, although not evenly. While the unauthorized downloading or uploading of complete copyrighted works such as books, movies, or software is illegal under the Act, the situation regarding music files is more complex.

Fibre optic networks[edit]

Fibre cabling was already deployed by Bell Canada in Ontario and Quebec using FTTN deployment. On 4 February 2010, Bell Canada announced the launch of Fibe 25 services and Bells plan to create FTTH or Fibre to the home services, offering speeds up to 100 Mbit/s.[8]

Shaw Cable currently offers residential internet speeds of up to 1 Gbit/s fibre to the premises FTTP in select locations across Alberta [AB] and British Columbia [BC]. Shaw Cable was also the first Canadian company to offer residential fibre optic speeds of up to 1 Gbit/s[9] Shaw Cable owns and operates a 625,000 fiber route kilometre network covering Canada and the US coast to coast with a capability that exceeds close to two Terabits per second.[10]

Rogers Business Solutions (RBS),a division of Rogers Communications, provides premium Internet,connectivity,voice, data center and cloud services to a wide range of enterprise, government and wholesale customers. RBS has 9,000 customers,serving hundreds of Fortune 500 businesses and numerous government agencies across Canada.Rogers invested over a billion dollars to acquire the next generation networks and infrastructure of Atria, Blink, Mountain Cable and BLACKIRON DATA. The Blink, Atria and Mountain Cable acquisitions expanded RBS’ network reach by adding thousands of on-net buildings and fibre routes kilometers. Rogers owns and operates a nationwide fibre network with over 25,000 km of fibre routes including connectivity to key network access points in the US and overseas.[11]

Bell Aliant,starting in 2009, announced that it would be deploying Fibre-To-The-Home (FTTH) service in New Brunswick, starting in Fredericton and St. John, under the trade name FibreOP. It has since been deployed in several other cities and towns throughout Atlantic Canada,[12] offering speeds ranging from 50Mbit/s down & 30Mbit/s up, to 250Mbit/s down & 30Mbit/s up.

Comparison[edit]

The following table summarizes residential broadband offerings in Canada. No provider is nationwide and the chart does not include abilities of customer equipment or the speeds after Peer-to-peer traffic shaping. In particular, some products are 'up to' the speed quoted and may not deliver that speed in all areas. Since plans may change at any time, this list is not comprehensive.

Consumer Internet Plans Available in Canada
Lowest Tier Highest Tier
Internet Service Provider Type Download (Mbit/s) Upload (Mbit/s) Cap (GB) Download (Mbit/s) Upload (Mbit/s) Cap (GB) Region
Acanac Cable/DSL 11 1 60 10 Ontario and Quebec
Brama Telecom DSL 6 0.78 300 50 25 300 Ontario and Quebec
Comwave Cable/DSL 6 0.78 50 4 Ontario and Quebec
Internet Lightspeed DSL/Cable 6 1 325 250 15 Western Canada
Shaw Communications Cable/Fibre 10 0.5 125 250 15 1000 Western Canada
Rogers Hi-Speed Internet Cable 10 1 20 250 20 500 Eastern Canada
Rogers Ultimate Fibre Fibre N/A N/A N/A 350 350 2000 Fibre markets
Vidéotron Cable 5 1 15 200 30 250 Quebec
Cogeco Cable 4 0.6 15 120 10 425 Ontario and Quebec
EastLink[13][14][15][16] Cable 20 1 200 10 250 All Canadian provinces except Manitoba and Saskatchewan
Bell Internet[17] VDSL2 5 1 15 50 10 175 Ontario and Quebec
Bell Internet[17] Fibre 15 15 75 175 175 300 Ontario and Quebec
Bell Aliant DSL 1.5 0.625 N/A 15 2 N/A Atlantic Canada
Bell Aliant FibreOP Fibre 50 30 N/A 250 30 N/A Atlantic Canada
National Capital Freenet VDSL2 6 0.8 300 50 10 300 National Capital Region
Nexicom[18] VDSL2 6 0.8 25 10 Ontario
Nexicom[19] Cable 6 1.5 60 4 Ontario
Telus Fibre/VDSL2 6 1 150 50 10 400 Alberta, British Columbia and Quebec
SaskTel[20] DSL 0.25 0.125 N/A 25 2 N/A Saskatchewan
SaskTel infiNET[20] Fibre 2 1 N/A 260 60 N/A Saskatchewan
Start Communications Cable 6 0.25 100/∞ 150 10 400 Ontario (Rogers Areas)
Start Communications Cable 6 1.2 100/∞ 60 2 300 Ontario (Cogeco Areas)
Start Communications DSL 6 0.8 100/∞ 50 10 300 Ontario
Manitoba Telecom Services[21] DSL 0.25 0.25 N/A 20 2 N/A Manitoba
TekSavvy Cable 3 0.8 25 200 10 Various
TekSavvy DSL 6 0.8 75 50 10 Various
VMedia Cable 30 5 60 10 Ontario
VMedia DSL 6 0.78 50 10 Ontario and Quebec
Telehop Cable 3 0.25 300 15 1 300 Ontario
Electronic Box DSL 6 0.8 100 25 10 500 Ontario and Quebec
Electronic Box Cable 5 1 50 60 10 500 Ontario and Quebec
Novus Entertainment Fibre 25 10 250 300 300 N/A Vancouver
Velcom VDSL2 6 0.8 100 25 10 N/A Ontario and Quebec

Regional Canadian ISPs peer through a few major Internet Exchange Points, the most notable of which is the Toronto Internet Exchange. However, these regional networks usually share the same backbones for longer distance connectivity.

The largest DSL provider in Canada is Bell Internet (formerly Bell Sympatico). Bell owns and maintains physical layer connectivity through a combination of optical fibre networks, DSLAM and Customer Premise Equipment. In British Columbia (BC), Alberta (AB), and parts of Quebec (QC), the incumbent telco is Telus, owning the DSLAMs and fibre, providing many of the same services Bell does.

The other major players offering DSL and IPTV services are SaskTel in Saskatchewan and Manitoba Telecom Services (MTS) in Manitoba. Download speeds are up to 25 Mbit/s for average users, though recent upgrades now make HDTV and much higher rates possible.[citation needed]

For Cable offerings, standard North American DOCSIS based equipment are used. The largest Cable internet providers in Canada are Shaw Communications (Western) and Rogers Cable (Eastern) offering internet speeds of up to 250 Mbit/s.

Usage-based billing (UBB)[edit]

See also: Bandwidth cap

Internet bandwidth limits and caps are considered by many to be too restrictive, due to the increasing popularity of online streaming media services such as Netflix, which require large amounts of bandwidth.[22]

The decision to impose bandwidth caps on smaller independent ISPs[23] caused controversy in 2011 when the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), Canada's telecommunications regulator, approved a request by Bell Internet to begin, on 1 March 2011, to apply a bandwidth cap on the users of smaller independent ISPs who use Bell's last mile infrastructure. This new billing structure is called "usage-based billing" or UBB.

Bell pushed for a cap as small as 25 gigabytes of transfer per month, plus a $1–2 CAD surcharge for every GB over the limit. The stated intent was to prevent the customers of independent ISPs from congesting Bell's network,[24] because many independent ISPs offer service with unlimited bandwidth, while most major Canadian ISPs do not. The CRTC was criticized for allowing Bell to use anti-competitive practices to favour its own Internet and television offerings.[25] Bell is also under fire for forcing its own pricing structure and business on its wholesalers. Bell admits that more than 10 percent of its subscribers (at the time of said download cap) exceed their limit, resulting in additional billing.[26]

Many savvy Internet users also accuse Bell of falsifying information to the public regarding network congestion. Network congestion is primarily caused by many users accessing the Internet at the same time (after school/work, 5pm-10pm) and not by heavy users alone.

On 2 February 2011, industry minister Tony Clement and Prime Minister Stephen Harper called on the CRTC to reverse the decision. The next day, the CRTC announced that it would delay its decision by 60 days.[27]

There are some supporters for usage-based-billing (UBB) at lower rates instead of the current $2/GB. One example is TekSavvy, providing "Lite" cable Internet services (6 Mbit/s down, ¼ Mbit/s up) at $30.95/month with 300 GB, equivalent to around 10¢/GB.[28] Rogers Hi-Speed Internet offers Internet access at the same speed for $41.49/month but with only 20 GB, equivalent to around $2.07/GB.[29] The difference of $1.97/GB between the two providers is one key reason why consumer advocates oppose UBB. Some also claim that it costs the incumbents as low as 3¢/GB.[30] Supporters also suggest that instead of a penalty-based system (heavy users pay more), a credit-based system (light users be credited back monthly) would be much more consumer friendly and fair.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Retrieved 30 July 2011
  2. ^ "CIRA Factbook 2013". Canadian Internet Registration Authority. Retrieved 23 January 2013. 
  3. ^ Alexa.com Top Sites in Canada Retrieved 21 April 2013
  4. ^ comScore. Top Canadian Websites - 2008 Retrieved 21 Apr 2013
  5. ^ Nowak, Peter (2010). "Canadian internet slow, expensive: Harvard". CBC News. Retrieved 6 March 2013. 
  6. ^ "Digital Broadband Content". OECD. 13 December 2005. Retrieved 15 July 2006. 
  7. ^ "Copyright Act of Canada". Department of Justice: Canada. 5 November 2007. Retrieved 16 November 2007. [dead link]
  8. ^ "BCE Announces Plans to roll out FTTH". BCE. 4 February 2010. 
  9. ^ http://www.shaw.ca/internet/gigabit/
  10. ^ http://www.shawbusinesssolutions.ca/sbs/about/our_network.jsp
  11. ^ http://www.rogersbusinesssolutions.com/about-rbs/
  12. ^ http://www.bellaliant.net/fibreop/where.html
  13. ^ "Eastlink Basic Internet". Retrieved 21 February 2011. 
  14. ^ "EastLink Internet Services". Retrieved 19 August 2011. 
  15. ^ "EastLink 40 Internet". Retrieved 19 August 2011. 
  16. ^ "EastLink 100 Internet". Retrieved 19 August 2011. 
  17. ^ a b "Bell Internet Access". Retrieved 9 September 2012. 
  18. ^ "Nexicom ADSL tier comparison chart". Retrieved 22 February 2014. 
  19. ^ "Nexicom cable tier comparison chart". Retrieved 22 February 2014. 
  20. ^ a b "SaskTel High Speed Internet comparison chart". Retrieved 26 February 2011. [dead link]
  21. ^ "MTS High Speed Internet Plans". Retrieved 26 February 2011. 
  22. ^ Lasar, Matthew. "200GB to 25GB: Canada gets first, bitter dose of metered Internet". Ars Technica. Retrieved 3 February 2011. 
  23. ^ "CRTC decision 2011–44 on usage-based billing (UBB)". Toronto Free-Net. Retrieved 8 May 2011. 
  24. ^ "CRTC decision 2011–44 on usage-based billing (UBB)". Toronto Free-Net. Retrieved 8 May 2011. 
  25. ^ Marlow, Iain (29 October 2010). "CRTC ruling handcuffs competitive market: Teksavvy". Globe and Mail (Toronto). Retrieved 3 February 2011. 
  26. ^ Geist, Michael (6 February 2011). "Geist: The real reason we pay so much for Internet". The Star (Toronto). 
  27. ^ "CRTC to review usage-based billing decision". CBC. 3 February 2011. Retrieved 3 February 2011. 
  28. ^ "Internet". TekSavvy. Retrieved 2012-12-30. 
  29. ^ Rogers Communications, (2013), Compare Packages, retrieved 30 December 2012
  30. ^ Thompson, Hugh (1 February 2011). "What is a fair price for Internet service?". Globe and Mail (Canada). 

External links[edit]

  • DSL Reports – Extensive site on broadband with user reports from around the USA and Canada
  • Canadian Broadband Forum – Site on broadband in Canada with user reviews from Canada