Internet in Canada
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.
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.
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.
The first interconnection of computers in Canada to share files and transfer emails grew out of a 1983 project to network approximately 20 Canadian universities, which was initiated and driven at the University of Guelph by a small team including Bob McQueen, Kent Percival and Peter Jaspers-Fayer. The IBM mainframe RSCS protocol was originally intended to connect remote printers and card readers to mainframes, but was easily adapted to this new networking use of file sharing and email forwarding. Dedicated telecommunication lines, typically 2400 bits per second, were leased point to point between neighboring universities, with each university paying the cost of one leased line to its nearest neighbor.
The scheme came after the development of the BITNET network in the United Stares which used the same protocols, and an interconnection between the Canadian cluster of universities, called NetNorth, and the larger and quickly growing BITNET network in the US was negotiated and made operational at the startup in 1984. Other gateways were developed to interconnect between ARPAnet, BITNET, CSNET, NSFNET and others, and the early adopting Canadian universities were soon able to connect to many thousands of computer network nodes in the USA and internationally. This gatewayed international "network of networks" came to be known as the Internet.
In general, the unauthorized copying or distribution of copyrighted material, whether for profit or for personal use, is illegal under Canada's Copyright Act. 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
Multiple providers, including Bell Canada and Rogers Communications in Eastern Canada, Telus Internet in BC and Alberta, and SaskTel in Saskatchewan have made investments into upgrading their infrastructure to provide last mile fibreoptic connectivity, or fibre to the home (FTTH). In December 2016, local company MNSi Telecom announced a $35 million fibre build in Windsor, Ontario.
In July 2015, the CRTC ruled that major telecoms providing fibre to the home must allow smaller providers to purchase wholesale access to their networks. Bell Canada attempted to oppose the ruling, but failed.
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 Premises 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.
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 1000 Mbit/s.
Usage-based billing (UBB)
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.
The decision to impose bandwidth caps on smaller independent ISPs 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 March 1, 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, 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. 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.
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. Similar criticism was levied when Eastlink Rural Connect applied UBB in July 2015, which many users reported made peak time congestion worse. See Broadband for Rural Nova Scotia initiative for this and related wireless broadband congestion problems.
On February 2, 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.
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. 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. 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.
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.
- List of internet service providers in Canada
- Censorship in Canada#Internet
- Science and technology in Canada
- Social networking in Canada
- Demographics of the Canadian political blogosphere
- Broadband for Rural Nova Scotia initiative
- CANARIE – national research and education network
- Canadian Internet Registration Authority – Canada's top-level domain registrar in charge of .ca
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- Roseann Danese, "MNSi Spending Millions on High Speed Internet", Windsor Star, November 30, 2016
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- Lasar, Matthew. "200GB to 25GB: Canada gets first, bitter dose of metered Internet". Ars Technica. Retrieved February 3, 2011.
- "CRTC decision 2011–44 on usage-based billing (UBB)". Toronto Free-Net. Retrieved May 8, 2011.
- "CRTC decision 2011–44 on usage-based billing (UBB)". Toronto Free-Net. Retrieved May 8, 2011.
- Marlow, Iain (October 29, 2010). "CRTC ruling handcuffs competitive market: TekSavvy". Globe and Mail. Toronto. Retrieved February 3, 2011.
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- "Affordable Internet". TekSavvy. Retrieved December 30, 2012.
- Rogers Communications, (2013), Compare Packages, retrieved December 30, 2012
- Thompson, Hugh (February 1, 2011). "What is a fair price for Internet service?". Globe and Mail. Toronto.
- DSL Reports – Extensive site on broadband with user reports from around the USA and Canada