Canada's CRTC to measure consumer broadband speeds

Canada has launched a project to gauge the speed experience consumers have with their broadband service providers.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) is conducting this project in collaboration with all of the country's major ISPs such as Bell Canada, Telus and Bell Aliant and market researcher SamKnows.

CRTC said that up to 6,200 volunteer consumers that participate in the project will use a "Whitebox" connected to their modem or router that logs their Internet speeds at regular intervals when users are not active on the connection.

The "WhiteBox" will measure a number of parameters related to the Internet connection, including download and upload speeds. The device will not track a user's information concerning online activities.

Similar to initiatives conducted by the FCC in the United States and by Ofcom in the UK, the goal of the CRTC's broadband project is to understand whether ISPs are actually delivering on the speeds they advertise.

"This will help Canadians better understand the performance of their Internet services and whether certain Internet services from participating ISPs are delivering speeds as advertised," said Barbara Motzney, CRTC chief consumer officer, in a release.

CRTC said that these results will also provide data that will enable the CRTC to improve its broadband policy-making. Using these results as a baseline, the CRTC intends to publish a comprehensive report highlighting the findings of this project. While the initial project is set to last for one year, the CRTC intends to continue gathering data beyond the initial year. Ultimately, the data will form part of the CRTC's data collection and monitoring activities.

In addition to this latest project measuring broadband speeds, the CRTC recently launched a separate proceeding to review basic telecommunications services in Canada, including the services that it says all consumers need to participate in the digital economy.

For more:
- see the release

Related articles:
CRTC: Canadians spent more for TV, wireless and broadband, less for wireline voice in 2013
Canada allocates another $278M to expand rural broadband availability
Canada's CRTC denies BCE, Bell Aliant's payphone rate increase
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