In this first Opensignal analysis of the high speed internet experience on fixed networks in Canada, we have analyzed users’ real-world experience across six different measures: Broadband Success Rate, Broadband Consistent Quality, Broadband Video Experience, Broadband Download Speed, Broadband Peak Download Speed and Broadband Upload Speed.
To gain a comprehensive understanding of how broadband providers' experiences compare, it is necessary to evaluate multiple categories. One measure alone cannot fully encompass the broad range of applications and services that broadband services support, such as video streaming, gaming, remote work, application updates, video chatting, social media photo and video sharing, and web browsing.
While national scores may appear to be a useful benchmark for comparing the experiences provided by different service providers, the fixed broadband market's nature means that users' experiences will differ based on their home location, the broadband service providers available in their market, and the type of broadband infrastructure offered. This can vary significantly across the country.
Since no broadband provider offers service to every household, a national experience table would overlook important details for users who want to compare broadband experiences in their area. As a result, the report analyzes the actual experiences of users in seven major regions — Alberta, Atlantic Provinces, British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec and Saskatchewan.
The Canadian fixed broadband market is largely comprised of two types of high speed internet service: Cable providers using hybrid fibre coax (HFC) networks and communication providers which have historically offered DSL connectivity and now focus on fibre to the premise (FTTP) services. In this report, we include the difference in the experience using fibre and non-fibre services for the largest fibre players — Telus and Bell. More information on fibre is in the methodology section.
Key broadband trends
The Broadband Download Speed across broadband technologies ranges from 10.9-165.5Mbps and the Broadband Peak Download Speed ranges from 36.2-597.2 Mbps, with Fibre users seeing the top scores across the majority of the regions. The Broadband Peak Download Speed scores across all regions are 3.2-7.6 fold higher than the average download speeds.
In most regions, Bell and Telus Fibre users dominate the results with top scores across most metrics. In Quebec, Bell Fibre outshines Telus Fibre across all six metrics — Broadband Consistent Quality, Broadband Video Experience, Broadband Download Speed, Broadband Peak Download Speed and Broadband Upload Speed.
The broadband experience of our Non-Fibre users on Bell and Telus lags significantly, with the lowest scores in the majority of metrics across the regions where they are present.
During peak times of day, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Broadband Consistent Quality scores tend to be lower. However, statistical differences between providers’ peak and average Broadband Consistent Quality scores are uncommon.
The Broadband Video Experience typically rates as Very Good (68-78) for users across providers and regions. However, Bell Non-Fibre users in the Atlantic provinces are the only exception with a lower Broadband Video Experience rating.
Broadband providers included in this report
|Company||Brand and plan name include:|
|Eastlink||Fibre Link Internet|
|Rogers*||Ignite, Wireless Home Internet|
|SaskTel||infiNET, interNET, Fusion|
|Telus||Telus PureFibre, Smart Hub|
* Note: Shaw and Rogers are now one company, following the closure of their merger on April 3, but continue to operate using both brands.
Fixed Broadband Experience by region
Telus Fibre dominates the competition in Alberta’s broadband experience, with the highest or tied-for-highest scores across five out of six metrics.
Telus Fibre is the undisputed champion of Broadband Consistent Quality, beating its closest competitor, Shaw, by a significant margin even at peak times — 2.6-3.4 percentage points higher.
Telus has the best Broadband Video Experience in Alberta.
Opensignal users in Alberta see the fastest Broadband Download Speed on Shaw, with its average download speeds clocking in at 145.8Mbps — 18.7% faster than Telus Fibre and four times faster than Telus Non-Fibre.
Telus Fibre and Shaw are deadlocked on Broadband Peak Download Speed with scores of 527.6-528.8Mbps — 3.9 times faster than Telus Non-Fibre.
Broadband Download Speed with Telus Fibre is 3.4 times faster than Telus Non-Fibre.
Telus Fibre reigns supreme on Broadband Upload Speed with a score of 86.4Mbps — 2.7 times greater than Shaw and 8.3 times higher than Telus Non-Fibre. In fact, Broadband Upload Speed on Telus Fibre is 2.4 times faster than the Broadband Download speed on Telus Non-Fibre.
Shaw has higher scores than Telus Non-Fibre on every result, bar Broadband Video Experience where they tie, and Broadband Success Rate, where we see a three-way tie between providers.
Our Rogers users enjoy the fastest broadband download speeds in the Atlantic provinces. Rogers beats Eastlink and Bell Fibre in Broadband Download Speed by 38.6-45.4% with speeds averaging 159.1Mbps. In addition, with a Broadband Peak Download Speed of 504.7Mbps, Rogers outpaces Bell Fibre by 21.1% and Eastlink by 40.1%. And on these two metrics, Rogers is 14 to 14.6 times faster than Bell Non-Fibre.
Bell Fibre outpaces its competitors by a wide margin in Broadband Upload Speed. The average upload speeds of users on Bell Fibre are 3.1 times faster than Rogers and 6.6 times faster than Eastlink.
Bell Fibre and Eastlink are top in Broadband Consistent Quality with no statistically significant difference, even at peak hours.
Bell Fibre, Rogers and Eastlink place in the Very Good (68-78) category for Broadband Video Experience, with statistically tied scores of 75.2-75.5 points on a 100-point scale.
There is no statistical difference in Broadband Success rate between Bell Fibre, Rogers and Eastlink. Scores for all three are 1.8-2 percentage points higher than Bell Non-Fibre.
Telus Fibre scores higher than Shaw in British Columbia for average and peak time Broadband Consistent Quality, Broadband Video Experience, Broadband Upload Speed, and Broadband Success Rate.
Users on Telus Fibre and Shaw enjoy the fastest Broadband Download Speed and Broadband Peak Download Speed in British Columbia — 3.4-3.9 times faster than on Telus Non-Fibre.
Telus Fibre is top for both average and peak time Broadband Consistent Quality in British Columbia.
Telus Fibre’s Broadband Upload Speed is a clear standout, as users are able to experience upload speeds that are thrice as fast as those observed by Shaw users and 8.5 times faster than its Non-Fibre counterparts.
The Broadband Video Experience rates as Very Good in British Columbia, Telus Fibre users see the best Broadband Video Experience.
Our Shaw users have a better experience than those on Bell MTS across five categories and Shaw and Bell MTS share the top spot in the sixth.
Shaw leads over Bell MTS across all three speed categories — Broadband Download Speed, Broadband Peak Download Speed and Broadband Upload Speed — and by impressive margins.
The Broadband Download Speed seen by our Shaw users is 3.7 times faster than on MTS. Meanwhile, Shaw’s Broadband Peak Download Speed and Broadband Upload Speed scores are 1.8 times faster.
Shaw has the most consistent broadband quality across the day, including peak times, where Shaw beats Bell MTS on average Broadband Consistent Quality by a remarkable 14.4 percentage points.
Shaw is top for Broadband Video Experience in Manitoba.
Bell MTS and Shaw tie for the best Broadband Success rate with statistically tied scores of 97.2-97.8%.
Bell Fibre has the highest scores in Ontario across all six categories, either solely or jointly. Our Bell Fibre users see the fastest Broadband Peak Download Speed and Broadband Upload Speed scores, as well as the best Broadband Video Experience and Broadband Consistent Quality, relative to users on Rogers, Cogeco and Bell Non-Fibre.
Bell Fibre and Rogers tie for top average Broadband Download Speed, with both operators’ speeds bordering around the 165Mbps mark — around 52.9% faster than next placed Cogeco and 5.6 times as fast as Bell Non-Fibre.
Bell Fibre outpaces the competition in Broadband Peak Download Speed and Broadband Upload Speed. Bell Fibre leads over second-placed Rogers by a margin of less than 5% in Broadband Peak Download Speed. In Broadband Upload Speed the difference in their scores was much starker, with our users on Bell Fibre experiencing 5.4 times faster upload speeds than those on Rogers.
The typical Broadband Video Experience in Ontario rates as Very Good, with our Bell Fibre users enjoying the best available Broadband Video Experience.
Bell Fibre and Cogeco statistically tie for the highest scores for Broadband Success Rate in Ontario — tracking the proportion of successfully completed tests.
Bell Fibre is top for Broadband Consistent Quality — a measure of a network’s ability to support common applications’ requirements. This was true both when looking at our users’ results during peak hours (10 p.m.-4 p.m.) and over the entire day period. Focusing on the all-day measure, Cogeco and Rogers follow behind with statistically tied scores that are at least 5 percentage points lower than Bell Fibre’s score. However, they are at least 15.7 percentage points ahead of Bell Non-Fibre.
Rogers beats Cogeco for Broadband Download Speed, Broadband Peak Download Speed, Broadband Upload Speed and Broadband Video Experience.
In Quebec, Bell Fibre outshines the competition in five out of six categories, and ties for the sixth one.
Bell Fibre users enjoy the fastest Broadband Download Speed in Quebec, averaging at 151.1Mbps — 65.9% faster than our Telus Fibre users, 2-2.2 times as fast as Videotron and Cogeco users, and a jaw-dropping 5.5 times faster than their Non-Fibre counterparts.
Bell Fibre has the highest Broadband Upload Speed score in Quebec, with our users experiencing average speeds of 115Mbps. Bell Fibre’s score is 19.8 fold higher than Bell Non-Fibre, 8.7 as fast as Cogeco, 5.3 as fast as Videotron and 51% faster than closest rival Telus Fibre.
Our users on Bell Fibre see the highest average Broadband Peak Download Speed of 548.9Mbps in Quebec, 34.4-36.3% faster than Videotron’s and Telus Fibre’s statistically tied scores of 402.7-407.9Mbps.
Bell Fibre trumps in Quebec for Broadband Consistent Quality, a measure of the network’s sufficiency to support common applications’ requirements when looking over the entire day period from our users.
Bell Fibre has the best Broadband Video Experience in Quebec with a score of 75.6 points on a 100-point scale, closely followed by Telus Fibre, Cogeco and Videotron, given their statistically tied scores of 74.9-75.1 points.
There is no statistically significant difference in Broadband Success Rate for providers across Quebec, with scores in the 97.5-97.7% range.
Shaw reigns supreme for broadband speeds in Saskatchewan, with its Broadband Download Speed averaging 141.9Mbps and its peak download speed clocking in at 486.4Mbps. The average download speeds seen by our Shaw users are 3.5 times as fast as those on SaskTel, while the peak speeds are twice as fast.
Our Shaw users enjoy the best Broadband Video Experience in Saskatchewan, relative to the competition.
SaskTel and Shaw users see no statistically significant differences in Broadband Upload Speed.
SaskTel and Shaw are closely matched when it comes to the Broadband Success Rate in Saskatchewan, with statistically tied scores of 97.1-97.3%.
Shaw users have the most consistent experience across all hours of the day as well as peak hours, as it beats rival SaskTel in Broadband Consistent Quality. Shaw's Broadband Consistent Quality is 9.6 percentage points greater than Sasktel’s during all hours of the day, and 12.7 percentage points higher during peak hours.
Methodology and definitions
Broadband Success Rate
Measure the average proportion of successfully completed tests relative to all the tests executed for each unique Wi-Fi network on each provider.
Broadband Consistent Quality
Measures how often users’ experience on a network was sufficient to support common applications’ requirements. Excellent Consistent Quality uses six key performance indicators, including download and upload speed, latency, jitter, packet loss and time to first byte. Metrics are represented as a percentage of users’ tests that have met the minimum recommended performance thresholds to watch HD video, complete group video conference calls and play games.
Average — Consistent quality is measured across all users in all hours of the day.
Peak — By analyzing all tests, across all carriers nationally we can see that, on average, the 6-hour period between 10 am and 4 pm is the busiest. In this period, we see the highest amount of device activity and the largest drops in users’ experience relative to the 24-hour average. We have selected these hours to benchmark a ‘peak experience’.
Broadband Video Experience
Opensignal’s adaptive video experience quantifies the quality of video streamed to mobile devices by measuring real-world video streams over an operator's network. The metric measures users’ adaptive video experience using a Mean Opinion Score (MOS) approach inspired by International Telecommunication Union (ITU) studies which have derived a relationship between technical parameters of adaptive bitrate video streaming and the perceived video experience as reported by real people.
The videos tested are streamed directly from the world’s largest video content providers and include a wide selection of resolutions that dynamically match the network conditions, available bandwidth and device performance. Resolutions range from 144p to 2160p, which is also called 4K or UHD (Ultra High Definition). The model calculates a MOS score on a 0 to 100 scale by evaluating a number of parameters, including: the time to start playing the video, the quality of the video, the time playing each resolution, and the time spent re-buffering.
Broadband Download Speed
Measured in Mbps, Broadband Download Speed represents the typical everyday speeds a user experiences across a provider’s network.
Broadband Peak Download Speed
Measured in Mbps, Broadband Peak Download Speed represents the 98th percentile of the user speed distribution. i.e. this is what the users with the highest speeds within the footprint experience.
Broadband Upload Speed
Measured in Mbps, Broadband Upload Speed measures the average upload speeds for each internet service provider observed by our users across their fixed networks. Typically, upload speeds are slower than download speeds but this often depends on the technology used for broadband connections.
For this report, Opensignal categorizes the following as Fibre:
Fibre to the Home (FTTH).
Fibre to the Premise (FTTP).
Technologies Opensignal classifies as “other” broadband include:
Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL or ADSL2+).
Fibre to the curb/cabinet (FTTC) technologies such as Very high-speed digital subscriber lines (VDSL) or G.fast.
Cable networks, for example: DOCSIS or Hybrid fibre coax (HFC).
4G or 5G or other types of fixed wireless access (FWA).
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