Thursday 26 September 2013

CRTC Isses 2013 Edition of Its Communications Monitoring Report

The CRTC released the 2013 edition of its annual Communications Monitoring Report today.

The report summarizes the status of the consumer telecommunications industry in Canada.

The full report can be read or downloaded from this site. A standalone executive summary can be found at this page.

A number of infographics summaries are also available:


  1. One of the infographic stats indicates that Canadians download / upload 28.4 GB / 5.4 GB per month, respectively.

    Since (if I'm not mistaken) the previous CRTC data was used as a basis (excuse?) for the 20GB / month caps on some of the 4G wireless internet service plans, I wonder if those caps will now be increased, based on these latest data? And at a fair price? 40GB / month seems justified now. Just a thought....

    1. This year’s Internet download and upload figures continue to follow the pattern of steady annual increases over the last few years, a trend that will likely continue. Download/upload figures in GB from previous reports are: 2009 – 12.0/3.4; 2010 – 14.8/3.7; 2011 – 17.9/3.8; and 2012 – 28.4/5.4. My interpretation of the statistics is that they apply to wireline (DSL and cable) and do not include mobile (cellular) or wireless data.

      I am not sure there is a direct between the CRTC statistics and the caps set on the 4G wireless Internet service plans. While the infographic breaks out the download speeds with 5-9 Mbps being the most common at 41.6 percent, unfortunately there is no mention of data caps for either wireline or wireless Internet. The report does indicate that approximately 5 percent of mobile (wireless) is dedicated data only plans with about 1.3 million subscribers.

    2. Thanks for the trending data. I think I goofed - it might have actually been Wall Communications (the folks the CRTC commissioned to do their Internet Cost Study back in July 2012) who used earlier data to gloss over the overage cost issue. The study authors basically wrote off any overage cost concerns, based on an assumption that broadband users generally stay below the data caps:

      "Most of the service providers surveyed for this study either have no usage caps or, where they do apply, they are high enough that no overage fees would be incurred given the data usage assumptions adopted for the four above-noted broadband service baskets"

      I wonder, if CRTC commissioned this same sort of cost study today, would they have to acknowledge that users on average would in fact breach the current 20 GB data caps? Or would they just exclude data hub technologies from the report data once again? They should at the very least push the providers to adjust according to current trends, IMHO...

    3. Editorial Note: This reply is based on the situation in the Algoma District which is not served by the “new entrants”. The price and data caps cited are general; special offers and bundling can drastically affect the specifics.

      I would agree with the Wall report overview, especially where it applies to wireline broadband services. Most studies indicate that the heavy data users represent about 5% of the user population. However, this 5% tends to use considerably more data than the average user which may result in skewed statistics on data cap overages. As data traffic usage increases this relationship will likely change.

      Studies further indicate that the heavy data users are also the users that subscribe to the higher data speeds which in general have very large data caps or no caps at all – see the blog posting on FibreOP. (Note: While Bell Aliant FibreOP provided in the Algoma District has no data cap, Bell Fibre, different product, in Southern Ontario does have a data cap.)

      The situation with mobile (cellular) wireless broadband is dissimilar in that the data caps are much lower for a similar price. For the wireless data hub, the $75.00 to $100.00 range will get you around 20 GB but the same price provides 150 GB to 175 GB on wireline. For smartphone data, the $75 to $100 will get you 2GB to 6GB.

      It is becoming more common for the carriers to offer “shared data” plans where the data cap is applied across the whole range of the hardware associated with the account. While this is common for wireless devices such as smartphones, tablets, and data sticks, I have not seen it applied to data hubs or wireline based connections. The exception is Shaw which allows the user to apply wireline (cable) data cap capacity for use by registered wireless devices on the Shaw WiFi network.

      In my opinion, the impact of using wireless to cover rural areas has not hit home with the CRTC or any of the grass root organizations such as

  2. "In my opinion, the impact of using wireless to cover rural areas has not hit home with the CRTC or any of the grass root organizations such as "

    Amen to that.