Canada bill could force internet providers to disclose download speeds

Canada bill could force internet providers to disclose download speeds

Canada will soon get a better sense of the gap between the promise and the reality of their telecommunication service, through a private member’s bill moving through the House of Common with all-party support.

Canada internet service

In Canada, most internet companies describe the speed of their service in advertisements as ‘up to’ a certain download speed

Conservative MP Dan Mazier introduced the bill earlier this year, and this past week it passed second reading in unanimously. The bill will require that instead of identifying only their maximum download and upload speeds, internet service providers must provide their average speeds.

Internet companies generally describe the speed of their service in advertisements as a certain download speed. Mazier said that maximum speed is often much higher than what the companies deliver in the evenings when Canadians are home streaming video or browsing the internet.

If the bill passes, the CRTC would be required to hold public hearings about the new guidelines and then swiftly implement a standard, forcing internet companies to make the new information public.

The Canadian Internet Registration Authority, which oversees the .ca domain name, did a survey of Canadians in 2021 and found that only a third of people felt they were getting the speed their service provided advertised all or even most of the time.

The survey discovered 25 per cent were unaware if they were getting their promised speed.

Canada also has the highest prices in the world for internet service. A survey the federal government does biannually found in 2021 Canadians paid more than almost every nation in the G7, where prices can be half what Canadians pay in a calendar month.

Mazier said the past two years with the pandemic have seen many people relying on internet services more often and Canadians deserve to know what they’re paying for, something the companies seem unwilling to do on their own.

“This was a really good opportunity for all parliamentarians to stand up for consumers.”

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