Competition Bureau study finds that many Canadians benefit from choice of Internet providers

News release

August 7, 2019 – OTTAWA, ON – Competition Bureau

As of 2018, more than 1 million Canadian households have chosen an independent provider for their high-speed Internet connection.

That’s one of the findings of the Competition Bureau’s study of competition and consumer habits in Canada’s high-speed Internet industry.

The study found that the majority of Canadians currently obtain their Internet services from traditional telephone and cable companies. However, the Bureau also found that CRTC regulations that allow independent Internet providers to buy access to telecom companies’ networks have created more choice for consumers. With more options, a growing number of Canadians are switching to independent Internet providers.

More choice between providers allows many Canadians to choose a plan that meets their needs related to cost, network speeds and quality of service. However, such options are rarely available to rural and remote customers.

To understand the views and habits of Canadian consumers, the Bureau commissioned a survey on how households choose and switch between internet providers. Of the 2,005 households surveyed:

  • 90% report being generally satisfied with their current home Internet provider, while customers of independent providers are more likely to be very satisfied;
  • 1 in 3 households that considered switching providers in the past two years actually made a switch; and
  • 66% of households bundle their internet with at least one other service, but only 17% of those bundles include wireless phone services.

The Bureau’s study of competition in Internet services is designed to inform future regulatory reviews in the industry, such as the CRTC’s upcoming review of wireline wholesale services. By better equipping regulators and policymakers, the study will help Canadians benefit from competitive high-speed Internet options.

Quotes

“High-speed Internet is the engine of our rapidly growing digital economy. This study is part of our broader efforts to promote competition and innovation in this industry, so that more Canadians benefit from lower prices and increased choice in Internet services.”

Matthew Boswell
Commissioner of Competition 

Quick facts

  • In addition to a survey of 2,005 Canadian households, the study was informed by 12 focus groups with participants from Toronto, Montreal, Halifax, Edmonton, Vancouver, rural Ontario, rural Alberta and rural British Columbia.

  • The Bureau also received comments from more than 42,000 Canadians through an online survey, and 20 written submissions from a variety of Internet service providers.

  • As part of its mandate, the Bureau advocates the benefits of increased competition in regulated sectors of the economy.

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The Competition Bureau, as an independent law enforcement agency, ensures that Canadian businesses and consumers prosper in a competitive and innovative marketplace.


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