Canadians demanding even more data, higher speeds in 2016

News Release

CRTC releases Communications Monitoring Report data on Canadians’ wireless and
Internet usage

November 9, 2017 – Ottawa – Gatineau – Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC)

Canadians’ data usage on their wireless devices and over their home Internet connections continues to climb, according to the CRTC’s 2017 Communications Monitoring Report.

Canadians are adopting mobile broadband service at a rapid rate. In 2016, there were 3 million more mobile broadband subscriptions than the previous year, a 13.3% increase. Canadians used an average of 1.2 gigabytes (GB) of data per month on their wireless devices, a 25% increase from 2015. More than a quarter of those who subscribed to a monthly data plan had at least 5 GB of data.

Many young people are turning to their wireless device to watch TV. Forty-one percent of 18-34 year olds use their smartphones to watch TV online, compared to 11% of Canadians aged 50-64 years old and 4% of Canadians aged 65 and over. Other popular activities included accessing the Internet, emails and social media networks.

At the same time Canadians are also increasing the data and speed of their home Internet connections. In 2016, monthly data usage (downloads and uploads) increased by 23.4% to reach 128.3 GB. Over the last five years, Canadians monthly data consumption increased by an average of 40% each year.

In addition, 26% of subscribers had chosen a download speed of at least 50 megabits per second (Mbps). Five years ago, only 3.6% of Canadians subscribed to this speed tier. More and more Canadians have the option to subscribe to this speed tier. By the end of 2016, 84% of Canadians had access to download speeds of at least 50 Mbps and upload speeds of at least 10 Mbps on fixed broadband Internet services.


“As the Communications Monitoring Report shows, Canadians are embracing changing technology. They are increasingly using their mobile devices and home Internet connections to   watch content, access health care services, further their education or run their businesses. As the industry continues to invest in their networks to meet current and future demands, the CRTC is establishing a fund to improve broadband access in remote and rural communities.”

- Ian Scott, Chairperson and CEO of the CRTC

Quick Facts

  • The Communications Monitoring Report

    • The 2017 Communications Monitoring Report provides a detailed overview of the Canadian communications industry, as well as industry data and information, including emerging trends and issues.
    • On November 8, 2017, the CRTC released data regarding the broadcasting sector.
    • Today, the CRTC released the second part on the communications industry and on the telecommunications sector in Canada. The 2017 Communications Monitoring Report is now available in its entirety.
  • Communications Industry

    • In 2016, Canadian communications revenues totaled $66.6 billion. Telecommunications revenues reached $48.7 billion, while broadcasting revenues came in at $17.9 billion.
    • The communications industry served over 14 million households and over a million businesses in Canada using both landline and wireless facilities.
    • The average Canadian household expenditure on communications services increased by 1.7% from $214.75 per month in 2014 to $218.42 per month in 2015.
    • The majority of Canadians’ spending on communications services went to mobile wireless services (40%), followed by television services (25%), Internet services (21%), and telephone services (14%).
    • In 2016, telecommunications service providers spent $11.6 billion to improve and expand their networks, an increase of 11.3%, or $1.2 billion, from the previous year.
  • Internet

    • The retail Internet sector had the highest growth of all sectors, with revenue increasing by 10.1%, or $930 million, in 2016.  Total revenues for retail Internet were $10.2 billion in 2016.
    • The average monthly amount of data downloaded by residential subscribers increased 25.6% between 2015 and 2016 to 116.9 GB per month, and an average of 42.4% annually over the last five years.
    • Average upload amounts increased 4.8% between 2015 and 2016 to 11.4 GB per month, and an average of 20.6% annually over the last five years.
  • Wireless

    • The wireless retail market remained the largest communications sector with revenues of $23.2 billion in 2016.
    • Long-term evolution (LTE) and LTE-advanced wireless networks deliver even higher speeds than previous generation networks, and are available to approximately 98.5% and 83% of Canadians, respectively.
    • The number of WiFi hotspot locations increased by 32% from 2015 to 2016.
  • Landline vs wireless

    • More Canadian households subscribe exclusively to wireless services than to landlines.
    • According to the latest available data, 86.1% of households had wireless service and 71.9% had landline service in 2015. Twenty-seven percent of households subscribed only to a wireless service, while 13.2% had only landline service.
    • The number of local telephone lines has declined from 17.7 million in 2012 to 15.2 million in 2016.

Related Products


Media Relations
(819) 997-9403

General Inquiries
(819) 997-0313
Toll-free: 1 (877) 249-CRTC (2782)
TTY: (819) 994-0423
Ask a question or make a complaint

Stay Connected
Follow us on Twitter @CRTCeng
Like us on Facebook

Page details

Date modified: