CIRA is not alone in wanting to help strengthen the Internet in Canada by helping Canadians understand whether the performance they get matches the one they are expecting. And while we certainly encourage everyone to contribute to the .CA Internet Performance Test database by running tests, crowdsourcing is only one way to collect and use data.
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) is inviting Canadians to participate in a project that will measure the performance of their home broadband Internet services. The CRTC is collaborating in this project with major Internet service providers (ISPs) across the country and SamKnows, a company that specializes in measuring broadband services.
They are recruiting up to 6,200 Canadians to help measure the Internet services provided by the participating ISPs. Volunteers will receive a device, called a “Whitebox” that they will connect to their modem or router. The Whitebox will periodically measure broadband performance, testing a number of parameters associated with the broadband Internet connection, including download and upload speeds. The measurement tests will run when users are not actively using their Internet connection. The privacy of Canadians will also be assured. No information concerning online activities will be collected.
The results of this project will enable Canadians to gain additional insight into network performance, including actual connection speeds, and provide them with a better understanding of whether certain Internet services from participating ISPs are delivering speeds as advertised. These results will also provide data that will enable the CRTC to improve its broadband policy-making.
How is it different than the .CA Internet Performance Test? First off, the CRTC approach will collect more frequent data from those involved and be able to get a good picture over time of the peaks and valleys in speed for individuals. Secondly, by installing equipment based on statistical sampling they will be able to take a scientific approach to their data and to any demographic trends they publish. This is contrasted with our our crowd-sourced model that is intended to reach a more mass audience. Thirdly, by collaborating with ISPs they will have a higher degree of control over the results. Of course, not everyone who wants to can participate at this time and so that is a great reason to visit our test.
The CRTC project is a great oneand we encourage everyone who can to get involved with. We look forward to running analysis on the data we collect with the data the CRTC collects and seeing how we can all learn more about the Internet.
The quote from CRTC summarizes it perfectly,
“Of course, this project will only be successful if Canadians participate. We encourage those who are interested to fill out the online form today.”
We couldn’t agree more.