#CyberFLASH: CRTC needs Canadians’ help to test home Internet speeds

1297702843330_ORIGINALAfter years of grumbling from consumers about slow Internet speeds, the government wants to find out whether Canadian Internet service providers are as fast as they claim to be.

The CRTC said Thursday it’s looking for 6,200 Canadians to participate in a project that will measure the performance of home broadband service.

Volunteers will receive a device called a “whitebox” that connects to their modem or router and periodically tests upload speed, download speed and other parameters. The CRTC says it won’t collect any data about users’ online activities and will respect their privacy.

“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,” the agency said in a statement.

Canadians have consistently ranked in the middle of the pack or lower for Internet speeds among developed countries.

For instance, according to up-to-date measurement from a company called Ookla, which crowdsources worldwide data on Internet connections, Canada ranks 63rd in the world for upload speeds. It averages 7.58 Mbps (megabits per second) — slower than Ethiopia, Bangladesh and Cambodia. We’re 33rd for download speeds at 30.37 Mbps, on average.

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