Internet speed graphic, no date. Photo credit: Pixabay

Study asks for public input to show actual internet speeds in B.C. communities

Federal maps showing Internet speeds might be inflated, so communities lose out on faster Internet

British Columbians — particularly those in rural areas — can do a simple online test, to help determine the actual Internet speeds in communities around the province.

The provincial Ministry of Citizens’ Services, Northern Development Initiative Trust, and the Union of B.C. Municipalities have engaged TANEx Engineering to collect the speed test data from all around B.C., to better understand what is contributing to the differences between Internet speed data published by the federal government, and people’s actual experience of Internet speed in their homes and businesses.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has said that it wants all Canadian homes and businesses to have access to broadband Internet speeds of at least 50 Mbps (megabytes per second) for downloads and 10 Mbps for uploads. The federal government’s National Broadband Internet Service Availability Map (available at claims to show Internet speeds in communities across the country.

However, the map has been criticized for not accurately reflecting the actual speeds experienced by people in many communities. For example, zooming in on Ashcroft shows that — according to the map — the entire village enjoys the CRTC-recommended 50/10 service. Multiple speed tests run at the Journal office at different times on different days shows a speed of 22/6; half of what the map claims, and what the CRTC has set as a minimum standard.

In order to collect accurate data, TANEx is asking British Columbians to go to and perform a simple speed test. You will be asked to enter your postal code and service provider; all other information is optional. When you hit “start” a speed test will be performed on your device, and the information will be logged for your community.

The more speed tests that are done will mean better depth and accuracy of the data collected. The tests should be conducted by as many people as possible, multiple times a day, as Internet speeds can vary depending on the time of day, the number of users, what they are using the Internet for, etc.

The findings will help place B.C. on a more solid footing when communicating with the federal government about discrepancies between the Internet service levels shown on federal maps when compared to the actual Internet service speeds that residents experience. Inaccurate (i.e. overstated) speed levels on federal maps might contribute to a service area not being eligible for grant opportunities for high speed Internet, and a lack of support from service providers.

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