CybrHome Logo

Internet in Canada - The Definitive Guide

Posted on August 5, 2021

Home - Get connected

If you want to find out how the Internet in Canada works, you’re in the right place.

In this new report, you will learn:

  • How the Internet appeared in Canada
  • Key demographics about Internet usage
  • The best Internet providers in Canada
  • Lots more

Let’s dive right into the case study.

Internet in Canada – Key stats and facts

By now, you probably know that the Internet is a computer network, connected so that information can instantly travel between them.

 Whenever you request content via an app or web browser, the command is sent to a modem. Then, the modem reroutes your request to your Internet Service Provider’s server. Within milliseconds, the server communicates with the other servers and returns the content broken into “packets” that help you load the page.

Canada is the 21st country in the world for Internet usage. In July 2016, there were over 31.7 million Canadian internet users, which represent 89.8% of the entire population.

Still, Harvard researches show that the country has low internet standards resulting from slow speeds and high costs for subscriptions.

An international study on Internet from 2013 shows that the average Canadian user spends 45 hours per month on the web. The most popular websites include search engines like Google and Youtube, social media, and local news sources.

Here is a snapshot of the top 10 websites in Canada, according to SimilarWeb:

Canada’s Copyright Act bans unauthorized copying or sharing of copyrighted content, both for personal use or profit. However, there are certain things you can copy, like portions of the content for case studies or news reporting or music for personal use.

The Internet network in Canada is mainly based on Fibre optic networks, thanks to the CRTC ruling in July 2015 that demanded large telecoms to offer smaller providers wholesale access to their network.

Based on recent studies, the average user has a download speed of up to 25 Mbps. Still, recent technological advances offer much higher speeds, depending on your data plan.



Best Internet Service Providers in Canada

Right now, there are 48 internet providers in Canada. The problem is that a few giant telecom providers dominate the market, so many Canadians (especially in rural areas) have only heard of one or two providers.

According to a guide by WhistleOut, these are the top 5 internet providers in Canada:

  • Telus – considered the best provider in Western Canada, Telus has connection speeds of up to 1.5 Gbps. They are rated number one for customer satisfaction, and the download speed can reach up to 25 Mbps (though it depends on the location)
  • Bell – Central Canada residents love Bell Communications thanks to its extensive coverage and a wide range of customizable data plans. Their high-speed Fibre plans range from 10 Mbps to 1.5 Gbps bandwidth, offering several options for any type of internet user. Their plans provide Wi-Fi at home and free McAfee security antivirus.  
  • Videotron – If you’re from Quebec, you should try Videotron. They have affordable plans, and they always end number 1 in the regional customer satisfaction survey. Their download speed is maxed out at 400 Mbps, and the rural coverage is not as great; their service is relatively cheap and includes a music streaming subscription.
  • SaskTel – For seven years in a row, SaskTel has been considered the best ISP in Western Canada, although the Crown corporation only serves the Saskatchewan residents with the infiNET fibre. The most outstanding deal of SaskTel is that they offer access to over 2,000 customer-only hotspots all over the province.
  • Eastlink – In Atlantic Canada, Eastlink is the fastest internet service provider. Nova Scotia, Labrador, New Brunswick, and PEI access cheap unlimited data plans with speeds going up to 940 Mbps. They offer special deals for bundling your internet service with TV or mobile plans, and they can also buy your existing contract for up to C$200.

Now you may be thinking: If all plans have similar prices, what is the best internet technology?

DSL and cable are old technologies that have relatively slow speeds. Fibre Optics can take your speed to over 1 Gbps. There are also other reasons to be concerned about using older technology, such as slowdowns during peak usage hours or slower DSL speeds.

Now that you have a brief overview of how the internet market looks in Canada, it’s time to look at the history of the World Wide Web era.

How did it all start?

Țările cu cea mai bună conexiune la internet sunt în Asia - Buna Dimineata

Canadian Internet has an exciting yet challenging history.

In 1969, the US Department of Defense created the first computer network. With time, it started allowing scientists and universities to access the ARPANET network.

 In 1971, the Science Council of Canada developed a similar network that would not be dependent on the US systems. However, the federal government denied this proposal and by 1983, the Canadian defence computers were connected to the American network.

Later, the Canadian government created a network called Telidon, which became available to the general public in 1979. Still, the network was a failure, and the funding was stopped several years later.

Universities were some of the earliest public institutions to get Internet access. In fact, the first search engine was developed in 1989 by Alan Emtage, a student at McGill University. By using keywords, Archie managed to index files on servers that were used for file sharing purposes.

The real boom in popularity happened in the mid-1990s, after the first World Wide Web browser invention. This massive growth was the reason why Mosaic and Netscape came into existence. Also, local retailers like Sears or Zellers created their eCommerce websites, CBC radio offered downloadable radio shows, and colleges offered online courses.

One of the key developments in the early days of the Internet era was Advanced Book Exchanged, created in 1995 by Cathy Waters, a book dealer from British Columbia. The website was created to help readers looking for the obscure title find a good book deal and was later sold to Amazon after the Internet bubble.

In the early 2000s, the Web 2.0 era started, allowing users to upload content on websites they didn’t own. These platforms include social media, blog sites and image-sharing websites like Flickr (founded in Vancouver).

Now, almost 79% of the websites use PHP technology, and they’re primarily coded in HTML 5, which allows webmasters to easily modify their code and add dynamic elements to their website.

Challenges and opportunities of the Internet in Canada

Führt Datenschutz zu Tatenschutz? –

One of the main reasons the Internet is so popular is the ease of access to various information. Some people use the data to create online businesses, others just for entertainment, while hackers are constantly looking for a way to steal your credit card data.

Since this service is not equal for everyone, we want to explore some of the key opportunities and challenges created by the Internet in Canada:

  1. Data and Privacy

One of the main concerns of Internet users is the privacy of their personal and financial data.

You may have heard of “big data” algorithms powered by Artificial Intelligence and can take decisions without human interaction. They’re great for simplifying the process, but many specialists are concerned that the AI can go rogue and make the wrong decisions on purpose.

After several scandals with large social media platforms being accused of massive data leaks, internet users have started looking for ways to encrypt their internet connection and prevent any scammer or hacker from interfering.

Right now, these are the best ways to conceal your online identity:

  • Tor network – mainly used by deep web enthusiasts, the Tor network makes you completely anonymous on the web. Still, your information is shared across an international network of encrypted devices that bounce between one another to hide your IP address. Although your data won’t be stored anywhere, there are high risks of getting hacked by one of the members of the hidden network, which could lead to massive losses.
  • VPN – the VPN is an affordable software that encrypts your data, changes your IP locations and offers you access to restricted content in your country. The VPN is commonly used by users that want to access foreign streaming services and gamble online anonymously. The idea is that you can relocate virtually to any location, as long as you’re not breaking any laws. Although the VPN provider will have access to your history, you won’t have to worry about any data leaks.
  1. Digital Economy

The economy of the Internet is not a made-up thing.

 Canadian businesses use eCommerce platforms and social media to promote and sell their products to their target audience. In 2017, 5.5% of Canada’s entire economy was accounted for by the Internet. The mass adoption of the Internet allows retailers to bypass the physical stores or other third-party services that would act as a middleman in the transaction.

Some industries, like bookselling, have almost gone extinct in the digital era, while new “gig” job opportunities are constantly arising (like ride-sharing or food delivery). These new-age jobs can potentially become legit, although these apps tend to pay people for the task and don’t offer any contract or fixed salary.

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies were also born on the Internet. Many specialists claim that blockchain technology can eventually replace the traditional banking system, thanks to transaction anonymity and instant transfers.

  1. Misinformation via fake news

Many groups and individuals use the Internet as a source to spread false information. Due to the snowball nature of internet content, these fake news campaigns make it into the mainstream and are massively shared by conspiracy theorists. This can drastically impact society’s well-being.

  1. Mental health

Social media is an excellent invention for helping people keep in touch even from considerable distances. There are many benefits to social media platforms, but the big-tech corporations are actively working on making the app more addictive.

Psychology studies show that micro-dopamine releases from likes, the “infinite scrolling,” and the customization algorithms directly affect our social skills, making us feel more isolated and even damaging the brain of children exposed to longer than 2 hours a day to social media.

  1. Impact on the climate

The devices that power the Internet are contributing to climate change. Powering and cooling down these devices use massive amounts of energy, which stain renewable energy sources and contribute to fossil fuel emissions.



Final thoughts


There you have it: everything you need to know about the Internet in Canada.

We hope you learned something new and will use this guide as a reference in the future.

The key takeaway?

The Internet has created thousands of new business opportunities. Still, specialists are concerned about its impact on the mental health of future generations that are exposed to technology from an early age.

Remember to use the Internet wisely and always fact-check everything you read online since you can’t be 100% sure the information is accurate.

More on CybrHome
Explore Hubs

Explore interesting hubs

Explore Topics

Explore interesting topics

Explore Lists

Explore interesting collections

Explore Collections

Explore interesting collections

Also See