In an effort to establish an accurate database of actual broadband speeds, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has launched a new program in partnership with SamKnows.
The program asks for volunteers to have a physical device hooked up to their existing hard-line internet connection that will feed connection speed data back to the CRTC and ISP’s for analysis. The data can also be viewed by the volunteers via an online dashboard.
The device, called a Whitebox, collects only transmission rate performance data when no one is actively using the network so that it can get an accurate measure of the broadband download and upload speeds. Volunteer privacy is ensured and no internet usage habit or activity are claimed to be recorded by the device.
This project is part of the CRTC commitment to 5Mbps base broadband speed for Canadians, or specifically 98% of the population , according to the Digital Canada 150 strategy. While this target is an improvement on the 1.5Mbps previous base speed, it is unlikely unable to support agricultural applications that increasingly depend on high-speed or ultra high-speed “always on” or synchronous broadband connections.
CRTC’s Whitebox requires volunteers to have a 5Mbps connection. We encourage rural Internet users to join the program. Nevertheless, there will be some interested users who do not qualify for the program because they currently lack the 5Mbps service. Is this one more reason to support further analysis of broadband in rural Ontario? We think so.