Canadians may be dumbfounded when they return from a trip abroad and experience some of the slowest Internet upload times in the free world. This is not just a recent problem, it's been around since the advent of the Web. With a global average upload time of 7.6 Mbps, Canada lags far behind the rest of the world with an average upload time of 5.67 Mbps, according to the recent Net Index released by Ookla. That places Canada fifty-third among all countries and an abysmal sixth place amongst G8 nations.
What's being done to alleviate the problem?
Upload speeds vary around the nation with CBC News, citing Ookla information, comparing the upload speeds of Manitoba and British Columbia to those of Honduras and Iraq. Residents of northern and western Canada, as well as most Manitoba consumers, are seeing upload rates of only 5 Mpbs. This is largely because Internet Service Providers don't have faster speeds available in these areas of the country. The Maritimes, for example, have ISPs with faster speeds available, but they also cost a lot of money. In those areas, the source found, people aren't ponying up the cash for faster service.
Are conglomerate ISPs the problem?
The country's largest telecommunications concerns generally service the largest markets. Because smaller ISPs like TekSavvy connect to the bigger operations, said CBC News, they can only get the speeds offered by the bigger business there's virtually no incentive for those providers to offer faster speeds.
Phone companies starting to enter the fray with fibre networks and wireless operations, according to the source. Those same businesses are also jumping on the speed bandwagon but consumers will still be hit in the pocketbook to upgrade to a faster speed.
The lack of upload speed may be hurting businesses large and small across Canada. IT expert Jamie Granek told CBC News some businesses are opting not to use the added speed offered because of the costs associated with it. He had one customer in Vancouver opt against an upgrade that would've allowed staff to work from home for cost reasons alone. That, said Granek, is impacting the future of business across the nation.
"Having the ability to access your own information and resources on your own network is a key function of the network today," said Granek. "You can't really separate the download from the upload anymore."
Some of the bigger service providers told the source that they are matching supply with demand and that their Internet usage is forecast to grow by 40 per cent annually. That means upload speeds will also continue to increase, according to one major ISP.