Learn about the second phase of the CRTC/SamKnows Broadband Measurement Project. Measuring Broadband Canada is a multi-year broadband measurement project that was first launched by the CRTC in conjunction with SamKnows in May 2015. Shaw is currently in the process of replenishing its test panels to ensure we have sufficient sample sizes for testing. Beginning again in September 2017, we will deploy emails to customers on eligible Internet speed tiers to encourage them to participate in the program by signing up on the CRTC website. 

For more information, please visit https://www.measuringbroadbandcanada.com/

This article will provide insight into:

Did You Know?

SamKnows is now in Phase 2, which means additional Internet service providers (in addition to all of those that participated last year) will be included in this year’s measurement project – namely Distributel, Nexicom, Primus, Teksavvy, VMedia, and Xplornet.


SamKnows - general FAQ

What is SamKnows?

  • SamKnows is a UK-based organization that measures and reports on broadband activity.
  • Launched in 2008, SamKnows has partnered with ISPs and governments around the world.

How do they test networks? What is the Whitebox?

  • SamKnows tests Internet connection quality with a device called a ‘Whitebox.’
  • The Whitebox connects to a customer’s router and performs routine tests that measure the quality of the customer’s Internet connection, including upload, download, and latency.
  • These tests measure the speed of the connection to the home.

How will the speed information and data gathered through the Whitebox be used?

  • SamKnows will gather data from a statistically significant sample of Shaw residential Internet customers.
  • This data will be used by Shaw to ensure we are delivering an exceptional Internet experience.

Is Shaw or SamKnows able to see a given participant’s Internet browser history?

  • SamKnows does not collect any personal browsing data that passes through the device.
  • The device simulates the act of browsing to common websites in order to produce a metric for browsing speed. It does not collect or store any browser history.

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CRTC/SamKnows broadband measurement project

What are the details of the CRTC’s testing?

  • The CRTC, in partnership with SamKnows and Internet Service Providers from across Canada, including Shaw, are launching a project to measure the performance of the broadband Internet access services Canadians receive in their homes.

Can Shaw customers participating in the CRTC testing see their Whitebox results?

  • Yes, data will be made available to participants via a web portal.

What does this mean for our business?

  • As a leading network company, Shaw is committed to improving the quality of experience for our customers. 
  • Participating in this study will help Shaw make the right investments in the network to meet the needs of our customers.

Why is this only being done now?

  • The current broadband measurement project is being implemented and administered by the CRTC, in partnership with SamKnows, Shaw, and other ISPs across the country.

Is Shaw required to participate?

  • No, this is a voluntary program. However, the CRTC strongly encouraged participation by all of Canada’s major ISPs.
  • We are committed to working with the CRTC to benefit our customers and are more than happy to participate in this new round of testing.

What other ISPs are participating?

  • Bell, Rogers, Eastlink, MTS, Telus, Cogeco, Bell Aliant, Videotron, and NorthwesTel.

How do interested customers sign up for the project?

How will CRTC participants be selected?

  • SamKnows will select a random sample of customers throughout our footprint from a number of Shaw’s service tiers. 

How many participants will be selected?

Will the focus only be on Urban customers, or will it be a mix of Urban/Rural?

  • The sample will be geographically diverse, and results will be reported on a national level.

Will the CRTC be grading Shaw by overall national speeds or is it going to break down region by region results?

  • Results will be reported on a national level by the service provider.

What happens after the rankings are published?

  • The CRTC’s stated goal is to enable Internet service providers to become more familiar with their network’s performance and ultimately help to improve their networks and better serve customers.         

How long will the CRTC project run for?

  • Initially, the program is intended to be for one year, but it may be renewed.

How is the CRTC going to rank ISPs?

When will the rankings be published?

Data released by the CRTC is aggregate. Will Shaw commit to releasing more specific information regarding strength on a local level? If not, why?

  • The CRTC has no plans to release more specific information at this time. 

How is this ranking different than the Google or Netflix rankings published in 2014?

  • The Google and Netflix rankings measure the quality of their specific applications when utilized on Shaw’s network.

Outside of SamKnows, do we use third-party software to measure our Internet speeds today? If so, where can customers find this information?

  • Shaw currently uses Ookla to provide our customers with independent and unbiased Internet speed test results.

How will SamKnows results compare to speedtest.shaw.ca results?

  • SamKnows testing provides a wide variety of tests, but in general, the tests performed by Shaw focused on download and upload throughput, and should be similar to what a customer would see on speedtest.shaw.ca.

When will customers have access to their data after setting up their white box?

Will the Whiteboxes used in the CRTC testing be different than the ones used in the SamKnows/Shaw testing started last year?

  • No. The Whitebox used in the Shaw project is identical to the one the CRTC is using.

Will CRTC participants receive anything in exchange for participating?

What makes this project impartial?

  • The actual participants are selected by Samknows, not Shaw.

Is Shaw able to access and potentially manipulate SamKnows data?

  • Shaw can view the data collected by the Whiteboxes through a dashboard portal but has no ability to adjust that data.

Will this information be used to help you decide where/when to upgrade the network?

  • This information will form part of the information we regularly gather to monitor the health of our network.

What is Shaw doing now to improve the strength of their network in advance of SamKnows testing?

  • Shaw has committed billions of dollars to grow and maintain our network and will continue to do so to ensure our customers are able to access the Internet when and where they want it.

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March 2016 preliminary report

So, Internet in Canada is great then?

  • You got it! Almost all broadband services met or exceeded their advertised speeds, across all technologies and regions.

What did they mean by “almost” all broadband services? Which ones didn’t meet or exceed advertised speeds?

  • While almost all customers who participated in the trial displayed upload and download results that met or exceeded the advertised speeds, some customers subscribing to DSL Internet experienced lower than advertised speeds.

Do I have DSL through Shaw?

  • No, Shaw delivers your Internet via Hybrid Fibre-Coaxial—which, as per this report, delivered download and upload speeds in excess of advertised rates.

Which Internet delivery technologies were measured?

  • Hybrid Fibre-Coaxial (HFC), Fibre to the Home (FTTH) and Digital Subscriber Line (DSL).

What was the time period for this report?

  • Data presented in this report was collected between October 1 and November 30, 2015.

Which ISP’s participated in this initiative?

  • All major wireline service providers except Sasktel—namely Shaw, Bell, Bell Aliant, Cogeco, Eastlink, MTS, NorthWestel, Rogers, TELUS, and Videotron.

Will there be more reports coming from this initiative?

  • We expect the CRTC to publish at least one more report that separates the results out by provider but we’re unsure when this will happen. This first report was segmented by technology and region only.

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