Cana­di­ans de­vour data at record-setting pace

Wire­less deals up 13% from 2015, re­port says

National Post (Latest Edition) - - FINANCIAL POST - Emily Jack­son Fi­nan­cial Post

Cana­di­ans can’t get enough in­ter­net, whether they’re Snapchat­ting on smart­phones or watch­ing Net­flix.

Cana­di­ans used more data than ever on both wire­less and fixed broad­band con­nec­tions in 2016, ac­cord­ing to the Cana­dian Ra­dio- tele­vi­sion and Telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions Com­mis­sion’s 2017 Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Mon­i­tor­ing Re­port.

The num­ber of wire­less sub­scrip­tions grew by more than 3 mil­lion, a 13.3 per cent in­crease from 2015, ac­cord­ing to the re­port re­leased Thurs­day. Monthly mo­bile data us­age jumped 25 per cent to 1.2 gi­ga­bytes, with more than a quar­ter of Canada’s more than 30 mil­lion sub­scribers opt­ing for plans with at least 5 GB of data.

Res­i­dents also shelled out for more data and faster speeds from their home in­ter­net. Monthly data us­age jumped 23.4 per cent to 128.3 GB. More than a quar­ter of sub­scribers ( 26 per cent) sub­scribed to pack­ages with down­load speeds of at least 50 megabits per sec­ond, up from just 3.6 per cent five years ago.

“Cana­di­ans are em­brac­ing chang­ing tech­nol­ogy. They are in­creas­ingly us­ing their mo­bile de­vices and home in­ter­net con­nec­tions to watch con­tent, ac­cess health care ser­vices, fur­ther their ed­u­ca­tion or run their businesses,” CRTC chair Ian Scott said in a state­ment.

Last year, the CRTC set an am­bi­tious tar­get to pro­vide min­i­mum speeds of 50 Mbps to all Cana­di­ans by 2020, in­clud­ing those that live in ru­ral and re­mote com­mu­ni­ties. These speeds were avail­able to 84 per cent of Cana­di­ans at the end of 2016. The CRTC cre­ated a fund to im­prove broad­band ac­cess in ru­ral and re­mote place, but it has yet to de­cide how to spend it or where.

Of course, the in­creased us­age came at a price. The av­er­age house­hold spent $ 218.42 per month on com­mu­ni­ca­tions ser­vices in 2016, up 1.7 per cent from $ 214.75 in 2015. Wire­less ac­counted for 40 per cent of the bud­get, TV 25 per cent, in­ter­net 21 per cent and tele­phone 14 per cent.

This made for a great year for Canada’s telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions providers, which en­joyed quar­ter af­ter quar­ter of wire­less growth and higher rev­enue per user. Providers in­vested $11.6 bil­lion in net­works last year, up 11.3 per cent from $1.2 bil­lion in 2015.

Telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions rev­enue hit $48.7 bil­lion in 2016, up from $47.8 bil­lion the year prior. Wire­less ac­counted for $23.2 bil­lion.

The in­ter­net seg­ment grew the fastest af­ter over­tak­ing TV providers’ rev­enue for the first time in 2015. Its rev­enue jumped by $ 930 mil­lion or 10.1 per cent in 2016 for a to­tal of $10.2 bil­lion.

Land­line us­age con­tin­ued to de­cline as more house­holds went ex­clu­sively wire­less. The num­ber of land­lines fell to 15.2 mil­lion in 2016, down from 17.7 mil­lion five years prior.


Cana­di­ans used more data than ever on both wire­less and fixed broad­band con­nec­tions in 2016, the CRTC said.

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