‘Ottawa’ Rural Web Users Have a Need for Speed
The city is starting to get an idea of where in Ottawa people could be living with slow Internet connections.
An application, developed to check Internet speeds across the city, has logged more than 25,700 “speed tests” as of Sunday afternoon.
The wards of West Carleton-March, Rideau-Goulbourn and Osgoode have registered lower download speeds, on average, compared to the rest of the city. There were more than 3,000 tests across those three wards.
So far, Internet users in West Carleton-March have been seeing the slowest download speeds in the city, with download speeds averaging 7.5 megabits per second.
At the other end of the spectrum was Rideau-Vanier with an average download speed of 35 megabits per second.
The speed of people’s Internet connections could help the city decide what kind of digital programs to pursue. If the city wants to have more Internet streaming of public consultations, for example, it needs to know if people can actually watch them.
The city is working with the Canadian Internet Registration Authority on the speed tests. Internet users can go to the application and test their connections to see how they stack up with people across Ottawa. A map shows roughly where each test has been done.
CIRA, which is the Ottawa-based organization that manages the .ca domain, is measuring Internet speeds across Canada. The organization and the City of Ottawa launched the local speed test last Tuesday.
As the City of Ottawa considers more “smart city” initiatives, it needs to consider the capability of homes and businesses to take advantage of those high-tech services. It’s also a key part of the city’s emphasis on economic development as it tries to reassert itself as a technology powerhouse in Canada.
One of the goals of the partnership with CIRA is to see if there really is a digital divide between urban and rural Ottawa.
The speed tests so far would indicate there is a difference in Internet service. At the same time, the easternmost ward, Cumberland, is showing comparable speeds to more urban wards. The speeds are better in Cumblerland ward closer to Orléans.
In December, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission declared high-speed Internet a basic service.