鶹ӳý

Skip to content

Internet Service Providers in Canada (ISPs) offer various different packages. This guide explains the main Canadian internet providers for residential customers, and how to avoid paying charges you don’t have to.

The first thing to know is that residential packages for internet in Canada may cost more than in many other countries.

One reason for this is the sheer breadth of Canada. It can cost a lot for Canada’s internet providers to maintain a network that operates in separate and far apart locations, and this cost is spread to users across the country.

It has also been suggested that Canada’s biggest internet service providers are using their internet customers to recoup falling revenue from their TV offering, as more and more customers ditch traditional cable TV.

So it’s important to make sure you get the best internet provider in Canada for you.

When you’re moving into an apartment, check which internet service providers are already operating on the premises. Some apartment buildings have special deals, and some tenant agreements will have service from ISPs in Canada already included in the cost.

How many internet providers are there in Canada?

There are about . That being said, many of them run off the major networks including Bell, Rogers, Shaw, Telus, Vidéotron, and Cogeco.

Main internet service providers in Canada

Internet Service Providers in Canada | Internet in Canada | ISPs Canada | Canadian Internet ProviderBell, Rogers, Telus, and Shaw are among the bigger ISPs in Canada offering packages. But, there are other options — and one of these other options might be right for your needs.

Availability will depend on your location. For instance, Bell and Rogers are the big internet service providers in Ontario, while Shaw and Telus are the main players competing in western provinces.

Users in many discussion forums you’ll come across recommend Novus. However, they operate in very few locations. Their service is only available in certain apartment buildings in Vancouver.

TekSavvy is one of several Canadian internet providers who largely depend on the infrastructure of its bigger competitors.

Who is the best internet service provider in Canada?

In our video on Internet service providers in Canada, we ranked the nation’s top providers on a scale out of 40. You can scroll up and see the video on this page or .

Each provider was given a score out of 10 on the following metrics:

  1. Coverage
  2. Setup
  3. Customer support
  4. Package and price

Our results were as follows:

ISPCoverageSetupCustomer supportPackage and PriceTotal
oxio8/108/1010/109/1035/40
Rogers/Shaw9/108/105/109/1031/40
Bell6.5/108/108/104/1026.5/40
Telus10/101/103/106/1020/40

When it comes to the best internet service provider in Canada overall, oxio comes out on top. oxio has coverage across all major Canadian cities. It loses points for a few holes in the Atlantic provinces, though. The setup process is simple, and efficient customer support is available. While they may not always be the cheapest option, their plans are competitively priced.

But don’t just take our word for it. oxio also scores highly on Trustpilot with 4.2 and on Google Reviews with 4.3. Customers often praise oxio for easy setup and quality customer service.

鶹ӳý’s recommended Canada internet service provider: oxio

Our researchers at 鶹ӳý have sized up the internet providers market in Canada and arrived at some conclusions:

  • Some providers have sneaky hidden fees that may appear on your monthly bill, and these are best avoided. Up-front transparency is key.
  • Customer service matters, and some providers are better (way better!) than others when it comes to addressing any issues quickly and effectively.
  • The vast majority of people don’t need 1GB of upload or download speed. You really don’t need that.

Advertisement

Who is the largest internet provider in Canada?

There are many internet providers in Canada however most providers use the infrastructure of one of the 6 main internet providers, Bell, Rogers, Shaw, Telus, Vidéotron, and Cogeco.

According to , Bell is the most-used internet service provider in Canada, as of 2023. Followed by Rogers, Telus, Shaw, and Vidéotron.

Who offers the fastest internet in Canada?

How fast your internet will be depends on a number of factors, including, where you are in Canada, your plan, the hardware or software you use, and what demands you have from your internet provider. In independent tests, Bell offers the fastest home internet in Canada at , with Rogers coming in 2nd place with 273.32 Mbps and Shaw, in 3rd place with 243.11 Mbps.

How do you check your Canada internet provider’s coverage?

If you already have an idea of which ISP you would like to use, you can check on the provider’s website by typing in your home address.

The Canadian government website offers an that allows you to see which Canada internet providers are available in a given area. The website does not cover third-party providers, but if you know what networks they run on then you can get a good idea of whether they offer coverage in your area.

Also, if you are concerned about internet availability, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) offers an interactive map on its . It shows what types of services are available across Canada, and it even shows the areas that are underserved.

Which Canada internet plan and service provider option is best for me?

There are a number of factors to consider, including download and upload speeds, data caps, and cost.

Don’t be shy about asking internet service providers for detail on these, and explaining to them how you typically use the internet. It’s their job to ensure you’re informed about the package you’re buying.

If there’s anything the person you’re speaking to seems unsure of, feel free to politely ask them to check with their support managers for an answer.

Download / upload speed

Any data that comes from the internet TO your device relies on your downloading stream to get there. The higher the speed, the faster this data is likely to get to your device.

You can get by with very little if you’re doing some light web browsing. Examples would be checking email, reading articles like those on 鶹ӳý, and looking at some photos.

Other activities require more data to be transferred. A common example would be video, and in particular, video that has a very clear picture.

Netflix, for instance, recommends download speeds of at least five megabits per second (Mbps) to watch HD video, and 25Mbps to watch Ultra HD (very high-quality) video.

Any data that goes to the internet 鰿your device relies on your uploading stream to get there.

Every time you type in a web address, or search something on Google, you’re sending data from your device to the internet. These are relatively simple tasks that don’t require a very high upload speed.

More intense activities would be a video call, for example. When you’re streaming live imagery from your web camera to another web user, you’ll need a strong upload speed to send video that’s of a viewable quality.

Skype recommends an upload speed of at least 1.5Mbps.

Other issues to consider:

  • Your patience. Slower download / upload speeds means data will transfer more slowly. If you want web pages to load more quickly, then pay for a higher speed from your Canadian internet provider.
  • How many people / devices will be connecting to the internet? If you pay for a 10Mbps download speed, and six people are all connected to it at the same time, you’ll end up with some very slow internet indeed.
  • Will you be connecting over the wireless, WiFi connection, instead of directly to the modem with a cable? The advertised speeds apply to wired connections. Speeds weaken over WiFi, and deteriorate the further you go away from the router. You may need to pay a little extra to get yourself some wriggle room.

Data caps

Many Canada internet plans have a limit to how much data you can upload and download in any given month.

You will usually be able to check how much you’re using on an online tracker. If you’re otherwise happy with a package, but are concerned you might breach the data cap, it would be a good idea to trial it for a month, monitor your usage, and upgrade later if needs be.

Let’s say there are two of you in the house. You both watch Netflix and stream some live TV for an hour or two a night. You also look at Facebook, and check websites like 鶹ӳý on your desktop and your phone. You both FaceTime for about two hours in total per week. It’s unlikely that you’ll exceed 200GB per month.

Other factors to consider

It’s impossible to answer these factors conclusively in an article such as this, so don’t be shy about discussing these when you’re talking to Canada internet service providers.

  • How big is your house/apartment? Will the wireless router they provide cover all areas? Have a look at where the wall outlet for internet service providers is located in your home and tell them whether it’s centrally located.
  • Is there a rental charge for the equipment? Canada’s internet providers vary in this respect. Some will add a monthly fee for their modem, others won’t.
  • Is their technical support good? WiFi operates on a range of signals, and in apartment blocks where lots of WiFi networks operate, these signals can sometimes interfere with each other. If you’re not technically proficient, you may need to give them a call, so ensure you go with internet service providers who are ready to help.
  • Is there a charge for technical support call-outs?
  • Are there any network problems in the area you should be aware of? Occasionally, internet service providers in Canada will have issues providing a full service to all customers in a particular area. It might occur at evenings, for example, when the majority of its users are all attempting to download lots of data at the same time. Find out before you buy. And if problems occur after you have service installed, talk to them about seeking refunds for loss of service, or taking your service elsewhere.
  • What extras are included in the cost? Of course, a good salesperson will tell you this without being asked, but lots of internet service providers in Canada include some nice extras in the cost. Be sure to make the most of your hard-earned loonie.

Keep in mind settling into your new home can have its quirky moments, so you might want to consider providers who can help make your transition smoother and more convenient.

What can you expect to pay for your Canada internet plan?

Prices in Canada tend to be higher than in other countries, yet average monthly prices of broadband internet are starting to trend downward.

A March 2023 by Innovation, Science, and Development Canada breaks Canada internet plans down into 7 levels. In all but Level 1 (3-9 Mbps), average monthly internet prices went down year-over-year.

Here are the average internet prices in Canada based on internet speed.

Broadband serviceAverage monthly price in 2022
Level 1 (3-9 Mbps)$47.61
Level 2 (10-15 Mbps)$50.42
Level 3 (16-40 Mbps)$59.01
Level 4 (41-100Mbps)$75.38
Level 5 (100-249 Mbps)$91.50
Level 6 (250-500 Mbps)$96.97
Level 7 (500+ Mbps)$104.75

Packages and rates for internet in Canada

Packages and rates for Canada internet plans are often updated and may even vary depending on your location. For this reason, we recommend comparing the prices from these providers to find the best deal for your setup:

How do you switch Internet service providers in Canada?

The process of transferring internet service providers in Canada is usually easy. When you’re signing up for your new service provider, ask them to transfer your existing services. They should be able to do it for you, meaning there’s no need to talk to your current provider.

Your new service provider will typically cancel your existing internet plan and start your new service. The cancellation takes effect immediately. There’s no need to provide 30 days’ notice before cancelling your Canada internet plan.

What do you think about your Canada internet service provider?

Tell us your experiences with internet service providers in Canada, and help others come to a decision. .

For guidance for other service providers you may need, visit:

Originally published on April 10, 2016. Prices last updated in August 2023. Disclaimer: all prices and information for ISPs in Canada are accurate at time of publication. These details may have changed since.

About the author

Hugo O'Doherty profile picture

Hugo O'Doherty

He/Him
Canadian Immigration & Integration Specialist
Hugo O’Doherty has over a decade of experience and research in Canadian immigration, establishing him as a recognized authority on immigrant integration and adaptation. His personal and professional experiences with immigration have made him an expert on the practical aspects of successfully moving to and settling in Canada.
Read more about Hugo O'Doherty
Citation "Canada internet plans and service providers: A guide." 鶹ӳý. . Copy for Citation