Economic Development Cowichan has embarked on a project to better understand the state of internet and cell phone connectivity in the Cowichan region, so that we can create a strategy to meet the connectivity needs of the region long into the future. To make this project a success, we are looking for input from community members, business owners, internet service providers, institutions, non-profits, and more.
Complete an Internet Performance Test
Whether you have great internet, or no connection at all, we want to hear from you!
Economic Development Cowichan has introduced the Internet Performance Test (IPT), a tool that will help us monitor internet speed and quality across the region. Armed with this information, we will seek to identify areas of concern and unlock funding sources to improve connectivity in those areas.
In order to build the most complete picture of the current state of internet connectivity in Cowichan, we need as many people as possible to perform internet speed tests from their home and/or workplace.
Note: It is important to have the details of your current internet plan available when taking the test. At minimum, please provide the Download and Upload speeds expected for your plan when prompted to do so on the test page. This allows for a comparison of what you pay for versus what you receive.
If you don’t have access to an internet connection, it is even more important that we hear from you! Please go to a location with internet access, browse to the above web site, and click on the line: “If you wish to inform us of a location without Internet access, click here.” A map will open that will allow you to pinpoint the home or work location where you do not have access to the internet.
Tips for a Successful Test
The IPT test is free to take as often as you wish, and it takes only about 30 seconds to complete. Simply visit the website and click on the START button.
To get the most accurate results, we recommend the following:
- Have the details of your current internet plan handy. This includes the price per month, expected download and upload speeds, and monthly usage cap. This information can be found on your most recent internet bill
- When prompted to verify the location where you are conducting the test, move the pin to the correct position on the map provided
- Use a laptop or desktop computer to run the test. A mobile device, such as a cell phone, is not recommended
- Use a direct connection, not Wi-Fi. Connect your computer to a modem or router using an Ethernet cable
- If you must use a Wi-Fi network, stand next to the modem or router when running the test to reduce interference from other devices and electronics
- Use a trusted browser, such as Google Chrome
- Before starting, disconnect other devices from the internet, if possible, and close all other applications running on your computer
- Run the test between 9am to 4pm, or 7pm to 11pm
TIP: Running multiple tests on different days and at different times of day gives us a better picture of the consistency of your connection. You have the option to create a free account on the IPT website that will allow you to run multiple tests automatically (you must leave your computer running for this to work).
About the Internet Performance Test
The Internet Performance Test (IPT) is a free tool that measures your Internet speed and service quality. It has been developed by the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA), the agency responsible for Canada’s .CA domain names. The IPT is a neutral measurement of internet performance and is not affiliated with any internet service provider. The tool looks at over 100 different internet connection factors to determine the speed and quality of your connection. Over 1 million IPT tests have been performed across Canada to date!
Click here to watch a video explaining what makes this test so special: https://youtu.be/xCNg5r5H9AM
How is my information collected?
The IPT test is voluntary and anonymous. It will not ask for your name or contact information. The data collected is tied to the location where you take the test, be it a house, an office, a park, a coffee shop, etc. This allows us to see where in Cowichan internet service is good, and where it is poor.
Once you complete the test, you will immediately be able to see the results. A dot will be added to the map on the IPT webpage showing the results of your test.
Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) is a member-based, not-for-profit organization best known for managing the .CA top-level internet domain name on behalf of all Canadians. While CIRA’s core mandate is the safe, stable, and secure operation of the .CA domain and its underlying technologies, the organization also connects, protects, and engages the internet community in Canada and beyond by providing high-quality registry, DNS, and cybersecurity services.
Information for Internet Service Providers
Our local, regional, and national internet service providers (ISPs) are an integral part of the connectivity puzzle in Cowichan. If you represent an ISP operating within Cowichan, please contact Brittany Taylor at [email protected] to discuss your current service offerings, plans for future investment, and partnership opportunities.
Background on Connectivity
In 2016, the Canadian Radiotelevision and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) determined that internet access is a basic telecommunications service, like land line phone service. They announced a Universal Service Objective with a target of high-speed internet services available to 90% of homes and small businesses in Canada by 2021, 95% by 2026, and 100% by 2030. The CRTC defines high-speed internet as 50 megabits per second (Mbps) download and 10 Mbps upload, with an unlimited data allowance. The Government of BC’s Community Information Tool estimates that 82% of Cowichan currently meets this minimum standard. The Universal Service Objective also calls for the latest generally deployed mobile wireless technology (currently LTE) to be available to homes and businesses, as well as along major transportation routes.
In 2018, the Connected Coast project was announced. This project will install over 3,400 km of subsea fibre-optic cable along the BC coast and around Vancouver Island. The cable will provide backbone infrastructure that will make access to high speed internet more feasible for any communities with a landing site. Landing sites are planned for several communities in the Cowichan Valley Regional District (CVRD).
In 2020, the CVRD Board of Directors identified connectivity as a priority in their Corporate Strategic Plan. The Board looks to develop a regional connectivity strategy and pursue provincial and federal funding to support the delivery of broadband service to all communities in the CVRD. This action will serve to create healthy, livable, and efficiently-serviced communities for residents of all backgrounds and income levels.
Why is connectivity important?
- Increased access to remote health care and online educational opportunities
- Improved public safety through robust early-warning systems and cell phone coverage along key transportation corridors (highways and trails)
- Increased ability for citizens to work remotely and for businesses to offer remote work as an option for their employees
- Increased ability for businesses in the region to participate in e-commerce activities
- Improved business retention and attraction
- And many more!
For questions about Economic Development Cowichan’s work on connectivity, contact:
Economic Development Analyst