In late 2015 Blue Sky Net launched connectednorth.ca as part of its Broadband and Associated Infrastructure Mapping and Analysis Project (BAIMAP) initiative. Connectednorth.ca was intended to provide visitors to the site with useful information about broadband access in Northern Ontario. It was especially helpful to those who experience challenges in obtaining access due to availability, or lack thereof. Since the beginning, connectednorth.ca drew on the BAIMAP database as a key feature to develop a broadband availability search engine where visitors can search a civic address for available broadband service providers at that location, what kind of internet is available, as well as anticipated speeds and contact information for the Telecommunication Service Providers.
Shortly after the launch of connectednorth.ca, an Internet speed test module was also incorporated in the front page of the site. As important as it was to provide visitors information related to connectivity, Blue Sky Net also felt strongly that there was an opportunity to collect information from the website visitors as well.
The intent of the speed test has been to provide real-time feedback of Internet performance to the site’s visitors in real time, while also collecting that same information for analysis and interpretation. From the outset, it was intended that the visitor speed test information was going to be collected and used to inform decision makers about the realities of Internet access in Northern Ontario.
While the BAIMAP database consisted largely of coverage information provided by Telecommunication Service Providers (TSP’s) , it was felt that sampling performance results from Internet users would provide an interesting and valuable cross-reference of user experience versus promoted or advertised speeds. It should be noted that the speed test does not collect TSP information or IP addressing, it only links speed test results to user-entered addresses, as well as user-entered service type. The intent of the data is not to contradict TSP-provided information, but to compare the realities of promoted speeds versus user experience.
From late 2015 there have been just over 4,500 speed tests completed that can be verified and 4,330 within Northern Ontario. To date, connectednorth.ca has used the Speedofme platform with the test server located at a key interconnection point in Sudbury. The Speedofme platform was selected for several reasons, including because it was built with HTML5 the test looked similar and performed the same, across all browsers and devices. Speedofme also uses a testing methodology that does not overwhelm limited connections, making the test as fast for someone connecting with .5 Mbps as it does for someone connecting at 50 Mbps. With every speed test there are limitations, however due to the high number of test results received from connectednorth.ca, the test results provide useful insight into averages of upload and download speeds for those in Northern Ontario.
A PDF copy of the report can be downloaded here: Connectednorth Speed Test Report