The OECD has released its latest round of data on broadband services in 33 of the world’s most developed countries [update: While today's release is new and incorporates this information into the OECD Communications Outlook 2011, a reader points out the broadband data was first released two months ago]. While there will be the usual attempts to downplay the data, the OECD findings once again confirm that Canadians pay more for broadband services than consumers in most other developed countries. Consider the average monthly subscription price in three of the most common speed bands:
- 2.5 to 15 Mbps – Canada ranks 28th out of 33 countries (the survey covered eight different Canadian plans)
- 15 – 30 Mbps – Canada ranked 29th out of 33 countries (the survey covered four Canadian plans)
- Faster than 45 Mbps – Canada ranked 23rd out of 28 countries (the survey covered three Canadian plans)
In addition to the OECD tracked the range of pricing per megabit – Canada ranked 28th there too. Moreover, Canada remained one of the only countries with universal data caps as all plans reviewed by the OECD included an explicit bit cap (the only similar countries were Australia, Iceland, and New Zealand – all far more isolated than Canada).
The OECD also tracked broadband subscriptions. Canada ranked 13th for wired broadband subscriptions per 100 inhabitants and 23rd for wireless broadband subscriptions per 100 inhabitants. This data was supplied by the Canadian government.
The results are unmistakable – Canada remains a laggard when it comes to broadband services with a middling ranking in overall broadband subscriptions and one of the poorest rankings based on price at all the most common speeds. The OECD data covers Canada’s largest ISPs including Bell, Rogers, and Shaw, meaning it accounts for a sizable chunk of the overall subscriber market (particularly in Ontario, where the data covers the overwhelming majority of subscribers). The incumbent providers will trot out the excuses (geography, limited sampling, etc.), but the data speaks for itself, telling a troubling story of high prices that will leave many Canadians wondering whether we will ever see a more competitive broadband market.