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38% of Canadians Say Internet Speeds Have Slowed Due to COVID-19: Survey

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The Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) has released results from a study taken during the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada to detail how Canadians are coping with staying at home and going online.

According to the survey findings, the CIRA says the number of “Canadians working from home has skyrocketed, and that many are experiencing slower internet speeds as video streaming and video and teleconferencing are on the rise.”

Here are the results of the CIRA study:

  • 38 per cent of respondents said their home internet connection is slower than before the COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing began.
  • B.C. residents are more likely to say their connection is slower since the pandemic began (49 per cent).
  • Nearly one in 10 Canadians have reported reaching their monthly mobile phone data cap since the pandemic began.
  • 52% of Canadians currently employed say they are now working from home as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, compared to only 7% who were working from home before it began.
  • Nearly half of households (44 per cent) report having two or more people working at home due to COVID-19.
  • 61 per cent of respondents working from home say having no commute is by far the biggest perceived benefit of widespread working from home.
  • Nearly half (45 per cent) say the biggest drawback is fewer face-to-face interactions, followed by problems ‘switching off’ (27 per cent) and lack of proper office equipment (25 per cent).
  • One in four (26 per cent) working from home report having no dedicated workspace and instead have to continually move around and improvise.

When it comes to entertainment, 70% of respondents said they were spending more time streaming online TV and movies, with 38% admitting they are spending “a lot” more time doing so.

For communicating, 61% of Canadians said they were spending more time talking to friends through video or teleconferencing apps, while the telephone is the preferred way for those over 40 years of age to keep in touch. For those in the 18-39 age bracket, Facebook’s WhatsApp was the most preferred method to stay in contact.

David Fowler, vice-president, marketing and communications, Canadian Internet Registration Authority, said in a statement, “COVID-19 has changed everything. It feels like overnight the entire country had to move their work, schooling, and social calendar online. Over the past few weeks, the power of the internet to connect us has never been more clear, nor more important. The data shows how the country is coping with our massive shift online.”

When it comes to shopping, 60% of Internet users have made an effort to support local and national businesses instead of international ones, since the COVID-19 pandemic started. Nearly half said they were shopping from large chain stores for groceries and other related items, while 35% said the most common way of engaging with local businesses was by ordering take out or delivery.

An online panel survey 1,200 Canadian internet users aged 18-79, from April 3-7, 2020.

“As Canadians do their part to fight this virus, we hope this data helps shine a light on what folks are doing online during this very unusual time in our country’s history,” concluded Fowler.

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