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Telecommunications in Canada

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Present-day telecommunications in Canada include telephone, radio, television, and internet usage. In the past, telecommunications included telegraphy available through Canadian Pacific and Canadian National.

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The All Red Line cable for the British Empire. Canada as an interconnection-point. c.a. 1903
The All Red Line cable for the British Empire. Canada as an interconnection-point. c.a. 1903

The history of telegraphy in Canada dates back to the Province of Canada. While the first telegraph company was the Toronto, Hamilton and Niagara Electro-Magnetic Telegraph Company, founded in 1846, it was the Montreal Telegraph Company, controlled by Hugh Allan and founded a year later, that dominated in Canada during the technology's early years.[1]

Following the 1852 Telegraph Act, Canada's first permanent transatlantic telegraph link was a submarine cable built in 1866 between Ireland and Newfoundland.[2] Telegrams were sent through networks built by Canadian Pacific and Canadian National.

In 1868 Montreal Telegraph began facing competition from the newly established Dominion Telegraph Company.[1] 1880 saw the Great North Western Telegraph Company established to connect Ontario and Manitoba but within a year it was taken over by Western Union, leading briefly to that company's control of almost all telegraphy in Canada.[1] In 1882, Canadian Pacific transmitted its first commercial telegram over telegraph lines they had erected alongside its tracks,[3] breaking Western Union's monopoly. Great North Western Telegraph, facing bankruptcy, was taken over in 1915 by Canadian Northern.[1]

By the end of World War II, Canadians communicated by telephone, more than any other country.[4] In 1967 the CP and CN networks were merged to form CNCP Telecommunications.

As of 1951, approximately 7000 messages were sent daily from the United States to Canada.[5] An agreement with Western Union required that U.S. company to route messages in a specified ratio of 3:1, with three telegraphic messages transmitted to Canadian National for every message transmitted to Canadian Pacific.[5] The agreement was complicated by the fact that some Canadian destinations were served by only one of the two networks.[5]

Fixed-line telephony

The logo of Bell Canada, the nation's largest telephone company.
The logo of Bell Canada, the nation's largest telephone company.

Telephones - fixed lines: total subscriptions: 14,987,520 (July 2016 est.)

  • Subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 42

Telephones - mobile cellular: 30.45 million (July 2016 est.)

  • Subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 86

Telephone system: (2016)

Call signs

ITU prefixes: Letter combinations available for use in Canada as the first two letters of a television or radio station's call sign are CF, CG, CH, CI, CJ, CK, CY, CZ, VA, VB, VC, VD, VE, VF, VG, VO, VX, VY, XJ, XK, XL, XM, XN and XO. Only CF, CH, CI, CJ and CK are currently in common use,[citation needed] although four radio stations in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador retained call letters beginning with VO when Newfoundland joined Canadian Confederation in 1949. Stations owned by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation use CB through a special agreement with the government of Chile. Some codes beginning with VE and VF are also in use to identify radio repeater transmitters.


As of 2016, there were over 1,100 radio stations and audio services broadcasting in Canada.[6] Of these, 711 are private commercial radio stations. These commercial stations account for over three quarters of radio stations in Canada. The remainder of the radio stations are a mix of public broadcasters, such as CBC Radio, as well as campus, community, and Aboriginal stations.[6]


As of 2016, 780 TV services were broadcasting in Canada.[7]

Cable and satellite television services are available throughout Canada. The largest cable providers are Rogers Cable, Shaw Cable, Vidéotron, Telus and Cogeco, while the two licensed satellite providers are Bell TV and Shaw Direct.


Bell, Rogers, Telus, and Shaw are among the bigger ISPs in Canada.Depending on your location, Bell and Rogers would be the big internet service providers in Ontario, while Shaw and Telus are the main players competing in western provinces.[8]

  • Internet service providers:there are 44 ISPs in Canada, namely Aurora Cable Internet, Bell Aliant, Bell Internet, Cable Axion, Cablevision (Canada), Chebucto Community Net, Cogeco, Colbanet, Craig Wireless, Dery Telecom, Eastlink (company), Electronic Box, Everus Communications, Guest-tek, Information Gateway Services, Internex Online, Inukshuk Wireless,, Look Communications, Managed Network Systems, Inc., Mountain Cablevision, National Capital FreeNet, Novus Entertainment, Ontera, Persona Communications, Primus Canada, Project Chapleau, Qiniq, Rogers Hi-Speed Internet, Rose Media, Rush Communications Ltd., SaskTel, Seaside Communications, Source Cable, SSI Micro, TAO (collective), TekSavvy, Telus, Telus Internet, Vidéotron, Vmedia, Web Community Resource Networks, Wireless Nomad, YourLink[9]
  • Country codes: .CA, CDN, 124
  • Internet users: 33 million users [10]
  • Internet hosts: 8.7 million (2012-2017)[11]
  • Percentage of households with Internet access: 87(2016)[12]
  • Total households with high speed connection: 67% (2014)[13]
  • Total users of home online banking: 68% (2016)[14]

Mobile networks

The three major mobile network operators are Rogers Wireless (10.6 million), Bell Mobility (9.0 million) and Telus Mobility (8.8 million), which have a combined 91% of market share.[15]

Administration and Government

Federally, telecommunications are overseen by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (French: Conseil de la Radiodiffusion et des Télécommunications Canadiennes)–CRTC as outlined under the provisions of both the Telecommunications Act and Radiocommunication Acts. CRTC further works with Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (formerly Industry Canada) on various technical aspects including: allocating frequencies and call signs, managing the broadcast spectrum, and regulating other technical issues such as interference with electronics equipment. As Canada comprises a part of the North American Numbering Plan for area codes, the Canadian Numbering Administration Consortium within Canada is responsible for allocating and managing area codes in Canada.

See also


  1. ^ a b c d Babe, Robert E. "Telegraph". Historica Foundation. Retrieved 2012-01-19.
  2. ^ "CRTC Origins". Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission. 2008-09-05. Archived from the original on 2012-01-10. Retrieved 2012-01-19.
  3. ^ "From Driving the Last Spike to Driving the Digital Highway" (Office Open XML). Media Kit. Canadian Pacific Railway. 2010-11-07. Retrieved 2012-01-19.
  4. ^ "Canada Says Hello: The First Century of the Telephone". 2012-03-10. Missing or empty |url= (help)
  5. ^ a b c Knight, G.G. (October 1951). "Switching to Canada at Gateway Cities". Western Union Technical Review. Western Union. 5 (4): 131–137. Retrieved 2012-01-19.
  6. ^ a b "Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission".
  7. ^ "Number of television services authorized to broadcast in Canada from 2013 to 2016". statista.
  8. ^ "Internet Service Providers in Canada: a guide". moving2canada.
  9. ^ "List of Internet Service Provider in Canada". ispquicklist.
  10. ^ "Internet Users and 2017 Population in North America". internetworldstats.
  11. ^ "Countries By Number Of Internet Hosts". worldatlas.
  12. ^ "Canada's Internet". cira.
  13. ^ "The State of Broadband Internet in Canada". hillnotes.
  14. ^ "Internet use in Canada". cira.
  15. ^ Number of mobile phone network subscribers 2017 Q3 - CWTA

Further reading


External links

This page was last edited on 5 March 2019, at 10:26
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