Compare cable internet plans

HFC (Hybrid Fibre Coaxial) connections are being repurposed to deliver high-speed cable internet services. Here’s what you need to know.

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Close up of the ends of coaxial cable
The Canadian internet landscape in its current version makes use of a patchwork blend of technologies. One of these is Hybrid Fibre-Coaxial (HFC) internet commonly called cable internet, which uses high-speed fibre optics in tandem with existing copper cables to deliver a faster internet connection to your house. You can compare some popular cable internet plans by speed, data and price in the table below.

Compare cable internet plans below

ProviderOperates inCheapest planFastest plan
FidoOntarioPlan: 5Mbps plan
Data cap: 50 GBCost: $35 per month
Plan: 150Mbps plan
Data cap: Unlimited
Cost: $75 per month (or $55 with rebate)
Fido offers cable Internet plans for affordable prices. All of Fido’s contracts are month-to-month and you won’t have to pay additional modem rental or installation fees when you sign up. You may be able to get a free month when you sign up for low-speed plans or a $20 rebate per month for higher-speed plans
FizzOntario and QuebecPlan: 10Mbps plan
Data cap: Unlimited
Cost: $30 per month
Plan: 120Mbps plan
Data cap: Unlimited
Cost: $60 per month)
Fizz offers a number of affordable cable Internet plans for some of the lowest prices on the market. All of its plans operate on a month-to-month basis and you won’t pay fees to rent or install your modem. There are no data caps on how much Internet you can use, and you can even knock money off your monthly bill if you refer friends to the service.
TeksavvyAcross CanadaPlan: 5Mbps plan
Data cap: Unlimited
Cost: $33.95 per month
Plan: 150Mbps plan
Data cap: Unlimited
Cost: $68 per mont
TekSavvy offers all of its cable plans for reasonable prices. These plans come with unlimited data, and are on a month-to-month billing schedule so you won’t get locked into a contract. Teksavvy is also available across Canada, so you can access its services in Western provinces as well.
AcanacOntario and QuebecPlan: 15Mbps plan
Data cap: Unlimited
Cost: $39 per month
Plan: 1Gbps+ plan
Data cap: Unlimited
Cost: $89 per month
Acanac offers some of the highest speed cable plans in the industry. You can sign up for month-to-month billing or get one month free when you sign onto a 12-month contract. Just be aware that you’ll have to pay over $100 to purchase your modem, and installation will cost $30.

What is cable internet and how does it work?

Cable internet is simply a term for an internet connection using both high-speed fibre optics and older copper “cable TV” lines. Data signals are sent through optic cables to the nearest node and then delivered to your house via the existing copper infrastructure. A modem completes the connection, allowing you to access the internet.

Where is cable internet available?

Cable internet network connections are available wherever cable was initially laid by cable companies when they were developing their copper networks. This infrastructure is common throughout most of Canada

What are cable speeds like?

Theoretically, a cable internet connection can deliver the top speeds promised by the internet, faster than regular cable. In reality, because the fibre optic cables are combined with the old copper cabling, these networks tend to have a few issues with congestion that can reduce the speed you’ll experience.

As a result, all cable internet plans will offer a typical evening speed alongside their maximum, reflecting the speed you can expect to experience in the evening when everyone else is also online. Remember that the exact speed you’ll get depends on your provider as well as the speed tier you sign up for.

Do I need a new modem for cable internet?

If you haven’t been connected to the internet previously, you’ll likely need a new modem capable of processing the signals involved. These modems can either be purchased separately or bought alongside a plan from most providers, who will recommend a specific model.

Is there any other equipment I need for cable internet?

You probably won’t require anything that isn’t already installed by cable companies when you hook up your property to the network.

You’ll simply need to attach one cable from your internet box to one part of a splitter and a cable from your TV to the other. You won’t need any equipment that isn’t automatically provided by your internet provider.

What to consider when comparing Internet plans

  • Speed. Even with a cable internet connection, you should always check with your provider to see if a particular speed is available at your address. Heavier use and more simultaneous users will necessitate faster, more expensive connections.
  • Data. While many internet plans offer unlimited data these days, you can still potentially save by going for a data capped plan. Just make sure you won’t break the limit, or you might get slugged with excess usage charges.
  • Contract types. Some plans provide flexibility by running from month to month while others will lock you into a 6-month or longer plan. Signing a contract may save you money in the form of reduced set-up or modem costs, but watch out for large early termination fees if you cancel early.
  • Extras. Certain providers offer entertainment bundles with their plans, or give you a home phone line and call inclusions. Watch out for special features that you think you’ll be able to make good use of.

What’s the difference between Cable Internet and Fibre TTN?

The biggest difference you’ll notice is in upload speeds. Cable internet connections are capable of reaching high speeds but are prone to slow speeds at peak times. Fibre to the Node (TTN) uses a network box to deliver internet to a variety of destinations. It uses only fibre optics instead of regular cables and is extremely fast and reliable. The downside is that it’s not yet widely available everywhere in Canada.

What’s my internet speed?

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