Shaw reclaims title of best gaming ISP in Canada according to ‘PCMag’

Of the 'major' ISPs, Shaw scored best -- when you consider smaller players, Beanfield Metroconnect blew everyone else away

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Every year, PCMag reveals the best internet service provides (ISPs) for gaming in Canada. The publication just released the best gaming ISPs for Canadians in 2021, with Shaw taking the title for this year.

The results focus on two important internet factors for gamers: latency and jitter. According to PCMag, these two items are more important than download or upload speed as they measure the amount of time it takes for packets to move across the internet.

To get its results, PCMag sources tests from users through its PCMag Speed Test. It then uses the results to calculate a ‘Gaming Quality Index’ by adding the average latency and jitter numbers for each ISP. PCMag compares these totalled averages — the ISP with the lowest score wins.

It’s worth noting that PCMag had 37,685 tests from Canadians between December 1st, 2019 and November 30th, 2020. To make the cut for the results, PCMag requires a ‘major’ ISP — one with multi-province reach and at least 500,000 customers — to get over 1,000 tests. The other charts require only 100 tests (per ISP or location).

To start, PCMag revealed the top six ‘major’ ISPs for gaming. Shaw reclaimed the title this year with a score of 26.3 after losing to Telus last year. While Shaw claimed the title, it had a worse Gaming Quality Index score than it did when it previously won.

Telus fell to second place with a score of 28.4, followed by Bell at 28.6 (the company’s Bell Aliant scores are no longer split out separately, although it didn’t do much to improve its score). Rogers, Cogeco and Videotron round out the top six.

Best Gaming ISPs and best gaming provinces

When PCMag widens the scope to look at all ISPs in Canada, things get a bit more interesting. Some smaller players have truly astonishing results. For example, Beanfield Metroconnect, an ISP with a footprint in Toronto and Montreal (thanks to an acquisition), offered a Gaming Quality Index of 3.3. PCMag noted that Beanfield’s score was the best it had ever seen both in Canada and the U.S. On top of that, Beanfield claimed the title of fastest ISP in Canada in another PCMag test.

In second place with a score of 8.9 was an ISP called ‘Valley Fiber,’ which primarily serves the town of Winkler in southern Manitoba. Virgin Mobile claimed third place with a score of 24.8, SaskTel was fourth with 24.9, and the rest of the ISPs are the top six ‘major’ providers.

Finally, PCMag measures the Gaming Quality Index of provinces as a whole. Last year, B.C. took the crown — this year, the province fell to fourth with a score of 38.5 (over 10 points worse). Newfoundland and Labrador, however, rocketed into the lead with a score of 27.3. Interestingly, despite Bell’s high Gaming Quality Index scores on a national scale, the ISP performed well in Newfoundland. Taking just that province into consideration, Bell scored an impressive 13.7.

Quebec claimed second with a score of 36.3, followed close by Saskatchewan at 37.7. Manitoba took fifth at 43.7, with Alberta and Ontario coming in next at 45.3 and 48.4, respectively. Nova Scotia scored 54.1, and New Brunswick rounded out the group at 63.5.

Those interested in learning more can check out the PCMag scores here.