internet toronto

Internet providers in Toronto beyond Rogers and Bell

Internet providers in Toronto go beyond Rogers and Bell. As it turns out, there's a wealth of smaller options: A quick search on Canadian ISP reveals that there are no less than 119 internet service providers serving the Toronto area. To get your search off to a good start, I've rounded up some of the most-recommended internet service providers currently providing Toronto with a steady stream of cat videos.

Here are my picks for the top alternative internet service providers in Toronto.

Teksavvy
A favourite of nerds across Ontario, Teksavvy offers a healthy mix of over a dozen cable and DSL plans, backed up by pleasant customer service; you're likely to find a package that fits your usage needs and budget. Heavy users can avail themselves of unlimited 50Mbps (megabits per second) DSL for $84.99 a month. (In case you're nostalgic for those weird boing-ing noises coming out of your modem, they also offer dial-up for $7.99 a month. ...Really.)

Primus
The largest alternative telecom in Canada, Primus offers a variety of wireless services (including phone and VoIP) in addition to a handful of DSL packages. Shoppers beware: available speeds rely heavily on the neighbourhood. For example, while some areas can get up to 50Mbps plans, my Danforth neighbourhood is locked into 7Mbps at $42.95 a month, which doesn't impress terribly.

Contact
Contact is clearly trying to court a young, budget-conscious demo - their website looks like it should be for some kind of women-oriented gym. They promise "the best bang for your buck," with a variety of DSL plans at 6Mbps, 15Mbps and 25Mbps speeds - their biggest plan offers 500GB of bandwidth at 25Mbps for a frankly insane $34.95 a month. The secret to their pricing: They ask folks to pay extra for their ContactCare tech support.

Start
Start offers cable, lower-speed DSL, and higher-speed FTTN connections. (For the uninitiated, FTTN is a DSL connection that offers a shorter connection between your home and the fibre network, in an effort to offer a more reliable signal.) Add $15 a month to cable plans or $10 a month for DSL plans to get unlimited data. (Except for the 150Mbps cable plan, which already gives you 400GB of bandwidth. You can just suck that one up.)

Electronic Box
This Quebecois company just set up shop in Ontario (as evidenced by the site's somewhat-rickety translation). But for some, their services just might be parfait. Their biggest cable plan is a whopping 1,000GB of bandwidth at 30Mbps at a dirt-cheap $29.95 (for the first six months ... after that, it nearly doubles). While their DSL plans tap out at 250GB of monthly bandwidth, they all come with unlimited downloads from 2am to 2pm regardless of tier, meaning you can still binge-download on a budget.

VMedia
This Toronto-based media company makes Android-based TV its bread and butter, offering set-top video boxes that mix TV channels with access to extra Internet-delivered content. They're also an ISP, offering two unlimited cable plans at 30Mbps ($49.95) and 60Mbps ($64.95) download speeds.

Distributel
Operating in Ontario, Quebec, Alberta and B.C., this telecom (which owns several smaller offshoots, including Acanac) lets you take your pick of cable, DSL, and FTTN connections. A selling point: All of their packages - from an entry-level 6Mbps DSL package ($36.95) to 60Mbps cable - offer unlimited downloads.

Did I miss any? Leave your ISP recommendations in the comments.

Note: since Rogers and Bell own the telecommunications infrastructure, the above companies are all third-party carriers, re-selling Internet services they purchase at a wholesale rate; basically, the big guys are going to get your money one way or another.

Photo by lickmylenscap in the blogTO Flickr pool


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