Annual Survey of Internet Service Providers and Related Services

Detailed information for 1999





Record number:


The survey objective is the collection and publication of data necessary for the statistical analysis of the Internet Service Provider (ISP) industry.

Data release - November 26, 2001


The survey objective is the collection and publication of data necessary for the statistical analysis of the Internet Service Provider (ISP) industry. This survey was developed to provide detailed information on the ISP industry in Canada, which is recognized as a very important and dynamic aspect of the Canadian economy. Because the Canadian ISP industry is constantly evolving, this survey will help to monitor its growth and expansion.

The information from the survey can be used by businesses and trade associations for market analysis and assessment of industry performance, operating characteristics and trends, by government to develop national and regional economic policies, by other users involved in research or policy making and by Statistics Canada for maintaining important data input to the preparation of the Canadian System of National Accounts.

Reference period: Calendar year

Collection period: January to April


  • Business, consumer and property services
  • Business performance and ownership
  • Financial statements and performance
  • Information and communications technology
  • Information and culture
  • Professional, scientific and technical services

Data sources and methodology

Target population

The target population consists of all statistical establishments (sometimes referred to as firms or units) classified as Internet Service Providers according to the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) during the reference year.


This is a sample survey with a cross-sectional design.

The portion of the population eligible for sampling was defined as all incorporated establishments with revenue above $50,000.

The main motivation for the exclusion of incorporated firms below $50,000 from direct data collection was to achieve major reductions in response burden. Typically, the excluded portion might represent a substantial proportion of the whole industry in terms of number (55% to 60%) but their contribution to the overall estimate is usually modest (less than 10%).

The survey design was based on probability sampling and only covered the portion of the frame subject to direct data collection. Each sampled establishment represented a number of other, similar establishments in the industry, based on the probability of being surveyed. The largest establishments were included in the sample with certainty due to their significant contribution to industrial performance.

The establishments randomly selected for this survey represent only a small sample of the whole survey frame. To make the sample as efficient as possible, the frame was divided into groups of establishments based on revenue and province or territory of location. The size of the sample was increased to compensate for non-response (for example, companies which cannot be contacted because they have moved or gone out of business).

Data sources

Responding to this survey is mandatory.

Data are collected directly from survey respondents and extracted from administrative files.

This survey collected data through a mail-out/mail-back process, while attempting to provide respondents with the option of telephone or electronic data reporting methods as required.

Companies with production at more than one locale were mailed only one questionnaire, and were instructed to report for all their operations in the surveyed industry. Summary data were also collected for each province or territory in which the company operated.

View the Questionnaire(s) and reporting guide(s) .

Error detection

The combined survey results were analyzed before publication; in general this included a detailed review of the individual responses (especially for the largest companies), a review of general economic conditions as well as historic trends and comparisons with tax data information and other administrative data sources (i.e, industry and trade associations).


Prior to estimation, companies with production in more than one province or territory were sub-divided in order to generate accurate estimates at that level. The survey data collected from the sample were then weighted to produce estimates representative of the target population.

Disclosure control

Statistics Canada is prohibited by law from releasing any information it collects which could identify any person, business, or organization, unless consent has been given by the respondent or as permitted by the Statistics Act. Various confidentiality rules are applied to all data that are released or published to prevent the publication or disclosure of any information deemed confidential. If necessary, data are suppressed to prevent direct or residual disclosure of identifiable data.

Data accuracy

This survey is based on probability sampling and so the potential error introduced by sampling can be measured. A standard measure of sampling error is the coefficient of variation (CV). If we were to conduct the survey repeatedly, the relative difference between a sample estimate and the estimate that should have been obtained from an enumeration of all the units would be less than twice the coefficient of variation, 95 times out of 100.

For total revenue for this survey (chosen because it is the estimate most commonly used in measuring and describing an industry), the CVs at the Canada level for the industry as represented by On-Line Information Services (NAICS 514191) is 5%.

CVs are calculated for all estimates; generally, the less commonly reported variables are associated with higher but still acceptable CVs, usually under 25%. These CVs are not included here but are available upon request.


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