OTTAWA - Customer complaints about internet service quality soared 50 per cent during the latter half of 2020 compared with the pre-pandemic levels a year earlier, according to a new ombudsman's report.

The Commission for Complaints for Telecom-Television Services (CCTS) said Monday that spotty or inadequate internet service was raised in 1,250 or 13.9 per cent of the 9,121 new cases it handled over the six-month period ended Jan. 31, 2021.

The overall number of complaints for all types of service monitored by the CCTS was also up by six per cent from the 2019-20 mid-year report issued last year, when the quality of internet service was raised 884 times in 8,621 complaints.

The CCTS report issued Monday covered a period that included the beginning of the pandemic's second wave, when many Canadian families needed to work and study from home because of pandemic lockdowns.

At the same time, businesses, governments and health care services increased their reliance on remote communications to deliver their services to customers and patients.

The CCTS report says wireless services continued to generate the biggest number of complaints, but that was down 19.5 per cent. Complaints about local phone service, TV service and most other telecommunications services were down from the six month period ended Jan. 31, 2020.