The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) toda declared that broadband access Internet service is now considered a basic telecommunications service for all Canadians. The CRTC is also setting ambitious new speed targets and creating a new fund that will invest up to $750 million over and above existing government programs.
Currently, about 18 percent of Canadians, representing 2 million households, don’t have access to 50Mbps/10Mbps service. “The CRTC’s goal is to reduce that to 10 per cent by 2021 and down to zero in the next 10 to 15 years,
The CRTC has set the following targets for the basic telecommunications services that Canadians need to participate in the digital economy:
- speeds of 50 megabits per second (Mbps) download/10 Mbps upload for fixed broadband Internet access services.
- an unlimited data option for fixed broadband access services.
- the latest mobile wireless technology available not only in homes and businesses, but also along major Canadian roads.
The CRTC is establishing a fund to support projects in areas that do not meet these targets. Applicants will be able to submit funding proposals in order to build or upgrade infrastructure for fixed and mobile broadband Internet access services. The fund will:
- make available up to $750 million over the first five years;
- be complementary to existing and future private investment and public funding;
- focus on underserved areas; and
- be managed at arm’s length by a third party.
- Broadband Internet access services are necessary to the quality of life for Canadians and empowers them as citizens, creators and consumers.
- While most are well-served, many Canadians, particularly those in rural and remote communities, do not have access to broadband Internet access services that are comparable to those offered to the vast majority of Canadians in terms of speed, capacity, quality and price.
- Broadband Internet services would allow more Canadian entrepreneurs to easily access crucial information relating to international markets and create more business opportunities across Canada.
- In 2015, 82% of Canadians had access to speeds of 50 Mbps download/10 Mbps upload for fixed broadband services.
- The CRTC is shifting its regulatory focus from wireline voice to broadband services.
- Currently there is a subsidy for residential local voice services in rural and remote areas that amounted to approximately $100 million in 2016.
- The current local voice subsidy will now be transitioned to the new funding mechanism announced today (for projects that meet the new targets).
- Further to a broad consultation, more than 50,000 Canadians provided their views on the telecommunications services they need to participate in the digital economy.