December 23, 2016

Canada to avail broadband as a “basic” service

Canadian communications regulator announced $560 million fund to enhance connectivity in rural Canada

This week, Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) announced a $560 million fund for companies like Rogers Communications, BCE and Telus to tap, in order to subsidize high-speed Internet projects in rural parts of the country.

CRTC said that broadband Internet should be seen as a “basic” service across the country. The quoted amount will be distributed over five years on the basis of applications from telecommunications carriers.

It has been reported that most Canadians who live in cities like Toronto, Vancouver or Montreal, enjoy high-speed Internet access and strong cellular networks. However, many who live in rural parts of the country struggle to stay connected due to slow dial-up Internet or erratic satellite services. Telecom providers have largely avoided those areas, arguing that the cost of building infrastructure to serve so few customers is uneconomical.

CRTC Chairman Jean-Pierre Blais says that he has made several major pro-consumer rulings over the last few years, including banning three-year cell-phone contracts and forcing TV providers to sell channels individually rather than in bundles.

He added:

Access to broadband internet service is vital and a basic telecommunication service all Canadians are entitled to receive.

High-quality and reliable digital connectivity is essential for the quality of life of Canadians and Canada’s economic prosperity.

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