Canada declares high-speed internet a basic service
Around 82 percent of Canadians had access to broadband with 50 Mbps download speeds in 2015. This is certainly better than many nations, but in the view of the country's telecommunications authority it's still not quite enough. The regulator has now officially declared broadband access as necessary for the quality of life of all citizens, a claim backed by up to CAD$750 million (US$556 million) in new funding to bring every last Canadian online.
The initiative is aimed at allowing all Canadians to get involved in the digital economy and to that end, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has outlined a few criteria it says will help them achieve this. These are granting all citizens access to download speeds of 50 Mbps and upload speeds of 10 Mbps on fixed broadband services, unlimited data options on these services and bringing advanced mobile wireless technology to homes, businesses and also along Canadian roads.
Up to $750 million in funding will be available over the first five years and will be used to develop infrastructure in regions that don't currently meet the targets outlined above. In doing so, the authority hopes that those in rural and remote communities will be empowered as citizens, creators and consumers and more entrepreneurs can forge new business opportunities.
"Access to broadband internet service is vital and a basic telecommunication service all Canadians are entitled to receive," said Jean-Pierre Blais, Chairman and CEO of CRTC. "Canadians who participated during our process told us that no matter where they live or work in our vast country — whether in a small town in northern Yukon, a rural area of eastern Quebec or in downtown Calgary — everyone needs access to high-quality fixed internet and mobile services. We are doing our part to bring broadband services to rural and remote communities."
Source: Government of Canada