Broadband Internet a basic service, like telephone

Canada’s telecom regulator has declared broadband Internet access a basic service

GATINEAU, Que. — Canada’s telecom regulator has declared broadband Internet access a basic service across the country, just like current landline telephone service.

But the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission says it can’t make full access to ultra-high speed services a reality on its own, and will require business and government help.

The CRTC says the aim is to ensure service providers (ISPs) offer Internet services at speeds of at least 50 megabits per second for downloading data, and 10 Mbps for uploads.

Currently, about 82 per cent of households and businesses receive that level of service. The CRTC wants that increased to 90 per cent by 2021 and to 100 per cent within 10 to 15 years.

ISPs will also be required to offer unlimited data options for fixed broadband services.

As well, the regulator says mobile wireless service should be made available to all households and businesses throughout Canada, as well as along all major Canadian roads.

“Access to broadband Internet service is vital and a basic telecommunication service all Canadians are entitled to receive,” said CRTC chairman Jean-Pierre Blais.

“The availability of broadband Internet, however, is an issue that can’t be solved by the CRTC alone.”

The CRTC acknowledged that ensuring everyone in the country has broadband service will cost billions of dollars.

As part of a decision announced Wednesday, telecom firms will have access to a $750- million industry-sponsored fund over the next five years to invest in broadband infrastructure.

The first $100 million of that, to be spent within the next two years, will come from a fund that currently subsidizes telephone services in isolated regions.

In order to access the fund, telecom companies will have to guarantee a set price for service.

However, unlike the recent CRTC decision to cap the cost of basic TV services at $25 per month, the regulator isn’t proposing a cap on what ISPs can charge customers for basic broadband Internet.

The decision comes on the heels of an announcement last week by the federal government of a $500-million fund to build high-speed internet infrastructure in remote and rural communities.

But Blais said industry players and all levels of government will have to take part in filling the service gaps that exist across the country, which affect about two million people.

The CRTC also ruled Wednesday that, within the next six months, ISPs must provide customers with contracts that spell out: the services being provided, usage limits, minimum monthly charges and the full cost of data overage charges.

There were roughly 12 million residential internet service subscribers in Canada in 2015, up 3.3 per cent from the previous year, along with 30 million wireless subscribers.

Just Posted

A lesson in excellence and success

Mary Kemmis, president of the Prairie Division of Black Press Media, and… Continue reading

Trans Mountain received $320M in government subsidies in first half 2019: report

VANCOUVER — The Trans Mountain pipeline received $320 million in subsidies from… Continue reading

EasyJet says it will operate net-zero carbon flights

LONDON — European budget airline easyJet says it will become the first… Continue reading

George Weston Ltd. reports third-quarter profit up from year ago mark

TORONTO — George Weston Ltd. reported its third-quarter profit rose compared with… Continue reading

Bettman declines to weigh in on Cherry, says MacLean “spoke from the heart”

TORONTO — Given the seismic events on “Hockey Night in Canada” in… Continue reading

Central Albertans help families during holidays with Christmas Wish Breakfast

It takes a community to help a community. And Sunday morning at… Continue reading

Your community calendar

Nov. 19 The Mountview Sunnybrook Community Association will hold its AGM at… Continue reading

Opinion: The buck stops with Red Deer city council

Red Deer city council has taken measures to distance itself from decisions… Continue reading

Denis Shapovalov, Vasek Pospisil give Canada Davis Cup win over favoured Italy

MADRID — Denis Shapovalov and Vasek Pospisil kept rolling on Monday, notching… Continue reading

Canadian women’s star Hayley Wickenheiser inducted into Hockey Hall of Fame

TORONTO — Hayley Wickenheiser hasn’t had a lot of time to reflect.… Continue reading

Federal Court orders Canada’s ISPs to block piracy website for first time

TORONTO — A Federal Court is ordering Canada’s internet service providers to… Continue reading

Don’t judge ‘Cats’ film by its trailer, says Canadian music producer Greg Wells

TORONTO — Greg Wells won a Grammy for “The Greatest Showman” soundtrack,… Continue reading

Alberta government firing election commissioner who was investigating leadership

EDMONTON — Alberta’s United Conservative government is firing the province’s election commissioner,… Continue reading

Canadian universities encourage exchange students in Hong Kong to head home

Some Canadian universities are urging their exchange students in Hong Kong to… Continue reading

Most Read