Broadband Internet a basic service, like telephone

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

In this Monday, March 15, 2021 file photo a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine is pictured in a pharmacy in Boulogne Billancourt, outside Paris. Questions remained Wednesday about the future of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine in Canada, as Manitoba limited use of the shot and Ontario announced it planned to save an incoming shipment to use as second doses.  THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Christophe Ena, File
Alberta could receive 76,500 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine next week

Alberta should be getting a large shipment of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine… Continue reading

An anti-lockdown protest went ahead outside a café in central Alberta on Saturday, despite pouring rain and a pre-emptive court injunction. (Photo by The Canadian Press)
RCMP investigating online threats made against officers who were at central Alberta protest

Online images purportedly showing officers attending weekend rally at Mirror in rifle crosshairs

Bowden Institution Black Press file photo
Bowden Institution inmate dies from COVID-19 complications

Bowden death the sixth in Canada’s federal prison system

(Contributed)
FOUND: Police locate Red Deer missing youth

Red Deer RCMP thank the public for their assistance

Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer and several members of city council helped kick off the spring Green Deer cleanup campaign on Wednesday. Veer said city workers do their best to keep the city looking good, but need volunteer help to get rid of litter that has blown into bushes onto road sides over the winter. (Photo by LANA MICHELIN/Advocate staff)
Red Deer city councillors launch spring Green Deer campaign

Volunteers are needed to keep the city looking good

Adam Feller reacts as he gets his Pfizer-BioNTech shot at a COVID-19 vaccination clinic on Thursday, May 13, 2021, in Montreal. Quebec has become the latest province to stop giving Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 shot as a first dose.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Ontario keeps stay-at-home order; Quebec pauses Oxford-AstraZeneca shots

Ontario has announced it’s keeping its stay-at-home order in place until at… Continue reading

The flag of the Supreme Court of Canada flies outside the building following a ceremony in Ottawa, Monday March 15, 2021. The owners of a horse that was disqualified after initially winning the Canadian Derby more than three years ago might have run out of legal room to reclaim the title. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Supreme Court won’t hear appeal from horse owners over derby dispute

OTTAWA — The owners of a horse that was disqualified after initially… Continue reading

People take part in a protest called 'Justice for Joyce' in Montreal, Saturday, Oct. 3, 2020, where they demanded justice for Joyce Echaquan and an end to systemic racism. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Quebec coroner’s inquest into death of Joyce Echaquan begins as her family testifies

MONTREAL — The husband of an Indigenous woman who was subjected to… Continue reading

Quebec Premier Francois Legault, centre, speaks during a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic, Tuesday, May 11, 2021, at the legislature in Quebec City. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jacques Boissinot
Quebec tables revamp of French-language law, toughens rules for businesses, schools

MONTREAL — The Quebec government reasserted the right of Quebecers to live… Continue reading

Permanent residency
Canada announces new pathway to permanent residency for families of crash victims

Ottawa is launching a new policy to help the families of victims… Continue reading

Co-founders Craig (left) and Marc Kielburger introduce Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his wife Sophie Gregoire-Trudeau as they appear at the WE Day celebrations in Ottawa on November 10, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Ethics watchdog: PM didn’t violate conflict rules over WE Charity, but Morneau did

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau did not breach the Conflict of… Continue reading

Toronto FC forward Jozy Altidore, center, celebrates after scoring a goal against the Columbus Crew with teammates from left, forward Tsubasa Endoh, defender Omar Gonzalez and forward Patrick Mullins during the second half of an MLS soccer match, Wednesday, May 12, 2021, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
Bradley, Altidore scores in Toronto FC’s 2-0 win over Crew

ORLANDO, Fla (AP) — Michael Bradley had a goal and an assist,… Continue reading

A football with the CFL logo sits on a chair during a press conference in Winnipeg, Friday, November 27, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods
Former defensive lineman Klassen tackling retirement as he did opposing quarterbacks

Klassen spent seven CFL seasons with Montreal, Calgary and Ottawa

Most Read