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article imageCRTC declares broadband a 'basic' service for all Canadians

By Jack Derricourt     Dec 22, 2016 in Internet
In a landmark ruling, the government of Canada has declared high-speed broadband Internet a ‘basic telecommunications service’ guaranteed to all Canadians.
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) announced their ruling on Wednesday. The government regulator has put forward strong language indicating that “Broadband Internet access services are necessary to the quality of life for Canadians and empowers them as citizens, creators and consumers.” 50,000 Canadians, as well as a variety of consultants, provided input for establishing the new approach to broadband.
In order to properly engage with the growing digital economy, Canada wants its citizens to have guaranteed access to broadband and mobile Internet “speeds of 50 megabits per second (Mbps) download/10 Mbps upload for fixed broadband Internet access services.” That’s double the current U.S. guaranteed speeds. The CRTC also wants an unlimited data option to be available from all broadband service providers — that’s a big win for rural users who have not had this option in some parts of Canada. While big cities in Canada currently meet these requirements, more remote areas are falling behind.
According to the CRTC, 18 percent of Canadians still did not have access to these speeds as of last year. While the trend is obviously towards better broadband across the country, the government is determined to make sure no community is left behind. The new speeds are a vast improvement: they’re ten times faster than the current federal goals for Internet services.
The CRTC has also set up a $750 million fund in order to create more high-speed Internet infrastructure, particularly for underserved areas. According to the CRTC's statement, the fund will be administered by a third party, and will add to current private or public funding being used to upgrade high-speed Internet infrastructure in underserved areas.
There’s plenty of reason to make this commitment now. Canada is an Internet-reliant nation. While it might seem obvious to anyone in the modern working world — and anyone that can conceive of long, cold nights in the Great White North — data confirms that Canadians are using Internet services more and more. According to data from the World Bank, in 2015, the population with the highest percentage of Internet use in North America was Canada — 88.47 percent to the U.S.’s 77.45 percent.
The CRTC’s commitment to Internet services is a massive undertaking, given the size of Canada, and the fact that the majority of the population gathers along the southern border. While the government body appears determined to carry out the upgrade in infrastructure and consumer services, time will tell on whether Canada can make this big step into the 21st century swiftly and efficiently.
More about Crtc, Internet, Telecommunications, highspeed internet, Broadband
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