Highspeed Internet is now listed as an essential service
TDS News – Today, the CRTC announced that five transport projects will receive up to $26.7 million in funding from the Broadband Fund. Over 550 km of fibre transport network will be built in British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Ontario, benefitting 41 communities, three of which are Indigenous communities and one being an official-language minority community. Once the networks are completed, they will provide improved transport connectivity for these communities, including more than 8,000 households and up to 26 institutions that provide a public service, such as schools, medical facilities and libraries.
In November 2019, the CRTC issued a second call for applications for projects to improve broadband Internet access services and mobile wireless services across Canada. The second call generated 586 applications requesting more than $1.5 billion in total funding.
The Broadband Fund will allocate a total of up to $26.7 million to:
- Shaw Cablesystems G.P. (British Columbia)
- BH Telecom Corp. (Saskatchewan)
- Columbia Basin Broadband Corporation (British Columbia)
- Tough Country Communications Ltd. (British Columbia)
- Rogers Communications Canada Inc. (Ontario)
The funding recipients will have to provide wholesale access to their infrastructure to entities that wish to offer retail Internet services. By improving broadband connectivity and helping to foster competition, the projects will positively impact the surrounding communities.
“In the last year, reliable and affordable broadband access, as well as mobile connectivity, have increasingly proven to be critical for all Canadians. That said, we are reminded daily of the unfortunate reality and challenges faced by Canadians in underserved communities. Today’s announcement is encouraging news and, along with other sources of funding recently announced, more Canadians across the country will be able to participate in the digital economy.” Ian Scott, Chairperson and CEO of the CRTC
Prior to receiving funding, recipients must complete a statement of work setting out the details of each project, including schedules and costs, which must be approved by the CRTC. It is anticipated that construction for most projects announced today will start in the second half of 2021 at the earliest.
The CRTC is continuing to evaluate the applications submitted to the second call for applications. Further funding announcements will be made as additional projects are approved.