The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has reclassified internet service as a base service. Previously, it was considered an additional service with little requirements from the telecommunications provider. This reclassification puts it in the same category as telephone service. The CRTC has also set up a fund to develop and improve infrastructure.
“Access to broadband Internet service is vital and a basic telecommunication service all Canadians are entitled to receive. 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.” —- Jean-Pierre Blas, the Chairman of the CRTC.
The target that the CRTC has set mandate a minimum of 50mbps download speed, 10mbps upload speed, and the option for unlimited data if the service is delivered through a hard wire service. Wireless internet would still be subject to data caps, but would still be required to meet the speed targets. The fund the CRTC has created will utilize $750 Million Canadian Dollars over the next five years to bring infrastructure up to standards. The CRTC notes that as of 2015, 82% of Canadians had access to service that met the new standards. However, these are predominately in urban areas. The CRTC notes that “While most are well-served, many Canadians, particularly those in rural and remote communities, do not have access to broadband Internet access services that are comparable to those offered to the vast majority of Canadians in terms of speed, capacity, quality, and price.”
The CRTC has expressed a goal to have 90% of connections meeting this standard “by the end of 2021”, with the rest “within 10-15 years”.