Over 40 underserved communities in British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Ontario to benefit from improved broadband connectivity
CRTC Broadband Fund to contribute up to $26.7 million to transport projects
February 4, 2021 – Ottawa-Gatineau – Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC)
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.
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.
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.
“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
Details of each project (such as the communities to be served, the length of the network to be built, the CRTC Broadband Fund’s contribution and the project’s total cost) can be found in the media backgrounder.
Applications were evaluated based on many factors, including their technical merit, financial viability, the level of community consultation, and the amount of funding from other sources – both public and private.
In August 2020, the CRTC announced the five selected projects from the first call for applications, targeting Canada’s territories and satellite-dependent communities.
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 CRTC Broadband Fund will provide up to $750 million over five years to support projects that improve broadband Internet access services and mobile wireless services in underserved areas in Canada. It is designed to complement private-sector investments and public-sector initiatives.
With today’s announcement, the Broadband Fund has so far committed close to $100 million to improve broadband Internet access for 92 communities representing approximately 18,000 households.
The CRTC’s universal service objective for fixed Internet access service is that all Canadians have access to speeds of at least 50 megabits per second (Mbps) download and 10 Mbps upload, with the option of an unlimited data allowance.
The universal service objective for mobile wireless services is that all Canadians have access to the latest generally deployed mobile wireless technology (currently LTE). It should be accessible in homes and businesses, and along major transportation roads.
In 2019, 45.6% of rural households had access to broadband Internet access services offering 50 Mbps download, 10 Mbps upload and unlimited data.
The CRTC expects fixed broadband Internet access service to be available in 90% of Canadian homes and businesses by the end of 2021 and 100% as soon as possible.
- Telecom Decision CRTC 2021-43 Broadband Fund – Second call for applications – Introductory decision regarding project funding approvals
- Telecom Decision CRTC 2021-44 Broadband Fund – Project funding approval for Shaw Cablesystems G.P.’s British Columbia transport fibre project
- Telecom Decision CRTC 2021-45 Broadband Fund – Project funding approval for BH Telecom Corp.’s Saskatchewan transport fibre project
- Telecom Decision CRTC 2021-46 Broadband Fund – Project funding approval for Columbia Basin Broadband Corporation’s British Columbia transport fibre project
- Telecom Decision CRTC 2021-47 Broadband Fund – Project funding approval for Tough Country Communications Ltd.’s British Columbia transport fibre project
- Telecom Decision CRTC 2021-48 Broadband Fund – Project funding approval for Rogers Communications Canada Inc.’s Ontario transport fibre project
- Telecom Notice of Consultation CRTC 2019-372 Broadband Fund – Second call for applications
- Telecom Notice of Consultation CRTC 2019-191 Broadband Fund – Call for applications
- Telecom Regulatory Policy CRTC 2018-377 Development of the Commission’s broadband funding regime
- Telecom Regulatory Policy CRTC 2016-496 Modern telecommunications services – The path forward for Canada’s digital economy
- Broadband Fund: Selected projects for funding
- Broadband Fund: Closing the Digital Divide in Canada
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