CRTC Broadband Fund to introduce or improve Internet access services and mobile wireless services for 45 communities in five provinces
August 4, 2021 – Ottawa-Gatineau – Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC)
Today, the CRTC announced that 10 projects will receive up to nearly $20.5 million in funding from the Broadband Fund.
The projects will potentially benefit approximately 3,625 households in 45 communities, including 16 Indigenous communities, in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, New Brunswick, and Newfoundland and Labrador.
The Broadband Fund will allocate funds to:
- TELUS Communications Inc. (British Columbia)
- Bell Canada (Ontario, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador)
- ATG Arrow Technology Group Limited Partnership (Alberta)
- TELUS Mobility (Alberta)
- Rogers Communications Canada Inc. (New Brunswick)
With today’s announcement, the Broadband Fund has to date committed up to nearly $177 million to improve broadband services for 152 communities, representing approximately 28,125 households. Among the projects previously approved, regional governments and smaller companies will receive up to $82 million in funding to close the digital divide in the most isolated communities of Canada. This includes funding for a satellite project in northern Manitoba and for two transport projects in Nunavik.
The funding recipients will have to provide broadband Internet access services or mobile wireless services that either meet the universal service objective or move communities closer to attaining it. In some cases, the projects will introduce broadband services to communities that currently have no such services.
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 first half of 2022 at the earliest.
The CRTC is continuing to evaluate the applications submitted under the second call for applications. Further funding announcements will be made as additional projects are approved.
“As many Canadians have adopted new ways to work, learn and live, the COVID-19 pandemic has confirmed that poor Internet connections can disadvantage those who need Internet access the most. Canada’s remote communities face unique connectivity challenges. The projects from today’s announcement will enable residents of dozens of communities to benefit from distance education, help promote the talents of local artists and provide for new business opportunities.”
Ian Scott, Chairperson and CEO of the CRTC
The universal service objective target for fixed Internet access service is that all Canadians have access to download speeds of at least 50 megabits per second (Mbps) and upload speeds of at least 10 Mbps, with an unlimited data option. The target for mobile wireless service is the use of the latest generally deployed mobile wireless technology (currently long-term evolution [LTE]) in Canadian homes and businesses and on major transportation roads.
Applications were assessed based on many factors, including their technical merit, financial viability, level of community consultation, and the amount of funding committed from other sources – both public and private.
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 valid applications requesting more than $1.5 billion in total funding.
The CRTC Broadband Fund will provide up to $750 million over the first 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.
In 2019, 45.6% of rural Canadian households had access to broadband Internet access services offering speeds of 50 Mbps download, 10 Mbps upload and unlimited data.
In 2018, the availability of 50/10/unlimited service in First Nations reserves was behind rural areas, with only 31.3% having access to this level of service. This service was not accessible to First Nations reserves in Saskatchewan, Newfoundland and Labrador, Yukon, and Northwest Territories.
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.
- CRTC Broadband Fund second call: third round of selected projects
- Telecom Decision CRTC 2021-251 Broadband Fund – Second call for applications – Introductory decision regarding the third round of project funding approvals
- Telecom Decision CRTC 2021-252 encompassing Telecom Decisions CRTC 2021-253, 2021-254, and 2021-255 Broadband Fund – Project funding approval for TELUS Communications Inc.’s and TELUS Mobility’s access and mobile projects in Alberta and British Columbia
- Telecom Decision CRTC 2021-256 encompassing Telecom Decisions CRTC 2021-257, 2021-258, 2021-259, 2021-260, and 2021-261 Broadband Fund – Project funding approval for Bell Canada’s access projects in New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Ontario
- Telecom Decision CRTC 2021-262 Broadband Fund – Project funding approval for ATG Arrow Technology Group Limited Partnership’s access project in Alberta
- Telecom Decision CRTC 2021-263 Broadband Fund – Project funding approval for Rogers Communications Canada Inc.’s access project in New Brunswick
- Telecom Notice of Consultation CRTC 2019-372 Broadband Fund – Second 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: Projects selected for funding
- Broadband Fund: Closing the digital divide in Canada
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