CRTC Broadband Fund to help improve broadband Internet access services for five communities in Alberta and Nova Scotia
December 16, 2021 – Ottawa-Gatineau – Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC)
Today, the CRTC announced that four projects will receive up to $8.8 million in funding from the Broadband Fund.
The projects will target approximately 680 households in five communities, including four Indigenous communities, in Alberta and Nova Scotia.
The Broadband Fund will allocate funds to the following service providers:
- ATG Arrow Technology Group Limited Partnership (Alberta)
- We’koqma’q First Nation and Seaside Communications Inc. (Nova Scotia)
With today’s announcement, the Broadband Fund has to date committed up to $186.5 million to improve broadband services for 160 communities, representing approximately 29,050 households. Among the projects previously approved, regional governments and smaller companies will receive up to $82.75 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 that either meet the universal service objective or move communities closer to attaining it.
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 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.
“Whether it’s helping to close our country’s pronounced digital divide or ensuring better access to services, we work so that Canadians can benefit from a world-class communications system. I am pleased to say that we have made some notable progress on this front in the past year, thanks to our Broadband Fund.”
- 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 latest generally deployed mobile wireless technology (currently long-term evolution [LTE]) to 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 2020, 50/10 Mbps service with unlimited data options, which corresponds to the level of the CRTC’s universal service objective regarding fixed broadband Internet access service, was available to 89.5% of Canadian households (compared to 87.4%in 2019), while 53.4% of rural Canadians had access to the same service.
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 2019, the availability of 50/10 Mbps service with unlimited data in First Nations reserves was behind rural areas, with only 34.8% of reserves having access to this level of service. This service was not accessible to First Nations reserves in Newfoundland and Labrador, Yukon, and Northwest Territories.
Given the current state of telecommunications infrastructure in Canada, the CRTC expects fixed broadband Internet access service at the universal service objective to be available in 100% of Canadian homes and businesses by 2030 or sooner.
- CRTC Broadband Fund second call: selected projects in December 2021
- 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 Notice of Consultation CRTC 2019-372 Broadband Fund – Second call for applications
- Broadband Fund: Projects selected for funding
- Broadband Fund: Closing the digital divide in Canada
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