CRTC Broadband Fund to introduce or improve Internet access services for 10 communities in British Columbia and Alberta

News release

March 29, 2022 – Ottawa-Gatineau – Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC)

Today, the CRTC announced that seven projects will receive up to $19.5 million in funding from the Broadband Fund.

The projects will benefit approximately 1,255 households in 10 communities, including seven Indigenous communities, in British Columbia and Alberta.

The Broadband Fund will allocate funds to the following service providers:

  • ATG Arrow Technology Group Limited Partnership (Alberta)
  • East Shore Internet Society (British Columbia)
  • South Kountry Cable Ltd. (British Columbia)
  • TELUS Communications Inc. (British Columbia)

With today’s announcement, the Broadband Fund has to date committed up to $206 million to improve broadband services for 170 communities, representing approximately 30,405 households.

The funding recipients will have to provide mobile wireless services or fixed 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.

Quotes

“We are making good progress in assessing the applications and have now committed over $200 million through the Broadband Fund. Money is now flowing in areas of the country where Canadians do not currently have access to an Internet service that meets our universal service objective. Today’s announcement will benefit 10 small communities in Western Canada.”

  • Ian Scott, Chairperson and CEO of the CRTC

Quick facts

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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 level to be available in 100% of Canadian homes and businesses by 2030 or sooner.

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