CRTC Broadband Fund launches third call to improve Internet access and mobile wireless services across Canada
November 30, 2022 – Ottawa-Gatineau – Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC)
Today, the CRTC launched its third call for applications for the Broadband Fund. The CRTC is now accepting applications for eligible projects to improve access to broadband Internet and mobile wireless services across Canada.
The third call focuses specifically on the following types of projects:
- transport infrastructure projects,
- mobile wireless infrastructure projects that provide or upgrade mobile connectivity along major roads, and
- projects that increase satellite transport capacity (operational costs) in satellite-dependent communities.
The CRTC is placing increased emphasis on community consultation and resiliency. This means that when assessing the projects submitted under this call, the CRTC will use increased weighting of (a) the quality of consultation with each affected community, and (b) the degree to which proposed projects will improve the overall resiliency of new and/or existing infrastructure. Applications must be submitted using the CRTC’s online application form by April 18, 2023, at 5 p.m. Pacific Standard Time.
Applications submitted for the first and second calls for applications will not be considered in the third call. However, applications may be updated and re-submitted if they are eligible for funding for this call for applications. An applicant will only be notified when an application is approved for funding.
The telecommunications infrastructure required to provide the most efficient broadband service may vary, especially in remote areas and in areas with challenging terrain. Such infrastructure typically requires a considerable monetary investment while generating little direct revenue. The Broadband Fund aims at encouraging providers to build this infrastructure in such areas.
Applicants must have at least three years’ experience deploying and operating broadband infrastructure in Canada and must invest financially in their project and demonstrate that it would not be viable without the support of the Broadband Fund.
Other criteria, along with detailed information on how applications will be assessed, can be found in the Application Guide.
The CRTC’s Broadband Fund will provide up to $750 million over five years to support projects that will help Canadians to participate fully in the digital economy.
“Today, we are launching the third call for applications with the goal of connecting more Canadians wherever they are located. We are pleased with the progress made so far with the Broadband Fund. Approximately $226.5 million has been dedicated to 49 projects in nine provinces and two territories. There is still much to be done so that everyone in our vast country may be connected and participate in the digital economy. With a focus on transport, mobile, and satellite projects, we will connect even more remote areas across Canada.”
- Ian Scott, Chairperson and CEO, CRTC
The CRTC’s universal service objective for fixed broadband Internet access service is that all Canadians have access to at least 50 megabits per second (Mbps) download and 10 Mbps upload, with an option of unlimited data. In addition, the latest generally deployed mobile wireless technology (currently LTE) should be accessible in homes, businesses, and along major roads.
The CRTC set a goal to achieve 90% broadband Internet access service coverage across Canada at speeds of 50/10 Mbps with unlimited data options by the end of 2021 and 100% by 2030 or sooner.
The latest Communications Market Report indicates that as of the end of 2021:
- 91.4% of households have access to fixed broadband Internet access service at speeds of 50/10 Mbps with unlimited data options (compared to 89.7% in 2020),
- 62.0% of rural Canadians had similar access (compared to 54.4% in 2020), and
- mobile wireless service (LTE) is available to 99.4% of Canadians and covers 87.2% of major roads and highways.
The CRTC launched its first call for Broadband Fund applications on June 3, 2019, targeting the territories and satellite-dependent communities in Canada. Under that call, the CRTC allocated funding to five projects.
The CRTC launched the second call for Broadband Fund applications on November 13, 2019, targeting eligible areas across Canada. To date, under that call, the CRTC has allocated funding to 44 projects.
The CRTC’s Broadband Fund is designed to complement private-sector investments and public-sector initiatives.
A comparative selection approach is used to evaluate and select projects for funding, which is conducted following a three-step process: eligibility, assessment, and selection.
Special consideration is given to projects proposing to improve broadband services in Indigenous and/or official language minority communities.
- Broadband Fund – Third call for applications (Notice of Consultation CRTC 2022-325)
- Broadband Fund – Call for applications (Notice of Consultation CRTC 2019-372)
- Broadband Fund – Call for applications (Notice of Consultation CRTC 2019-191)
- Broadband Fund – Modifications to the Application Guide (Regulatory Policy CRTC 2019-190)
- Development of the Commission’s broadband funding regime (Regulatory Policy CRTC 2018-377)
- Modern telecommunications services – The path forward for Canada’s digital economy (Regulatory Policy CRTC 2016-496)
- Broadband Fund
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