Broadband internet is now considered an essential service in Canada, according to The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC).
“Access to broadband Internet service is vital and a basic telecommunication service all Canadians are entitled to receive,” said Jean-Pierre Blais, Chairman and CEO, CRTC, in a release. “Canadians… no matter where they live or work in our vast country… everyone needs access to high-quality fixed Internet and mobile services. ”
The availability, however “is an issue that can’t be solved by the CRTC alone,” Blais added. “All players in the Canadian communications landscape will need to do their part to ensure Canadians have access to the services they need to participate in the digital economy.”
The CRTC is also setting ambitious new speed targets and creating a new fund that will invest up to $750 million over and above existing government programs.
Further to its legislative mandate, the CRTC has set the following targets for the basic telecommunications services that Canadians need to participate in the digital economy:
The CRTC is establishing a fund to support projects in areas that do not meet these targets. Applicants will be able to submit funding proposals in order to build or upgrade infrastructure for fixed and mobile broadband Internet access services. The fund will:
The CRTC wants Canadians to have access to the tools and services they need to empower themselves regarding fixed Internet access services. No later than six months from today, service providers should ensure that contracts are written in clear and plain language, and should make available online tools so consumers can easily manage their data usage.
Also, all wireless service providers will have to offer and publicize, no later than six months from today, mobile service packages that meet the needs of Canadians with disabilities.