OTTAWA-GATINEAU, May 3, 2011
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC)
today set a target for broadband Internet access services across Canada.
By the end of 2015, the CRTC expects all Canadians to have access to
broadband speeds of at least 5 megabits per second (Mbps) for downloads
and 1 Mbps for uploads.
“A well-developed broadband infrastructure will serve as a gateway for
Canadians to participate in the digital economy,” said Konrad von
Finckenstein, Q.C., Chairman of the CRTC. “The target we have established
is the minimum speed we believe consumers in rural and remote areas should
be able to receive. The industry is actively responding to market demands
and we have every confidence in its ability to meet the target.”
The CRTC anticipates that this target will be reached through a
combination of private investments, targeted government funding and
public-private partnerships. The launch of new satellites and advances in
wireless technologies will make it possible to provide Canadians in rural
and remote regions with reliable broadband connections at reasonable rates
and higher speeds than those available today.
Despite Canada’s unique geography, 95% of households currently have access
to Internet download speeds of at least 1.5 Mbps through telephone, cable
or fixed-wireless networks. Over 80% of households already have access to
download speeds of 5 Mbps or higher.
The CRTC will closely monitor the industry’s progress in reaching the
Local telephone service
Given that competition is flourishing in 80% of residential telephone
markets, the CRTC has lifted the requirement to meet the basic service
objective in these deregulated areas. The CRTC determined, however, that
large telephone companies must continue to offer residential subscribers a
basic telephone line at a reasonable rate. Companies will have the
flexibility to gradually increase rates for this service over the next
three years, to a maximum of $30 per month.
In regulated areas, the CRTC is maintaining the obligation to provide
basic residential telephone service and to meet the basic service
objective. Most incumbent telephone companies will continue to receive a
subsidy to ensure basic telephone service is offered to all consumers in
rural and remote areas and to help offset higher costs.
The CRTC will phase-in a new formula over the next three years, which will
reduce subsidies available to companies in regulated areas. To offset lost
subsidies, companies will have the option of gradually raising rates to a
maximum of $30 per month by 2013.
“Some companies in rural and remote areas charge their customers much less
than what it actually costs them to provide this service and, as a result,
their rates are lower than in urban areas. The new price ceiling will make
for a more consistent and reasonable rate across Canada and reduce the
reliance on subsidies,” said Mr. von Finckenstein.
Finally, the CRTC will continue to encourage greater consumer choice in
the residential telephone market for Canadians in rural and remote areas.
The CRTC has decided to maintain its existing framework for competitors
wishing to enter territories served exclusively by smaller telephone
To ensure that the smaller companies are able to provide reasonable access
to residential telephone service, the CRTC has introduced the following
Smaller telephone companies will continue to receive subsidies for their
subscribers until competitors can offer service to 75 per cent of the
Smaller telephone companies will be able to claim half of the subsidy they
would normally receive for subscribers that switch to a competitor during
the first three years of competition.
New entrants will be required to pay the start-up costs in markets where
the smaller telephone company has fewer than 3,000 subscribers. Start-up
costs can include those associated with ensuring that consumers are able
to keep the same telephone number when changing providers (number
portability) or connecting the competitor’s network with that of the
smaller telephone company.
Telecom Regulatory Policy CRTC 2011-291
The CRTC is an independent public authority that regulates and supervises
broadcasting and telecommunications in Canada.
Telecom Notice of Consultation CRTC 2010-43
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