March 19, 2021 – Ottawa-Gatineau – Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC)
Today, the CRTC announced that seven transport projects will receive up to $57.7 million in funding from the Broadband Fund.
Approximately 1,400 km of fibre transport network will be built in northern Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia. The projects will target 15 rural and remote communities representing almost 6,500 households, including five communities that are both Indigenous and official-language minority communities. Once the networks are completed, they will provide improved transport connectivity for the targeted communities and will connect up to 55 institutions that provide a public service, such as schools, medical facilities and libraries.
The Broadband Fund will allocate a total of up to $57.7 million to:
- Kativik Regional Government (Quebec)
- Cogeco Connexion Inc. (Ontario)
- Nexicom Inc. (Ontario)
- Columbia Basin Broadband Corporation (British Columbia)
The funding recipients will have to provide wholesale access to their infrastructure to entities that wish to offer retail Internet services. By improving broadband connectivity and helping to foster competition, the projects will positively impact the surrounding communities.
Prior to receiving funding, each recipient must complete a statement of work setting out the details of its project, including schedules and costs, which must be approved by the CRTC. It is anticipated that construction for some projects announced today will start in the second half of 2021 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.
“We are pleased to fund these high-quality projects that will bring fibre networks to communities that have been struggling with slower Internet connections. Canadians living in those parts of the country can look forward to improved broadband connectivity, which is essential to participate in Canada’s digital economy. While there remains much work to be done, we are getting closer to the objective of providing broadband Internet access to 90% of Canadian homes and businesses by the end of 2021.”
– Ian Scott, Chairperson and CEO of the CRTC
With today’s announcement, the Broadband Fund has to date committed up to $156.5 million to improve broadband service for 107 communities, representing approximately 24,500 households.
Details of each project (such as the communities to be served, the length of the network to be built and the CRTC Broadband Fund’s contribution) can be found in the Backgrounder.
Applications were evaluated based on many factors, including their technical merit, financial viability, the level of community consultation, and the amount of funding 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 applications requesting more than $1.5 billion in total funding.
The CRTC Broadband Fund will provide up to $750 million over 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.
The CRTC’s universal service objective for fixed Internet access service is that all Canadians have access to speeds of at least 50 megabits per second (Mbps) download and 10 Mbps upload, with the option of an unlimited data allowance.
The universal service objective for mobile wireless services is that all Canadians have access to the latest generally deployed mobile wireless technology (currently LTE). It should be accessible in homes and businesses, and along major transportation roads.
In 2019, 45.6% of rural households had access to broadband Internet access services offering 50 Mbps download, 10 Mbps upload and unlimited data.
The CRTC expects fixed broadband Internet access service to be available in 90% of Canadian homes and businesses by the end of 2021 and 100% as soon as possible.