CRTC Guidelines

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In 2017, the CRTC declared broadband access a basic telecom service for all Canadians and set a “Universal Standard Objective” of 50 Mbps upload and 10 Mbps download speeds. This was a welcome step and one that EOWC/EORN supports. Leading up to the CRTC decision, EOWC/EORN made several submissions that advocated for the following:

A. Define high-speed/broadband Internet access as a basic service under the Telecommunications Act for both fixed and mobile broadband. High-speed broadband internet is essential to today’s economy and quality of life. For rural communities, mobile services are critical for communication between residents, visitors, and emergency service workers.

B. Mandate concrete minimum standards of basic service, as opposed to current “best effort” packages. Minimum basic service standards should be based on actual network performance, purchased consumer packages and long-term service level agreements for publicly funded projects.

C. Complement these  minimum service standards with forward looking “aspirational” speed and reliability targets. Future targets should be sufficient to encourage private sector operators to invest more in access and transport facilities in underserved communities.

D. Develop a cross-subsidy approach to support sustainable, industry-funded rural broadband. The Commission should require service providers to contribute funds to address gaps and  growth in Canada’s digital divide, with ways to offer community level control and accountability.  (EORN, 2016)