EORN is dedicated to advocating for and advancing improved rural connectivity as key to the region's prosperity. Federal and provincial partners trust EORN and EOWC to develop evidence-based solutions to regional economic challenges.

The EOWC and EORN have made submissions to the CRTC; The Federal Standing Committee on Rural Broadband; and the Ministry of Innovation Science and Economic Development on various topics.

EORN will continue to be a vocal advocate for continued improvements to rural connectivity.

Federal Spectrum

EORN/EOWC will continue to highlight the challenges faced by rural communities and underserved regions across the country. It is a challenge to meet growing demand for spectrum to support evolution in mobile technology, while also protecting current 3500 MHz license users who depend on that spectrum to deliver fixed wireless broadband service to rural areas. These rural areas have no other options. EORN/EOWC emphasized the following key points in its submission to Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED):

  • Spectrum must be available for use in rural areas, and especially critical for fixed wireless use if there is any hope of meeting the CRTC's “Universal Service Objective”* for rural areas
  • Broadband service levels in rural areas should not be affected by taking away spectrum that is currently being used to deliver fixed wireless
  • If spectrum is not being used throughout the Service Area, then it should be given back for re-auction to other providers who will use and deploy these scares national resources
  • In spectrum coverage service areas that contain both large urban areas and rural areas, rural areas must also get served

*The Universal Service Objective is 50Mbps upload and 10 Mbps download speed.

EORN/EOWC Comments on the Consultation on Revisions to the 3500 MHz Band to Accommodate Flexible Use and Preliminary Consultation on Changes to the 3800 MHz Band

Federal Standing Committee Report

EORN and the EOWC submitted a Brief on Broadband Connectivity in Rural Canada to the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology. The submission shared EORN's experience in successfully expanding rural fixed broadband through a Public-Private Partnership (PPP). It also included EORN's experience with funding programs and supporting regional economic development that leverages the internet, and our more recent activity with mobile broadband.

EORN/EOWC Brief to the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology Broadband Connectivity in Rural Canada. February 9, 2018

Final Report of the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology - Broadband Connectivity in Rural Canada: Overcoming the Digital Divide. April 2018

CRTC Guidelines

In 2017, the CRTC declared broadband access a basic telecom service for all Canadians, with a goal of achieving 50 Mbps upload and 10 Mbps download speeds. Leading up to the CRTC decision, EOWC/EORN made several submissions that advocated for the following:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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)