Broadband Internet access has become fundamental to modern life, and has the power to transform rural and northern Canada. Networks contribute to economic growth by improving productivity, providing new services, supporting innovation, and improving market access. Unfortunately, the "broadband gap" remains a reality in rural and remote communities, as some are without broadband coverage while others remain underserved by insufficient bandwidth and network capacity to meet rapidly evolving user demands.
In March 2016, FCM welcomed the government's proposed $500-million investment, over five years, to extend and enhance broadband service in rural and remote communities. While this is an important step forward, more work must be done to ensure universal access to affordable broadband services.
Working in partnership with the municipal sector, the federal government should:
- play a leadership role in developing the telecommunications infrastructure that is critical to the social, cultural and economic life of Canada's rural, northern and remote communities.
- adopt a comprehensive and long-term funding mechanism for basic broadband access, and the existing arrangement for basic telecommunications services is a good starting point.
- update the basic service objective to include universal access to affordable high-speed broadband Internet at speeds that reflect present realities and guarantee long-term, reliable connectivity.
- continually re-evaluate its broadband speed targets to reflect technological advancements, changes in user needs, traffic, and network capacity.
Remarks to the CRTC Hearing
Report prepared by Nordicity for FCM, makes the case that all orders of government need to continue working together to develop a long-term broadband plan for rural Canada.
Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association Presentation
Questions and Answers on Rural Broadband.