UNITED COUNTIES of SD&G, Ontario – The Canadian Radio and Television Commission (CRTC) ruled on Wednesday that broadband internet should be made an accessible utility in the same way as a home phone.
In its ruling the Canadian telecommunications regulatory body directed internet providers to begin working on ways to boost internet access and speeds in rural areas of the country.
The CRTC ruled that the minimum internet download speed should be 50 megabytes per-second and the minimum upload speed should be 10 megabytes.
For an example internet download speeds in Cornwall can range from as low as 800 kilobytes per-second at time of writing, or more than 50 times lower than the new CRTC recommended minimums.
“The future of our economy, our prosperity and our society. Indeed, the future of every citizen requires us to set ambitious goals, and to get on with connecting all Canadians for the twenty-first century,” said Jean-Pierre Blais, the CRTC’s chair, at a news conference in Gatineau, Que. “Today’s decision signals a fundamental shift in our regulations for basic services from voice-related issues to broadband-related issues.”
Organizations representing residents in rural Eastern Ontario applauded the decision.
“On behalf of all rural residents across Eastern Ontario and those who travel to and from our region we applaud yesterday’s ruling by the CRTC making access to mobile broadband and high speed internet services an essential service,” said Peter Emon Chair of the Eastern Ontario Wardens’ Caucus (EOWC).
The Eastern Ontario Regional Network (EORN) estimates that nearly one-sixth of Eastern Ontario rural areas are what is termed as a “cellular deadzone”.
“It is what we had hoped they would do,” stated Dave Burton Chair of the (EORN). “When we made our submissions to the Commission last April EORN urged them help ensure that rural people and rural businesses get the same type of access to high speed internet services that our urban neighbours enjoy. We asked that the Commission also develop an ongoing fund to help organizations like ours to continue to work with the telecommunications industry and that is exactly what they have done.”
The EORN is now seeking Provincial and Federal support for a $200 million infrastructure project that would cover 99 percent of the region and provide faster internet to nearly 72, 000 homes.
“With this announcement and the funds that will be made available we think the time is right to act quickly on our project to improve cellular networks particularly in the rural areas of Eastern Ontario,” stated EOWC Chair Emon.
“We need to build new towers, improve existing ones as well as add coverage and capacity and we are confident given our experience on the first EORN project that we can create another success partnership with private sector companies in our region,” concluded Burton, Chair of EORN.