CRTC Sets New Standard for Internet Service
The Canadian Radio, Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) entered new territory today as they declared internet access to be an essential service for Canadians.
The commission called on internet providers to give consumers minimum download speeds at 50 megabits per second (Mbps) and upload speeds at 10 Mbps. The CRTC directive also says providers must give unlimited data as an option.
Providers will be required to pay into a fund of $750 million over five years. The fund will be used to extend high-speed service to areas where it is not currently available.
The CRTC had a similar fund in the past which was used to expand home phone services throughout Canada. Companies paid .53 per cent of their revenues, but that excluded income from broadband internet. Now, that levy will also apply to internet services.
There has been a patchwork effort to expand internet services to rural areas in Nova Scotia. The CRTC decision will hasten that effort, but at a much higher standard of service.
It should be noted that this may bring Canadians into high speed, but at the bottom end of the spectrum. Internet providers are currently offering fibre optic service with much greater capacity. Like so many other modern services, fibre tends to be in the major cities and high traffic areas. This new, so-called high speed initiative falls quite short of capacity now offered in the populated areas.