CRTC Declares High-Speed Internet a Basic Service, Just Like Landline Telephone



The chairman of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), Jean-Pierre Blais, has announced a move to declare broadband Internet access as a basic service, just like current landline telephone service.

The CERC says that the move will be costly and it will require business and government assistance. Blais said that the shift needs to be implemented so that some people and their communities are not left behind. In a statement, he said:

“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 21st century. Today’s decision signals a fundamental shift in our regulations for basic services from voice-related issues to broadband-related issues.”

Making access to high-speed Internet services a reality could cost tens of billions of dollars. The aim is to ensure service providers offer internet services nationwide at speeds of at least 50 megabits per second (Mbps) for downloading data, and 10 Mbps for uploads, the CRTC said in announcing the new targets. In a statement, Blais said:

“The commission’s approach to affordability has always been through market forces — to make sure we have enough competitors, we have informed consumers that are working in a dynamic marketplace. If that step does not work, then we’ll intervene with a regulatory process.”

Currently, about 82 percent of households and businesses receive that level of service. The CRTC wants that increased to 90 per cent by 2021 and to 100 per cent within 10 to 15 years. The service providers will also be required to offer unlimited data options for all broadband service.

On Wednesday, the CRTC also ruled that within the next six months, service providers must give customers contracts that clearly spell out: the services being provided, usage limits, minimum monthly charges and the full cost of data overage charges.

[via CBC]


  • poopchute


  • FragilityG4

    I don’t want to see the price plans for rule broadband!

  • erth

    even though this sounds good on the surface, this could be an issue going forward. i can see the isp’s charging a lot more because of infrastructure costs. or, the government will be saddled with this. i suggest that people understand that where you live determines what kind of internet you get in your home or appt. if you can, move…

  • Michal

    price will eventually sort itself out – bigger issue in rural areas is that there is nothing, from what i understand.

  • erth

    i may be mistaken, but i believe the rural residents can use a satellite dish. it may not be fast, but they are connected.

  • ChumLee1968

    This is welcome news. As a resident of rural Ontario I only get 4.5 megabits per second. Bell is my only option. I have had multiple providers at my home to see if they can get a signal but nothing works. Bell technicians candidly admit the lines and infrastructure in my area are painfully out of date – over 60 years old. I have to congratulate the CRTC for sticking up for us!

  • raslucas

    Yes this mentions nothing about latency so satellite and wireless will end up being a viable option, as it is in some communities already.

    Regarding pricing, while CRTC are not actually mentioning pricing, by declaring what percentage of people need to have 50 down/10 up, the ISPs will have to drop their pricing, or at least increase the bottom range of speeds to make up for it.

    In order to make up the difference, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the data caps not change.

    We will probably end up in a similar situation as cellular, which we are all kind of getting the same speed and we are paying for data caps… Only difference is that we can pay for Unlimited, though probably at a much higher price. I would have liked CRTC to set a limit on the unlimited price, perhaps a certain percentage of the regular monthly price, but whatever…