CRTC to Spend $72 Million for Improved Broadband Internet for Northern Communities

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has announced today the first of five projects from its Broadband Fund, with $72 million to be spent on select projects in northern Manitoba, Yukon and the Northwest Territories.

The CRTC says the $72 million from the Broadband Fun will result in:

  • Broadband Communications North for a satellite project in northern Manitoba
  • Northwestel for four projects, including two in Yukon (one satellite and one fibre) and two in the Northwest Territories (one satellite and one fibre)

The federal government says its plan is to bring communities up to speed that currently do not meet its universal service objective. The Yukon and Northwest Territories are expected to get speeds of 50 Mbps download and 10 Mbps upload to go with unlimited data, for nearly 26% of households in both territories, based on 316 km of new fibre installations.

For northern Manitoba, residents will get download speeds of up to 10 Mbps and 1 Mbps upload with unlimited data, “which is a significant improvement over the service that is currently available.”

“Today’s announcement marks a key milestone toward closing the digital divide. This initial funding from the CRTC Broadband Fund will improve access in the North and have a positive impact on many communities. We recognize, however, that too many regions across the country are still underserved. The assessment of the applications we received following our second call for applications is a high priority,” said Ian Scott, Chairperson and CEO of the CRTC

The CRTC says it expects construction for “most projects” to begin in the spring of 2021.

Earlier today, the CIRA released a report citing the ongoing digital divide between urban and rural areas in Canada, during the COVID-19 pandemic.