CRTC Enhances Broadband Fund for Rural and Indigenous Connectivity

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) is initiating a consultation to enhance its Broadband Fund, aiming to bring high-speed internet and mobile services to more rural, remote, and Indigenous communities across the country.

The Commission plans to streamline the application process and establish a dedicated funding stream for Indigenous communities, as well as support projects that improve the reliability of networks in rural and remote areas.

“Canadians need access to high-quality Internet and mobile services for every part of our daily lives. Our Broadband Fund is already improving access in over 200 rural, remote, and Indigenous communities across Canada. By making changes to our Fund, we can help to connect even more Canadians to the services they need,” said Vicky Eatrides, Chairperson and Chief Executive Officer of the CRTC.

“We want to hear from you on how the Broadband Fund can further support the availability of high-quality, affordable broadband Internet and mobile services in rural, remote, and Indigenous communities,” explains the CRTC website.

The Broadband Fund has been designed to work alongside other initiatives, such as the federal government’s Universal Broadband Fund. Its primary purpose is to provide additional support for high-speed internet and mobile services projects in communities throughout Canada.

Over a five-year period, the Broadband Fund plans to allocate up to $750 million to improve internet and mobile services in rural and remote communities. As of now, the CRTC says it has awarded a total of $226.5 million to various projects.

Despite the fact that 91.4% of Canadian households have access to high-speed internet, there remains a significant disparity in rural and Indigenous areas. Only 62% of rural households and 43.3% of First Nations reserves have comparable access to high-speed internet services, says the CRTC.

The CRTC is accepting public comments on the proposed changes from today, March 23, until July 21, 2023, through various channels, including an online form, mail, and fax. All comments received will be part of the public record and will influence the CRTC’s decision-making process.