CRTC Broadband Fund Now Accepting Third Round of Applications

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) on Wednesday announced the opening of its third round of applications for the Broadband Fund, which has committed $750 million over five years to support projects that will improve access to broadband internet and wireless services across Canada.

“Today, we are launching the third call for applications with the goal of connecting more Canadians wherever they are located,” said outgoing CRTC chairman Ian Scott. He added that the Broadband Fund has dedicated $226.5 million to 49 projects in nine provinces and two territories so far.

“There is still much to be done so that everyone in our vast country may be connected and participate in the digital economy. With a focus on transport, mobile, and satellite projects, we will connect even more remote areas across Canada.”

The CRTC’s third call for applications is specifically seeking the following types of projects:

  • Transport infrastructure projects.
  • Mobile wireless infrastructure projects that provide or upgrade mobile connectivity along major roads.
  • Projects that increase satellite transport capacity (operational costs) in satellite-dependent communities.

With this call for applications, the CRTC is placing increased emphasis on community consultation and resiliency. This means that when evaluating the applications submitted under this call, the CRTC will assign an increased weightage to the quality of consultation with each affected community, and the degree to which proposed projects will improve the overall resiliency of new and/or existing infrastructure.

Applications will remain open until April 18, 2023, at 5 p.m. PST. Detailed information on how applications will be assessed can be found in the CRTC’s Application Guide.

Under the Broadband Fund, the CRTC supplements both private-sector investments and public-sector initiatives.

The CRTC launched its first call for Broadband Fund applications on June 3, 2019, focusing on the territories and satellite-dependent communities in Canada. Its second round of applications, which opened on November 13, 2019, targeted eligible areas across Canada.

The CRTC’s universal service objective for fixed broadband internet service is that all Canadians have access to connections offering at least 50 Mbps download and 10 Mbps upload speeds, with an option of unlimited data.

In addition, the CRTC also wants to ensure that the latest generally deployed mobile wireless technology (currently LTE) is accessible in homes, businesses, and along all major roads. Back in August, the Broadband Fund put up $20.5 million for LTE access along 425 kilometres of highways and roads in Manitoba, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Quebec.