Stakeholders of Telecoms Disagree on How to Use the CRTC’s $750M Broadband Fund

Various telecom stakeholders have shown conflicted views on how best to serve the public with the CRTC’s new $750 million broadband fund.

The fund is being established through contributions from industry and aims to offer all Canadians with at least 50Mbps download and 10Mbps upload internet speeds. The CRTC plans to distribute the fund over a period of five years.

The Canadian regulator has made it clear that the funding will be focused on under-served areas, and it also hopes to provide the funding in a transparent and fair manner. The CRTC recently closed a period of open consultation in which it received comments from individuals, groups, and corporations seeking to help guide the development of the fund.

Rogers stated that it believes the CRTC should focus on backbone infrastructure, rather than last-mile facilities. The carrier also stated that the regulator should focus on remote parts of the country.

Rogers said that Bell’s suggestion, to follow the FCC’s approach, for how to select projects for funding will do just that. Under this suggestion, the auctioning process would see winning bids selected based strictly on objective criteria to ensure that the distribution of funds is “transparent, fair and efficient.”

However, Rogers said that Bell’s system may end up favouring existing services to areas that are closer to already-served areas, which would of course have less of an impact on remote communities.

Advocacy group OpenMedia expressed that it was important to note that the CRTC should not trust any carrier’s claims regarding the power of market forces.

[via Financial Post]