Canada declares ‘high-speed’ internet essential for quality of life

Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Canada has recognized the obvious and declared high-speed broadband internet access a “basic telecommunications service” that every citizen should be able to access. Previously, only landline telephone services had received this designation from the country’s national telecoms regulator, CRTC, and the change is supported by a government investment package of up to $750 million to wire up rural areas.

“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," said CRTC chair Jean-Pierre Blais at a news conference. “These goals are ambitious. They will not be easy to achieve and they will cost money. But we have no choice.”

As part of declaring broadband a “basic” or essential service, the CRTC has also set new goals for download and upload speeds. For fixed broadband services, all citizens should have the option of unlimited data with speeds of at least 50 megabits per second for downloads and 10 megabits per second for uploads — a tenfold increase of previous targets set in 2011. The goals for mobile coverage are less ambitious, and simply call for “access to the latest mobile wireless technology” in cities and major transport corridors.

The CRTC estimates that some two million Canadian households, or 18 percent of the population, do not currently have access to their desired speeds. The $750 million government fund will help to pay for infrastructure to remedy this. The money will be distributed over five years, with the CRTC expecting 90 percent of Canadians to access the new speeds by 2021.

The new digital plan also touches on accessibility problems, with CRTC mandating that wireless service providers will have to offer platforms that address the needs of people with hearing or speech disabilities within six months. Blais said this timeline was necessary, as the country “can’t depend on market forces to address these issues.”


Canada declares ‘high-speed’ internet essential for quality of life

im moving to Canada!

The US made this declaration two years ago.

But almost nothing has come of it. Our numbers are actually going down due to cell internet access. Which is scary since we don’t have near the control over wireless telecom as we do traditional broadband, even though they are pretty much the same thing.

Interesting read.

And next administration will likely update it to declare high speed internet a luxury service which should be left to market forces and not to socialist government regulations.


Be prepared to pay $10 per TRUMP brand Internet megabytes.

The US still defines ‘high-speed" for these purposes as 25 Mbps back in January 2015. So no, the US didn’t make this declaration. Any given the direction we’re going, won’t for some time.

so….no Canada??

is syrup expensive or in cheap in Canada????

I believe every Canadian gets weekly syrup rations. It’s like their birthright.

It’s on the secret third tap.

The first rule of Syrup Club is … ?

I wish! if it’s the case I think they forgot about me..:(…lol

Aboot time.

Just like to point that the money doesn’t come from the government. CRTC take .5% of income from cable companies to give it back to them for improving their network.

The FCC operates a similar program and it too isn’t government money, strictly speaking. Although cable companies are allowed to bill the fee as a surcharge on customer bills so a lot of people see it that way anyway.

Of course none of this matters when you have people that hate these programs in charge of them.

As a Canadian on a plan that gets me 25mbps down… cool! And getting rid of broadband data caps would be nice. But, I’m a lot more concerned about our mobile plans. Our LTE coverage is pretty good and fast, but we pay among the highest $/gb of mobile data in the world.

This is where people tend to argue that Canada is huge and it costs a lot to cover… but our urban population is both proportionatelty quite high, and the population is concentrated around those urban areas. The vast majority of our population is within 100 miles of the US border. So, getting mobile data to the vast majority of the population doesn’t really entail covering the likes of northern Alberta or something.

I’d like to see the CRTC take it a step further and set a base standard for mobile data coverage that includes some actually reasonable rates. Broadband is great and important, but mobile is really becoming the main way most people access the internet at this point. If they’re trying to make internet access accessible and affordable for the largest chunk of the population… a low income labourer is a lot more likely to have a smartphone and no laptop than the other way around at this point.


Do you guys have any necessary government related dues that has to be done through the internet?

Necessary, as in no other way to do it? No. There’s still paper forms available for most things, and over-the-phone services.

Available? Yes. Just about every government service here in Canada can be accessed via a Service Canada website. Or a dedicated government website (like taxes).

And, every town that has a Service Canada storefront also has computers available for use; and every library in the country has computers available for use, so even if a home doesn’t have Internet access, the town itself should.

The downsides are that our telecom services cost an arm and a leg, high-speed availability is hit or miss, and unlimited data is fairly scarce.

That said, if you live in the right area you can get gigabit speeds with unlimited data for a little less than $200 a month. But in other areas, sometimes just a block away from the gigabit areas, you can barely get faster than dial-up. It’s a bit of a mess.

Per 2021 it’s slow in time and hence slow in speed. This is lagging far behind. Better move to a Dutch place with 100 Mps down/up right now, fiber to the home.


Crazy they are doing this, and our new government plan to repeal net neutrality. Make America great again!!!

I’m on Rogers "gigabit internet" in Toronto, but I still can’t watch SNL videos thanks to "distribution" rights.

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