The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) recently issued a decision stating that broadband must be available to all Canadians. While regulators and policymakers in other countries have set similar goals for their residents, the CRTC’s decision is path-breaking in that it declares broadband to be a universal service, sets ambitious speed targets, and establishes a fund to extend broadband in Canada’s sparsely populated rural and remote regions.
The CRTC stated its universal service objective (USO) as: “Canadians, in urban areas as well as in rural and remote areas, have access to voice services and broadband internet access services, on both fixed and mobile wireless networks.” It also declared that basic telecoms services within the definition of the Telecommunications Act include fixed and mobile wireless broadband services as well as fixed and mobile wireless voice services.
Canada has embarked on an ambitious universal broadband policy that could be a model for other countries, as HEATHER HUDSON details.
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