OTTAWA — Internet advocacy groups say they’re unhappy Canada’s telecoms regulator has halved the minimum speed that projects need to meet for a $750-million fund designed to make broadband internet more accessible.
OpenMedia executive director Laura Tribe says the move is a “stunning step backwards” and demonstrates a serious lack of ambition to provide Canadians with faster internet services.
The CRTC says in its policy that it has halved the minimum speed to 25 megabits per second for downloads and five Mbps for uploads because expanding services to rural and underserved areas will need to be done in incremental steps.
The regulator says its updated speed targets align with the service the majority of Canadians use today. It says applicants will have to design projects so they can scale up to the original target of 50 Mbps download and 10 Mbps upload speeds.
Byron Holland, president and CEO of the Canadian Internet Registration Authority says he’s pleased to see the wide variety of groups that can apply to the fund but is disappointed by the reduced speed target.
The CRTC announced the industry-sponsored fund in 2016 as part of its designation of broadband as a basic service across the country.
The Canadian Press