Improving Access to Broadband in Rural

and Northern Communities

 

Economic Action Plan 2014 proposes to provide $305 million over five years

to extend and enhance access to high-speed broadband networks to a target speed

of 5 megabits per second for up to an additional 280,000 Canadian households.

For most Canadians, access to affordable and reliable broadband networks

is an important part of everyday life. The rapid evolution of technology,

continuously changing user needs and the wide use of the internet require

broader access to faster network speeds. Households in communities outside

of urban centres commonly face challenges in accessing equivalent internet

service levels due to factors such as remote location and challenging terrain.

In the 2013 Speech from the Throne, the Government committed to

continue working to make high-speed broadband networks available for rural

Canadians. Enhancing and extending access will create jobs, growth and

prosperity for rural and Northern Canadians by increasing their ability to

participate in the digital economy. Additionally, small and medium-sized

businesses will benefit by having increased access to information

and markets.

 

Working with other partners, the Government is supporting such access in a

number of ways, including by making broadband projects eligible under the

new Building Canada plan announced in Economic Action Plan 2013. In the

Fall of 2013, the Minister of Industry also announced that the Government

will only renew those wireless spectrum licenses intended to be used to

provide high-speed internet access to rural Canadians if the companies

holding the licenses are using them for that purpose. Those companies that

have not used the spectrum will lose it and the Government will ensure

Canadians benefit from additional quality spectrum being deployed across

the country for high-speed internet services.

 

To keep pace with the needs of Canadians in rural and Northern

communities, Economic Action Plan 2014 proposes to provide $305 million

over five years to extend and enhance broadband service to a target speed of

5 megabits per second for up to an additional 280,000 Canadian households,

which represents near universal access. The Government will announce

further details about the new program in the coming months.