Call for comment – CRTC Broadband funding model falls short

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) is making changes to its Broadband funding model.

Why this is important?

The recent changes to the Commission’s funding model has relaxed eligibility standards for private sector service providers, while restricting municipal government and regional projects access to federal broadband funding. This places local government and regional broadband projects at a distinct disadvantage as the private service providers can now bypass community engagement and accountability with direct access to subsidies from the Commission.

Instead of complementing public initiatives to promote innovation and investment in underserved communities, the Commission’s approach will counteract efforts and pit municipalities against each other to compete for funding.

The Commissions’ approach to the design of its broadband fund bypasses community engagement in project development, lacks transparency at the assessment stage, and fails to effectively commit subsidy recipients to deliver some minimum level of performance.

As a result, SWIFT has filed a petition and is urging the federal government to review the Commission’s decision to restrict municipal governments and regional initiatives access to federal broadband funding.

SWIFT is urging the Government to vary the Commission’s decision by:

  • Removing restrictions on eligibility of municipal governments and community-based intermediary organizations to apply for accessing the fund by restoring the more flexible approach the Commission had specified in the 2016-496 decision.
  • Enhancing the Commission’s commitment to the application of minimum service quality standards.
  • Empowering underserved communities and promoting public-private cooperation needed to counteract Canada’s growing rural-urban digital divide in Internet access quality and affordability.
  • Enhancing the accountability of subsidy recipients for actual speeds/quality of broadband services they ultimately deliver.
  • Enhancing the transparency of the Commission’s funding decisions by publishing submitted applications.

How to submit comments:

The federal government has invited written submissions from interested individuals and organizations on the issues related to SWIFT’s petition concerning Telecom Regulatory Policy CRTC 2018-377 application.

  • by email
  • by mail to: Director General, Telecommunications and Internet Policy Branch, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada
    10th Floor, 235 Queen Street,
    Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0H5

Please note all submissions should cite:

  • The Canada Gazette, Part I
  • Publication date: January 18, 2019
  • Notice Number and tile: TIPB-001-2019 – Petition to the Governor in Council concerning Telecom Regulatory Policy CRTC 2018-377

The deadline for comment is February 18, 2019

View SWIFT’s petition, click here.

 

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