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
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.