Canadian government invites investment in rural internet plan

23 July 2014 | Kavit Majithia


Companies wishing to invest in rural parts of Canada have been invited to lay claim to approximately $284 million of government spending over the next three years to upgrade internet access in parts of the country.

The government’s Connecting Canadians plan is designed to deliver high-quality internet with speeds of faster that 5Mbps to 280,000 households which presently do not have access to such a service.

Canada’s government has since been criticised by consumer group OpenMedia.ca, which hit out at the state and telecoms companies across the country for failing to finish projects on time, or to the relevant scale required.

Critics also claim that the government’s minimum speeds are not sufficient for the target market to use data-intensive services, including video conferencing.

Steve Anderson, executive director at OpenMedia.ca, said the plan “will still leave many Canadians struggling to catch up with our global counterparts when it comes to broadband access, reliability and speed”.

Canadian operators TELUS, Manitoba Telecom Services and BCE are in danger of missing an August deadline to complete remote access projects, and regulators could impose a penalty if deadlines are missed.

The Connecting Canadians plan is part of comprehensive programme for digital communications and commerce, and the country’s industry minister James Moore has invited companies to pitch for connection projects.

Areas eligible for funding will be made public later this year.