Canada’s telecommunications regulator declares internet a necessity, and wants to bring high-speed internet to all citizens within the next 10 to 15 years.
Canada becomes one of a handful of nations who have declared internet as a basic necessity such as electricity and clean water.
This includes the US, Israel, Finland, Malta, Spain and Switzerland. However, bringing high speed internet to the far North of the country could cost the country tens of billions of dollars.
In other countries, bringing high speed internet to all citizens has often hit dead ends because of costs, poor service and issue about net neutrality.
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) ordered internet service providers on Wednesday to begin working on a way to bring high-speed internet to all its citizens, including rural and isolated parts of the country within the next 10 to 15 years.
CRTC has defined high speed to be of download speed of at least 50 megabits per second and upload speed of at least 10 megabits per second. This is more than twice the US definition of high speed broadband.
CRTC Chairman Jean-Pierre Blais said he recognizes the challenge Canada faces in coming through with this.“ Access to broadband internet service is vital and a basic telecommunication service all Canadians are entitled to receive. The availability of broadband internet, however, is an issue that can’t be solved by the CRTC alone.”
According to Toronto star, to invest in broadband infrastructure, telecommunications firms will have access to a $750 million sponsored fund over the next five years.
The first $100 million of this amount will be spent over the first two years, which will come from a fund that currently subsidizes the country’s telephone services in isolated parts of the country. Firms will need to guarantee a set price for service in order to access the fund.
“Countries all over the world face many of the same challenges as Canada, especially when it comes to delivering reliable, high-speed Internet to rural and remote communities. These challenges can be surmounted, but it will take real political will to do so,” Josh Tabish, campaigns director for OpenMedia, said in a statement.