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OTTAWA, September 1, 2009 — Industry Canada today announced the launch of the call‑for‑applications process for Broadband Canada: Connecting Rural Canadians. The call for applications follows the formal program launch announced by Prime Minister Stephen Harper on July 30, 2009.The program will consider applications to provide service to as many unserved and underserved Canadians as possible, allowing them to participate in the digital economy by giving them access to information, services and opportunities that would otherwise be out of reach. For unserved and underserved Canadians, the program represents an important improvement in service.
Applications will be evaluated against a series of criteria with emphasis on best value and most households served. Applications must also show capacity to deliver within the timeframe and demonstrate a viable business model.
Successful applicants will receive federal support equalling up to 50 percent of their one‑time costs. Such costs include the purchase, adaptation or upgrade of equipment, hardware or software; long-term investments in network capacity (such as the lease of satellite transponder capacity); network deployment costs; and other costs directly related to extending broadband infrastructure.
Potential applicants have until October 23, 2009, to submit proposals to extend service to the geographic service areas that were identified as part of an extensive mapping process that took place earlier this summer.
Successful proposals are expected to be announced in late 2009 to early 2010, with project builds starting as soon as possible in 2010.
For further information (media only), please contact:
Office of the Honourable Tony Clement
Minister of Industry
September 1, 2009
Broadband Canada: Connecting Rural Canadians — Call for Applications
Budget 2009 — Canada’s Economic Action Plan provides $225 million to Industry Canada to develop and implement a strategy to extend and improve broadband coverage. The goal of this investment is to extend broadband service to as many remaining unserved and underserved Canadian households as possible.
Industry Canada defines unserved Canadians as those without Internet access or with dial-up service only. Underserved Canadians may be able to access the Internet using a connection with a speed less than 1.5 megabits per second (Mbps).
Under this call for applications, participating providers will be expected to provide broadband service of at least 1.5 Mbps to currently unserved and underserved Canadian households.
At 1.5 Mbps, a customer can make a voice call over the Internet, download an audio CD in seven minutes and experience video-quality streaming / video conferencing. It is also possible to use multiple applications at the same time, enabling consumers to make a voice-over-Internet telephone call while downloading a document.
As communities vary greatly in size, this program focuses on connecting households. This method also provides a clearer understanding of service availability for Canadians; the fact that one part of a community has broadband access does not always indicate service is available to all households in that community.
Broadband Canada will work with the private sector or consortiums of companies, not-for-profit organizations and provincial/territorial entities that build and operate broadband infrastructure to extend broadband coverage to areas that do not currently have broadband access. The Broadband Canada program will provide a one-time, non-repayable contribution to support the expansion of current infrastructure in the defined areas where there is currently no business case for Internet service providers moving forward on their own.
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission reported that, as of 2008, 94 percent of Canadian households had access to broadband. A significant gap exists, however — 22 percent of rural households lack broadband access. While all households are within the range of satellite service, existing satellite capacity can provide service to only 1 percent of households.
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