GATINEAU, QC, April 12, 2016 /CNW/ - The Eastern Ontario Regional Network (EORN) and the Eastern Ontario Wardens' Caucus (EOWC) will press Canada's telecomm regulator to better recognize the critical need for high-speed internet access in rural communities at the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission's public hearings today.
The CRTC is holding public hearings from April 11 to 29 as part of its review of basic telecommunications services.
"We know first-hand the challenges that rural customers face in getting affordable, reliable broadband speeds," said EORN Chair David Burton, Reeve of Highlands East. "Frankly, recent CRTC reports suggesting that Canadian ISPs are meeting or exceeding their marketing promises fall flat in rural areas. That is simply not the experience for all rural subscribers."
One key decision will be defining just what comprises basic telecomm services in 2016 and beyond. Currently, the CRTC only deems touch-tone phone service, a printed phone book and a low-speed internet connection as basic services. The basic telecommunications services policy was established in 1999 and last reviewed in 2011.
"The CRTC has to reflect the reality of modern life – both urban and rural. In our communities as in most Canadian communities, high speed broadband must be considered a basic service," said EOWC Chair Peter Emon, Warden for Renfrew County. "Furthermore, basic service should also include high-speed mobile broadband access, given how smartphones and tablets are commonplace in every home or business."
The EOWC and EORN will further urge the CRTC to:
- Mandate telecomms to guarantee minimum internet service levels. Many internet applications depend on sustained speeds and reliable connections. The CRTC should set service standards consistent with what internet users actually need today as well as goals for the future.
- Develop a funding model to address ongoing problems with rural connectivity. One-time infrastructure investments can help, but rural communities will continue to fall behind without sustainable funding. ISPs must be required to cross-invest urban profits into rural internet connections in order to guarantee basic communication services across all communities.
EORN's testimony at the hearing is a follow up to the written submissions made to the CRTC on rural matters. To read EORN's comments at the CRTC Hearing, please visit www.eorn.ca.
EORN looks for innovative ways to meet the region's broadband needs. Through some $260 million in public funding and private investment, EORN helped to create a regional fibre optic backbone and nearly two dozen local access networks, improving broadband access across much of Eastern Ontario. EORN continues to work to expand and leverage broadband access across the region. To learn more about EORN, visit www.eorn.ca.
SOURCE Eastern Ontario Regional Network
For further information: Lisa Severson, Communications and Stakeholder Relations Officer, Tel: 613-213-8520, Email: [email protected]