February 2019
AMCTO Supports SWIFT's Application of Appeal to the CRTC

2019-02-04 3:43:18 PM


AMCTO is lending its support to SWIFT’s application of appeal to the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) on funding broadband across Canada and Ontario. 

SWIFT is a municipally led initiative that seeks to provide broadband access across Southwestern Ontario, Caledon, and Niagara Region. In an attempt to close the growing rural and urban digital divide, the CRTC developed the Broadband Fund with funding eligibility determined by the use of Innovation, Science and Economic Canada’s (ISED) 25km hexagonal system. However, partially served areas, a hexagon with at least one household that has access to Broadband at a level of 50 mbs, is not eligible for funding.

SWIFT is currently appealing the CRTC’s ruling in order to increase equal access to funding for all underserved Canadians. 

AMCTO believes rural and remote communities should be getting broadband access in a fair and comparable manner. Moreover, AMCTO believes that the use of ISED’s mapping and data as the basis for eligibility for the CRTC Broadband Fund leads to a significant underestimation of the magnitude of the problem and restricts the ability of underserved communities to access much-needed funds. For example, SWIFT estimates that around 100,000 of the 230,000 underserved premises in Southwestern Ontario alone are not eligible for CRTC funding as they are located in a CRTC designated "partially served" area. 

AMCTO is providing a letter of support to the CRTC for the following positions outlined by SWIFT in their appeal:

  • Redefine service area boundaries and allow areas that are lacking access to meet the Commission’s “basic service, 50/10” thresholds as eligible to apply for funding.
  • Allow lower levels of government and underserved communities to provide other evidence such as standardized Internet measurements to demonstrate their needs and therefore eligibility to apply.
  • Remove restrictions on eligibility to enable municipal governments and regional initiatives to apply directly for funding.  
  • Reconsider that in “partially served areas” market forces are not “likely” to improve connectivity anytime soon.
  • At a minimum, allow underserved areas in “partially served” zones to be eligible to apply as part of larger projects to incentives private sector participation.

For more information, please see below:

SWIFT: Increase equal access to CRTC broadband funding


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