CRTC Review: Cybera’s Submitted Response on Future of Broadband

Fibre optics3Here is Cybera’s submitted response to the CRTC’s review of basic telecommunications services (CRTC 2015-134). This review is examining the services, and service levels, required by Canadians to meaningfully participate in the digital economy. It will also determine the Commission’s role in mandating the availability of affordable, basic telecommunications services to all Canadians.

The next stage of the CRTC review will invite all Canadians to submit opinions on the future of telecommunications service. Cybera will notify members when this review process has begun (details will be announced later in 2015).

More information can be found here.

Download a pdf version of Cybera’s response.


Introduction

Cybera is a not-for-profit, technology-neutral agency responsible for accelerating high-tech adoption in Alberta. One of Cybera’s core roles is the operation of Alberta’s Research and Education Network, called CyberaNet. This is the dedicated network for unmetered, not-for-profit traffic used by Alberta’s schools, post-secondary institutions and business incubators to aid innovation, enterprise and ingenuity.

Cybera receives both provincial and federal government funding to spearhead pilot projects that improve efficiencies and the competitiveness of Canadian institutions and businesses, and support international-level research. It is guided by a strategic leadership team, and is home to some of the world’s top cloud and networking experts, who work together to build cloud infrastructure, data storage, and advanced networking solutions.

Drawing on this expertise and public service mandate, Cybera is pleased to provide the following response to the CRTC Telecom Notice of Consultation 2015-134 regarding the review of Canada’s basic telecommunications services. It is our view that broadband Internet be considered a basic telecommunication 21st century service, and should be affordable and accessible to all Canadians — equal in importance to the touch-tone telephone service of the 20th century.

The importance of this review cannot be understated. It represents a critical turning point in Canada’s digital economy. To ensure that Canada is able to take a lead in tomorrow’s marketplace of ideas and services, we need the right resources and policies in place to build and support our digital infrastructure. Very soon, all Canadians will need the capability to transmit gigabits per second of data, and process terabytes of information.

A large portion of this response will focus on minimizing the digital divide to ensure economic and social viability for all Canadians. Redefining broadband as a “basic service” would obligate carriers to deliver services to geographically dispersed and sparsely populated regions. However, it is also important to recognize that rural and remote residents are not the only Canadians experiencing frustration related to connectivity. Our response will also focus on potential funding mechanisms to incentivize and support deployment of modern telecommunication services to all underserved sectors. Finally, we will demonstrate how a strong model supporting structural separation can increase efficiencies, reduce duplicate infrastructure, protect public-interest infrastructure, and create an open, accessible and service-based solution.

Click here to read the full submission.