Canada allocates another $278M to expand rural broadband availability

Canada plans to allocate another $278 million over the next five years to extend and upgrade facilities to deliver broadband services in the country's rural and northern communities, according to an IT World Canada report.

Finance Minister James Flaherty's budget includes a goal of enabling 280,000 additional rural households to get speeds of up to at least 5 Mbps. This latest investment is part of a five-year target the Canadian Radio Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) set in 2011.

Between 2010 and 2013, Ottawa spent $205 million to upgrade area networks to bring broadband service to a number of communities that only had access to dial-up or no Internet access.  

"For most Canadians, access to affordable and reliable broadband networks is an important part of everyday life," Flaherty said in the recent budget speech.

The government has not revealed any information on how rural communities and their service providers can get access to these new funds.

Outside of the government's program, some service providers such as SaskTel and Telus have enacted their own rural broadband programs.

SaskTel debuted a program in 2013 to spend $55.4 million over the next seven years to better serve its rural customer base, while Telus (NYSE: TU) said it would bring new fiber-based broadband services to rural parts of Calgary and Edmonton as part of a broader plan to spend $676 million throughout Alberta.

For more:
- IT World Canada has this article

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