Saturday, 7 May 2011

Yellowknife, NWT - CRTC Review of price cap regulatory framework for Northwestel Inc. and related matters

Currently, Northwestel receives a total annual subsidy amount of $20.8 million from the NCF associated with i) providing residential services in high-cost serving areas (HCSAs) and ii) funding the ongoing requirements of the non-access portion of Northwestel's service improvement plan (SIP).

CRTC announces consultation on Northwestel price cap

The CRTC announced Friday a hearing to review Northwestel Inc.'s price cap regulatory framework. 

The framework is to go into effect in 2012.

The commission said "other related matters" would also be reviewed at the hearings, scheduled to begin Oct. 4 in Yellowknife, N.W.T. 

The consultation comes after the commission announced its "obligation to serve" decision this week, in which Northwestel's obligation to serve in regulated areas was maintained along with the basic service objective.

CRTC sets national broadband target, dodges subsidy fund for deployment

The CRTC released a new national broadband target Tuesday, saying all Canadians should have access to 5 Mbps Internet or faster by 2015. 

But the commission is not establishing a fund to subsidize broadband deployment.

The target came Tuesday in a decision resulting from last October's proceeding on access to basic telecommunications services. 

Meeting the target will depend on a combination of private investments, targeted government funding and public-private partnerships, the CRTC said. 


Consumer group the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) said gaps in Canada's broadband access will endure and that the commission didn't go far enough to promote rural broadband expansion.

"If there is no rural broadband now, there will not be any more thanks to this decision," PIAC counsel John Lawford said in a press release. 

"You're on your own Canada—see you at the bottom of the OECD broadband lists," Lawford added in a reference to a broadband data released last month from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). 

The data ranked Canada 28 out of 33 countries on average monthly broadband pricing.

In a release, the CRTC said advances in wireless technology and the launch of new satellite broadband services would provide connections in rural areas at better rates and speeds than what are currently available.

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