OTTAWA-GATINEAU, August 31, 2010 — The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) today directed the large telephone companies to rebate $310.8 million to their urban home telephone customers. At the same time, the CRTC has approved a plan for the deployment of broadband Internet service to 287 rural and remote communities.
“Today’s announcement is a positive solution for Canadian consumers,” said Konrad von Finckenstein, Q.C., Chairman of the CRTC. “Subscribers of the major telephone companies in urban areas will enjoy a rebate on their home telephone service. And residents in hundreds of rural communities will soon be able to take advantage of the many social and economic benefits broadband Internet access provides.”
Over the next four years, broadband Internet service will be rolled out to communities where it is currently not available. This service will be comparable to urban areas and fast enough to link residents to telehealth services and bring about business and educational opportunities. The large telephone companies will use funds that have accumulated in their deferral accounts to pay for these initiatives.
The companies will make investments totalling $421.9 million to expand their networks: Bell Canada and Bell Aliant Regional Communications will connect 112 communities in Ontario and Quebec; Telus Communications Company will connect 159 communities in British Columbia, Alberta and Quebec; and MTS Allstream Inc. will connect 16 communities in Manitoba.
The CRTC has ordered the companies to rebate the remaining funds to their existing customers residing in urban areas. The rebate must be credited within the next six months and will range from approximately $25 to $90 per subscriber.
In addition, the companies are already investing $35 million from the deferral accounts in initiatives designed to make telecommunications services more accessible to Canadians living with disabilities.
“The question of how the funds in the deferral accounts should be allocated was hotly debated. Our decision to rebate consumers was contested all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada. We are pleased that the Court confirmed our jurisdiction in this matter, clearing the way for the distribution of the funds,” Mr. von Finckenstein added.
The CRTC is an independent public authority that regulates and supervises broadcasting and telecommunications in Canada.
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In 2002, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) required that the large telephone companies create “deferral accounts” as a way to encourage competition in the local telephone market. Instead of reducing rates for local telephone service in urban areas, the companies were instructed to place surplus funds collected from urban consumers into the deferral accounts.
The CRTC later determined that the funds that had accumulated in the deferral accounts should be used to deploy broadband Internet services to unserved and underserved communities, as well as to improve accessibility to telecommunications services for persons with disabilities. Any funds remaining in the accounts after carrying out these initiatives were to be returned to customers in urban areas.
As of May 31, 2010, the deferral accounts held $770 million (including interest). Of this amount, $310.8 million will be rebated to customers, $421.9 million will be spent on broadband services and $35 million has already been allocated to accessibility initiatives. The remaining balance will go toward the administrative costs of the consumer rebate.
Bell Canada, Bell Aliant Regional Communications, MTS Allstream Inc., Saskatchewan Telecommunications (SaskTel) and Telus Communications Company were required to create deferral accounts. The Commission previously approved SaskTel’s proposal to spend all of the funds in its deferral account, which amounted to approximately $1.5 million, on accessibility initiatives.
Expansion of broadband Internet services
The Commission has approved plans to deploy broadband Internet services to 287 communities across five provinces by 2014. The areas covered by these projects are listed below.
|Appledale||Kitwanga (Boulder Creek)|
|Beaver Valley (Big Lake Road W.)||Kitwanga (Cedarvale)|
|Beaver Valley (Marguerite Lake)||Kitwanga (Kitseguecla)|
|Beaver Valley (McInnes Lake)||Klahoose Fn (Tork 7)|
|Beaver Valley (Overton Road)||Kluskus No. 1|
|Bonaparte (Bonaparte 3)||Kwicksutaineuk-Ah-Kwaw-Ah-Mish (Gwayasdums No. 1)|
|Boswell||Lake Babine Nation (Babine 6)|
|Boswell (Akokli Creek)||Lake Babine Nation (Pinkut Lake 23)|
|Boswell (Hepher Road)||Lake Babine Nation Tachet Lake (Babine 25)|
|Boswell (Mountain Shores)||Lakelse Lake|
|Boswell (Redmond Road)||Little Shuswap Lake (Chum Creek)|
|Boswell (Sanca Creek)||Loos|
|Bridge River No. 1||Manning Park|
|Canoe Creek||Manning Park (East Gate)|
|Cheslatta Carrier Nation (Cheslatta 1)||Mowachaht (Ahaminaguus 12)|
|Christina Lake||Mowachaht (BC024)|
|Christina Lake (Cascade City)||Moyie|
|Christina Lake (English Point)||Nee-Tahi-Buhn (Uncha Lake 13A)|
|Cluculz Lake (Bednesti)||Neskonlith (Neskonlith No. 1)|
|Cluculz Lake (Bednesti Lake)||Nicomen|
|Cluculz Lake (Isle Pierre)||Nimpo Lake|
|Compton Island No. 6||Nooaitch No. 10|
|Da'Naxda'Xw First Nation (Dead Point No. 5)||Oclucje No. 7|
|Decker Lake||Oregan Jack Creek No. 3|
|Decker Lake (Palling Road West)||Pender Harbour (Earls Cove)|
|Decker Lake (Rose Lake)||Pender Harbour (Egmont)|
|Ditidaht (Malachan 11)||Penelakut Spit (Kuper Island 7)|
|Donald||Puckatholetchin No. 11|
|Duncan Lake||Reid Lake (Reid Lake Road)|
|Duncan Lake (Johnsons Landing)||Sahhaltkum No. 4|
|East Pine||Saltery Bay|
|Ehattesaht (Chenahkint 12)||Shackan No. 11|
|Elko||Siska (Siska Flat No. 3)|
|Elko (Baynes Lake)||Skatin Nations (Skookumchuck 4)|
|Elko (Waldo Road)||Skeetchestn|
|Gitsegukla (Gitsegukla 1)||Skin Tyee (Skins Lake No. 16A)|
|Hansard||Skookumchuck (Lazy Lake)|
|Hesquiaht||Spuzzum (Spuzzum 1)|
|Hesquiaht (Refuge Cove 6)||Stone No. 1|
|Hope Island No. 1||Thrums|
|Inklyuhkinatko No. 2||Toosey No. 1|
|Jaffray (Bull River)||Trout Lake|
|Jaffray (Galloway)||Tsawatanineuk (Quaee 7)|
|Kahmoose No. 4||Tsimpsean No. 2|
|Kanaka Bar No. 1A||Upper Nicola (Douglas Lake 3)|
|Kingsgate||Wet'Suwet'En (Palling No. 1)|
|Kitselas (Kulspai 6)||Xeni Gwet'In First Nations Government (Chilco Lake No. 1A)|
|Blue Ridge||Keg River|
|Chipewyan Lake||Peerless Lake|
|East Coulee||Seba Beach|
|English Bay||Seven Persons|
|Cooks Creek||Poplar Point|
|Falcon River||Sandy Bay|
|Lynn Lake||St. Eustache|
|Nelson House||Sunset Bay|
|Cloud Bay||Pass Lake|
|Dundalk||Pointe au Baril|
|Echo Bay||Sauble Beach|
|Feversham||Sault Ste. Marie-Airport|
|Golden Lake||St. Joseph Island|
|Hemmingford||Saint-Sébastien (Frontenac County)|
|La Malbaie||Tring Jonction|