As expected, broadband service is part of the government agenda laid out in this afternoon’s Speech from the Throne:
In the last six months, many more people have worked from home, done classes from the kitchen table, shopped online, and accessed government services remotely. So it has become more important than ever that all Canadians have access to the internet.
The Government will accelerate the connectivity timelines and ambitions of the Universal Broadband Fund to ensure that all Canadians, no matter where they live, have access to high-speed internet.
I noticed that the language of the speech did not talk about accelerating the release of funds (it is already too late to do that), and there was no mention of increasing the level of funding.
Instead, we heard that the government will accelerate the connectivity timelines and ambitions of the Fund.
What are these timelines and ambitions that are to be accelerated? Presumably, this means the target will be advanced from 2030 to some point in time sooner for all Canadians to have the opportunity to subscribe to a service with 50 Mbps download speeds, coupled with 10 Mbps upload speeds and unlimited data transfer.
But we aren’t hearing about any increased or accelerated funding to accomplish that.
On these pages, we have suggested that there are non-financial means to accelerate broadband expansion in certain areas. Is the government exploring how it can use non-financial incentives to encourage accelerated and increased private sector investment?