CRTC: 5Mbps broadband for all Canadians by 2015

By on May 5, 2011, 9:30 AM

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), Canada's telecommunications regulator, wants all Canadians to have access to broadband Internet speeds of at least 5Mbps for downloads and 1Mbps for uploads by 2015. Furthermore, the regulator says those speeds must be actual speeds rather than advertised speeds, according to the CBC.

More than 80 percent of Canadian households already have access to download speeds of at least 5Mbps or higher, according to the CRTC. The commission anticipates that the target will be reached for the remaining households through a combination of private investments, government funding, and public-private partnerships.

This minimum would mean all Canadians would be able to download a typical MP3 in 12 seconds and stream HD videos without having to buffer, in about four years. Of course, the new national Internet speed targets are merely goals and Canadians should not hold their breath.

For example, let's take a look at their neighbors down south. In July 2010, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) defined broadband as 4Mbps for downloads and 1Mbps for uploads. In December 2010, the FCC then declared that 68 percent of US broadband connections aren't broadband.

If the CRTC really wants to meet the 5Mbps mark for actual speeds, it's going to have to do a lot more than to just push the industry in the right direction. ISPs in North America are very good at thinking up excuses as to why the actual speed is nowhere near the advertised speed.

Furthermore, even if the organization manages to reach its 2015 goal, there's an equally big problem of pricing in Canada. What's the point of giving everyone access to a certain speedy connection if it's too expensive for most users anyway?

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