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Crtc Releases Collected Broadband Funds For D S L To Thousands Of Underserved Internet Connections

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Finally the money that was hoarded by the CRTC, via an illegal MaBell phone line tax in order to expand VOIP, is being released to help expand wireline Internet to unserved areas(hopefully unserved areas). The CRTC says Bell/Bell Aliant can not just use cellular wireless to expand Internet and has to do it via wireline.

This should also allow Telus to expand to more unserved areas as well(other MaBell).

So you still have a chance for high speed Internet without the interruptions, that many posts have mentioned, of wireless or satellite.

Also see...

sept 1 2010

Barrett Xplore 'disappointed' with CRTC decision

Telco: Regulator orders home-phone providers to pay $310.8M rebate, extend broadband services

Officials with Barrett Xplore Inc. are "disappointed" with a decision made Tuesday by the federal telecommunications regulator, which the New Brunswick company says will give Bell Canada money to enter its territory.

In a decision delivered Tuesday, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) said big-city dwellers will get cash back from their phone companies, while tens of thousands of rural residents will get access to high-speed Internet.

Urban Canadians in Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta and British Columbia will get between $20 and $90 back from the large phone companies within the next six months. Subscribers in 287 rural and remote communities will get access to high-speed Internet by 2014.

The windfall comes from a $770-million fund collected from the so-called Bell companies by the CRTC.

The CRTC said in its decision that $310.8 million will go to urban, home-phone customers. Another $421.9 million will be spent on better rural Internet access and $35 million will help improve accessibility for disabled Canadians.

The companies involved in the rebate and the improvements to rural broadband include Bell Canada (TSX:BCE) and Bell Aliant (TSX:BA.UN), Telus (TSX:T) and MTS Allstream (TSX:MBT). SaskTel will use its $1.5-million share of the fund entirely for improved access for the disabled.

C.J. Prudham, chief legal officer for Barrett Xplore, says the decision provides Bell with cash to enter Barrett Xplore's territory in Ontario and Quebec.

"The CRTC is granting money to Bell from urban subsidization to overbuild our existing footprint in the southern Ontario and Quebec area," she said in an interview.

According to Prudham, the CRTC verdict gives Bell $5,000 per household to serve 61,000 "supposedly unserved households."

The reality, she says, is that over 60 per cent of those households are already served, mainly by Barrett Xplore.

So, there is no need for Bell to receive money to provide a service that Barrett Xplore, and others, already provides, she said. As well, Prudham said Barrett Xplore and other firms could provide high-speed Internet to the remaining 40 per cent of households more quickly than Bell.

According to the CRTC, Bell Canada and Bell Aliant will connect 112 communities in Ontario and Quebec.

"There are faster, affordable and reliable services out there already - without subsidization," Prudham said. "We are disappointed. We do think there are more efficient ways of doing this."

Barrett Xplore, based in Woodstock, runs Xplornet Internet Services, Canada's largest rural broadband provider. The company operates in every Canadian province and territory, with a particular focus on providing high-speed Internet in rural areas.

Back in May, Barrett Xplore completed its province-wide Xplornet broadband network in New Brunswick - ahead of schedule.

Barrett Xplore uses both wireless and satellite technology to provide broadband access throughout New Brunswick, regardless of region or remoteness.

In a statement released Tuesday, CRTC chairman Konrad von Finckenstein said his organization's announcement is "a positive solution for Canadian consumers."

"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," he said.

In 2002, the CRTC stopped the phone companies from lowering their rates in urban areas in order to protect new competition in the local, home-phone market. The commission diverted that money to a so-called deferral account.

By 2006, competition in local phone service was established and there was no more need to keep an artificial floor on the rates. The commission then had to figure out how to distribute the money.

The issue went to the Supreme Court of Canada in 2008, with a consumer group arguing that the entire amount should go back to consumers in a rebate. The phone companies wanted to spend the fund on service improvements in the rural areas. The court sided with the commission's formula for allocating the cash.

For its part, Bell also decried Tuesday's decision, which came only a day after the CRTC ruled that the large phone companies must offer smaller Internet service providers access to their highest broadband speeds.

"It's a bad week for broadband for those reasons," said Mirko Bibic, senior vice-president of regulatory and government affairs. "It's rather backward-looking ... it reflects further how out of touch CRTC thinking is."

Source: http://telegraphjournal.canadaeast.com/search/article/1199282 Edited by zalternate

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