Backgrounder Article from  Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission

Summary of Key Decision Points

Policy regarding modern telecommunications services for Canada’s digital economy
Universal service objective Canadians, in urban areas as well as in rural and remote areas, have access to voice and broadband Internet access services, on both fixed and mobile wireless networks.
Mobile wireless and fixed broadband Internet access services are key components of this new objective. In addition, Canadians living in rural and remote areas should have a level of broadband Internet access services similar to those available in urban areas.
Criteria for the universal service objective
Fixed broadband service Canadians should have access to fixed broadband Internet access service offerings that meet certain levels of speed, data allowance and quality of service. Specific values and parameters for these characteristics are discussed below.
Mobile wireless broadband service Canadians should have access to the latest generally deployed mobile wireless technology (currently LTE). This technology should be available in Canada not only in homes and businesses, but on major transportation roads.
Fixed broadband Internet service criteria
Speeds Canadian home and business subscribers of fixed broadband Internet access services can access speeds of at least 50 Mbps download and 10 Mbps upload. These speeds are to be the actual speeds delivered, not merely those advertised.
Data allowance Canadian home and business customers can subscribe to fixed broadband Internet access services that include the option to have an unlimited data allowance.
Quality of service Levels for latency, jitter, and packet loss will be established to assess high quality for fixed broadband Internet access service.
Measurement of success Fixed broadband Internet access service, as set out in the decision, should be available in 90% of Canadian homes and businesses by the end of 2021 and in the remaining 10% within 10-15 years.
Modifications to current regulatory measures for local voice services
Local service subsidy The local service subsidy will be phased out. A follow-up proceeding will be launched in early 2017 to examine how it should be phased out.
Accessibility
Availability and awareness All wireless service providers must offer and publicize, no later than six months from the date of this decision, mobile service packages that meet the needs of Canadians with disabilities who tend to rely more on data services than voice services. These packages must ensure access to 9-1-1 service, and be based on consultations with Canadians with disabilities.
All wireless service providers’ websites are expected to meet the W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines by June 1, 2017.
Current and future initiatives Bell Canada, Bell Mobility, Cogeco, Eastlink, MTS, Rogers Communications, SaskTel, Shaw, Telus and Videotron must each submit a detailed report, no later than six months for the date of the decision, concerning their respective plans to invest in the ongoing accessibility of telecommunications services.
Consumer empowerment regarding broadband Internet access services
Awareness and notification

Within six months of the date of this decision, all Internet service providers that provide retail fixed broadband Internet access service are expected:

  • to ensure that contracts and related documents clearly explain, to all customers;
    • the services included in the contract,
    • any limits on the use of those services that could trigger overage charges,
    • the minimum monthly charge for services included in the contract,
    • information on where customers can find information on rates for overage charges, and
    • whether or not there is a maximum data overage charge that might be incurred in a monthly billing cycle, and if so, the amount of that maximum charge.
  • to provide account management tools that enable customers to monitor their data usage; and
  • to provide plain-language information on the data usage associated with common online activities.

The above-noted information and tools should also be accessible to customers with disabilities.

All providers of retail fixed broadband Internet access services must notify residential and small business customers who have incurred overage charges of where they can find information about:

  • the account management tools offered,
  • the data usage associated with common online activities, and
  • alternative plans that may better suit the customer’s needs.

Customers should be able to opt out of these notifications at any time. Such notifications must be provided each month in which a customer incurs data overage charges, unless the customer opts out of receiving such notifications.

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