Intervention: i-CANADA (Intervenor 189)

Document Name: 2015-134.223715.2390425.Intervention(1f8gp01!).html

This is a response to the CRTC’s public proceeding on a comprehensive review of its policies regarding basic telecommunications services in Canada and of the telecommunications services that Canadians require to participate meaningfully in the digital economy.1. Telecommunications services that lead the world are vital to Canada’s economy and society.i-CANADA is a focused national alliance of more than seventy Canadian communities all working to become the world’s leading ****/Intelligent Communities. Many of them and their Mayors are already global leaders in urban transformation and some, like Waterloo, Stratford, Calgary, Fredericton and Toronto with Waterfront Toronto have won international awards; Calgary, Waterloo and Toronto were global Intelligent Communities of the Year.Adequate telecommunications is the foundation-point for the creation of **** Cities, also called Intelligent Communities. It is a fact that **** Cities that enjoy high broadband rates and adoption of appropriate digital services around the world have higher rates of economic growth and their innovation, higher incoming investment and faster increases in employment than their neighbours, while social and environmental innovation expands more quickly.Many studies have proven that performance of a region’s advanced broadband communications has a direct effect on its economic growth. Stratford and other Canadian communities will attest to significant new business investments because of their new local communications facilities. We have “Islands of Excellence” across Canada but to be globally competitive we need a new national communications ecosystem.Our i-CANADA Mayors continually stress the importance of the Internet to commerce and cultural life. At risk, they said, is the survival of the small community. Encouraging young people to stay in the community and attracting others is a key to survival, and without effective broadband the young ones are already leaving. Broadband is the foundation for the creation and use of new applications that make the community and its businesses prosperous.2. Current speeds are inadequate.Companies in the Knowledge Economy live or die by bandwidth. Depending on which international study one reads, our collective communications services now rank between 20th and 30th in the world. The exact number varies, but the trend has been downward and a recent study reported we are tied with Hungary with Romania ahead of us. As we noted in a recent meeting with a Federal Minister:“Canada has some of the slowest internet speeds in the developed world. Other countries are gaining in both absolute and relative numbers; we are about 38th on the list of global speeds. We’re behind ****, Spain, Germany, the U.K., Poland, Moldova, Bulgaria, Andorra, Iceland …this is no way to build a Knowledge Economy.”Last year the i-CANADA Governors Council unanimously passed a motion calling for a gigabit per second of bandwidth to all Canadians wherever possible. This is the new rapidly evolving global performance standard. It will attract global investment and support our knowledge based companies of the future. In comparing Canada’s threshold to that of the U.S. and the EU, the U.S. intends to connect 100-million households to 100 mbps by 2020, and the EU has achieved 100% basic broadband coverage and is targeting 100% connectivity and access to 30 mbps broadband by 2020. Because of the low threshold target we now have for Internet speed, the funding allocated for infrastructure is low and therefore funding is going to “stop gap” technically short-term projects which are inadequate for economic viability. In the long run, these stop gap solutions will cost significantly more than if we bit the bullet now and built sustainable infrastructure like a fibre backbone.As a start, we recommend that the current target of 5 mbps down and 1 mbps be moved up to a target that:• Is globally competitive (the current target is the same as Botswana);• Ensures economic and social viability for rural communities; and• Focuses additionally on ensuring that the technology deployed is future-proof to a minimum of 20 years... for example, investing in fibre backbones with fibre based fixed wireless to the home and business.3. The Commission’s Role Regarding Access Should be to facilitate transformation to a ‘total nation’ approach to providing access to global-best communications.Canada is not living up to its communications potential. This is not a complaint against incumbent carriers, governments or other players. Our future prosperity depends on our collective ability to transform our communications ecosystem to leadership in cost and performance standards while still recognizing everyone’s present capabilities and historic investments.We encourage you to press forward until conditions are established that will ensure Canada’s resurgence back to the global communications leadership that was Canada’s historically. Depending on which international study one reads, our collective communications services now rank between 20th and 30th in the world. The exact number varies, but the trend has been downward and a recent study reported we are tied with Hungary with Romania ahead of us. We should be aiming at solutions that encourage innovation and experimentation. This is what is needed in order to return to the days when Canada was a world communications leader. Communication investments can provide opportunities for growth in all sectors and regions of Canada, as long as we are not just playing catch-up with other nations.We wish to emphasize that we think the CRTC should help facilitate a national plan in which all players will contribute to a revitalized “New National Dream”. We are not suggesting federal funding along the lines of the Australian model or other expensive initiatives because we already have facilities on which we can collectively leverage the creation of a new ecosystem. But creating a new national framework does require the federal government to help facilitate and participate in our return to global greatness. Raisons pour comparaitre / Reasons for appearanceThe topic is so vast that only a personal appearance can do it justice. We will have a delegation led by **** Hutchison, founder of Canada's CANARIE network and Chair of i-CANADA.