Intervention: Intervenor 90

Document Name: 2015-134.222176.2319437.Intervention(1dp_t01!).html

As someone who lives in a "rural" area of Quebec (3 miles from the US border) with no access to reliable high-speed internet service, I think the CRTC should open-up the internet space and allow as well as encourage development of such services as we see in Vermont and other states with small firms and city/county-based services. Vermont Governor **** Shumlin stated "access to high-speed Internet service in Vermont has expanded from 89 percent coverage to 99 percent, with 30,000 addresses adding service, in the three years he has been in office". That was aided by $174 million in federal stimulus money that the state received, the most per-capita of any state.Here is a timely article from today's New **** Times:Look to the States on BroadbandBy THE EDITORIAL BOARDAPRIL 20, 2015State and local governments are starting to play an important role in getting broadband Internet access to the American public. And that’s highly commendable considering that many people still do not have access to high-speed connections at affordable prices.Connecticut is working on a program to bring high-capacity fiber-optic lines to homes and businesses in a way that could lower costs and increase competition among Internet providers. New ****’s recent budget includes $500 million for programs that make broadband available across the stateby the end of 2018.Having access to high-speed connections is important because work, education and entertainment are increasingly moving online. But the average speed at which Americans connect to the Internet is a relatively slow 11.5 megabits per second, according to a recent report by Akamai, a technology company. The Federal Communications Commission recently defined broadband as connections that have download speeds of at least 25 megabits per second, which it says is necessary for members of a hypothetical family to participate in an online class, download files and stream a movie at the same time. The world’s best networks, including a few in the United States, offer speeds as fast as 1 gigabit per second — 40 times the capacity of a 25-megabit connection. (A megabit is a million bits — the zeros and ones that make up digital information. A gigabit is a billion bits.)In most places in the United States, broadband is provided by cable and phone companies. Those businesses and others like Google have invested billions of dollars in upgrading or building new networks. But because they face little competition, they have not always been quick to offer advanced services. That’s where state and local governments come in.In Chattanooga, Tenn., a government-owned electric utility spent $330 million to build a fiber network to reach homes and businesses. Universities and local governments in the Research Triangle area of **** Carolina are working with AT&T, which already provides local phone service in that area, to upgrade its network there. Near Salt **** City, a group of towns have commissioned a private company to build a fiber-optic network for that area.In Connecticut, the Office of Consumer Counsel, which represents residents in utility rate cases, is working with cities like New Haven, West Hartford and Stamford to develop a project called CTGig. Officials say local governments will contract with a private business to build and operate a fiber-optic network. The private company will invest its own money and make a profit by allowing other businesses to use the network to sell Internet service to users.The goal is to develop 1-gigabit speeds. If done right, Connecticut could end up with a state-of-the-art network at a lower cost for users than traditional Internet service delivered by cable and phone companies. But the project is at a relatively early stage, and even if everything goes perfectly, building a network that reaches every home and business would take several years.New **** is relying on 10 regional economic development councils to come up with plans for bringing faster Internet services to their parts of the state. That means officials upstate and those in New **** City could choose very different approaches to meet their needs. The councils will use the state money to entice the private sector to invest at least $500 million of private money in broadband.New **** wants most residents to have access to connections of at least 100 megabits per second. While that’s slower than the speed Connecticut has set, it would still be a huge improvement over the connections most New Yorkers have now. The state estimates that 38 percent of Manhattan residents did not have access to 100-megabit connections as of July 2014. Separately, on Thursday, Mayor **** de Blasio said the city was seeking ideas from the public to increase broadband access.For most Americans, broadband is quickly becoming a must-have utility like water and electricity. That’s why it makes sense for cities and states to get involved.