ARCHIVED — General Program Information
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The Broadband Canada program's goal is to encourage the expansion and availability of broadband connectivity to as many currently unserved and underserved households in Canada as possible. The Program aims to provide essential infrastructure to Canadians in remote and rural areas allowing them to participate in the Internet economy by getting access to information, services and opportunities that would otherwise be out of reach.
For the purposes of this Program, the following definitions are used:
Broadband connectivity: Access to Internet service that supports data transmission at a minimum download speed of 1.5 Mbps to a household.
Underserved households: Households which only have access to Internet service at a download speed below 1.5 Mbps.
Unserved households: Households with no Internet access or access only via dial-up telephone service at speeds of up to 56 kbps.
The applications process has been designed to:
- ensure affordable broadband connectivity to as many unserved or underserved households as possible;
- encourage competition among applicants within a Geographic Service Area (GSA) to ensure the lowest government contribution; and
- ensure the completion of the build within the program timeframe.
Applications will be accepted starting at the launch of the application process on September 1, 2009. The application period will close at 16:00 (EST) on October 23, 2009.
Each project must be completed no later than December 31, 2011. As this funding is being made available as part of Canada's Economic Action Plan, work is expected to start as soon as possible after the contribution agreements are signed.
Prior to the call for applications, Industry Canada conducted an extensive mapping exercise to identify current broadband connectivity across Canada. This was undertaken in consultation with the provinces and territories, the private sector, the CRTC and other federal departments.
This information was made available publicly to stakeholders and all Canadians on the Internet for validation purposes on July 6, 2009. Internet Service Providers and Canadians were invited to provide feedback. The information received during this validation process helped to define the Geographic Service Areas (GSAs) for the purposes of this call for applications.
The GSAs are based on the Statistics Canada 2006 Census data and reflect an aggregation of Census Divisions. To the extent possible, the GSAs reflect the Economic Regions defined by Statistics Canada. In some instances, however, those economic regions were adapted for the program's use, giving consideration to the following:
- the location and aggregation of unserved and underserved households;
- the current state and deployment of technology and infrastructure; and,
- population density.
Based on this analysis, 64 (GSA) have been defined. Please see Appendix 2 for complete listing of GSAs. Please refer to the Broadband Canada web site for maps of Canada showing GSA numbers and respective GSA maps.
Notes to applicants:
- Industry Canada is seeking applications that propose to provide broadband connectivity to as many unserved and underserved households as possible in each GSA; however, applicants are not required to bring broadband connectivity to an entire GSA;
- Applicants can propose to deliver broadband connectivity in more than one GSA, but a separate application must be made for each one; and,
- GSAs have not been defined in all areas of Canada. For example, those regions of the country that already have provincial or other federally funded programs in place to reach 100 percent connectivity in the next 12-18 months are not included. Similarly, CRTC Deferral Account communities are not included. See Appendix 3 for more information on these areas.
To be an eligible recipient, the applicant must be a Canadian legal entity that can build and operate broadband infrastructure. These include:
- Canadian private-sector companies, not for profit organizations, cooperatives, or consortia;
- provincial, territorial or publicly owned entities such as municipalities, county governments, MRCs in Quebec and crown corporations; and
- First Nations' organizations such as First Nation Internet Service Providers and Band Councils.
Individuals are not eligible to receive funding under this initiative.
Recipients must comply with the Canadian ownership and control requirements set out in the Telecommunications Act and / or in the Radiocommunication Act. For further information, see Section 8.7.
Industry Canada's goal is to bring affordable broadband connectivity to the maximum number of households in each GSA.
The Broadband Canada program will provide a one-time, non-repayable contribution to support the expansion of current infrastructure in the defined areas where there is currently no business case for the private sector moving forward on its own.
The program will operate on a cost-sharing basis whereby the Broadband Canada program will contribute up to a maximum of 50 percent toward total eligible project costs. Eligible recipients must demonstrate a commitment to obtain and/or provide the remaining funds.
The direct involvement and commitment of partners must enable the long-term sustainability of broadband connectivity in the defined GSAs.
For additional information on complementary broadband funding programs, consult the list of other federal and provincial programs. There, applicants will find a list of provincial and federal programs that also provide funding for broadband projects.
The financial assistance from the Government of Canada, including the Broadband Canada program, will be limited to a maximum of 50 percent of total eligible project costs with the exception of projects proposing to serve First Nations communities, where the maximum may be allowed to exceed 50 percent.
The total assistance from Canadian governments including federal, provincial and municipal, will not exceed 100 percent of eligible costs of the project.
In their application, applicants must disclose all sources of government funding (federal, provincial or municipal) received or requested for the project. Furthermore, contributions agreements will contain a continuing disclosure obligation (for the duration of the agreement) concerning assistance from Canadian governments.
If an application includes the provision of service to a First Nations community, it may be eligible for a federal contribution higher than 50 percent. The Broadband Canada program is limited to providing up to 50 percent of eligible costs, however, other sources of federal funding would be possible in these cases. Consult the list of other federal programs.
Eligibility Date for Expenses
The close of applications is October 23, 2009. This date will be considered the earliest potential starting date for eligible expenses for approved projects.
PLEASE NOTE: Costs related to the development of the Broadband Canada proposal will not be reimbursed and any expenses incurred before the project is approved are at the applicant's risk.
Applicants must provide a complete application form addressing all the requirements identified in the following schedules.
Applicants will be able to apply to provide broadband connectivity to partial or multiple GSAs. If applicants plan to provide broadband connectivity to more than one GSA, a separate application must be submitted for each.
All applicants must submit:
- Three (3) unbound paper copies of the application and all supporting materials including original signature(s); and,
- One electronic copy of all documents and supporting materials on a CD-ROM.
The application, schedules, coverage analysis Excel data file and cost-summary spreadsheet must be submitted in the appropriate WORD and Excel formats. Other supporting documents may be submitted as PDF files. Maps can be provided as PDF documents or MapInfo files.
Applications must be submitted by 16:00 EST on October 23, 2009, to:
Broadband Canada, Connecting Rural Canadians
365 Laurier Avenue West, Mailroom services