Data for this year and last show the large telecoms requesting nearly $100 million from the broadband funds of the federal and provincial governments and the telecom regulator.

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What’s the deal? Three of Canada’s largest telecoms have so-far requested about $100 million from various federal and provincial broadband funds, public records show. 

Rogers Communications, Telus Corp., and Shaw Communications have filed for subsidies from programs including the CRTC Broadband Fund, British Columbia’s Northern Development Initiative Trust (NDIT), the Southwestern Integrated Fibre Technology (SWIFT) program in Ontario, the Improving Connectivity for Ontario, and from transportation and infrastructure Canada. 

So what? The figures give some idea of the kind, size and location of projects the large telecoms soon hope to endeavour to build or extend existing infrastructure to get Canadians connected and inch the federal government closer to connecting 98 per cent of the country by 2026. 

The numbers: Earlier this month, Rogers and Shaw were approved for $131,474 and $13.8 million, respectively, from the CRTC’s program. The regulator is announcing projects on a rolling basis.

CRTC’s Broadband Fund: Rogers has disclosed in provincial records that it has requested $18.7 million by the program’s deadline of June 2020. Telus disclosed that it requested $30.3 million from that program in May 2020. Shaw, as well as Bell, did not disclose how much it requested in provincial records.

B.C.’s NDIT: Late last month, Rogers requested $27.7 million from B.C.’s NDIT program and, provincial records show, it received $24.6 million on February 8. Telus requested $13.1 million from that same fund in November 2020. Shaw requested at least $6.7 million this month from it, those records show.  

SWIFT: Rogers, which has disclosed more data in its provincial lobby records, also requested $17.1 million from SWIFT and received $4.8 million this month from it, records show.

Improving Connectivity for Ontario: Rogers requested $640,099 from the program in November 2020.

Transportation and Infrastructure: Rogers requested $630,000.

What they said: “It’s funding to expand our networks to rural and remote communities,” a Rogers spokesperson said of the NDIT funding, but said the company has nothing beyond that to say.

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