You asked us! Questions and answers about the Broadband Fund
Since launching the first call for applications on June 3, 2019, we’ve received a number of important questions from Canadians and potential applicants. Here are some of the most common questions and our responses.
NEW (March 2020) Is a hexagon eligible if an ISP (i) provides 50/10 service but not an unlimited option, (ii) provides 50/10 service but speeds may be slowed at various times for congestion or other reasons or (ii) does not provide 50/10 service but rather a higher speed service e.g. 100/10?
No, the hexagon would not be eligible as per paragraph 87 of the Telecom Regulatory Policy CRTC 2018-377 as the hexagon would have speeds of 50/10 Mbps or faster available to households in them. Only the minimum speed requirement of 50/10 Mbps is used to determine if a hexagon is eligible for funding for fixed broadband Internet access projects.
NEW (March 2020) Would an applicant be eligible for funding for access projects if it is proposing (i) 50/10 service but not an unlimited option, (ii) 50/10 service but ITMPs that slow it down during congested periods or (iii) not to offer 50/10 but rather a higher speed service, e.g. 100/10?
Applicant eligibility is based on a number of criteria; however, the service proposed by the applicant would meet the Access project eligibility criterion for minimum service speeds set out in section 6.1.3(e) of the Application guide.
NEW (March 2020) Can a single Application in a hexagon offer more than a single access technology option at different costs in a hexagon? For example, can an ISP submit two options with its application for the same project, for example one that would deploy world leading fibre networks at a higher cost and one that would deploy high-capacity WTTH services at a lesser cost per homes passed.
As per section 3 of the Application Guide, when applying for funding, applicants are expected to put forward their best proposal and provide the CRTC with accurate, complete, and realistic information based on their prior research and project planning activities.
NEW (March 2020) If ISP B offers 50/10 service in a hexagon before ISP A, a recipient of broadband funding, begins construction, can ISP B review and vary the CRTC decision to fund ISP A?
Commission funding decisions may be the subject of applications to review and vary or rescind. The Commission’s consideration of any such application will be based on the particular facts of the case. It should be noted that in section 13 of the Application Guide, the Commission determined that applications to review and rescind or vary a CRTC decision must be filed within 30 days of the date of the funding decision.
NEW (February 2020) What is the minimum Reference Signal Receive Power level covered by LTE?
There is no minimum. We don’t have a decibel-milliwatts (dBm) specification for the threshold.
NEW (February 2020) Is there a set percentage that an applicant should contribute to applicant funding?
There’s no limit to the amount of funding you can request, but you must invest an amount in your project that is more than a nominal amount given the nature of the project.
NEW (February 2020) Can an applicant submit a project that will affect both eligible and non-eligible areas?
A proposed project can include both eligible and non-eligible areas; however, only costs related to eligible areas are covered by the Broadband Fund.
NEW (February 2020) Should an applicant only propose a project that will be completed within three years of being awarded funding?
We expect applicants to complete their project within three years of receiving funding. We will still consider applications for projects that require more time, but may prioritize or give preference to projects with shorter timelines.
NEW (February 2020) In the Instruction Manual, section 2.1 “Application for a project for the main component of the fund” requests supporting evidence for comparator service plans and prices. What kind of “supporting evidence” should be submitted?
Supporting evidence can include:
- screen shots of the comparator service provider's web pages
- comparator brochures or rate sheets, or
- other documents that demonstrate that the comparator rates and comparator service packages included in your Application Workbook were available in the market at the time you applied.
We ask for similar evidence in section 2.2 “Application for the satellite-dependent communities component of the fund”.
What customer premise equipment costs are considered eligible?
The fibre drop cable from the road to the eligible premise is an eligible cost.
However, customer premise equipment such as modems, antennas, and optical network terminals, are not eligible for funding.
You can find a description of eligible and ineligible costs in Appendix 2 of the Application Guide.
What experience is required for an applicant to be eligible for funding from the Broadband Fund?
The applicant – or at least one member of a partnership, joint venture, or consortium – must have at least three years of experience in deploying and three years of experience in operating broadband infrastructure in Canada, and must be eligible to operate as a Canadian carrier. Should the applicant – or the members of a partnership, joint venture, or consortium – not meet the experience requirement, the group applicant must enter into a contractual arrangement with an entity that does. Section 4 of Single Entity Applicant Details and Group Entity Applicant Details in the Instruction Manual provides more details on the kind of proof is required to assess the experience criteria.
Note: Individuals, as well as federal government departments, agencies, boards, commissions, Crown corporations and special operating agencies are ineligible for funding from the Broadband Fund either as applicants, or as members of an applicant partnership, joint venture, or consortium. The number of years of experience of an individual staff member who is a part of an applicant partnership, joint venture or consortium, does not qualify as applicant experience.
In a partnership, joint venture or consortium between a non-Canadian and a Canadian company, does it matter which of the two has three years of experience in deploying and operating broadband infrastructure?
In a partnership, joint venture or consortium between a Canadian and a non-Canadian entity, the Canadian entity must have three years of experience in deploying and three years of experience in operating broadband infrastructure in Canada.
What kind of proof does an applicant need to provide to show that they have a minimum of three years of experience deploying and operating broadband infrastructure in Canada?
The applicant will need to describe its experience in a few sentences, including information on where and how long it has been deploying and operating broadband services, and the number of customers currently served. Section 4 of Single Entity Applicant Details and Group Entity Applicant Details in the Instruction Manual provides more details on the kind of proof required to assess the experience criteria.
Where are the forms to submit company information (e.g. pro forma financial statements and cash flows) located?
The Broadband Fund requires applicants to fill out their company information using the forms supplied in the Application Workbook. To access the Application Workbook you must log into your “My CRTC” Account and start a new application. Once in the application, you can download and/or follow the links to all important resources from the collapsible information box at the top of the page.
With regards to satellite projects, does access infrastructure include mobile wireless, as well as fixed access infrastructure?
Yes, for satellite projects an applicant can propose a mobile wireless infrastructure solution to improve broadband Internet access service in a satellite-dependent community. Applicants will be required to meet the criteria for a satellite project when proposing a mobile wireless infrastructure solution for access infrastructure.
Section 6.1.3 of Project-Specific Eligibility Criteria in the Application Guide provides more details on the criteria for satellite projects.
NEW (March 2020) If an area has been served since the 2018 data collection was completed, but is still displayed as an eligible area on the maps, is it still eligible for funding?
As set out in section 4.3 of the Application Guide, the Commission will, at the time it makes its decisions, use the most up to date information available whether public or confidential, to verify and determine eligibility of the area of the project submitted for funding. Accordingly, if the Commission becomes aware that an area receives service at the minimum required levels, then this area will be deemed ineligible for funding. Applicants should conduct their own due diligence to ensure that their projects meet the geographic eligibility criterion.
NEW (February 2020) Where does the data for your eligibility maps come from?
The eligibility maps are based on the information collected as part of the 2018 CRTC facilities survey, which was completed from January to March 2019. The data reflects the state of broadband services in Canada as of December 2018.
How often will you update the Broadband Fund eligibility maps?
For each call for applications, we publish a set of maps consistent with the scope of the call and eligible project types.
What is a MAD number and what is the purpose of providing it
A MAD number is the “Master Address Database” number used as the identifier in the CRTC’s data collection system (DCS). All telecommunications service providers in Canada must fill out data forms and submit them to the DCS system annually. The Broadband Fund’s Application Form has a field where service providers can (optionally) provide their MAD Number. Providing a MAD Number allows some of the information the applicant has already submitted in the DCS system to be used to automatically fill in the Application Form – such as legal status, carrier status and financial information.
Note: If the applicant does not have a MAD number, or does not want the CRTC to use the information in the DCS system for the purposes of their application, the applicant must submit this information as part of their Broadband Fund Application.
How do I find my MAD number?
The MAD number is the number found under the Entity ID field in the DCS system. To find the Entity ID for your company follow the instructions below. Upcoming updates to the Broadband Fund Application Form will modify the field name from “MAD” to “MAD/Entity ID”.
To find your MAD/Entity ID:
- Log on to the CRTC’s data collection system (DCS).
- Open any form that appears under Application Form in DCS.
- At the top you will find the form’s title and number under which you will find your company’s name (called an Entity Name).
- Next to the Entity Name is your Entity ID – this is your MAD number that you can use to enter in the “MAD/Entity ID” field in the Broadband Fund Application Form.
Still Have Questions?
If you have any additional questions related to the Broadband Fund, please do not hesitate to contact us.
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