Those of us who are privileged enough to have access to high-speed broadband internet probably can’t imagine our lives without it anymore. It would surely be hard to have to go back to substandard internet. Canada has recognized that high-speed broadband internet access plays a vital role in this day and age which is why the country’s regulator has decided to declare it as an “essential service” for quality of life.

CRTC, Canada’s national telecommunications regulator, had previously only declared landline telephone service as essential. It’s adding high-speed broadband internet access to the mix as well. This move is backed by a $750 million investment package by the country’s government to connect Canada’s rural areas.

“The future of our economy, our prosperity and our society — indeed, the future of every citizen — requires us to set ambitious goals, and to get on with connecting all Canadians for the 21st century,” says CRTC chair Jean-Pierre Blais, adding that “These goals are ambitious. They will not be easy to achieve and they will cost money. But we have no choice.”

Now that broadband has been declared as a basic service, the regulator has set new goals for upload and download speeds. It’s aiming for speeds of up to 50 megabits per second with unlimited downloads on fixed broadband services and at least 10 megabits per second for uploads. This is a tenfold increase from the previous target it set back in 2011.

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