CCR Short Takes
News | 11/22/2001 5:00 am EST
CCTA wants broadband rollout included in next budget
The cable industry is among the players who have responded to an appeal by Industry Canada for support for its broadband initiative. The Canadian Cable Television Association issued a news release on Nov. 14 urging the government to include the development of high-speed broadband infrastructure to remote communities in the next federal budget. "The cable industry recognizes that security is at the top of the Canadian government’s agenda. We are not asking them to change that or to return to the days of deficit budgets," says CCTA president and CEO Janet Yale, noting that there are small communities where the market alone cannot support the costs of building the infrastructure. In an update on the government’s broadband task force initiative before the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage on Nov. 20, Michael Helm, director general of Industry Canada’s telecommunications policy branch, said that Industry Canada had a series of working documents outlying how the cost of rolling out broadband might be split between cable and satellite distributors and the government. But he said they were not at the stage where they could be made public. Industry minister Brian Tobin has insisted that he is not at odds with Finance minister Paul Martin over moving ahead with the government’s promise to bring high-speed broadband to every community by 2004. "I know that Paul Martin continues to be a strong supporter of innovation in Canada," said Tobin in a scrum Oct. 29 at the Canadian Association of Broadcasters conference in Ottawa. "We have an economy to sustain, we have to bring confidence back," Tobin said. "I think that…every department and every priority has to be measured against our immediate priority — security…and a variety of priorities have been affected, but my belief is that we can and will proceed with broadband as well."