Algoma District Community Network




Update on Deferral Account for Goulais and St Joseph Island


revised 02 Apr 08

ADnet issued this media release on February 26, 2008. See Background Info on Deferral Account Goulais and St Joseph Island for previous information

Due to recent action by the Federal Court of Appeal, the anticipated rollout of high-speed broadband access in certain areas of the Algoma District has been placed on indefinite hold.

On January 25th, 2008 the Court issued a stay of Telcom Decision 2006-9 concerning the use of deferral account funds by CRTC regulated telecommunications companies to provide broadband coverage in rural and remote areas. The Court issued the stay in response to an appeal brought before it by the Consumers’ Association of Canada and others and heard by the Court on January 23rd and 24th, 2008.

The stay effectively freezes all planned activities by the carriers to use deferral account funds to provide high-speed service in areas that otherwise would not be economically viable.  The immediate impact will be felt by St. Joseph Island and Goulais which under Telcom Decision 2007-50 of July 6, 2008 were to receive high-speed service in 2008 and certain areas of the Sault Ste. Marie west-end, Wawa/Hawke Junction and an area surrounding Echo Bay which were included in Telecom Decision 2008-1 of January 17, 2008 for service on an undefined date. The stay does not affect the use of deferral account funds to provide service for the improvement of accessibility to communications services for persons with disabilities.

The stay remains in place until the outcome of the appeal is determined or the approval of any subsequent leave to appeal to the Supreme Court.  

Wilf Lefresne, the Executive Director of the Algoma District Community Network (ADnet) expressed his disappointment with the news. “We have been following the impact of CRTC 2006-9 and the subsequent decisions since February, 2006. Up to now, it has generally been good news for the Algoma District.  The residents of St Joseph Island and Goulais have been excited about getting access to broadband and I am sure will be very disappointed by this turn of events.”  

Since the announcement of January 17, 2008 by the CRTC concerning the use deferral account funds, ADnet has been bombarded by queries from community politicians and administrators as well as interested individuals through the District.  

It is not known at this time how long it will take the Federal Court of Appeal to release a decision. ADnet will continue to monitor the situation and provide additional information as it becomes available.

Update: Appeal denied on 07 Mar 08. Click here for more information.