Canada's telecom and broadcast regulator has declared that broadband internet access should be deemed a basic telecommunications service for all Canadians

The CRTC has declared broadband internet a basic telecommunications service.

In a ruling handed down Wednesday, the national regulator ordered the country's internet providers to begin working toward boosting internet service and speeds in rural and isolated 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," said Jean-Pierre Blais, the CRTC's chair, at a news conference in Gatineau, Que.

"Today's decision signals a fundamental shift in our regulations for basic services from voice-related issues to broadband-related issues."

Until now, local landline telephone service was the only service deemed "basic" or essential by the CRTC, although Blais has previously called internet service "vital" and essential to life and success.

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