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Canada
Statement by Ms. Pamela Miller, Director General, Telecommunications Policy, Industry Canada 


First and foremost, we would like to express our great appreciation to the Administration of Portugal for providing the venue and excellent facilities for this very important event.
 
In supporting the concept and purposes underlying the convening of world telecommunication policy forums, Canada notes the importance of providing opportunities like WTPF-09 for the exchange of views and information on issues of topical interest in the ICT field.
 
These issues include those subjects identified and elaborated in the draft Opinions on Internet-related public policy matters, NGN and advanced broadband access, ICT and the environment, creating confidence and security in the use of ICTs, the adoption of IPv6 and the International Telecommunication Regulations. 
 
Canada applauds the obvious efforts that have gone into the development of these draft Opinions as well as the considerable time and effort in producing the Secretary-General’s Report.
 
We also note that among the important results of this week’s discussions will be the identification of common strategies to enable the membership to address these issues and move selected initiatives forward.
 
In this regard we look forward to achieving consensus on cooperative and collaborative approaches involving the ITU and other international, regional and national stakeholders to the issues identified here at the WTPF.  From Canada’s perspective constructive and forward-looking dialogue on Internet-related public policy matters, for example, is crucial to ensure the continued development of a global Internet, on the basis of progress that has already been achieved and all points of view being taken into account. The Policy Forum can provide an excellent venue for reaching common understandings in this regard.
 
Another important purpose of the Forum is to enable Member States to share national experiences on such issues as broadband access.
 
For Canada we fully subscribe to the points raised in the Report of the Secretary-General that governments, as well as consumers, stand to benefit from commercial broadband services. As outlined in the Report, the expansion of public services such as health, education and e-commerce to previously unconnected communities are among those which Canada considers to be of particular importance for economic growth and prosperity, as well as the enhancement of the quality of life.
 
The market for broadband Internet in Canada has evolved from the very beginning with cable and telephone networks competing head to head, and market forces have pushed the rollout of broadband across Canada.
 
Despite our challenging geography and demographics, Canada is among the most extensive users of broadband technologies.
 
Of course, in a nation as sparsely populated as Canada, there are some communities where the market could not be expected to reach using today’s technology. 
 
Limited government support, and conditions of licence for broadband wireless services, have been used to spur capital investment in rural and remote areas with an emphasis placed on cost-effective solutions.
 
Increasingly, deploying cost-effective broadband solutions means making use of wireless as well as satellite solutions.  Also, entrepreneurial private sector firms are meeting this challenge, delivering reasonably priced broadband to remote and rural communities.
 
Despite these advancements, some rural and remote Canadians continue to remain without access to broadband services. 
 
In the 2009 budget, the federal government announced 225 million dollars over three years to implement a strategy to extend broadband to unserved communities. 
 
This proposed expenditure reflects the government’s commitment to closing the broadband gap across Canada and ought to be viewed as an acceleration of the broadband network deployment that is already underway. 
 
The program is currently being developed and should be announced in the near future.
 
In closing, Canada appreciates the opportunity to share these brief remarks with you, and we look forward to very fruitful and informative discussions over the next few days.