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Society deemed 'not Canadian' by Industry Canada



A local internet service provider is questioning what constitutes being Canadian after a discouraging decision from Industry Canada.

More than a year ago, the Peace Region Internet Society applied for a licence to use a specific radio frequency to support the delivery of high speed internet services to rural areas.

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It took Industry Canada until recently to decide that the society, even with its all-local membership, was not Canadian enough to be able to receive permission to obtain the licence, says Arvo Koppel the system administrator of the Society.

Koppel says the government agency had a problem defining Canadian ownership and control since the society is a non-profit organization without shareholders.

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The society operates throughout Northeastern B.C., in areas such as Dawson Creek, Fort St. John, Chetwynd, and Tumbler Ridge.

The society’s mission is to “serve the unserved”, providing broadband internet services to residents who are in rural areas, says Koppel.

The organization uses radio frequencies to venture into areas where traditional copper wiring can’t reach.

He says Industry Canada is now reviewing its decision, which the Society hopes to soon learn will be in its favour. However, he adds that if it is, the agency would probably have to alter its definition of what constitutes ‘being Canadian’.

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