05/05/2015 01:13 EDT | Updated 05/05/2016 05:59 EDT

Ottawa lowers fees for suppliers of rural satellite service

Industry Minister James Moore has announced the government will lower satellite licence fees for companies serving rural areas, effective April 1, 2016.

Moore said the plan should reduce costs to consumers who live outside the urban and suburban centres that are well-supplied with broadband and telecom services.

Rural and remote communities rely on satellite technology for access to fast, reliable internet, wireless cellphones and television and radio reception. But the cost of satellite is much higher than consumers pay for internet and wireless in urban areas.

After a consultation process with the satellite industry, Industry Canada says its new regime is more streamlined, making licensing for spectrum simpler.

Moore said the reduction in regulatory fees brings Canada's satellite licensing costs in line with countries such as the U.S. and the U.K.

"Our government is committed to bringing affordable high-speed satellite services to Canadians living in rural and remote communities," Moore said in a news release.

Background documents from Industry Canada suggest the cost of 1,000 MHz bandwidth satellite will drop from $333,000 to $120,000 a year.

According to the Globe and Mail, Moore's new fees will lower regulatory fees for smaller companies by $5 million a year.

Industry Canada says it has removed foreign ownership restrictions on satellite services and implemented a single-licence approach across the country for large systems of satellite earth stations.