The Canadian Radio-television Communications Act announced plans this week that some of Canada’s biggest telecoms will bring broadband service to about 350 rural towns and areas throughout the country.

Canada’s federal telecom regulator has allocated about half of the $650 million that has been set aside by the country’s biggest phone companies over the last several years. The initiative means towns such as Petawawa, Ont. and Beaver Valley, B.C. will finally receive fast Internet services in the coming years.

Bell Canada Inc., Manitoba Telecom Services Inc., Telus Corp. and Saskatchewan Telecommunications will have until 2011 to complete the broadband rollout. Some consumer groups have voiced their disapproval with the decision, arguing the resources would be better spent on existing customers. Bell Canada is also appealing the CRTC’s plan.