ISED called out for having ‘no plan’ for much-needed remote & rural connectivity
New report from Auditor General slams federal government for having no plan to bring high quality Internet to Canadians in rural and remote areas.
A new report released by the Office of the Auditor General this morning shows that the Trudeau government has no plans to bring high-quality Internet services to people in Canada’s rural and remote areas. The report’s recommendations include a direct call for Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED) to create and implement a national broadband strategy.
The report confirms what we all feared: Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains has no plans to help address Canada’s digital divide. This is a devastating blow to people in Canada who have been hoping the government will step in to help address serious gaps in connectivity. We no longer live in a world where connectivity is optional – which means that people in Canada are being left behind by their own government. When Canadians find out that the government has no plan to bring faster, cheaper Internet to more corners of the country, they are going to be mad.
Minister Bains must take immediate and concrete action to fix our dysfunctional telecom market. First, he needs to take bold, structural action to lower our cell phone bills. Then he needs to get specific about his plan to bring the rest of Canada online on with high-speed, affordable service.
According to the report:
In 2016, about 96% of urban Canadians had access to broadband Internet speeds of 50 megabits per second (Mbps) for downloading data and 10 Mbps for uploading data (50/10 Mbps).
Only 39% of Canadians living in rural and remote areas had access to the same speeds. This meant that for approximately 5.4 million Canadians, only slower Internet speeds were available.
Direct recommendations in the report include for Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada to develop a national broadband strategy that:
defines the minimum level of reliable and high-quality Internet service to be made available to Canadians;
sets clear timelines for achieving this level of service;
estimates proper resourcing, including financial and technical resources, as well as analysis of technologies and preferred options for improving broadband deployment cost-effectively.
OpenMedia has been calling for a National Broadband Strategy since 2016, when the CRTC ruled the Internet is a basic service in Canada, and called on the government to create a national plan to bring everyone in Canada online.
Over 10,000 people have joined the campaign calling for a national broadband strategy at https://act.openmedia.org/broadband-plan.