In February 2021, Toronto City Council initially voted to pass ConnectTO, Toronto's historic community broadband proposal! The decision sent a strong message not just to the residents of Toronto, but the entire country that the affordability and service gaps left by Big Telecom are unacceptable.2
But now, thanks to Big Telecom's lobbying, the future of the ConnectTO community broadband project is teetering on the edge of disaster. On May 4, ConnectTO is again on the agenda at city council where it could be killed before it has the chance to bring cheaper, faster Internet to Torontonians.3
Toronto can't afford to lose this chance. People have been saying for years that the Digital Divide in the city is out of control. And the data tells the same story:
- 2 out of 5 households in Toronto don’t have home Internet that meets Canada’s national 50/10 Mbps speed targets
- 1/3 of Toronto households are worried about paying their Internet bills — especially low-income households, single-parent families, newcomers, and communities of colour
- For people without home Internet, monthly cost was the top reason (49%)4
The problem has gotten this bad only because the CRTC and the federal government have trusted Big Telecom for years to get it right. But clearly, that strategy isn’t working.
Community-owned broadband is one of the best ways to fix this.5 It’s been shown to give people more power to choose their providers, overall cheaper Internet bills,6,7,8 and not to mention: universal access to high speeds and state-of-the-art fibre Internet infrastructure — the kind that Big Telecom has no intention of bringing to every Toronto household.
But this is bigger than just Toronto; this Internet battleground will have ripple effects across the entire country. If Big Telecom can't adequately connect Canada's largest city – what chance does the rest of the country have? We could be watching Canada’s premier community broadband case study in the making. Municipalities everywhere will be looking to the Toronto model and saying, “If TO can do it, so can we.”
Faster and cheaper Internet for everyone could be our reality — but it all comes down to making sure city council saves the ConnectTO project on May 4. Email Toronto City Council now: say YES to community broadband, and YES to affordable, quality Internet for all!