Sign the Petition to Get Canada Connected!

The COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare the massive digital divide in Canada. A year into this crisis, millions of people are still being isolated from their communities, families, and from the 21st century economy, simply because their home Internet is too expensive, unreliable, or not available at all.1-4

The federal government has been dragging its feet for years to connect everyone to affordable, high quality Internet. At this rate, millions of households still won’t have cheaper, faster Internet years from now, let alone during the pandemic. It’s time to pick up the pace.

Sign the petition asking our federal government to get Canada connected NOW!

Click here to see petition text

To Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry François-Philippe Champagne

Cc Prime Minister Justin Trudeau; Minister of Rural Economic Development Maryam Monsef; Minister of Infrastructure and Communities Catherine McKenna; Minister of Northern Affairs Dan Vandal.

We are calling on you to immediately commit to the following steps to get Canada connected:

  1. Mandate a basic Internet package to ensure every single person in Canada has access to affordable, high-speed Internet. 
  2. Release new funding to support shovel-ready infrastructure development projects, connecting underserved rural areas with high-speed (50/10mbps) access during COVID-19. 
  3. Provide detailed plans and funding to move up your 2030 universal connectivity goals, and bring every single person in Canada online by 2025.

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As many as 1 in 10 people in Canada still do not have Internet at home that meets the CRTC's national minimum speed standards of 50/10 Mbps.5 That’s generally for one of two reasons: it’s not available where they live, or it’s too expensive.

For years, the government and the CRTC have trusted Big Telecom to make Internet cheaper and universally accessible. But waiting for telecom giants like Bell, Rogers, Telus, and Shaw to connect our communities to affordable Internet has proven to be a failed strategy, even in places like Toronto — a city with arguably the best market incentives for broadband investment in Canada.6

Canada’s Internet continues to be ranked among the most expensive in the world, and millions still lack a home-based connection that meets their needs.7-8 Clearly, Big Telecom is not interested in fixing the problem.

In fact, Big Telecom is fighting tooth and nail to make sure their market oligopolies — the power they hold to keep prices unaffordable and slack on improving services — go unchallenged.9 They’ve boxed out competition at every turn, fought for the right to price gouge customers, lobbied against accountability for shady sales practices, and threatened to ditch rural Internet investment if the government dares regulate them — and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.10-12

We’re asking the government to step in immediately to bring affordable, high-quality Internet to every single person in Canada — regardless of where they live or how much money they have. Sign the petition: Get Canada connected NOW!

Sources

  1. Mapping Toronto’s Digital Divide - Ryerson Leadership Lab & Brookfield Institute
  2. How COVID-19 worsens Canada's digital divide - CBC
  3. Internet for All: ACORN Member Testimonies - ACORN
  4. Editor’s Take: The digital divide - Manitoba Co-Operator
  5. CRTC Communications Monitoring Report (2020) - Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission
  6. You did it, Toronto! It’s full steam ahead for Community Broadband! - OpenMedia
  7. Canada among top five highest costs for 100Mbps internet speed - MobileSyrup
  8. See 5
  9. Big Telecom Lobbies Ottawa Twice a Day - TekSavvy
  10. CRTC Further Delays Affordable Fibre Internet in Canada - OpenMedia
  11. Minister Bains just undermined Canada’s best chance for affordable Internet - OpenMedia
  12. CRTC acknowledges Big Telecom’s sales practices are problematic, but without any commitment for next steps - OpenMedia

Press: Laura Tribe | Phone: +1 (888) 441-2640 ext. 0  | laura@openmedia.org