In the News

Kingstonist: Opinion: How big Internet Service Providers are increasing the digital divide

Editorial note: The following is a submitted op-ed. The views and opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of The Kingstonist.

According to the Government of Canada’s figures, Canada has the second highest internet rates per gigabyte in the world. Our big Internet Service Providers (ISPs) – Bell, Rogers, Telus, Shaw, and Quebecor – refuse to provide affordable internet to all, disproportionately affecting people in poverty or with low income. In the City of Kingston, the municipal government’s initiatives to bridge the digital divide continue to leave out low-income community members from accessing the digital world.

Toronto.com: 'Frozen, cutting out, shaky': Scarborough businesses say internet service isn't meeting their needs

Complaining about internet — and the companies bringing it to you in Toronto, Bell and Rogers — may already be a Canadian pastime, but some Scarborough residents believe their connections are particularly poor.

They also say their internet connectivity has gotten slower and more unstable during the pandemic, and that is hurting their small businesses.

“It’s been a constant issue,” said Hatim Lashkerwala, whose company, CIG Garment Manufacturing, launched a new line of golf shirts and shorts in 2021.

His internet is fine at home, but whenever Lashkerwala sends clothing designs to Milan from his office near Midland and Lawrence avenues, “it takes me an hour or two hours just to upload my files,” he said.

His third-party internet provider, Lashkerwala said, has “categorically” told him it cannot do better; Bell’s infrastructure in the area is “too old.”

 

Mobile Syrup: ACORN rallies to demand Big Three be banned from participating in ConnectTO

Advocacy group ACORN rallied in Toronto on Tuesday to demand that Rogers, Bell and Telus be banned from participating in ConnectTO.

ConnectTO is a municipal broadband program that aims to expand access to affordable high-speed internet access across Toronto.

Members of the Toronto chapter of the advocacy group rallied at City Hall to demand that ConnectTO should be owned and controlled by the community and not big telecom companies. They state that the city should create an independent internet service provider.

 

Toronto Internet for all Rally- Affordable and Community owned internet for all!

Toronto ACORN members had a great  Internet for All rally on Tuesday July 6th at 11am at City Hall , demanding the City to make ConnecTO community owned, community controlled and $10 internet for all low and moderate income people.

The Internet is Essential and internet access is no joke! Thanks to the efforts of ACORN members for years, the City of Toronto is beginning to address the issue of internet affordability through a program called ConnectTO. We cannot have low and moderate income communities left out of the conversation. These communities make up most of the essential workers who are putting their lives on the line to keep the city running, as well as seniors, people on disability, the underhoused and other vulnerable groups. 

 

Toronto Star: ‘Stay away from ConnectTO’: Toronto is building its own broadband network and anti-poverty groups want to make sure big telecom isn’t involved

Members of the anti-poverty group ACORN rallied in front of city hall Tuesday to demand that big telecoms like Rogers and Bell not be included in Toronto’s fledgling municipal broadband program.

City council voted in February to approve ConnectTO, a program aimed primarily at improving internet access for low-income residents as well as connecting businesses to high-speed fibre-optic connections in underserved areas.