In the News

Mobile Syrup: ‘Coalition for Cheaper Wireless Service’ argues for mandated low-cost plan

The ‘Coalition for Cheaper Wireless Service’ has argued that mobile wireless prices are too high and that competition is weak in Canada.
The coalition consists of the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC), National Pensioners Federation (NPF), CARP (formerly the Canadian Association of Retired Persons) and ACORN Canada. Fighting for digital equity, in Canada and beyond

Equitable access to the internet is a communication right.

As the Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI) points out, not only is the internet a pathway to information, communication, and economic opportunity, it is increasingly necessary to access basic commercial and public services. As more of the world becomes digital, those unable to connect will inevitably be left behind.

This concern has been raised even in Canada, where 34.5 million, or nearly 96 per cent of the population are connected to the internet, although with varying degrees of affordability and connectivity.

ACORN Canada, a national organization that advocates for low- and moderate-income families, says many Canadians "still struggle to afford internet services." In 2016, ACORN conducted a survey among 394 of its members, which showed that 83.5 per cent found the cost of the internet to be "extremely high," while nearly 60 per cent said "they had to cut back elsewhere to afford internet." About 80 per cent of households with an annual income of $30,000 or lower were "less likely to have home internet access than those with incomes over $60,000 (80 per cent vs. 96 per cent), says ACORN in its latest report. Internet and cellphone affordability on the ballot for Mississauga–Malton voters

Residents in Mississauga–Malton say they’re paying too much for internet and cellphone service.

This election, it’s one of the major issues they’re thinking about when they cast their ballot. The riding’s 118,000 residents are diverse, they’re different ages, they work different jobs, but the common thread for all of them is the cost of internet and cellphone service.

In many cases, it’s become an affordability issue where families are forced to cut other costs from their budget to make room.

Toronto Star: Internet access for all should be a promise made by all political parties in the upcoming federal election

Way back in 2001, former federal industry minister Brian Tobin argued that the government should spend $4 billion to make sure households across the entire country had access to the internet.

That would have been a bargain basement deal considering this country’s telecom regulator, the CRTC, estimates that it would now cost tens of billions of dollars to do so. But, sadly, the Chrétien government of the day didn’t bite.

Now, eight years after a UN agency called for all governments “to develop a concrete and effective plan of action to make the internet widely available, accessible and affordable to all segments of the population,” that still isn’t the case in Canada.

Indeed, according to a study released recently by the advocacy group, ACORN Canada, the high cost of internet access is still leaving low-income families behind.

ACORN members launch the report on Barriers to Digital Equality; Call for Affordable Internet for All

On Tuesday, August 13th, ACORN members held a series of events across Canada to launch our new report: Barriers to Digital Equality in Canada. The report comes out of our Internet for All campaign. Collected through a survey of around 500 low and moderate income household members across Canada, the data highlights critical concerns that, if they remain unaddressed, will further deepen the digital divide in the country. The report was supported by the Canadian Internet Registration Authority’s (CIRA) Community Investment Program.

Click here to read the report