In the News
According to The Star, the City of Toronto is abandoning plans for a municipal broadband service that would provide low-cost, high-speed internet to low-income residents.
Following skepticism from members of Mayor John Tory’s executive committee and lobbying of politicians and officials by Canada’s telecom giants over the last month (particularly Bell and Rogers), the city administration on Tuesday removed key recommendations from its March 16 update to the “ConnectTO” plan that was approved by the Toronto City Council early last year.
Toronto is poised to pull the plug indefinitely on plans to create a municipal broadband network aimed at ensuring access to cheap, fast internet for low-income Torontonians.
After hearing skepticism last month from members of Mayor John Tory’s executive committee, and amid lobbying of politicians and officials by Canada’s telecom giants, city staff on Tuesday deleted key recommendations from its March 16 update on the “ConnectTO” plan approved in principle by city council early last year.
Innovation Minister François-Philippe Champagne, Seniors Minister Kamal Khera, and Rural Economic Development Minister Gudie Hutchings recently announced low-income seniors would be added to the expanded Connecting Families program, designed to bring $20-per-month high-speed internet to families in need. ACORN Canada, a national membership-based organization of low- and moderate-income people, won the Connecting Families program in 2018. The first phase of the program targeted families with children that receive maximum Canada Child Benefit (CCB) to give them access to internet for $10 a month. So, prima facie, the expansion of the program to low-income seniors seems to be great news. It could potentially help tens of thousands of seniors struggling to connect to the internet.
Posted April 6, 2022
ACORN Hamilton held a press conference to release the results of our survey to members on the high cost of home internet and demands for the City of Hamilton to take action on the digital divide.
The pandemic has demonstrated that the need for the internet is greater than ever and that governments need to take urgent action to provide affordable, high-speed internet to people who are struggling to connect. During the COVID-19 crisis, many low-income people are relying on the internet for school, work, food deliveries, telemedicine, communication with family and more.
The efforts made by the federal government to address the barriers to digital equity remain far too limited.
The Canadian government has launched a new initiative to provide low-income families and seniors affordable access to high-speed internet, but some advocates argue the plan is too limited in scope.
The new program expands on previous efforts by the Trudeau government to get low-income Canadians connected.