In the News

Globe & Mail: Is high-speed Internet a basic right? CRTC to weigh in

[Toronto ACORN member Alejandra Ruiz-Vargas weighs in on why ACORN members believe internet is a right. From the article: "Something as simple as preparing home-cooked meals at dinner time becomes a challenge when families need to go to a library to work on homework or apply for jobs, says ACORN member and housing worker Alejandra Ruiz.'It adds another stress to the already difficult life of low-income people.'"]

The last time Canada's telecom regulator launched a review of "basic telecommunications services," one of its decisions focused on the necessity of the phone book. Now, five years later, hopes are high that its next review opens a new chapter.
In 2011, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) didn't include high-speed Internet in its definition of "basic telecom services." That could change this time around as the regulator considers more ambitious goals in an age where people are spending more of their lives online streaming video and music, using social media and other apps, and experimenting with "Internet of things" connected devices in their homes. Canadians' right to fast, reliable Internet, its role in the economy and the social isolation of not being online are all up for discussion.

CBC News: Cheap internet should be expanded to everyone living in poverty, advocates say

Ottawa anti-poverty advocates say Rogers Communications Inc. should go beyond offering basic internet services to people in non-profit housing and instead expand the service to all people living in poverty.

On Thursday Rogers said it was expanding a program it already offers in Toronto to tenants in non-profit housing developments across the country, granting them basic internet access in their home for $9.99 a month.
Rogers said 1,100 residents in rental units owned by three non-profit housing groups in Ottawa, including the Centretown Citizens Corporation, will get discounted internet to start.

Internet for All: We are getting closer!

Since the launch of our Internet for All campaign at our 2013 National Convention, we have been continually working hard to get affordable internet rates for low-income Canadians. We’ve had some success - Rogers has started providing $10 a month internet for residents in Toronto Community Housing, and federal regulators are now in the process of conducting a review looking at high-speed internet, affordability and access. And we need to keep the pressure on!

Our tireless efforts to make Internet for All Canadians a reality have ensured that 10 of our members will be presenting at CRTC’s public hearing on April 14 to explain why broadband internet should be affordable for Canadians. Their testimony will draw from personal experiences, letting these decision makers know how vital yet unaffordable home internet is.

Toronto Star: Rogers to expand low-cost Internet to social housing tenants

Low-cost Internet service for tenants in Toronto public housing is being expanded to social housing communities across Ontario, New Brunswick and Newfoundland, the Star has learned.

The $9.99-a-month program offered by Rogers Communications, will be available to more than 150,000 low-income households everywhere the company provides Internet services starting this month.
The telecommunications giant is making the announcement at a non-profit housing building in Ottawa Thursday.

The Globe and Mail: Low-income Canadians may draw on food budgets to pay for Internet: group

Advocacy group ACORN Canada says some low-income Canadians are having to take money from their rent and food budgets to pay for the Internet.

The group, which represents low- and moderate-income families, surveyed nearly 400 of its members and found more than 80 per cent of them consider home Internet prices to be “extremely high.”
More than half said they took money from other budget items, like food, rent or recreation, to pay for Internet access because they consider it an essential service. In most cases, money was shifted food purchases to cover Internet bills.