ACORN's two year old Internet for All campaign got a shot in the arm recently. Toronto city council's Economic Development Committee voted unanimously to begin development on providing free WIFI to all Toronto Community Housing buildings. The motion, called Making Toronto a Tech-Friendly City and Bridging the Digital Divide, paves the way for 58,000 units of housing to have access to the internet for free; but the campaign still has to pass a final hurdle at City Council to become a reality.
On July 14th, ACORN members from Halifax, Toronto, Ottawa, Gatineau, Vancouver, Surrey, Burnaby, and New Westminster delivered hundreds of testimonials from low income families detailing the crucial role the internet has in their lives, and how unaffordable home access is.
A coalition of groups representing consumers, seniors and anti-poverty activists is calling on Canada’s telecom regulator to force industry players to expand access to high-speed Internet for low-income households and those living in rural areas.
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) is undertaking a significant review of what constitutes “basic telecommunications service,” and one of the biggest questions will be whether to include broadband, or high-speed, Internet in that definition.
OTTAWA — An advocacy group for low-income Canadians says broadband Internet service is no longer a luxury item, and that Canadian telecom companies should start providing low-cost basic services.
ACORN Canada says Internet access is crucial, yet unaffordable for many families.
“It’s kind of ironic that social services send you a lovely letter saying, ‘to improve service, please go to our website,'” said Ray Noyes, ACORN member. “You open your disability statement (and) you’re not getting…an Internet allowance; it just keeps coming out of your food and your rent.”
This Tuesday is the deadline to submit initial comments on the fast-approaching hearings for cheaper, faster Internet — and so far 25,000 people have signed a petition and scores of others intend to hold a Vancouver rally in support of it.
The Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission is reviewing its policies regarding basic telecommunications services, and if broadband should be considered one. It’s also gathering information from the $41-billion industry to better understand any areas that are underserved or unserved.