Many things are considered essential services for people – food, shelter, transportation. But what about the internet?
For many people, a web connection has become an essential part of life, but high costs mean some people can’t always afford it, says members of the non-profit group ACORN.
That’s why about a half a dozen members of the organization, which fights to make life more affordable for low and middle income earners, rallied outside the CRTC Atlantic office in Dartmouth on Tuesday to have the internet deemed an essential service.
“Internet nowadays has not become a luxury, it’s become a necessity,” Jonethan Brigley of ACORN said.
Tuesday was the deadline for Phase 1 of the CRTC’s review of basic telecommunications services. ACORN presented them with hundreds of testimonies of people’s reliance on internet service and their need to have it be more affordable.
“It would be a weight off me. I could get food without having to worry about internet,” read one testimony from Halifax resident Jarett Burke.
“I am totally dependent on electronics and I feel I am being held hostage by these companies,” read another from Joan Phaedon Tingley of Halifax.
Brigley said ACORN wants the CRTC to establish a $10 per month basic high speed internet plan for all Canadian providers.
The need for internet spans from children needing to do school work from home to people needing the web for applying for jobs.
Brigley said often times people are forced to go to community centres and libraries, which fill up quickly. For people who can’t afford transportation, or are disabled, the struggle is even harder.
“[People] need the internet at home, but can’t afford the current costs,” Brigley said.
Article by Heide Pearson for Metro Halifax