Posted on September 13, 2021
ACORN Votes 2021: Internet for All
More than 11% of people in Canada do not have broadband internet access at home, many others suffer with low speeds and high prices – some of the highest in the world. Canadians pay two to three times more for internet and mobile phone data in comparison to other OECD countries. Only 1/3rd of the lowest-income families have the Internet at home.
In a recent ACORN study, ¼th of respondents said they have sacrificed food to pay for internet services.The federal government’s Connecting Families program fails to cover all Canadians who need affordable, high-speed internet.
The pandemic reinforced the need for high-speed internet! Access is a lifeline.
ACORN’s Platform for Internet for All
Thousands of ACORN members struggle due to lack of access to high-speed affordable internet.
- The federal government must mandate that the telcom industry makes the Connecting Families Program universal and include all low-income people and fixed-income seniors.
- The program must provide broadband for $10/month at speeds of 50Mbps download and 10 Mbps upload.
Where do the parties stand?
- Price cap - to make sure Canadians aren’t paying more than the global average for cell phone and internet bills.
- Declare high-speed internet an essential service and make sure all Canadians have access to affordable, high-speed broadband within 4 yrs.
- Create a Crown corporation to ensure the delivery of quality, affordable telecom services to every community.
- Ensure providers offer a basic plan for wireless and broadband that is comparable to affordable plans in other countries.
- End surprise bills, require companies to offer unlimited wireless data options at affordable rates, as exist elsewhere in the world, and abolish data caps for broadband internet.
- Introduce a Telecom Consumers’ Bill of Rights and put an end to gouging and predatory sales and services.
Rural internet connectivity
Use it or lose it: Require companies that have purchased the rights to build broadband actually do so by meeting milestones between now and 2025. If these milestones are not met, mandate the resale of spectrum rights and reallocate that capacity to smaller, regional providers.
- Build digital infrastructure to connect all of Canada to high-speed internet by 2025.
- Accelerate the plan to get rural broadband built in the next four years.
- Use it or lose it: Speed up the spectrum auction process (particularly in rural areas). Auction revenue dedicated to digital infrastructure plan.
Four-part affordability plan:
- Accountability: Put consumers first and hold the big telecom service providers accountable for anti-competitive behaviour and practices that hurt consumers.
- Competition: Promote competition by allowing foreign telecommunications companies to provide services to Canadian customers (with same treatment for Canadian companies).
- Access: Build digital infrastructure to connect all of Canada to high-speed internet by 2025, ensuring that all Canadians have reliable access to the Internet regardless of where they live.
- Investment: Promote investment in communications facilities by local and regional communities and businesses.
- Address issues indigenous communities face in navigating existing broadband programs by streamlining application processes and providing more support and developing more flexible funding arrangements.