CKBW: Atlantic Canadian Telecom Company Opts Out Of Affordable Internet Initiative

Posted June 7, 2018

An Atlantic Canadian telecom company has opted out of a new program aimed at getting low income families on affordable high speed internet plans.
 
The federal government's new Connecting Families Initiative is working with internet providers to connect households for $10 a month.
 
But that won't include Eastlink.
 
A company representative says that 'as a provider that primarily services much smaller Canadian towns and communities' they can't sell their service below cost.
 
The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), which represents low and medium income families, wants Eastlink to change their minds.
 
Fred Barnes leads the group.
 
"To be quite frank, we are one of the provinces in Canada with one of the lowest standards of living and it's hard for people here to even afford basics."
 
Most companies charge around $100 a month for internet alone.
 
Barnes says that's too much.
 
"It's very important to have affordable internet for everybody, especially for someone like myself who is unemployed and desperately looking for work, having internet is crucial."
 
ACORN was set to hold a rally outside Eastlink headquarters today, however Eastlink representatives met with the group to explain their reasons behind opting out instead.
 
Erin Bell, with ACORN, says despite this, they will continue to pressure until they can meet their CEO.
 
The Connecting Families initiative is set to invest $13.2 million over five years.
 
They federal government also plans to distribute up to 50,000 computers to eligible households through the Computers for Schools program.
 
According to the Government of Canada website almost half of Canadian households with an annual income of $30,000 or less do not have internet access.
 
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Article by Brittany Wentzell for CKBW