OTTAWA – POLITICS – After successfully fighting to have conditions placed on the sale of ONTERA to Bell Aliant earlier this fall the Northern Ontario Caucus of Canada’s New Democratic Party have joined together to ensure that northern Ontarians continue to have access to the broadband internet services they presently have and may require for continued economic growth.
In a joint letter to Conservative Industry Minister James Moore, NDP MPs Charlie Angus (Timmins-James Bay), Claude Gravelle (Nickel Belt), Carol Hughes (Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing), John Rafferty (Thunder Bay-Rainy River) and Glenn Thibeault (Sudbury) presented the concerns held by many northern communities who are worried about the proposed changes to broadband spectrum licenses and the Conservative government’s failure to implement a vision for connecting rural Canada to broadband internet.
“The Conservatives have really missed the mark with their new proposed changes. They have designated a large part of our region as ‘urban,’ which it is not and this could actually jeopardize the internet access for thousands who are live in rural communities throughout our region,” Rafferty said. “The Harper government must ensure that no one will lose internet access as a result of this botched process,” said Rafferty.
Rafferty said that access to reliable broadband internet is a necessity for families, communities, and businesses living and operating in Northern Ontario. “The federal government is obligated to ensure that we are able to stay connected to the country and the world. This means that they must ensure that rural communities have the necessary infrastructure to grow, but they are leaving these communities behind by failing to present a long term plan to expand broadband internet services,” he said. “Rural broadband access is a key priority for our party, and you can expect better service in our region from a New Democrat government starting in 2015.”