Conservatives Launch Consultation Process to Connect Rural Canadians by 2021

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Internet Speeds in Fort Severn are too slow for most common uses of the Internet
Internet Speeds in Fort Severn are too slow for most common uses of the Internet

OTTAWA – Internet speeds in many parts of rural Canada are very slow. Too slow for people to take advantage of everything many urban residents in Canada take for granted.

In Northern Canadian First Nations, Internet speeds can be so low that even emails can take a long time to send.

Michelle Rempel Garner, Shadow Minister for Industry and Economic Development, issued the following statement regarding the launch of the Conservative caucus’ consultation process on rural internet access:

“Today’s digital economy means that affordable, reliable access to consistent high-speed internet is a determinant to economic productivity, and individual equality of opportunity. Despite the CRTC designating broadband as an essential service more than 5 years ago, many Canadians in rural and remote regions still do not have consistent access to this essential service.

“This issue is a particular concern in rural Canada and has been exacerbated by COVID-19. The rural/urban divide will only grow larger with the installation of even faster 5G networks in urban Canada, while many rural Canadians do not meet the CRTC speed benchmark of a 50 megabytes per second (MBPS) download speed and a 10 MBPS upload speed.

“Despite a commitment to fix this issue, the Liberals have failed to achieve universal network access. Given the urgency of the situation, as so many Canadians are now required to work and attend school from home, bold action is needed.

“Canada’s telecommunications industry landscape is not competitive enough to incentivize the market to increase speed and access. This is evidenced by the fact that investments in rural broadband by successive governments and incumbent providers over nearly two decades have not solved the problem. Investment is needed, but first, the system and the regulatory environment need to change.

“That is why today, Conservatives are calling on the Liberal government to outline a concrete action plan to address this issue. This plan needs to connect all Canadians by 2021, at the speed benchmark that has been set by CRTC.

“Our Conservative caucus has come together to develop some initial recommendations to help achieve this, on which we will be consulting with our communities.”