Municipal Broadband & Internet for all

As Edmontonians, we must think like owners and examine what levers we can use to harness our collective purchasing power, advocacy to the Federal government and elevating competition and choice for consumers. Canadians are paying some of the most expensive telecommunications costs in the world.

Access to the internet is now a necessity. The high cost of service affects participation in school, opportunities in the job market, health care, and many other aspects of daily life for our students, staff, and families. From work from home to online learning, to virtual doctors appointments, the internet is no longer a nice to have, it is a must have. We all must advocate to the Federal government for immediate initiatives to increase accessibility and quality and reduce costs of internet and telecommunications.

What could a municipal broadband solution look like?

The City of Toronto is beginning to address the issue of internet affordability through a program called ConnectTO. This program will help serve low and moderate income communities left out of the conversation. Nearly 20% of people in Canada do not have broadband internet access at home while the rest of us suffer with low speeds and high prices – some of the highest in the world. 

Modelled on ConnectTO, Edmonton could create a program that:

  • $10 dollar internet for low income and moderate income people (including seniors, lone parents, people with disabilities, working families, etc- people making $60,000 per year or less) and affordable devices and modems provided by the city low & moderate income people. 
  • City to create an independent Internet Service Provider (ISP) -publicly owned and publicly controlled, permanently
  • Minimum threshold on speed to be set at 50mbps for downloads and 10 Mbps for uploads. 
  • Privacy protection- data collected not sold or shared with private companies
  • Provide FREE public wi-fi in all city owned parks, facilities, and buildings

 

Reference:

Acorn: https://www.internetforall.ca

National Post: Canada's wireless costs continue to be the highest in the world.

PIAC: https://www.piac.ca

Open Media: Give Just Trudeau a wake-up call on affordability.

 

Will you sign?

On Monday, January 24th, Edmonton City Council will have the opportunity to take a first step towards advancing municipal broadband and internet for all.

We must bridge the digital divide and treat the internet like a public utility. It should be just like the water in our taps or the streetlight outside of our homes. The internet should be accessible and affordable to all, but every month, we pay some of the highest rates in the world.

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Address: 1 Sir Winston Churchill Sq, 2nd Floor, Edmonton, AB T5J 2R7