Canada Will Pay Millions To Ensure All Citizens Have Internet
Justin Trudeau is no longer Reason #1 to move north.
Canadians are about to get a major boost to their country’s digital infrastructure. The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) announced it will set aside $750 million to ensure that all citizens are able to access high-speed internet. The money will go toward repairing or building the physical framework necessary to go online.
The CRTC reported that as of 2015, 82% of the country’s citizens had broadband internet with download speeds of 50 Mbps, which experts consider to be high speed. That may be a large percentage of the population, but it leaves out the people who need the internet most: those in rural and indigenous communities.
The fund will ensure Canadian citizens won’t miss out on opportunities due to a lack of access. Everything from job opportunities to news outlets are moving online, and not being able to quickly and reliably view these resources?—?or finding them only by using limited mobile data?—?is a disparaging disadvantage.
The internet also connects rural residents to medical professionals. Telehealth is a rapidly growing sector of health care; it entails any service that lets a doctor treat a patient from a distance. Many conditions require only a video call to diagnose, and internet access can allow those living in rural communities to get the medical help they need without traveling to distant hospitals.
The issue of internet access isn’t solely a Canadian one. The Pew Research Center reports that in 2015, only 55% of Americans in rural areas had broadband internet in their homes. Many of these people are moving toward relying on their smartphones and mobile data plans, which severely limit what they can do. Imagine filling out a resume on an iPhone.
We’ve reached a point at which internet access is more of a necessity than a luxury. Canada is taking a huge step toward recognizing the importance of this service, and hopefully other countries will follow suit.