PARRY SOUND-MUSKOKA — On an otherwise slow news day — and scouring for anything unrelated to COVID-19 — this email subject line jumped out today.
“MP Scott Aitchison Fights for Rural Internet.”
Wow! That’s great, eh?
Except it’s not new — as least locally.
Maybe the announcement got lost in an internet time warp.
True to his word during the election, the new Parry Sound-Muskoka parliamentarian is
speaking out on a sore point among constituents.
And he did it online. Think about it.
We got it just before noon — datelined Ottawa.
“Scott Aitchison, MP for Parry Sound-Muskoka, is encouraging local residents to participate in the Conservative caucus’ consultation process to connect rural Canadians by 2021.
“Today’s digital economy means that affordable, reliable access to consistent high-speed internet is critical for families & businesses,” says his release.
“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.”
Didn’t the last MP, Tony Clement, say that?
And the MP before him, Andy Mitchell?
But this is 2020 — a new and different decade.
Lakeland and Vianet have been aggressively competing for businesses the past year, running fibre optic cable up and down streets — tentacles hungry for information.
“This issue is a particular concern in rural Canada and has been made even worse by COVID-19,” says Aichison.
“Because of the high cost of internet access, I have even had constituents tell me they are having to choose between educating or feeding their families.”
He goes on ….
“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.
“Canada’s telecommunications industry needs more competition. This is evidenced by the fact 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 Conservatives are calling on the federal 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.
The consultation document can be viewed here.
For more information: email firstname.lastname@example.org
Or call his Huntsville office 705-789-4640.