Canada is funding a new initiative for its “Connecting Families” concept, aimed at providing low-cost Internet to many thousands of families in rural and isolated areas of the country.
Canada’s Innovation Minister, Navdeep Bains, speaking last week at the Canadian Telcom Summit Toronto, said that the government would allocate C$100 million (€65.3m) in this year’s budget to improve coverage and connectivity in rural areas with the help of Low Earth Orbiting satellites.
The Connecting Families concept would be launched together with Canada’s main telcos and TV distribution businesses including Bell, Cogeco, Videotron, Rogers, SaskTel, Shaw and Telus.
“We remain focused on the three elements of telecom service that matter most to Canadians: quality, coverage and price. We are also dedicated to ensuring that underrepresented groups can access the new skills, jobs and opportunities that are available online. We’re building on the progress we’ve made to promote telecom competition and help prepare Canada for emerging new technologies such as smart homes and connected cars. I also want to recognise the private sector leadership we’re seeing through the Connecting Families low-cost Internet initiative.”
Promised services would include a 10 Mb/s download speed, or the fastest available if less than 10 Mb/s was unavailable, and at least 100 GB of data usage at a guaranteed discounted rate. The service would come with free equipment and installation.
Additionally, up to 50,000 computers would go to less well-off families through the government’s existing Computers for Schools aid programme.