Soon after the publication of my column on the digital divide in Canada, I received the following email from a reader, who lives just north of Toronto (FWIW, I’ve received similar letters from people within the City of Ottawa limits). The reader reacts to both the lack of access and the efforts of Xplornet to stop the government from supporting communities without access. The letter ends with an important question: will the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology take the time to hear directly from Canadians without access? The full letter is posted below with permission.
My family lives in a rural subdivision north of Stouffville and east of Newmarket, ON. We do not have access to broadband internet service except through the expensive satellite service to which you alluded in your article. I have lobbied my representatives at all three government levels in hopes that they might be able to help provide service here……..all to no avail. At least my federal MP promised that the government was on the “cusp” of providing high speed internet service to our area. I emailed back for a clarification of the term “cusp” and so far have not received a reply. That was three years ago.
Xplornet Communications has been extremely aggressive in their marketing to sell high speed service in our area with flyers in the mail as well as door-to-door literature drop-offs. However, due to topography and trees in our area, we are unable to “see” any of their towers, so even their service in unavailable to us. It seems ironic to hear of their admonishment to the Standing Committee against the government’s support to help areas like ours achieve what most Canadians take for granted, i.e., access to high speed internet.
Thank you for your article. It has created a buzz amongst my neighbours. We all thought we had just slipped through the cracks. As a point of interest, I wonder if this Standing Committee actually includes anyone who does not have access to broadband?