The federal Conservative caucus has officially launched a consultation process on rural internet access. To begin, they have released an initial proposal called Connecting Canada, which is available in English (https://www.dropbox.com/s/jmd712ytjx9c6um/20%2005%2006%20-%20CPC%20Rural%20Broadband%20Consultation%20Document%20%28final%29_EN.pdf?dl=0).
Jeremy Patzer, Member of Parliament for Cypress Hills—Grasslands will be actively seeking feedback while participating in a working group focused on expanding rural broadband.
“I am pleased to be part of a strong group of MPs working to address a real problem in Canada,” said Patzer. “My background in telecommunications continues to be a benefit to my time in politics, and I look forward to hearing from people throughout the riding and across Canada on their experience with broadband access, be it good or bad.”
Consulting Canadians is essential for providing a real solution to the digital divide between rural and urban Canada. The CRTC considers broadband to be a “basic telecommunications service” at 50 Mbs download and 10 Mbps upload speeds, following a 2016 decision. Using that standard, the regulator’s Broadband Fund website states that the national average for access to such service is 85.7% compared to 40.8% of rural Canadians.
“We need to hear from you about what is working for you, and what isn’t working,” said Patzer. “Let us know if you have any suggestions about solutions to this ongoing issue. Please reach out to my office if you have any questions or concerns related to this or any other topic.”
The Conservative working group and caucus will be hearing from local communities and all interested Canadians following the release of their initial recommendations.