There are frequent complaints via local social media of spotty internet access, particularly in Harrison Hot Springs. The good news is a solution may be in the works.
Member of Parliament for Mission-Matsqui-Fraser Canyon Brad Vis recently launched a consultation for inadequate rural internet access.
“I hear regularly from residents who know all too well the struggle with accessing suitable internet in rural communities,” Vis said. “It is an issue that has been compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic, as more and more kids are completing schoolwork online and adults are working remotely. It’s an issue that Justin Trudeau promised to address, but so far, he has failed to achieve any progress on. Rural internet customers have had enough, and action must be taken now.”
Back in December 2016, the The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) ruled that high-speed internet is an essential communications service, a classification that until that ruling was reserved only for local, land line telephone service. At that time, the benchmark for rural download speeds was 50 megabits per second (Mbps) with upload speeds of 10 Mbps. According to the CRTC, nearly 86 per cent of households in Canada has broadband meeting or exceeding this standard, but only about 40.8 per cent of households in rural communities achieve these speeds.
To that end, the CRTC was slated to provided up to $750 per year over the course of five years starting in 2019, distributed via an application system found on their website, crtc.gc.ca. The approved projects for 2020 have yet to be announced; however, it’s safe to say pandemic-related delays may stall projects for at least the near future.
Vis is part of a group of Conservatives that are calling on the government to fix this issue by 2021.
“I urge residents and businesses to get in touch with my office regarding our rural internet access consultations. This is a chance for those of you who have been living with this issue to have your voices heard,” Vis said in a statement. “I know there are some innovative and common-sense ideas that will come from our community, and I am looking forward to putting these ideas before the government in the future.”
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