Ensuring Equal Access to Affordable Internet for Québec’s Rural Communities

The COVID 19 pandemic has caused an unprecedented necessity for internet access. With the transition to remote work, schooling, and telemedicine, it has become crucial to have an accessible and reliable internet connection. Disproportionate affordability to the internet is most present among rural communities that pay approximately 46% higher installation fees and 14% higher monthly fees according to an article on the rural and urban divide in Canada (Worden & Hambly, 2021). With many dwellers in rural Québec communities paying unaffordable rates for less reliable and slower internet access (Government of Canada, 2019). 

Prime minister Trudeau has stated that "High-speed internet is becoming a basic utility, like water, or electricity. People need to have access to data" (CBC, 2021). He has promised to provide all Canadians with high speed internet by 2030. The Québec government has a budget of $826 million to expand high speed internet access. But what are those that are left with unaffordable internet rates to do in the meantime?

Y4Y Québec is calling on the government of Canada and the provincial government to provide publicly subsidized internet rates, with the highest internet speeds available, to rural parts of the province, in order to match the rates offered in urban regions. 

 

Y4Y Québec also calls on the provincial and federal governments to offer special rates to students. Students and youth in rural areas are dependent on stable internet access. Those who live in rural regions have limited job opportunities and schools within their vicinity. With many youth residing at home in rural communities they require a reliable internet connection to continue learning or working from home. Youth experience significant challenges to online schooling and work. These challenges include inadequate work spaces, unreliable internet connections, and disturbances from roommates, parents, and siblings. Competition with others in the home for the use of a weak internet connection creates further complications. The government and telecommunication companies should offset this burden by offering special rates to students. 

Please support Y4Y Québec’s initiative to make internet access affordable to Québec rural communities by adding your name to the petition below! 

I hereby express my support for publicly subsidized internet rates for those in rural communities, in order to achieve equal access to internet service in the province. I acknowledge and understand that upon reaching 100 signatures to this petition, Y4Y Québec will include my signature in a list of supporters of this petition, for the purpose of representing the above-stated positions on the issue of affordable internet access in Québec’s rural communities to government representatives.