Canada announces new $20 high-speed internet plan for those who need it most

Affordable and reliable Internet access is an absolute necessity for anyone living in Canada (or living anywhere, if you ask the United Nations.)

It’s been that way for some time now, and yet with some of the most expensive telecom rates in the world, many people in this country still can’t afford home internet access, let alone a fast enough to handle all their daily tasks. .

The COVID-19 pandemic has proven just how dependent we as a society are on digital technologies for work, school, entertainment, socializing and even health services, and it continues to underscore the importance of these tools for isolated and vulnerable people.

Unfortunately, those who are most vulnerable – particularly seniors and low-income families – often struggle to afford the cost of reliable home internet service, which here in Toronto can cost well over $100 per month.

“Now more than ever, Canadians need reliable internet access, but many are struggling to pay,” the federal government announced to this effect in August 2021 when revealing a new plan to “connect hundreds of thousands of low-income seniors and families with affordable high-speed Internet access at home by 2022.”

That plan has now paid off, according to Canada’s Department of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, which confirmed Monday that letters are now being sent to eligible households with access codes.

“Through the Connecting Families initiative, the Government of Canada, in partnership with 14 Internet Service Providers (ISPs), is supporting affordable high-speed Internet access for those who need it most,” reads a government statement issued on Monday.

“In partnership with 14 participating ISPs across the country who voluntarily contribute to the initiative by offering high-speed Internet services for $20 per month, the Government of Canada will help connect hundreds of thousands of low-income families and seniors. income to affordable high-speed services. The Internet.”

For this $20 per month service fee, Connecting Families 2.0 program participants. program will have access to internet speeds of at least 50 megabits per second (mbps) for downloads and 10 mpbs for uploads. Participants will have a data allowance of up to 200 GB per month (compared to 100 GB in a previous version of the initiative).

“This new phase will also expand eligibility for families receiving the maximum Canada Child Benefit (CCB) to include seniors receiving the maximum Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS),” the press release notes.

Not sure if you are eligible? You will know soon enough if a letter from the Government of Canada arrives at your home with an access code necessary to register for Connecting Families. Officials say each access code will be valid for the duration of the program, as long as a household still meets the criteria.

“Being connected is important for maintaining professional, social, economic and cultural networks within the digital economy,” Canada’s Innovation Minister François-Philippe Champagne said Monday. “By working closely with Internet Service Providers across the country, we are increasing accessibility and providing affordable and reliable Internet for all Canadians.

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