It was an especially sweet moment for me.
Earlier today, in his closing address at The 2018 Canadian Telecom Summit, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Minister Navdeep Bains announced that 7 internet service providers (Bell, Cogeco, Rogers, Sasktel, TELUS, Shaw and Videotron) will launch a national affordable internet program, providing high speed internet service to low-income households for only $10 per month.
In the opening remarks at The 2008 Canadian Telecom Summit, nearly 10 years ago, that we first started talking about the need for government leadership to help address low rates of computer ownership and broadband adoption among low income households. For 10 years, we included a call for the private sector to find a way to get more households online.
In the opening keynote address at The 2013 Canadian Telecom Summit, Rob Bruce announced that Rogers would be working with Toronto Community Housing to pilot an affordable internet program called Connected for Success. The program was later expanded to include other community housing agencies across the Rogers cable footprint. TELUS launched “Internet for Good” in BC and Alberta in 2016.
A major challenge had been for service providers to identify qualifying households. With the help of the federal government, the program is now able to go national. Thanks to additional service providers voluntarily joining the program, hundreds of thousands of kids will be able to go back to school in the fall with the ability to do their homework online.
The 2008 Canadian Telecom Summit included a concert by Israeli musician Mosh Ben Ari and his band, where he opened with a song called “The Way” which includes the lyric “זה רגע מתוק, זה [It was a sweet moment, that].” Forgive me for flashing back to 2008.
Today’s announcement by Minister Bains was an especially sweet moment. At future events, I guess we will need to find something else to talk about. And that is a good thing.