Lower cost connections

Will lower cost connections get more people online?

That is the objective of a number of initiatives being offered by telecom companies across the country. Programs provide devices and services to disadvantaged individuals and families.

Long time readers of this blog will recall that Rogers launched its Connected for Success internet program, the first-of-its-kind program in Canada in 2013 in Toronto. The company expanded the program to subsidized tenants and members of housing partners across the Rogers internet footprint in Ontario, New Brunswick and Newfoundland. In 2021, Rogers added new speed options and TV bundles to meet customers’ evolving needs and expanded eligibility to make the program available to more low-income Canadians. Over the past year, the program expanded across Western Canada and Northern Ontario; a new national Connected for Success wireless 5G program was launched.

Rogers offers an array of services branded under Connected for Success. According to Rogers, Connected for Success is available for over 2.5 million eligible recipients of Provincial income support, Provincial disability benefits, Rent-geared-to-income tenants of a non-profit housing partner organization, Seniors receiving the federal Guaranteed Income Supplement, or the Resettlement Assistance Program. In addition, households receiving the Maximum Canada Child Benefit and Maximum Guaranteed Income Supplement are eligible through the federal Connecting Families program described below.

  • Rogers Connected for Success 5G mobile plan features: Access to 5G/5G+ network; 3GB (at speeds up to 256 Mbps). Data at reduced speeds thereafter;
    Unlimited Canada-wide talk and text; Unlimited international texting and picture/video messaging from Canada; U.S. & International Preferred Rate included; Call Display with Name Display; Voicemail; Call Waiting and group calling; Access to Roam Like Home; 2,500 Call Forwarding Minutes; and, Spam Call Detect. Customers can also get a no-cost 5G smartphone with financing as long as they keep this mobile plan for 24 months. (Customers can bring their own 5G-enabled device if preferred.)

TELUS offers a portfolio of services branded under“Connecting For Good”:

  • Mobility for Good: Mobility for Good for youth provides a free smartphone and plan to youth aging out of foster care, helping them successfully transition to independence. Mobility for Good for seniors provides access to a discounted smartphone and low-cost mobility rate plan for Canadian seniors receiving a Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) amount of $6,500 or more annually, ensuring that they stay connected to loved ones and can access important resources and information.
  • Internet for Good: TELUS Internet for Good offers low-cost, high-speed Internet to qualified low-income families and seniors, youth aging out of care and people with disabilities in need.
  • Tech for Good: Available nationwide, Tech for Good helps improve quality of life, independence and personal empowerment of people with disabilities by offering customized recommendations and training on assistive technology for mobile devices, computers and laptops.
  • Health for Good: TELUS Health for Good initiatives like mobile health clinics and free or low-cost access to TELUS Health MyCare™ counselling and TELUS Health Medical Alert services make healthcare more accessible for marginalized individuals who often face significant barriers accessing quality health care.

Nationally, lower cost connections are available to eligible low income households, branded under the federal government’s Connecting Families Initiative. This program is overseen by Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED). The costs are covered by various Internet Service Providers across Canada.

There are 2 plans offered under Connecting Families.

  • Plan 1: $10 per month which includes: Up to 10 Mbps download speed; 1 Mbps upload speed; 100 GB of data.
  • Plan 2: $20 per month which includes: Up to 50 Mbps download speed; 10 Mbps upload speed; 200 GB of data.

There are Connecting Families service providers nearly everywhere in Canada: Access Communications Co-operative; Beanfield Technologies; Bell Canada (including Bell Aliant and Bell MTS); Cogeco; Coop√©rative de c√Ęblodistribution de l’arri√®re-pays (CCAP); Hay Communications; Mornington; NorthwestTel; Novus Entertainment; Quadro; Rogers; Rural Net; SaskTel; Tbaytel; TELUS; Vid√©otron; and, Westman Media Cooperative.

There are still too many Canadians who aren’t online despite all of these options for lower cost connections for internet and mobile services and devices. As we have discussed before, there are non-price factors inhibiting people from connecting to broadband services.

Alberta recently launched a free digital literacy training program, available in English and French, with 19 courses divided between Basic and Intermediate streams. I’ll have more about this in the coming weeks.

What more do we need to do to get more people online?

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