5 years in the making

In my opening remarks at The 2008 Canadian Telecom Summit, I said:

there are many households in urban areas that can’t afford to equip their homes with a computer and connectivity. Shouldn’t our connectivity strategy be as concerned about that kind of digital divide? We might find that a direct, needs-based subsidy, costs less and benefits a broader group of Canadians caught on the wrong side of the digital divide.

The digital divide is not just a chasm between rural and urban. At the root is affordability, which is a problem facing lower income urban dwellers as much as rural markets.

According to reports [here, here and here], in his opening address at The 2013 Canadian Telecom Summit, Rogers Communications President Rob Bruce is expected to be announcing a program called “Connected for Success”, providing affordable broadband, computers and software to Toronto Community Housing.

It’s unfathomable that Canadians are living without internet access today because they simply cannot afford it. With Connected for Success we’ve taken the first step to connect youth and we urge our competitors, our partners and communities to work with us to bridge Canada’s digital divide.

Today’s announcement is a huge step forward, demonstrating leadership from the private sector in providing affordable internet access to families. About half of all households in the lowest income quintile have no computer, let alone a broadband connection.

As I have been writing for a number of years, “How do kids from low income households stand a chance when so many jobs require basic computer skills?”

This kind of initiative can be expected to bring enormous benefits to our communities, urban and rural, helping to strengthen Canada’s performance in a global digital economy.

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