Connecting rural Canadians to the Internet

For many of us, the Internet is a vital part of our daily lives – business and pleasure.

Personally, I have a hard time imagining my life without the Internet in it in some way shape or form. From a work perspective, I’m a freelance writer and communications project manager and my husband and I also have a web-based retail business. Socially, the Internet helps me stay in touch with friends and family far away and makes plans with those who are close by.

Where am I going with this, you may ask?

There are still large rural areas of this country where Canadians have no access to reliable, affordable high speed internet. Anyone who’s ever tried to download a PDF or a high resolution image on dial up knows how frustrating that can be!

So I was rather pleased when the federal government announced this week the first list of projects slated to receive funding under its Connecting Rural Canadians initiative.

I was somewhat disappointed to see only two Ontario projects on the list though, projects that together are only expected to connect just over 360 household to high speed broadband.

Quebec, Alberta and British Columbia by comparison each have significantly more approved projects – you can check out the list here.

We recently moved to a rural area on the outskirts of Guelph and the availability of reliable high speed internet was a major factor in deciding where we would buy. I wrote about this in a previous post, called The Great Internet Divide.

And it’s an issue for others as well, especially farmers who don’t have the option to simply move into town to get internet access, as I wrote about in another post in 2008 following a conversation I had with a farmer from Southern Ontario.

All I can say is this is a step in the right direction, but we’re still quite a way from the finish line.

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