Anti Poverty Groups Lobby for Cheaper Internet in Canada

National anti-poverty group ACORN recently said internet was not a luxury anymore and was a “Human right”. The group is lobbying for subsidized high speed internet plans for low income group Canadians.

A $10 a month internet plan would be a boon for many Canadians who have no regular access to the internet and cannot afford the steep charges for home internet services.

A CRTC survey recently found the same fact; home internet is essential but remains too pricey. 11 percent of people surveyed had no home internet service and many who did were struggling with the expensive charges. The Survey, which was conducted on 29,000 Canadians, found that 75 percent said they were not satisfied with the price of their home internet service.

The survey, which was conducted by polling firm EKOS, also found that more than 50 percent of the surveyed people also reported that they limited their home internet access over the past year due to the cost.

Many low income members of groups like ACORN who have high speed internet have said they have to cut back on other necessities like food to be able to afford it. Paying for the internet becomes a major bill every month, they feel.

The internet, besides being essential for various reasons for adults, has also become extremely important for children these days. Most children need the internet for school work and adults require access to the internet for all types of private and government related work.

Open Media, which is an Internet advocacy group, will also testify at CRTC hearings and insist that affordability of home internet service is critical.
The organization feels that Canadians are getting a bad deal in high speed internet and that the country has the 5th highest entry level prices.

However, some people have been worried that internet providers could raise prices for everyone else if they are forced to subsidize the service for low income groups in Canada. The best solution would be to increase competition in the high speed internet access market and thus ultimately bring down the prices, they feel.

Some internet providers have already started rolling out new cheaper plans, Rogers said it offers services for as low as $25 per month and advertises the deal as suitable for one person for basic internet service and charges an extra $8 modem rental fee.

Rogers also has a subsidized internet access plan for $9.99 a month which is available in some areas where community housing residents live.The telecom provider said the subsidized project can reach up to 150,000 residents.