Innovation minister Navdeep Bains used the third day of the annual Canadian Telecom Summit to announce that a number of participating internet service providers will be providing up to 220,000 low-income families with the opportunity to buy low-cost internet plans.
Plans will be priced at $10 per month, and will provide subscribers with a minimum of 100GB of internet at speeds of 10Mbps.
Bell, Cogeco, Rogers, SaskTel, Shaw, Telus and Videotron are all participating in this initiative.
“We’re proud to bring this program to Saskatchewan to help bridge the digital divide for thousands of less fortunate families in our province,” said Doug Burnett, SaskTel Acting President and CEO, in a June 6th, 2018 media release.
“With our expansive High Speed Internet network, low-income families from all over the province will be able to access this program and take advantage of the opportunities that the internet has to offer.”
Of Canada’s Big Three internet service providers — Rogers, Bell and Telus — Rogers and Telus both offer some form of low-cost internet plans to Canadians in certain regions.
The Rogers Connected for Success program has been in operation for five years as of this week and has 250 housing partners — as well as 100 co-ops — that allow the provider to reach approximately 200,000 households.
The Telus Internet for Good program connects with low-income households in Alberta and British Columbia to provide low-cost internet to families in those provinces.
“As part of our long-standing commitment to putting our customers and communities first, the TELUS team is leveraging our technology in combination with our culture of giving, to bridge social, economic and geographic digital divides,” said Darren Entwistle, President and CEO of Telus, in a June 6th, 2018 media release.
“Through programs like TELUS Internet for Good, we are leading the way in connecting at-risk Canadians to the tools and opportunities they need to realize their full potential.”
Both Telus and Rogers offer internet for $10 per month to some low-income customers. Rogers provides 100GB of internet per month at download speeds up to 10Mbps, while Telus provides up to 300GB of internet at downloads speeds of up to 25Mbps. Bell, meanwhile, does not currently offer a low-income internet program.
“This next step is about continuing to invest in our communities to connect Canadians with what matters to them and to the digital economy,” said Joe Natale, president and CEO of Rogers, in a June 6th, 2018 media release.
“Bridging the digital divide through low-cost high-speed Internet will open a world of possibilities to even more families — whether engaging with classmates and teachers, accessing online employment resources, or connecting with friends and family at home and abroad.”
It’s important to note that ISED’s newly announced low-cost plans are only available for families that receive the maximum Child Care Benefit.
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) will be using summer 2018 to connect with any internet service providers looking to take part in the ‘Connecting Families’ initiative.
Bains also announced that ISED will be investing $13.2 million CAD over the course of five years to distribute approximately 50,000 computers through the government’s Computers for Schools program.
The computer distribution initiative will go live in fall 2018.
Update 06/06/2018 4:14pm ET: Story updated with additional reporting.