Montreal-based national carrier Bell has registered to lobby the city of Toronto on its ‘ConnectTO’ plan, according to the city’s lobbyist registry.
Earlier this month, Toronto city council approved the city-driven collaborative program that will leverage municipal resources to build a broadband network. The program aims to bridge the digital divide and support vulnerable and marginalized residents.
As first reported by The DownUp, Bell registered to lobby the city on the proposal on February 9th. The city’s registrar notes that the carrier has registered to have a “discussion related to the Connect TO report.”
Under the proposal, the network will be created using existing fibre and other city assets such as buildings, lights, sidewalks and boulevards. It will be delivered to homes and businesses through a private sector partner.
Access will be provided to qualified service providers to generate revenue into the city. ConnectTO is going to be deployed in phases, with testing to begin in the areas of Jane and Finch, Golden Mile, and Malvern later this year.
The second phase of the program will see the network launched city-wide in early 2022. The plan essentially hopes to provide marginalized neighbourhoods with access to high-speed internet without the high prices of major carriers.
In response to the city’s approval of the plan, a spokesperson for Bell told The Toronto Star that there is already enough competition in Toronto and that its internet plans meet all sorts of budgets.