The government of Canada today announced the launch of the second phase of the Connecting Families initiative, as part of which it will be introducing significantly faster speeds and increased data usage for low-income families and seniors across the country.
For $20 a month, Internet download speeds will be five times faster and upload speeds ten times faster than previously offered. In addition, the data allotment is doubling, from 100 GB to 200 GB of usage per month. This new phase will also broaden eligibility from families receiving the maximum Canada Child Benefit (CCB) to include seniors receiving the maximum Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS), Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) noted in the announcement.
The initiative includes a partnership between the Canadian government and 14 participating internet service providers (ISPs) across the country that are voluntarily contributing to the initiative by offering high-speed Internet services for a low fee.
“Being connected is important to maintain professional, social, economic and cultural networks within the digital economy. However, many low-income Canadians are still facing barriers that prevent their full participation in the economy. By working closely with Internet service providers across the country, we are increasing accessibility and providing all Canadians with affordable and reliable Internet,” said the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry François-Philippe Champagne.
Access Communications, Bell Canada, CCAP, Cogeco, Hay Communications, Mornington, Novus, Rogers, SaskTel, Shaw, Tbaytel, Telus, Videotron and Westman Communications are participating in Connecting Families.
“Seniors depend on the Internet to stay in touch with loved ones and access vital services. Providing low-income seniors with affordable access to high-speed Internet service will make a tremendous difference in their everyday lives. We’re grateful to leading Internet service providers for their partnership in making the Internet more accessible to all Canadians,” said Minister of Seniors Kamal Khera.
This initiative is in line with Canada’s Connectivity Strategy, which aims to provide all Canadians with access to Internet speeds of at least 50 megabits per second (Mbps) download and 10 Mbps upload.