Saturday, 23 July 2016

Rural Residents in Canada Deserve Reliable Internet and TV Services

During the summer, I like to spend most of my time up at the cottage.  I love the cottage!  Swimming, boating, or just sitting outside reading or writing.  But there's one thing that's always bothered me - I mean besides the mosquitoes.  What I'm referring to is the poor internet and TV services that I receive, because my cottage is located in a rural area.  In fact, I can only access satellite TV from one company because of my location and no cable service provider will expand their network to where my cottage is for the same reason.  And as anyone with satellite TV will tell you, the service doesn't work too well if bad weather comes along, not to mention the fact that it's ridiculously expensive.  I have internet access at my cottage, but it's quite unreliable and a lot slower than my internet back home in Toronto.

I guess I should be grateful I have satellite TV and internet access at all.  After all, before satellite TV, all I had at the cottage was one of those old TV antennas and I was lucky to pick up a few channels. But of course that was then and this is now.  It's the information age and I don't think it's right that just because my cottage is in a rural area, my internet and TV services should be so unreliable and my choices so limited.  The problem is that the big players in the internet and TV markets don't have any incentive or requirement to provide reliable service to people living in remote communities.  There are an emerging number of smaller companies providing TV and internet services, but they are also largely unreliable.  The problem is that it just doesn't make any financial sense to the established providers to spend money so that the few people living in remote, rural areas can access their services.  And as long as this is the case, anyone who resides in a rural area of Canada will be stuck with inferior service, if any service at all.  I believe that this needs to change and it needs to change now!

I would like to call on all relevant levels of government to put pressure on internet and TV service providers to provide rural customers with reliable service.  Everyone in Canada, whether they live in the city or out in the country, deserves equal access to communication services.  It's bad enough that we pay such high prices in this country to watch TV or access the internet.  Not being able to access these services just because you live in a rural area only makes the situation worse.

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