MP Stetski calls for more funding for rural internet

Stetski says there is a growing digital divide between rural and urban communities

Kootenay Columbia MP Wayne Stetski. (File)

Kootenay Columbia MP Wayne Stetski. (File)

Wednesday in the House of Commons, the NDP Member of Parliament for Kootenay – Columbia called on the federal government to increase investment in rural internet and wireless infrastructure.

Speaking on a motion calling for two studies on rural digital infrastructure, Wayne Stetski said what is really needed is an action plan and proper funding.

Stetski spoke about the growing digital divide between rural and urban communities saying, “It impacts Canadians’ quality of life, compromises public safety, and limits innovation and economic growth.”

Stetski discussed how new technologies are changing everything from farming to education to health care, but reliable high-speed internet is needed to take advantage of these advances.

The private sector business case for digital infrastructure is not the same in rural areas as higher density communities, so the government must step in step in to get Canadians connected, Stetski said.

The CRTC estimates it will cost $7 billion to achieve universal access to high-speed internet in Canada. The Liberal government so far has committed $500 million through its Connect to Innovate program.

Stetski called on the government to substantially increase its investment in rural connectivity in the 2019 budget saying, “Rural Canadians deserve no less”.