March 20th, 2019 - 7:59pm
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MARCH 20, 2019
TRUDEAU LIBERALS ABANDON BROADBAND FOR ALL CANADIANS: Federal Budget delays goal for 11 years & shortchanges needed funds
(Ottawa)-Brian Masse, MP (Windsor West), NDP Innovation, Science, Economic Development, was disappointed and dismayed in the Liberal Federal 2019 Budget that abandoned the achievable goal high speed internet broadband to all Canadians. The Liberals delayed 100 percent access for 11 years to 2030 while only providing less than 30 percent of the necessary funds to get there.
“This yet another example of the Liberal government’s litany of broken promises,” Masse stated. “While Canadian consumers are price gouged for internet and wireless services the Liberals have chosen this moment to isolate thousands living in rural and remote communities from ever getting what is now an essential service-high speed internet access.”
It will cost approximately $6 billion according to the government’s own estimate to provide full broadband connection to all Canadians but the liberals are only providing $1.7 billion over 13 years. The government is depending on the private sector to provide the $3 billion of this amount through the accelerated capital cost allowance which has been an enormously expensive tax giveaway to telecom companies while Canadians pay amongst the highest rates, according to the government’s own studies, in the world for wireless and internet services. Additionally, the telecom companies’ investments have not been in rural or remote areas so the tax break is actually just subsidizing corporate capital expenditures that would have taken place.
The government is also depending on Canada’s infrastructure bank to provide $ 2 billion, which is dependent on private sector investment. Once again this is not going to fund broadband in rural and remote areas since those regions are not going to provide their price gouging profits the telecom companies are used to in the rest of the country.
“From 2001 to 2018 the government has raised over $14 billion from multiple telecom spectrum auctions yet Canadians in rural and remote communities still do not have decent internet service or even service at all, begging the question about where this money is being spent?. That is the sale of public property. There is another auction this year. This is the money the government should use to ensure this essential service is available to all Canadians,” Masse stated.
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