Pandemic has underlined need for better internet in rural areas, throne speech says


The Trudeau government’s plan to shepherd the economy safely past the COVID crisis includes its long-standing promise to make sure all parts of Canada have access to high-speed internet.

The throne speech read Wednesday by Gov. Gen Julie Payette to mark the reopening of Canada’s Parliament said the Liberal government will accelerate efforts to ensure Canadians in rural areas have better access to the vital communications lifeline.

Payette said that more people have worked, studied, shopped and accessed government services remotely in the past six months, making internet connectivity more important than ever.

“The government will accelerate the connectivity timelines and ambitions of the Universal Broadband Fund to ensure that all Canadians, no matter where they live, have access to high-speed internet,” she said.

As with most throne speeches, this one was a broad outline of the government’s plans — which are subject to the Liberals remaining in power despite their minority status in the House of Commons since last year’s election.

The Liberal budget released in March 2019 said the $1-billion Universal Broadband Fund — one of several initiatives to spread high-speed internet service throughout the country — would focus on extending “backbone” infrastructure to underserved communities.

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