Re: Rural internet connectivity

0
57

I was slightly confused reading Mr. Hager’s letter on rural internet connectivity (page 5 – December 5). While he accurately stated that I promised during the 2015 campaign that our Liberal government would work hard to deliver improved rural internet connectivity in the Pontiac, he failed to mention the significant investments that prove we are delivering on this promise.

I was slightly confused reading Mr. Hager’s letter on rural internet connectivity (page 5 – December 5). While he accurately stated that I promised during the 2015 campaign that our Liberal government would work hard to deliver improved rural internet connectivity in the Pontiac, he failed to mention the significant investments that prove we are delivering on this promise.
Over the past year, we have announced over $13 million in funding to connect 3,211 households in 29 communities across this federal riding. By contrast,
the previous Conservative government announced a mere $255,000 (in 2009) over the ten years they were in power. If Pontiac is playing catch-up on internet infrastructure, it’s due to this legacy of non-investment from both the private
sector and the previous administration.
Pursuant to federal and provincial requirements, the $13.4M backbone fibre projects announced this year must be completed by Bell Canada at the latest
by 2021. However, I share Pontiac constituents’ sense of urgency and have been urging the company to implement as quickly as possible. But remember, these are not “government” projects: these are private sector projects stimulated by
government incentives. We need more of this type of investment, and I
will continue to work with local leaders to achieve it.
I also recognize there are still parts of our riding with poor broadband service and am working with the MRC and municipalities to access further funds available through the CRTC’s $750 million rural internet fund.
There are broader economic and regulatory reasons why rural Canada doesn’t benefit from the same digital infrastructure investments as urban Canada. We need to get to the root of this problem: it is a national issue, not merely a local matter for Pontiac politicians to address. So I won’t offer simple slogans to falsely promise a quick fix. This is why my Private Member’s Motion, M-208, is so important: it focuses the House of Commons debate on how we can fundamentally address cellular and internet infrastructure discrepancies between rural and urban Canada.
At the end of the day, we are making progress on internet in the Pontiac with unprecedented government investments. However, the digital infrastructure
problem is complex and will not be resolved overnight. As MP, I am
committed to keeping this issue front and centre. I will continue to fight for
 further investments and systemic change.

Will Amos
MP, PONTIAC