No matter where you go in Canada, chances are good that almost everyone knows that the Internet has become an absolutely indispensable resource across the nation. While, sure, perhaps not everyone's lives revolve around going online, the reality is that the majority of Canadians use the Internet every day in order to make their lives easier.
According to the 2012 Canadian Internet Use Survey, released by Industry Canada in late 2013, 83 per cent of households in the nation have access to the Internet within the home, an increase of 14 per cent when compared to 2010 figures. This number jumps in some provinces, however, with British Columbia and Alberta reporting 86 per cent connectivity and Ottawa coming in at 84 per cent.
As such, a number of individuals across Canada likely can't imagine not having access from almost anywhere, whether they want to use a traditional desktop computer or connect using a wireless devices like a tablet. Going online has made so many processes much simpler, such as checking bank account balances, paying bills, watching TV and staying in touch with friends and family.
It might be surprising, then, that there are in fact people who don't use the Internet because they can't - there aren't any satisfactory options available to them. Some rural areas of the country either don't have proper connections or there's an Internet service provider (ISP) monopoly in the region and costs are too high.
So what is being done to change this?
Federal budget will provide broadband funding
According to The Huffington Post Canada, the government recently stepped in to make sure everyone has access to good quality, fast Internet. The source reported that the recently approved 2014 federal budget sets aside money for providing and improving connections in rural and remote regions.
Namely, $305 million has been dedicated to this aim over the next five years, something that is set to benefit approximately 280,000 households located in underserved areas, the news provider detailed. Much of the focus will be on the farthest northern regions.
"It is essentially a rebranding of the Broadband Canada Program, a three-year, $225 million investment to bring faster Internet to underserved areas that ended in 2012," The Huffington Post explained.
The 2012 initiative was halted when that year's budget did not lend itself to supporting the Community Access Program. Then, an evaluation noted that "it may have outlived its usefulness as a means to bring the Internet to communities across Canada," the official document read, as quoted by the news source.
In the meantime
While it might be a little while, those in rural villages will soon be able to enjoy the same Internet-based perks as people in the rest of the nation. As the major ISPs become available in some remote areas, indies will also be able to break into such markets.
This is beneficial because then, there won't be a large ISP monopoly in the area, and consumers will be able to enjoy high quality service and lower prices without having to sign on for a multi-year plan when they're just getting their bearings online.