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Canada Is Providing Low-Income Families With $10 a Month Internet

Canadian internet providers have agreed to work with the federal government to provide low-income families with inexpensive internet rates, Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains announced this week.

“We all agree that all Canadians need access to high-quality, broad-reaching, and affordable internet services,” he said at the 2018 Canadian Telecom Summit on Wednesday. “As with any competitive market, more can be done.”

Qualifying households will be offered 100 gigabytes of landline data service at the speed of 10 megabits per second (unless that speed is unavailable in their area) for $10 per month.

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The government of Canada will help companies establish which households are eligible for the rates through the new initiative, called “Connecting Families,” but will not be paying for the subsidized rates.

BCE’s Bell, Cogeco, Rogers, SaskTel, Shaw, Telus, and Quebecor’s Videotron have signed onto the initiative so far.

Access to the internet is becoming more and more important in Canada. The education system generally assumes students have access to the internet, many citizen services are more accessible online, and the job market is generally discovered online, too.

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“It was an issue for communication with schools because a lot of stuff is done online,” Norma-Jean Quibell, a mother of two daughters, told CBC. “Social stuff like parenting groups, it’s all done online nowadays. It felt isolating, at points.”

Quibell was involved with the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), which has an Internet for All campaign calling for the $10-per-month internet rate for low-income earners. ACORN welcomed the announcement and said they hope the program will reach all individuals with low incomes, according to CBC.

It is estimated that 220,000 households in Canada will qualify for this rate.

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