Media Releases Nov 09, 2020

Digital connectivity as important as ever for rural communities, says Canadian Chamber, but more coordination needed for fast rollout


(OTTAWA) – November 9, 2020 – The Canadian Chamber of Commerce’s Senior Director of Digital Economy, Technology and Innovation, Ulrike Bahr-Gedalia, issued the following statement regarding today’s announcement on the Universal Broadband Fund.

“Like a road, bridge or tunnel, digital connectivity is an essential backbone infrastructure for our businesses to compete in today’s economy. The launch of the Broadband Infrastructure Fund is another tool in the toolbox to address Canada’s ongoing digital divide, particularly for our rural and remote communities.

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce welcomes the additional $750M investment in the fund to complement our accelerating broadband needs, and to meet the increased speed at which businesses, citizens and services have moved online after the pandemic hit Canada in March 2020. Coordination and streamlining of the various broadband funds and programs will be instrumental in providing clarity for Canadian businesses so they can work together with governments in getting high-speed internet to rural communities as quickly as possible.

Reliable broadband access, in particular in rural and remote communities, has long posed a challenge for many Canadians to effectively compete and participate in the economy, as professionals and as citizens. Today’s announcement will help the 59.2% of Canadians in rural communities who still do not have access to high-speed internet. With the increase in remote work and services moving online at an accelerated speed, broadband access has become a must-have for all Canadians.

When businesses and families consider where to establish themselves and where to invest, network connectivity is among their list of priorities, if not one of the top priorities. Undoubtedly, the COVID-19 pandemic has irreversibly changed how we live, work and use technology. It has highlighted that digital connectivity is not only critical to resilience and business continuity in times of crisis, but also invaluable for social interaction and mental support during times of physical social distancing.

The pandemic has made the need for widely distributed broadband connectivity more important than ever. Today’s announcement is another step towards a common goal for all Canadians to have access to high-speed Internet. ”

About the Canadian Chamber of Commerce – Because Business Matters

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce helps build the businesses that support our families, our communities and our country. We do this by influencing government policy, by providing essential business services and by connecting businesses to information they can use, to opportunities for growth and to a network of local chambers, businesses, decision-makers and peers from across the country, in every sector of the economy and at all levels of government, as well as internationally. We are unapologetic in our support for business and the vital role it plays in building and sustaining our great nation.

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For more information, please contact:

Phil Taylor
ptaylor@chamber.ca