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News and comments on community broadband networks, the communities deploying them and the technologies that support them. Published by Denise Frey and Al Bonnyman.

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Thursday, August 14, 2003


Ontario: Rural politician criticizes province's broadband plans as inadequate

Ontario: Rural politician criticizes province's broadband plans as inadequate


"With a local proposal for broadband infrastructure funding before an Industry Canada rural broadband initiative program selection committee, Ontario NDP leader and local MPP Howard Hampton is concerned the proposal will fall short of expected targets to provide high-speed Internet here."

"Hampton believes the proposal is inadequate to meet the needs of the community and region in both the short- and long-term, and says more could be done by all levels of government to ensure more universal access to high-speed Internet service. 'What the federal government is providing is not adequate,' he said of the Industry Canada Broadband for Rural and Northern Development (BRAND) program. The BRAND pilot project was announced last September and allocated $105 million for development.

$105 million Canadian (about $70 million U.S.) still far exceeds anything state governments in the U.S. are spending on broadband development.

Hampton succinctly points out what we hear every day from our small town clients at Fiber Planners:

"Hampton warned the quality Internet service is as important today as proper road access was 70 years ago. 'In the ’30s and ’40s, if you didn’t have a road, you couldn’t take part in the economy,' he said. 'It was the same if you had no electricity in the ’50s and ’60’s or a telephone. If you don’t have a high-speed connection, you won’t be able to take part in the economy,' Hampton stressed. 'That’s why it’s so important to do it right the first time.'"

Hampton goes on to compare Ontario's program to those underway in neighboring "Prairie provinces" in central Canada, especially the aggressive program Manitoba has underway in conjunction with Manitoba Hydro, the provincial power utility.

Meanwhile, another article mentions that Hampton's home town of Fort Frances in northern Ontario hopes to know more about its' own broadband grant request this fall.


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