Alternative Federal Budget 2011 - Communications (in brief)

March 16, 2011

Recognizing “effective” connectivity as an essential service
To return Canada to a leadership role in the availability and use of new communications technologies, “effective” broadband, supporting a wide range of communications applications, must become a vital part of federal policy and programs.

The AFB believes that access to 1.5 Mbps. broadband should became part of the "basic service" definition for telecommunications providers in Canada.

Developing a national broadband plan
The AFB proposes a comprehensive national consultation about Canada's digital future that will include discussions about the environmental sustainability of increased use of digital devices. We will implement a transparent consultation process before September 2011 and present a comprehensive plan based on these discussions to Canadians by April 2012.

The AFB allocates $250,000 to fund a broad national consultation to modernize communications policy in Canada.

Creating jobs via next generation broadband networks
Modernizing a communications infrastructure creates jobs and builds communities, especially in rural and remote areas. A 2009 study by the U.S. Department of Agriculture showed that rural counties that embraced broadband adoption at the start of the millenium enjoyed access to more jobs than counties that did not. Their residents also earned more money than their less-connected counterparts.

Starting in 2012-13, the AFB invests up to $1 billion per year in a pan-Canadian infrastructure project to will bring broadband to all Canadians. Given that this is a major commitment of public funds, Canadians will retain majority ownership of the resulting infrastructure.

The AFB ramps up to $1 billion per year over a period of 10 years to modernize Canada's digital communications infrastructure

Building capacity and generating demand with a National Public Access program
National programs that provide access, education and support to ensure effective use of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) are an essential part of a digital strategy. Canada already has such a national program in the form of a country-wide network of 3,500 community technology centers that help more than 100,000 people per day incorporate new technologies into their lives. This network must not be allowed to collapse in the current telecom policy vacuum. Support for existing centres must expand and a program to resume funding for new centres needs to be established.

The AFB will allocate $40 million to support new and existing National Public Access sites in the 2011-2012 budget year.

For references, see full chapter below

Complete Communications Chapter

Complete AFB Budget in Brief

Complete Alternative Federal Budget 2011