A National Communications Strategy is an Economic Building Block

June 4, 2013

Alternative Federal Budget Communicaions Chapter 2013

Summary only.  Click here for full version of Communications chapter   

For full version  of AFB see:  Alternative Federal Budget 2013 p.48

 Canada continues to fall behind peer nations in the strategic area of information and communications policy and infrastructure. A recent report from the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) Measuring the Information Society 2012 ranked Canada 32nd out of 155 countries according to their level of ICT access, use and skills. In the top five countries were Korea, Sweden, Denmark, Iceland and Finland. According to the ITU, all top-30 countries are "high-income countries, underlying the strong link between income and ICT progress."  It is becoming increasingly clear that a national communications strategy is an essential part of long term economic planning.

Communities with affordable high-speed Internet access can attract businesses, encourage local entrepreneurship, and maintain high standards in education and health services, all of which support local sustainability. The recommendations in this chapter are designed to return Canada’s communications infrastructure to world class standards.

1. Recognize “Effective” Connectivity as an Essential Service

  • In order to return Canada to a leadership role in the availability and use of new communications technologies, “effective” broadband that supports a wide range of communications applications must become a vital part of policy and programs at the federal level. The AFB believes that “effective” broadband means high-speed Internet of 100 Mbps or more.

2. Develop a National Communications Strategy

  • The AFB allocates $250,000 to fund a broad national consultation to modernize communications policy in Canada. We will present a transparent process that can be implemented before September 2013. A comprehensive plan based on these discussions will be presented to Canadians by April 2014.

3. Create Jobs With Next Generation Broadband Networks

  • The AFB ramps up to $1 billion annually over 10 years to modernize Canada’s digital communications infrastructure 

  • The AFB will reinvest some of the proceeds from the upcoming spectrum auction (Spring 2013) to support the modernization of our digital infrastructure according to the recommendations of a comprehensive communications strategy. 

  • The AFB will immediately revive rural and remote connectivity programs. 

4. Rebuilding the National Public Access Program

  • The AFB allocates $40 million to support new and existing national public access sites in the 2013-2014 budget year.

  • The AFB will ensure that the Department of Human Resources and Skills Development continues to support digital literacy with its CAP-YI youth initiatives program. 

2013 budget for communications: 

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

  • The AFB ramps up to $1 billion annually over 10 years to modernize Canada’s digital communications infrastructure 

  • The AFB allocates $40 million to support new and existing national public access sites in the 2013-2014 budget year.