Throne speech addresses rural broadband investment, reform for web giants

The government plans to accelerate the timeline of the Universal Broadband Fund

The Liberal government highlighted the importance of internet access, rural broadband investment, and upcoming reforms for web giants, during Wednesday’s throne speech.

Governor General Julie Payette delivered the speech on September 23rd to the Senate of Canada.

“In the last six months, many more people have worked from home, done classes from the kitchen table, shopped online, and accessed government services remotely. So it has become more important than ever that all Canadians have access to the internet,” Payette said.

The speech outlined plans to invest in all types of infrastructure, including rural broadband, particularly for Indigenous Peoples and northern communities.

“The Government will accelerate the connectivity timelines and ambitions of the Universal Broadband Fund to ensure that all Canadians, no matter where they live, have access to high-speed internet,” Payette stated.

For context, the Universal Broadband Fund is designed to support broadband projects across the country and aims to meet the unique needs of rural and remote communities.

The fund is meant to help the government meet its target of connecting 100 percent of Canadians to 50Mbps download and 10Mbps upload speeds by 2030.

Further, the speech outlined the importance of identifying ways to tax extreme wealth inequality and address tax avoidance by digital giants.

“Web giants are taking Canadians’ money while imposing their own priorities. Things must change, and will change,” Payette stated.

“The Government will act to ensure their revenue is shared more fairly with our creators and media, and will also require them to contribute to the creation, production, and distribution of our stories, on screen, in lyrics, in music, and in writing.”

The speech did not provide any further details about these plans, but promised that changes will be coming soon.

Image credit: CPAC