Libro Credit Union calling for better high-speed internet in rural communities
August 17, 2020
High-speed internet is critical to the success of rural Canada, Libro Credit Union is telling the federal government, as it calls for increased funding and continued commitments to boost the connectivity of communities.
The credit union, which serves more than 106,000 Owners in southwestern Ontario and is a certified B Corporation with a social purpose, has written to the government with recommendations for change.
In the consultation letter, CEO Steve Bolton says: “Our current environment has shown the inequalities, inconsistencies and gaps between high-density population service and low-density population service. The need to be at 50mbps download and 10mbps upload is urgent and critical to the success, growth and continued growth of rural Canada.”
In response to the government’s invitation to comment on the Universal Broadband Fund, Libro is asking for a focus on local and regional telecom agencies that are building critical infrastructure, and for help to solve “Final Mile” problems – getting services all the way to rural homes and businesses. The fund will aim to distribute millions across rural Canada for infrastructure and broadband connectivity related projects. Additional recommendations from Libro focused on alignment of the province and federal government on projects, streamline funding streams into one channel, increase data collection for service support and support safety and security of rural Canadians.
There has never been a more important time to make sure everyone in Ontario has access to strong internet speeds, the credit union is saying, with COVID-19 creating the need to do business online. As a financial institution, Libro has first-hand knowledge of the growing need to offer services in new ways. One Payments Canada study, for example, shows 62% of people are spending less cash and as more Canadians work and access social supports and services from home, the need will only continue to rise.
High-speed internet should be treated as an essential infrastructure need, Libro explains in its letter, adding that affordability for users also ranks highly after physical access to high speed infrastructure.
And the credit union congratulated the government for work already done, while expressing thanks for its openness to consult with businesses and thought leaders such as Libro.
“Libro was thrilled to see additional funding being spent on high-speed internet across all governments over the past year, and we hope that these funds are distributed effectively to ensure that these opportunities for growth and prosperity in southwestern Ontario are not missed,” Steve Bolton adds. “The Universal Broadband Fund can be a catalyst for change in rural Canada.”
Libro welcomes opportunities to take part in media interviews.
Media contact: Mike Donachie, Communications Manager, Libro Credit Union
P: 519-672-0130 ext. 4344, C: 226-926-4068, firstname.lastname@example.org