A non-profit organization that works to keep the internet open, affordable, and surveillance-free is applauding the declaration made by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) that internet is a basic, essential service.
Josh Tabish is the Campaigns Director at OpenMedia, headquartered in Vancouver, B.C.
“We were absolutely overjoyed. To be perfectly honest with you, when I saw the ruling released I started crying at my desk,” explained Tabish. “We’ve been working on this for over two years.”
On Wednesday, Canada’s telecom regulator announced internet access is a basic service, just like landline telephone service, something that should be available to every Canadian. It wants to make ultra-high-speed services a reality within the next 10 to 15 years, although that would cost tens of billions of dollars.
The decision also brings forth a whole bunch of benefits for Canadians, Tabish told 980 CJME’s MainStreet program, including world-class internet speeds, options for unlimited data, and all sorts of opportunities to help rural and remote Canadians get online with an equal playing field and high-quality connections.
Tabish noted there is a big digital divide in Canada with one-in-five Canadians having no internet connection in their home, and nearly one-in-three of the lowest income residents have no mobile phone.
This is the first time any communication service has been deemed essential since the telephone landline according to Tabish. He added Canada is joining countries like Israel, Finland, Switerzland, and Spain as leaders making sure its residents have access to high-speed reliable service.
So, why is Tabish incredibly passionate about the topic?
He calls the internet an increasingly essential infrastructure for democracy, adding the internet is necessary to participate in the social fabric of Canadian society.