In an effort to ensure Canadians continue to get access to secure and competitive Internet and wireless services, Industry Minister James Moore has unveiled Digital Canada 150 today, an ambitious plan for the future of Canada’s digital age. The strategy includes 39 new initiatives based on 250 submissions from over 2,000 Canadians, who participated in online consultations held over three months in 2010.
Under the Digital Canada 150, over 98% of Canadians will have access to high-speed Internet at 5Mbps to promote e-commerce, high-resolution video and employment opportunities. The plan ensures that Canadians will have confidence that their online transactions are secure and their privacy is protected. Furthermore, measures will be taken to promote Canadian content online and enable Canadians to better understand what it means to be Canadian.
There are five key principles guiding Canada’s digital future:
- Connecting Canadians
- Protecting Canadians
- Economic Opportunities
- Digital Government
- Canadian Content
Digital Canada 150 is the result of extensive consultations with industry, businesses and individual Canadians. It is designed to be inclusive, capable of responding to the demands of fast-changing times, and able to provide Canadians with the tools, the protections and the skills they need to fully embrace the opportunities of a digital future.
Announcing the country’s new digital strategy, Moore said that the government will provide about $305 million to extend and enhance high-speed Internet services for about 280,000 households in rural and remote areas of the country by 2017. He also said that he will table the Digital Privacy Act next week “to modernize and update legislation already on the books”.
But according to community-based OpenMedia.ca, a non-profit watchdog that has spent years campaigning for all Canadians to have affordable Internet access, the new strategy means Canada will likely fall even further behind its global counterparts on Internet affordability, access, and speed.
“The government’s long-awaited new digital strategy announced this morning will disappoint Canadians who had been hoping for bold moves to tackle our national digital deficit and stark digital divide. Many of the measures announced by Industry Minister James Moore today, while positive, amount to little more than a repackaging of previous government announcements and existing government programmes.”
Do you agree that Canadians deserve more than just warmed-up leftovers from previous government announcements?