COVID-19 has exposed the depth of Canada’s digital divide, but major telecom companies lack the incentives to reach remote communities and vulnerable populations. Without more locally-driven solutions, digital equity advocates say millions of Canadians will continue to lack the “basic right” to a reliable internet connection.
The COVID-19 pandemic is requiring many essential services, from healthcare to education, to shift online. When communities don’t have equal internet access, they are effectively cut off. Digital inequity is a long-standing issue, but experts say it’s now an emergency.
With prohibitive prices and huge gaps in access to the internet, COVID-19 is bringing Canada’s digital divide into sharper focus. The social impact sector is finding it difficult to help the most vulnerable — especially considering that only 34 percent of rural households and 24 percent of Indigenous communities have access to high speed internet.
There’s a lot of talk, about protecting resources like water, forests, and languages for future generations. Is the internet worth protecting in the same way? Future of Good publisher Vinod Rajasekaran sits down with Mark Surman, executive director of Mozilla to talk about what a web worth protecting looks like, and how it needs to change to get there. Part of Future of Good’s Tech and Philanthropy series.
With practically every job now, and certainly in the future, requiring digital literacy and proficiency in technology, the lack of tangible resources and infrastructure to support Indigenous students in the acquisition of digital skills is particularly consequential.