Monday 11 April 2011

Election 2011 Broadband Positions

The following are extracts from the political parties’ platforms as downloaded from their official party website. The information is provided in alphabetical order by party name.

Conservative Party Platform Broadband

In 2010 we consulted experts and businesspeople on positioning Canada to seize the opportunities presented by new information communications technologies. Our purpose is to build on our actions so far in this area:

  • our plan to extend broadband coverage to 200,000 additional households in rural and remote regions; and
  • our successful efforts to increase competition and choice and to lower costs for wireless consumers.

Later this spring, a re-elected Stephen Harper Government will announce

and begin implementing a Digital Economy Strategy, focused on five priorities:

  • building world-class digital infrastructure;
  • encouraging businesses to adopt digital technologies;
  • supporting digital skills development;
  • fostering the growth of Canadian companies supplying digital technologies to global markets; and
  • creating made-in-Canada content across all platforms, to bring Canada to the world.

To achieve these goals, among other specific actions we will:

  • support collaborative projects between colleges and small- and medium-sized businesses to accelerate the adoption of information and communications technologies;
  • promote enrolment in post-secondary science, technology, engineering and mathematics programs; and
  • build Canada’s digital content through additional support for the Canada Media Fund.

Green Party Platform

Recognize that access to high-speed internet connections is now a critical aspect of infrastructure and work to expand access to address the “digital divide.”

Liberal Party Platform Broadband

Access to Broadband for All Canadians.

Liberals consider access to a high-speed broadband Internet connection essential infrastructure, just as the electricity grid and the telephone network were over a century ago. A Liberal government will publicly tender contracts for private companies to install broadband capacity for the hundreds of thousands of Canadians in rural, remote or northern areas who do not currently have access. To make those contracts economical for private investment, we will provide $500 million in support, allowing Canada to achieve basic high-speed Internet access for all Canadian households within three years. The source of that investment will be the next spectrum auction for wireless licensing rights.

An Open Internet. The Internet is today’s principal conduit for the free flow of ideas. To ensure it fosters the uninhibited exchange that innovation requires, Canada’s Internet environment must remain open. Internet traffic management must remain neutral, and maintain the open sharing of legitimate technologies, ideas and applications. A fair, effective wholesale regime is also essential to allow smaller Internet service providers to lease broadband infrastructure at fair prices.

Rural Broadband

Canada’s economy is increasingly knit together through the internet. As jobs, education, and communication become more dependent on the internet, Canadians without access or relevant skills will be left behind.

In 2006, Canada’s Telecommunications Review Panel recommended the federal government achieve 100 percent high-speed internet connectivity by 2010. This goal was not achieved under the Conservative government. According to the CRTC, in 2009 close to 800,000 Canadian households (20 percent of all rural Canadians) still could not access high-speed internet. Although Canada ranked second in the world in internet connectivity in 2000, we’ve now fallen to tenth place. This threatens our economic competitiveness and quality of life.

Using proceeds from the upcoming spectrum auction slated for 2012, a Liberal government will set a goal of 100 percent high-speed internet connectivity of at least 1.5 MB/sec for all Canadian communities within three years of being elected. This commitment will increase the availability of affordable line and wireless connectivity, and improve mobile phone coverage in rural areas.

NDP Platform Broadband

Ensuring all Canadians have access to broadband and a robust digital Economy

• We will apply the proceeds from the advanced wireless spectrum auction to ensure all Canadians, no matter they live, will have quality high-speed broadband internet access;

• We will expect the major internet carriers to contribute financially to this goal;

• We will rescind the 2006 Conservative industry-directive to the CRTC and direct the regulator to for the public interest, not just the major telecommunications companies;

• We will enshrine “net neutrality” in law, end price “net throttling,” with clear rules for Internet Service (ISPs), enforced by the CRTC;

• We will prohibit all forms of usage-based billing Internet Service Providers (ISPs);

• We will introduce a bill on copyright reform to Canada complies with its international treaty obligations, balancing consumers’ and creators’ rights.

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