Wayne Stetski is calling on the federal government to increase investment in rural internet and wireless infrastructure.
The Kootenay-Columbia MP told the House of Commons on Wednesday that the feds need an action plan and proper funding, while speaking on a motion for two studies on rural digital infrastructure.
“It impacts Canadians’ quality of life, compromises public safety, and limits innovation and economic growth,” said Stetski, who noted the digital divide between urban and rural communities.
New technologies are changing everything from farming to education to healthcare, but reliable high-speed internet is needed to take advantage of these advances, Stetski said.
The private sector business case for digital infrastructure is not the same in rural areas as higher density communities, so the government must step in to get Canadians connected, he added.
The CRTC estimates it will cost $7 billion to achieve universal access to high-speed internet in Canada.
The Liberal government so far has committed $500 million through its Connect to Innovate program.
Stetski called on the government to substantially increase its investment in rural connectivity in the 2019 budget saying, “rural Canadians deserve no less.”