Two years after the Canadian government’s release of a national connectivity strategy, the need for high-quality digital infrastructure is more critical than ever. The COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated what happens when everyone is not given equal opportunity to participate in the digital economy, access education and essential public services, and be connected socially.
Connectivity is essential for a competitive economy that is increasingly reliant on data collection and flows, for access to services that are moving inexorably to digital platforms, and for nation-building. Digital connectivity plays a fundamental role in enabling communities to thrive economically and socially throughout Canada’s vast geography. Canadians must view digital connectedness as a right of citizenship—much the way they have historically viewed roads, postal service, electric power and basic telephone service.
This paper asks - what public policy measures are needed to ensure that Canada’s digital connectivity infrastructure fully supports an inclusive, competitive post-pandemic economy? The answer is framed by what the Public Policy Forum believes are the two most significant issues:
- Should Canada set a new goal for broadband Internet access to replace the current 50/10 minimum and, if so, what should the new goal be?
- What public policy measures, if any, are needed to ensure that Canadian businesses and consumers obtain the full benefits of fifth generation (5G) wireless technology?