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FORSETH – Better Internet is needed but why should taxpayers foot the bill?

(Image: Mel Rothenburger file photo)

THIRTY-FIVE POINT SIX ONE EIGHT MILLION dollars!

In little more than 10 weeks (since March 26), that is how much the government of British Columbia has outright given to major telecoms and internet service providers.

The reality is, however, Premier John Horgan’s NDP government has simply passed on money we are forced to give — through taxes we have little to no say in.

And the major beneficiaries of this government largess, through the Connecting British Columbia program?

Rogers, who had net earnings of 1.725 BILLION dollars in 2020 — and Telus who had a ’55 percent revenue growth to $1.6 billion in 2020’.

June 8 … up to $3.07 million to Telus and Swift Internet for four projects (Shuswap and around south Kootenay Lake) …

June 3 … Telus will receive up to $3.6 million to upgrade the performance of internet access in northern communities…

May 18 … will provide Telus up to $2.9 million toward the cost of improving the performance and reliability of internet access in Dogwood Valley, Squeah, Yale and parts of Skawahlook, Chawathil and Yale First Nations …

May 5 … providing Telus up to $844,000 for the cellular project in Wells and up to $911,000 for the infrastructure in Perow …

May 4 … ABC Communications received $334,100 to cover half of the estimated cost of connecting people in Clinton with modern high-speed internet …

May 3 … Rogers will receive up to $5.47 million toward the estimated $6.4-million cost of filling in cellular gaps along 68 kilometres of Highway 97 between Chetwynd and the Highway 39 junction …

April 7 … will provide Rogers $4.5 million towards the $11.6-million cost of installing cellular infrastructure to provide cellular coverage … between Prince Rupert and Smithers …

April 7 … Rogers Communications Ltd. has been selected to receive up to $4.9 million towards the cost of building the infrastructure (cellular service is being expanded to include a 70-kilometre stretch of Highway 14 between Sooke and Port Renfrew) …

March 26 … CityWest will receive more than $10 million to enhance connectivity for more than 2,800 households in places like Whaletown, Granite Bay and 4 mile, as well as communities within the territories of the Haida Nation, Nuxalk Nation, Ehattesaht First Nation and Klahoose First Nation …

Are these rural communities and areas deserving of better telecommunications and internet services? Of course they are, however, why should taxpayers be footing the bills for the infrastructure being built by businesses already earning billions?

And while I’m NOT advocating government should be making these kinds of investments, should taxpayers not be getting a ‘return’ if they do? If nothing else, there should be a payback period on this money which is being given — on our behalf — to Rogers, Telus, and others.

Providing services to rural communities does come at a higher cost, but I’m not sure it should be the taxpayers of B.C. that should footing the bill for that cost. After all … there’s little likelihood telecoms and internet service providers are in any danger of losing money given the revenues they continue to earn.

Alan Forseth is a Kamloops resident and former member of the Reform Party of Canada and the B.C. Reform Party, and a past and current member of the BC Conservative Party. His blog is My Thoughts on Politics and More.

About Mel Rothenburger (8243 Articles)
ArmchairMayor.ca is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At ArmchairMayor.ca he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

1 Comment on FORSETH – Better Internet is needed but why should taxpayers foot the bill?

  1. The private sector is not interested in providing anything unless there are good returns. Why would any internet service provider install multi-millions dollars infrastructure to serve remote areas where there are no “economies of scale” to ever justify such investment?
    Come on Allan, where is that basic business savvy?

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