Low-income Canadian families will soon have access to better, cheaper internet services now that TELUS is participating in the federal government’s new Connecting Families initiative. The Connecting Families initiative, specifically aimed at offering better digital resources to Canadians with the least access to the internet, and will be enlisting the help of major Canadian ISPs to pay for the program.

TELUS already provides internet services to over 30,000 low-income single-parent families through its Internet for Good project, but the company’s latest announcement will likely soon inflate that figure.

According to a press release issued by the company, its commitment to join the Connecting Families initiative will come at no additional cost to Canadian taxpayers.

“As part of our long-standing commitment to putting our customers and communities first, the TELUS team is leveraging our technology in combination with our culture of giving, to bridge social, economic and geographic digital divides,” TELUS’ President Darren Entwistle noted in the release.

A new initiative

The initiative is aimed at linking all major Canadian ISPs into one unified project that will offer cheap internet access to disadvantaged families across the nation. Some critics have protested that the initiative doesn’t go far enough, with outspoken proponents of disadvantaged families noting that hundreds of thousands of children currently lack access to the web.

The CRTC has declared broadband internet a “basic service,” to which all Canadian citizens have a right, but today’s digital infrastructure is anything but universal. For instance, according to Global News, almost half of Canadian households with an annual income of $30,000 or less don’t have access to high-speed internet

A rural problem

TELUS and other major companies, who are involved with the initiative, assert that digital infrastructure and website usability can only be developed so quickly.

As Canada’s third-largest telecommunications company, TELUS recently made the largest donation in the country’s history with a $120 million fund that launched a foundation aimed at helping Canada’s vulnerable youth.

The developed world continues to enjoy a commanding lead over the developing world in terms of internet coverage, despite the fact that low-income families everywhere still struggle to gain digital access. A survey of advanced economies found that a median of 87 percent use the internet, including some 90 percent of Canadians, According to the Pew Research Center. Access to the internet declines in rural and low-income areas, however, which the Connecting Families initiative aims to bolster in particular.