WHEREAS the cost of rural telephone service installation charges is exceedingly high and the timing of installations is at the whim of the service provider;AND WHEREAS rural residents of the province have an increasing need to access timely and affordable telephone and Internet service for business and personal purposes, and are having increasing difficulty in doing so;AND WHEREAS the CRTC has responsibility for regulating telephone services;AND WHEREAS governments at all levels have a responsibility to ensure fair and equitable services for their citizens;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the AAMDC urge the CRTC and federal and provincial governments to require that telephone companies provide services to rural residents in a timely and affordable manner.
An M.D. #22 resident recently purchased a farm with one of the quarters of land containing a vacant farm residence. The purchaser built a new house on another quarter but his son is going to occupy the old house. The telephone service to the old house had been disconnected.When the son applied to get the service reinstated, he was quoted a price of approximately $20,000 for the installation of 4.5 km of new line to service the old residence, and Telus would not give any guarantee on when the service would be installed. The purchaser tried to propose affordable options but was rebuffed by Telus. Cell phone service in the region is spotty at best and is not seen as one of those options.The resident approached the Farmers Advocate for assistance and was told that the Advocate could do nothing without federal and provincial government assistance. Apparently this situation is not unique in the province. The Advocate has been dealing with a number of cases but has not been able to reach a satisfactory conclusion to the issue with Telus.The resident is writing federal and provincial government officials for assistance in this regard, including the provincial Minister of Agriculture. He approached M.D. #22 for assistance in his lobbying campaign. We understand that this is a wider issue across the province. We are therefore asking the Association to add its considerable influence to the effort to provide timely and affordable telephone service to rural residents.This issue came to our attention after our last regional meeting was held and so has not been discussed at that level.
The AAMDC has no resolutions currently in effect with respect to this issue. However, the AAMDC has routinely raised concerns about rural access to telecommunications services in meetings with federal officials and submissions to various federal committees (e.g. National Liberal Caucus Tour, House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance).