COVID-19 pandemic highlights need for equal access to internet services: Cape Breton councillor
HALIFAX -- Whether working from home, homeschooling, or virtually catching up with loved ones, Maritimers are more reliant than ever on the internet to stay connected during the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, depending on where you live, you may not have the luxury of quality internet service.
Amanda McDougall is a councillor in Nova Scotia’s Cape Breton Regional Municipality. Her district includes a number of rural communities. She says she's received a number of calls about poor internet connections during the pandemic.
“You can’t access online tutorials, you’re lagging when you’re in your online meetings, you just don’t have the same access that other people have,” says McDougall.
Chrissy Crowley and Colin Grant are well-known musicians who live in Margaree, N.S. The pair have to drive several kilometres from their home in order to share videos online -- otherwise the uploads can take hours.
“This is where we come every time we have to send a video. The internet is so slow at our house,” says Grant.
McDougall has put a resolution before council asking for a timeline on when all residents can expect equal internet, cell phone, and landline service.
McDougall believes the pandemic has proven that being connected is no longer a luxury, but something everyone needs, even if it's just to be able to talk to loved ones.
“(Some people) haven’t had any social interaction for close to two months. That has a huge amount of implications on mental health issues,” says McDougall.
“When the person in one community has access to that and the person in the next community doesn't, we have an issue.”