Friday, January 16, 2009

Clement, Lord push for boost to broadband in stimulus plan

Hi All

The article below indicate how Canadian politicians are willing to greatly increase electro magnetic pollution levels, simply to bring high speed internet to rural areas. Is Minister Clement aware about the adverse health effects of electro magnetic radiation? If he is not, he should not be Minister.

Does he not care that there are hundreds of scientific reports which indicate that microwave radiation causes cancer and many other adverse health effects? Why does he continue to push the use of microwave radiation technology, throughout our entire country?

I fully support 'safe' fibre optic cable systems to bring high internet and other services to all Canadians, but microwave WiFi systems must be avoided at all costs.


Clement, Lord push for boost to broadband in stimulus plan

From Friday's Globe and Mail
January 16, 2009 at 5:12 AM EST

Infrastructure usually involves bridges and roads and now the Harper government is expected to expand that definition to include high-speed Internet access for everyone in the country in its coming budget.

Two political heavyweights, Industry Minister Tony Clement and former Conservative New Brunswick premier Bernard Lord, who is now the president of the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association, are pushing for the government to increase its funding of broadband and wireless broadband services to connect rural Canadians or provide faster service for those who already have Internet or cellphone access.

They want the program to be included in the government's stimulus package to boost the recessionary economy.

"I am convinced there will be something for broadband and hopefully wireless broadband in the budget, based on the conversations and the indications we've received from finance officials and industry officials," Mr. Lord said.

"We've seen it from Minister [Jim] Flaherty, from the Prime Minister ... they talk about the need to go beyond. They're talking about a broader approach to infrastructure than just traditional infrastructure," Mr. Lord said.

The former premier, who recently turned down a Senate appointment to continue to press for more wireless services, said that the upgrading of traditional infrastructure is still needed, but it should be combined with "21st-century infrastructure."

Canadians are fairly well-connected: 98 per cent of Canadians have access to wireless service and about 70 per cent have access to mobile broadband. Ninety-five per cent of Canadians live on 15 per cent of the land area and 5 per cent live on 85 per cent.

The challenge, Mr. Lord said, is first to give access to all, or virtually all, and second, encourage Canadians to connect. Indeed, some Canadians have access but have not connected because they do not subscribe to a provider.

"At the same time the challenge is to increase the coverage and the speed of wireless mobile broadband so more Canadians can benefit from this at home and on the move, especially in unserved and underserved areas. Of course, this helps rural and remote areas, but would also benefit suburban and urban areas."

Meanwhile, the growing speculation that the budget will contain initiatives to connect Canadians harkens back to 2001 when Brian Tobin, the Liberal industry minister, dreamed of connecting all Canadians through the Internet by 2004.

However, his $1-billion broadband initiative failed. He was shut out in the budget by then-finance-minister Paul Martin. As a result, Mr. Tobin quit cabinet and the government.

Eight years later, the new Industry Minister is in favour of expanding broadband services, but with a caveat: Mr. Clement says the initiative "has to be structured the right way," according to a senior official close to the minister.

"[He does not] want it to be a no-strings-attached gift to the telecom giants," the official said.
In the last election, the Harper Tories promised $500-million to extend broadband networks to rural communities by 2016.

Mr. Lord, however, wants the government to advance its commitment over the next two years and then add another $500-million - for a total cost of $1-billion - that would be matched by the private sector for a stimulus effect of $1.5-billion.

In addition to moving up the time commitment and increasing the funding, Mr. Lord said, the industry also wants the government to introduce a temporary measure - an accelerated capital cost allowance - for data network equipment for just one year. His association estimates that this would leverage up to $12-billion in high-tech spending over the next 12 months.

He said this would "have the short-term benefit of saving jobs and creating jobs along with the long-term lasting benefit of enhanced productivity, innovation and competitiveness ... this type of infrastructure investment acts as a catalyst for almost all sectors of the economy."

And industry analysts agree.

Iain Grant of SeaBorn Group said that a national broadband initiative is needed to "stimulate demand and thereby stimulating investment to level the field of access to quality broadband connectivity for all Canadians.

"The current economic recession provides a prime opportunity for Canadians to invest in their future through the potential of broadband and themselves, the nation's human capital," he said.
Last month, he issued a report calling for the expansion of the broadband network as part of the government's stimulus package.

"Right now, the Caribbean is better served [by Internet] than many areas of rural Canada," he said, adding that a major expansion of the country's broadband network would bring much of Canada that is now underserved into the mainstream of modern communication.