Government has role in ensuring equality

It is hard to believe that some people don’t have Internet access at home in 2014. We’re not talking about the people who choose not to sign up for whatever reason, we’re talking about the people who do not have the option, because the telecommunications companies don’t offer it to them.

One wouldn’t think that Thetis Island off of the Vancouver Island coast would be considered that remote, but apparently it is.

A recent report to the Cowichan Valley Regional District board informed them that residents on at least one road on

Thetis Island recently lost their (dial up!) service through Telus as the company discontinued it. Presumably there wasn’t enough money in it for them to maintain the infrastructure.

The hope is that the unfortunate Thetis residents will be able to get re-connected through a satellite service that the provincial government is subsidizing for remote and rural communities.

We fervently hope so too. It also clinches the argument about why we sometimes need government interference in the so-called free marketplace.

Businesses, especially giants like the telecommunications corporations, operate to make money.

The goods and services they provide are the means with which they do this, not the end.

This means that when there isn’t money enough in it, they’re out. This also leaves some B.C. residents out.

For the good of our society as a whole, we need to make sure that people aren’t left high and dry without the important technologies that most of us take for granted. That’s where government should step in.

Some people may choose to live off the grid. Perhaps they don’t want to be connected to the Internet. Some still do choose to live without things like electricity and indoor plumbing. But that has to be a choice, and not because an alternative is simply not available to them.

More and more things are only available online. We can foresee a time in the very near future, for example, when things like voting and banking are predominantly done over the Internet.

So bravo to the province for this program.

We hope Thetis will benefit.

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