Low cost internet for Ottawa Community Housing tenants
Joanne Schnurr, CTV Ottawa
Published Wednesday, December 21, 2016 5:16PM EST
Last Updated Wednesday, December 21, 2016 7:10PM EST
The digital divide is getting a little smaller for residents of Ottawa Community Housing.
They are being offered low-cost internet services through National Capital FreeNet; a life line to education and employment.
Most of us take it for granted: with a click of a button, we have access to the World Wide Web.
But that access comes at a cost.
Residents in downtown Ottawa say internet is a costly necessity.
“How much do I pay?” says one woman, “Too much!” she laughs.
“I have a high-end package,” adds another man, “it adds up to about $120 a month.”
For many folks living in social housing, that cost has been out of their reach. Until now.
Ottawa Community Housing has teamed up with National Capital FreeNet to offer low-cost internet to its 32-thousand tenants.
“It’s really a tool,” says Stéphane Giguere, the Chief Executive Officer of Ottawa Community Housing, “a tool for education, communication, for employment.”
The program will be launched in January. For $25 a month, plus a modem, tenants will get unlimited access and a window into a world that has shut many of them out.
“I think without exception, every business, every company, every school thinks everybody has internet,” says Bill Robson with National Capital FreeNet, “and everything is tailored to that and unfortunately not everybody has it now.”
National Capital FreeNet is a non-profit internet service provider. A substantial bequest will help fund this low-income program for possibly hundreds of Ottawa Community Housing tenants.
“We're not sure how many will subscribe,” says Robson, “It could be a handful to hundreds. We're a little worried but looking forward to it.”
So, too, are many of the tenants; being part of something many of us now can't do without.
“Could you live without your internet?” an Ottawa resident is asked as he hustles by, doing Chistmas shopping, “No, oh no, not possible,” he laughs.
Tenants with Ottawa Community Housing just need to contact National Capital Freenet at www.ncf.ca or 613-721-1773 ext. “0” to sign up. It starts January 3rd.