Fighting for the right to log on: Halifax protesters want $10 internet for low-income families
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Darryl King is hoping internet companies will help level the playing field for low-income kids trying to get an education in today’s web-centric world.
On Thursday afternoon, King and other members of the local ACORN chapter (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) brought signs to the lawn of the Spring Garden Memorial Library in downtown Halifax to call attention to the “digital divide.”
King said families and individuals that fall below $30,000 a year often don’t have enough money to pay for high-speed internet and a computer they can use at home.
“At libraries the ones that are there are booked and leaves them at a disadvantage,” King said. “They’re our next generation, we need them to succeed. How do they succeed if they don’t have the resources or the tools to make a difference?”
ACORN is calling on companies like Bell Aliant to offer a $10 per month web service and subsidized computers or tablets, and King is hoping they choose people over profit.
“What is more important, your bottom line or people who have the right to pursue an education … to contribute to society, eventually find employment through the computers, get off assistance and get back in the community?
King said they have contacted Bell so far, but have yet to hear anything back.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper has committed to getting high-speed internet in rural communities, but King said another priority should be helping low-income families in urban areas connect to the web.
“It’s not the same as it was 37 years ago, everything is … technology based,” King said. “It’s important to get out there and have that access like everybody else. The same playing field.”