Cogeco Saguenay: high-speed internet coming to Fjord-du-Saguenay RCM
In July 2021, the Canadian telecommunications company Cogeco announced their new proposal to bring high-speed internet to every house in the Fjord-du-Saguenay Regional County Municipality (RCM). In a public news release, the company stated that they will be receiving $6.1 million from the government in order to provide better internet access for nearly 700 homes. Over the next few months, Cogeco Saguenay will be closely monitoring the region to ensure that every house will receive their services. Still, why is Cogeco bringing high-speed internet to Fjord-du-Saguenay RCM? Why are they receiving such a large grant for such a small region? And why do it now?
Operation High Speed
The millions of dollars in funding comes from both the provincial and federal government as a part of their Operation High Speed initiative. Operation High Speed aims to provide every rural area within Quebec with high-speed internet. Their plan is for every household within the province to have fast internet access by September 2022. With help from major companies like Telus, Vidéotron, Bell and Cogeco, the government will reach over 150,000 homes across the province. In total, the government of Canada and Quebec are investing $826.3 million towards this initiative.
Fjord-du-Saguenay RCM is a small municipality within the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region. With a population of around 20,000 residents, its massive National Park and Riviere-a-Mars attract tourists interested in hiking and fishing. On the surface, it seems like a small and autonomous municipality within Quebec. Thus, one may feel that it requires little to no high-speed internet plans, especially in the form of a multi-million dollar government investment. However, it is crucial to consider the current state of Canadian society, as well as the rest of the world. Even in smaller areas like Fjord-du-Saguenay, the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the way in which the population conducts themselves on a daily basis.
Despite the number of daily infections, Canadian businesses and schools are still requiring its members to work from home in order to keep the population safe. As of 2021, up to 32% of Canadian workers are working from home, compared to a mere 4% from 2016. As such, Canadians require access to stable internet in order to attend school or get their work done. With Operation High Speed, the government hopes to avoid future scenarios where Canadian residents may have to work from home without adequate internet access.
If you want to learn more about Operation High Speed, read up on our articles about Videotron bringing high-speed internet to Haute-Côte-Nord and Bell bringing fibre internet to Saint-Honoré-de-Témiscouta.
Comparison: Fjord-du-Saguenay versus Montreal
We can further explore why Cogeco is bringing high-speed internet to Fjord-du-Saguenay by analyzing their options for internet plans. Using PlanHub’s internet plan searching tool, we can easily compare internet rates between Fjord-du-Saguenay and an urban location like Montreal. Using the tool takes only a few simple steps, and asks simple questions to determine what kind of internet plan you should sign up for. After inputting information pertaining to an average Canadian household, we typed in a Montreal postal code to view the best options within the city. The results immediately displayed 35 internet plans, with monthly fees ranging from $50-$60 depending on the specific bandwidth. However, after inputting a postal code from Fjord-du-Saguenay RCM, the results pale in comparison. Only a single plan shows up, with a monthly fee of $75 and an upfront cost of $190.
Not only do rural areas in Quebec lack a variety of internet plans to choose from, but their fees are far more expensive than those in urban areas. Clearly, rural areas of Canada are less properly served in terms of internet access. This poses a serious problem with the ongoing effects of the pandemic. Cogeco bringing high-speed internet to Fjord-du-Saguenay RCM is a step in the right direction. Whether we like it or not, access to adequate internet has become a global necessity. This massive government campaign has the potential to provide all Canadians with such a necessity, ensuring a more comfortable future for the entire population.