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Connecting families: How to get a very cheap internet plan

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In 2018, the federal government proposed a program to make internet access more affordable for low-income families. This initiative in the name of Connecting Families has just been changed. The new offer is a package with a minimum speed of 50 Mbps at a monthly cost of $20. The plans will have a maximum usage of 200 GB per month. For areas where the 50 Mbps speed is not available, the highest speed available will be offered to households. This offer is now available to low-income families and seniors. In addition, the existing $10 per month offer will still be available for those who qualify and do not want such high speeds.

The importance of Internet for low-income families:

The Connecting Families initiative that provides affordable Internet for low-income families was developed to follow Canada’s Connectivity Strategy.

This initiative’s goal is to make the high-speed network available to all Canadians. The government wants this network to be available in residential areas, work areas, entertainment areas and along transportation corridors. In essence, the goal is to reduce the inequities associated with internet connection. When Internet packages are only available at high prices, low-income families are at a significant disadvantage. This limits their ability to communicate, work and accomplish everyday tasks.

The addition of seniors to the program was done for several reasons. First, this program will help seniors stay connected to their peers and family. Second, many essential services are available online these days. This will make it easier for low-income seniors to access services to improve their daily lives.

The government’s goal is to have 98% of Canadians connected to high-speed Internet by 2026 andFamilles branchées all Canadians connected to high-speed Internet by 2030.

 

 

Connecting Families Telus and others:

Today, over 75,000 families are part of the Canadian program. Currently, there are many providers participating in the program to increase internet access for low-income families: Access Communications, Bell Canada, CCAP, Cogeco, Mornington, Novus, Rogers, Sasktel, Shaw, Tbaytel, Telus, Videotron, Wetman Communications and Hay communications.

To learn more about their philosophy, here are some relevant links:
Connecting Families Novus
Connecting Families Rogers
Connecting Families Telus
Connecting Families Videotron

It is important to note that the Canadian government is not funding this project. In other words, the above providers are responsible for all costs associated with the low-cost packages.

Cost Comparison:

The price of internet packages varies by province and city. However, on average the cheapest packages cost between $26 and $36. These packages generally offer a maximum download speed of 5 Mbps. The program gives families and seniors in precarious financial situations the opportunity to have better-performing packages than the previous ones for only $20 per month. In addition, beneficiaries do not have to pay any money for the equipment.

Internet speed according to your needs:

Each household’s needs vary depending on several factors. To know your needs, we invite you to consult our article What Internet Speed Do I Need in 2022?. In addition, our tool will give you an estimate of your needs by asking you a few questions.

In general, if you only send emails, a speed of 3 Mbps should be sufficient. However, in 2022 this is rarely the case. A minimum speed of 10 Mbps is recommended for individuals who do work that requires video conferencing. Finally, for households with several people working at home, the minimum recommended speed is 25 Mbps. This speed is acceptable for having 2 to 3 people watching streaming HD programs.

Do you qualify?

The government has a portal for individuals who qualify. Each eligible household will receive a letter in the mail with a code to access it. So, if you meet all the criteria mentioned, you have a chance to receive access.

Some recurring questions:

Who has access to Connected Families?

The program is only open to individuals receiving the Canada Child Benefit (CCB) and seniors receiving the maximum Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS). The strict criteria can be explained by the fact that there is a maximum number of plans available. For all of Canada, there is a maximum of 220,000 households that will receive a code.

Is the $10 offer available?

Yes, the original $10 per month plan is still available for households that qualify for the program. This plan offers lower speeds and a 100GB limit.

Can I apply for the program?

No. Unfortunately, a family that has not received a letter cannot qualify for the program. A limited number of codes are mailed out and there is no application process. However, recipients will be re-evaluated each year, so you have a chance to be selected if a recipient no longer meets the criteria.

Can I get a replacement code?

Unfortunately, if you lose your code, there is no way to receive a replacement code. The government strongly recommends taking a picture of the letter upon receipt.

How many years will this offer last?

For now, this initiative will end in 2027. However, the government and providers may decide to extend the program if it is still relevant.

Can I switch suppliers?

Switching providers is only allowed after a move if the current provider does not offer service in the new area. This is often the case for individuals moving to remote areas.

Conclusion

The Families Connected program is definitely a good initiative to help the Canadian government achieve its goal of a universal network. However, it is only available to families receiving the maximum amount of government aid. This means that thousands of low-income families still do not have access to these affordable plans.  It remains to be seen if their investments will be aggressive enough to achieve their goals.

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