Belonging to a Canadian Monopoly

March 28, 2024 | Paul Bootsma, Member Relations Manager for the Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario

Belonging to a Canadian Monopoly

So, the conduit for fibre optic high-speed internet is outside our house, freely done so that at our notification they will ‘jet’ the cable through and connect us to the internet. As a result, we will become customers of Mr. Rogers, not by choice, and our internet bill will go from $0 to, probably over $100 a month.

Rural Ontario does need good consistent high-speed internet for all the businesses in the rural part of the province. Today’s farms are businesses, and a lot of day-to-day activities are done through the internet. Many of the small businesses in rural towns also require good internet access. Many farmers, businesses, and organizations, including CFFO, made presentations to the provincial government asking for assistance in bringing highspeed internet to rural Ontario.

Thanks to government programs, such as Southwestern Integrated Fibre Technology (SWIFT), rural Ontario is getting connected. This is all good, but it came to our house without us asking for it personally.

The thing is, I like to support a local small business if at all possible. Many years ago, we signed up with a local provider. However, he eventually sold out to a big national provider, based in Atlantic Canada, not that local.

A few years back, another entrepreneurial individual dropped in our yard and introduced himself with the idea of starting a local internet provider business. His request was to install his equipment on our silo and he would offer us free internet, other than us paying for the hydro. So, we pay $0 for internet but our electricity bill increased by about $400 a year, $35 per month. We readily signed up and for the past number of years we have enjoyed unlimited reliable free internet.

In speaking with a friend, who also resides in rural Ontario, he shared a similar story, ending with the fact that his local provider ceased to exist and resulted in him becoming a customer to Mr. Rogers. So, I anticipate that our local provider will also end this way and that is how we will become customers to one of Canada’s monopolies.

This raises the question of who runs this country? Does the government that we as citizens elect run the country? Or do the large companiesinfluence the government to their benefit? Consider what has happened in rural Ontario over the past five years or so. We ask the government for assistance in rural internet, the government complies, fibre optic cables are brought throughout rural Ontario and by default we become customers of one of the Canadian megacompanies.

I don’t anticipate another local provider making a visit to my place again.

I also have never enjoyed the game Monopoly.

But I’m sure I will enjoy the highspeed internet coming into our home.

Paul Bootsma, Member Relations Manager at CFFO

Paul Bootsma, is the Member Relations Manager for the Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario. The CFFO Commentary represents the opinions of the writer and does not necessarily represent CFFO policy.