Many Canadians living in rural and remote regions do not have access to high-speed internet because the government has not paid for a plan to make that possible, says the auditor general.
In his report, Michael Ferguson says this issue is important because access to the internet enables people to participate in the economy, have better access to health care and education and helps people connect with services that otherwise would only be available in urban areas.
He adds that the government has been repeatedly advised to create a national broadband strategy but it has not done so.
Access to broadband internet was declared a basic service
In December 2016, the regulatory agency, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission ruled that all access to broadband internet is a basic telecommunications service.
It ordered internet providers to begin work to improve internet service and speed in rural and remote areas.
The auditor general suggests the government set a standard for minimum internet connectivity that Canadians can expect in different regions and create a plan from there.