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Indigenous Broadband – Connecting the North

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3 minute read

In our digitally defined world, access to technology is an important factor in achieving a high quality of life for many. The digital divide refers to differences in access to technology experienced by individuals as a result of various socioeconomic and geographical factors. In Canada, a major feature of the digital divide is location, with a major gap existing between the sparsely populated Northern territories and the rest of the country. 

The lack of access to reliable Internet in rural areas across Northern Canada can make it extremely difficult for those living in remote communities to remain connected, conduct business, access necessary resources and more. The absence of reliable connectivity for our Northern neighbors has been an ongoing problem since the inception of the Internet, but countless discussions and grants have yet to yield a serious, sustainable solution. 

KatloTech Communications Ltd. (KTC) is a Northern-Indigenous owned business based in Yellowknife, NWT committed to solving the broadband issue that has plagued Northern Canada for years. The organization’s mission is to close the digital divide in Northern Canada by providing world-class telecommunication solutions through the use of wireless and fiber optic technologies. 

Their Broadband Investment Project in the Northwest Territories, currently in the planning and investment stages, seeks to “build and deploy an indigenous-owned next-generation fiber-optic network infrastructure connecting the Northwest Territories into Global Markets.” The network will have the ability to host services such as Internet, Cloud Services, IP telephone services, cellular and digital TV services and offer wholesale broadband access to providers and resellers.  

 “People in the North have been waiting for this for years,” says Lyle Fabian, President KatloTech Communications, “finally we decided, if no one else is going to build it, we will!” 

The low population density in Northern Canada does not attract the same number of telecommunication providers as southern regions of the country. This has led to a lack of competition between providers in the north, contributing to the creation of a predatory market atmosphere where clients are paying outrageous prices for access to basic services. “Our goal is to innovate the North,” says Fabian, “as soon as you leave major city centers, choice of access is almost non-existent. We want to create competition and give everybody choices.”  

Like countless other organizations across the country and the world, COVID-19 has forced KatloTech Communications to reevaluate their plans for 2020. However they remain entirely committed to the cause. KatloTech is currently focused on raising public awareness for their project and furthering discussions with third party organizations interested in bridging the divide and bringing reliable connectivity to the North. 

For more information on KatloTech Communications Inc., visit https://katlotech.ca/

 

For more stories, visit Todayville Calgary.

 

Business

Taxpayers Federation calls for transparency on World Cup costs

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From the Canadian Taxpayers Federation

Author: Carson Binda 

“Toronto taxpayers can’t afford to pay for soccer games that are almost a hundred million dollars over budget already”

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation is calling on Vancouver Mayor Ken Sim to release updated cost estimates for the FIFA World Cup games scheduled for 2026. The CTF is also warning Toronto taxpayers that FIFA bills are spiralling in that city.

“Vancouver taxpayers deserve accountability when hundreds of millions are on the line,” said Carson Binda, British Columbia Director for the CTF. “Costs have ballooned in Toronto and Vancouver needs to be honest with its taxpayers about how much the soccer games are going to cost.”

Recent financial estimates have blown past the initial budget in Toronto. In 2022, Toronto expected the total cost of hosting world cup games would be $290 million. That number has now ballooned by 31 per cent to $380 million.

“Toronto taxpayers can’t afford to pay for soccer games that are almost a hundred million dollars over budget already,” Binda said. “That’s unacceptable when taxpayers are getting clobbered with higher taxes.”

Currently, the cost to host seven games in Vancouver is up to $260 million, however the provincial and municipal governments have consistently failed to produce updated cost estimates.

“What are Premier David Eby and Mayor Ken Sim hiding?” Binda said. “They need to stop hiding the numbers and tell taxpayers how much these soccer games are going to cost us.”

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Economy

Canada’s struggling private sector—a tale of two cities

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From the Fraser Institute

By Jason Clemens and Joel Emes

” the private sector must generate the income used to pay for government bureaucrats and government programs. When commercial centres have lower median employment incomes than capital cities, the private sector may be in real distress. “

According to almost every indicator including economic growth, business investment, entrepreneurship, and the employment and unemployment rates, Canada’s private sector is struggling.

A novel way to think about the sorry state of the private sector is to compare income levels in “commercial” cities (basically, cities with little to no provincial or federal government activity and largely characterized by private business activity) with income levels in capital cities, which are dominated by government.

Since the beginning of COVID (February 2020) to June 2023, government-sector job growth in Canada was 11.8 per cent compared to just 3.3 per cent for the private sector (including the self-employed). Put differently, the government sector is booming while the private sector is anemic.

The marked growth in employment in the government sector compared to the private sector is also important because of the wage premiums paid in the government. A 2023 study using data from Statistics Canada for 2021 (the latest year of available data at the time), found that—after controlling for factors such as sex, age, marital status, education, tenure, industry, occupation and location—government workers (federal, provincial and local) enjoyed an 8.5 per cent wage premium over their private-sector counterparts. And this wage gap does not include the more generous pensions typically enjoyed by government workers, their earlier retirement, and lower rates of job loss (i.e. greater job security).

According to a separate recent study, five of the 10 provinces (British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Quebec and New Brunswick) have a distinct commercial centre other than the capital city, and in all five provinces in 2019 (pre-pandemic) the median employment income in the capital city exceeded that of the commercial centre, sometimes by a wide margin. For example, the median employment income in Quebec City was $41,290 compared to $36,660 in Montreal. (The study used median income instead of average income to control for the effect of a small percentage of very high-income earners that can influence the average income for a city.)

Remember, the private sector must generate the income used to pay for government bureaucrats and government programs. When commercial centres have lower median employment incomes than capital cities, the private sector may be in real distress.

Equally as telling is the comparison with the United States. Twenty-three U.S. states have a capital that’s distinct from their main commercial centre, but among that group, only five (North Dakota, Louisiana, Wisconsin, Ohio and Kentucky) had capital cities that clearly had higher levels of median employment income compared to the main commercial centre in the state. This is not to say the U.S. doesn’t have similar problems in its private sector, but its commercial centres generate higher median employment incomes than the capital cities in their states, indicating a potentially better functioning private sector within the state.

Many indicators in Canada are flashing red alerts regarding the health of the economy. The comparative strength of our capital cities compared to commercial centres in generating employment income is yet another sign that more attention and policy reforms are needed to reinvigorate our private sector, which ultimately pays for the government sector.

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