A plea to improve digital literacy

It’s the first week of June, and that means that once again communications executives from across the country have gathered in Toronto for the annual Canadian Telecom Summit (#cts12).

 Organized by telecommunications consultant Mark Goldberg and NBI/Michael Sone Associates, a telecom market research firm, the event lets senior officials from carrier, service providers, regulators and enterprises rub elbows.

This year, as he did last year, Goldberg opened the conference with a plea for the industry and governments to help poor public and high school students get access to PCs and affordable broadband. “Quite simply, kids cannot learn effectively without access to a connected computer,” he said.

“We need to see leadership that addresses this critical gap in digital adoption based on actual financial need,” Goldberg said.

In the U.S., he noted, cable companies – which he admits might have bee pushed by regulators – have come up with a plan to help poor families get PCs and affordable Internet connectivity without involving governments.

Instead, he complained, Canadian federal and provincial governments are focusing on bringing broadband to rural areas.

It’s too easy to look at the supply of broadband across the country, he said. Governments should be addressing the demand for digital literacy     

“And if governments won’t lead,” he added, “then its up to those of us in this room to develop and deliver such programs.”

Highlights of the three-day conference will include a speech Tuesday by Industry Minister Christian Paradis, Goldberg’s interview with acting CRTC chairman Leonard Katz and the annual regulatory panel, where carriers often fire broadsides at the CRTC and at each other.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada
Howard Solomon
Howard Solomon
Currently a freelance writer, I'm the former editor of ITWorldCanada.com and Computing Canada. An IT journalist since 1997, I've written for several of ITWC's sister publications including ITBusiness.ca and Computer Dealer News. Before that I was a staff reporter at the Calgary Herald and the Brampton (Ont.) Daily Times. I can be reached at hsolomon [@] soloreporter.com

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