i-CANADA Backs UN Declaration: Broadband a Basic Human Right
March 13, 2012

Ottawa, March 12, 2012 -- A Canadian movement to create an "Intelligent Nation" through the visionary use of communications technologies has fully endorsed a UN resolution to have broadband considered a basic human right.

i-CANADA, backed by Canada's largest high-tech organization - the Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance (CATA) - praised the UN resolution as affirming today's reality, according to Barry Gander, Co-Founder of i-CANADA.

"The Information Society has reached a point where broadband has become a basic service," said Mr. Gander. "That is why everyone needs to be guaranteed access to it -- it has become a universal requirement to fulfill human potential, whether you are in New York or Nairobi."

i-CANADA's recent Summit in Windsor, Ontario, featured Ms. Suvi Linden, Finland's Minister of Communications, who made Finland the first country in the world to recognize broadband as a fundamental right. At the Summit, Ms. Linden stated that "In today's information society top quality broadband connections are essential for people's everyday life or for business anywhere in the country."

An Intelligent Community is defined as one that has Broadband Connectivity, Innovation, a Knowledge Workforce, and Digital Inclusion.

At the i-CANADA Summit a selected group of Canadian leaders came together to accelerate the pace of Canadian evolution towards an Intelligent Nation, and to develop the action plans to move all communities forward faster. "One Premier, three Mayors, a dozen Councillors, and the Presidents and senior executives from corporate and academic institutions linked together to jump-start actions for quicker success," said Mr. Gander. "They advanced their mutual knowledge about community assessments, social networks, health care, coast-to-coast best practices, and the ROI from creating an Intelligent Community."

The United Nations statement: it declared, unambiguously, that broadband access is a basic human right, right up there with the right to healthcare, shelter and food. This means not merely a dial-up Internet connection -- the U.N. has decreed that before -- but the kind of fast, seamless service you find at any Starbucks," added Mr. Gander.

i-CANADA's vision is to transform Canada through a world class national framework and infrastructure, in order to achieve i-Nation status and reverse Canada's comparative global decline in innovation, productivity and broadband communications. "It will enhance our leadership in delivering a strong and sustainable "triple bottom line" of economic, social and environmental performance throughout the evolution of the Knowledge Age and we will create new hope and economic opportunities for all Canadians," added Mr. Gander.

In i-CANADA's view, in an Intelligent Canada:
  • Canadians living in the north, or in aboriginal communities, and throughout Canada have access to our best interactive and diagnostic health, learning and training, and business development services ... all available without leaving home.
  • Global companies invest in Canada thanks to the unparalleled quality of place and advanced low cost open access ultra broadband communications that supports an array of talent working in an environment conducive to collaboration and innovation.
  • Open access ultra broadband infrastructures facilitate new health caregiver support systems that will dramatically expand support for patients with cancer, diabetes and other debilitating ailments. Ageing with dignity in the home through enhanced caregiver support becomes a reality and healthcare costs per capita decline significantly.
  • Intelligent buildings, smart grid and other environmental initiatives reduce the carbon footprint of our communities, contributing significantly to Canada’s environmental goals.
  • New forms of telepresence collaboration stimulate collaborative research, innovation, the creation of new young companies and improved competitiveness of others.
  • Intelligent transportation is a reality with reduced environmental impacts, improved service, shorter travel times and fewer accidents.

i-CANADA now has
  • A Governors’ Council comprising 30 members, of whom two are Premiers and 14 are Mayors;
  • More than 1,000 signatories to its petition;
  • An Advisory Board of almost 50 experts
  • A full portfolio of tools, services and programs to help communities evolve.