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A few years ago, the question would have seemed absurd: Dial-up Internet was incredibly slow and 'modern' communications meant phone, fax, in-person or on paper. The Internet was simply a luxury that enriched a person's life.

But now, more and more of modern life is moving online. And governments, including Canada's, have begun to look at how they can ensure everyone in the country has access to a secure, high-speed Internet connection in an era where everything is moving online -- from interactions with friends and family to government and medical services.

In a country the size of Canada, which also has a dispersed population, that is no easy task. Large Internet service providers have built huge wireless broadband networks and the government is finishing up with a $225-million broadband strategy. But many communities are still left without affordable and high-quality connections -- and could be stranded for many more years. In some cases, municipal politicians have become so frustrated that they have embarked on campaigns to fund their own networks.

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Join Laura Bradley, a telecommunications consultant who helped one group of Ontario politicians win funding for a local fibre optic network, and Iain Marlow, The Globe and Mail's telecom reporter, for a discussion about Canada's broadband strategy.



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