Interventions Phase 2: Keystone Agricultural Producers (Intervenor 763)

Document Name: 2015-134.227311.2537121.Interventions Phase 2(1$dnl01!).html

Keystone Agricultural Producers (KAP) is Manitoba’s general farm policy organization, representing and promoting the interests of agriculture and agricultural producers in the province. KAP’s membership consists of approximately 7,000 Manitoba farm families and commodity groups. Our members are some of the most poorly served by telecommunications in Canada because they live and run their businesses in rural areas with limited population density. Agriculture is a primary economic driver provincially and nationally. Modern agriculture needs modern telecommunication to be successful. Our members have passed dozens of resolutions over the past number of years calling for better, more reliable high speed internet and phone service in rural areas. Raisons pour comparaitre / Reasons for appearanceKAP believes that modern communications services, including high speed internet access and comprehensive cellular phone coverage, are critical to the success of modern agricultural operations, the safety of all Manitobans, and the overall quality of life for rural residents. A significant number of farming families still lack access to affordable, reliable broadband internet services, particularly when compared to urban users. This is evidenced by the number of policy resolutions about inadequate internet service put forward by members over the past number of years. Lack of access to reliable, affordable broadband internet prevents farmers from being able to take advantage of opportunities (e.g. education/information) and prevents farmers from accessing essential services which can generate risks to health and safety. For example, KAP is currently working with the Province of Manitoba to find a way to roll out educational services with the Environmental Farm Plan in an online format. This is something that the provincial and federal government have indicated is a priority. The broad discrepancy in quality of broadband Internet access makes it very difficult to plan something as important as this for the whole industry.While we appreciate the opportunity to submit written comments to the CRTC, we feel the problems and risks associated with poor service in rural areas requires a more in-depth presentation. As our organization represents some of the most poorly serviced by telecommunications in Canada, we feel well positioned to articulate the impacts associated with poor service. We would appreciate the opportunity to impress upon the CRTC the critical need for this issue to be resolved in the near future. Thank you, Submitted on behalf of Dan Mazier, President, Keystone Agricultural Producers