King’s continuing disconnect

“Can you hear me? How about now? I’ll try restarting…”

This conversation has unfortunately become a new normal for many Islanders over the last 8 months. Little did we know that we would be communicating with each other through pixels and wireless signals.

The above dialogue and confusion could have been easily avoided before the COVID-19 pandemic changed the way we live and do business. In fact, these connectivity issues have existed for the 25 years I’ve been associated with PEI.

As work changes and goods and services move online, we are disenfranchising anyone who lives outside of a major centre area. Aside from my duties as the party president, I run a marketing agency; and my ability to converse with clients outside of the Charlottetown region has been hindered. It is a common refrain I hear   from too many individuals when speaking with them.

We have seen successive Liberal and Conservative governments promise that this would change. I can remember times in which it was a milestone to move past the 33.6 modem connection to the glimmer of broadband connections. Subsequently, when ( long term evolution)  LTE was fast becoming the new norm for cell phone connection, many parts of the Island remained on 3G. We need a government that invests in connecting Island entrepreneurs to the rest of the region, Canada and the world.

In addition to the business community, a lot of Island voices are being left behind. Many individuals need a strong internet connection to carry out daily activities including banking, messaging, and education.

The ability to provide a democratic voice within organizations through video meetings is also being impeded by video connection issues. We are dealing with situations in which these tools are essential to draft and create policy that affects our communities. It’s simply unacceptable when two thirds of that meeting can’t attend.

The Island New Democratic Party calls for government intervention and investment to finally solve this long-overdue oversight.

Jason Alward

Jason Alward

Hailing from Eastern Canada, Jason brings 25 years of visual communication experience to the table. With his early career spent in large corporate agencies working with such clients as Pepsi, Blackberry and Samsung, he soon realized a need for more substantially fulfilling projects. In 2016, he found this rewarding work in his role as art director for one of the largest public service unions in Ontario, providing communications for its 140,000 members.

In 2016, with this grassroots interest, he launched Verge, an agency with the goal of delivering high quality visual communications to individuals and organizations aligned with those same grassroot ideals.

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