Keystone Agricultural Producers launches rural cell and internet survey

Rural Manitobans miss out on key information and the ability to call for emergency help because of poor cellular coverage, says one KAP director

Keystone Agricultural Producers is asking farmers and rural folk to weigh in on their internet and cellular service providers.

Sam Connery-Nichol.
photo: Geralyn Wichers

“(Internet service) should be a basic human right, almost,” KAP District 6 director Sam Connery-Nichol told the Co-operator Feb. 19. “You need it.”

Connery-Nichol was staring at the ‘wheel of death’ on her internet browser screen as she spoke, she said.

February 19, KAP launched a rural connectivity survey to better understand issues of cellular coverage and broadband access across Manitoba.

The survey includes 13 questions, including, “how often do you experience service disruptions for your internet service?” and, “what impact has mobile phone service disruption had on your life and business?”

KAP will take information collected to the provincial government, and to phone and internet service providers as part of continued lobbying efforts, said Connery-Nichol.

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“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,” Connery-Nichol said in a Feb. 19 news release. “Manitobans in rural areas are missing out on key information, including emergency alerts, and are often unable to call for help on their farms due to a lack of cell coverage.”

Connery-Nichol told the Co-operator she has good internet access at her Portage-area farm, but at her home she has exactly one option, and pays more for less than what she knows her city-dwelling friends and relatives pay.

“The disconnect is frustrating,” she said.

KAP asks farmers and non-farmers across the province to share their experiences. The deadline to complete the survey is March 31 and it can be found online at surveymonkey.com/r/KAPConnect.

About the author

Reporter

Geralyn Wichers

Geralyn Wichers grew up on a hobby farm near Anola, Manitoba, where her family raised cattle, pigs and chickens. Geralyn graduated from Red River College’s Creative Communications program in 2019 and was previously a reporter for The Carillon in Steinbach. Geralyn is also a published author of science fiction and fantasy novels.

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