EDMONTON, ALBERTA–(Marketwired – Nov. 24, 2016) – TELUS (TSX:T)(NYSE:TU) announced today a new pilot program that will offer low-cost Internet service to single parent families receiving financial support through the Alberta Works Income Support and Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped programs. In early 2017, approximately 15,000 single-parent families currently receiving assistance through these programs will receive a coupon code in the mail. The code will allow them to activate TELUS’ offer of Internet service for $9.95 a month. This innovative pilot program is entirely funded by TELUS and comes at no cost to taxpayers or the government.
“The families participating in the TELUS Internet for Good program will have access to countless opportunities that are often taken for granted,” said Darren Entwistle, TELUS President and CEO. “From applying for a job, to accessing online learning, to connecting with distant loved ones, to virtually experiencing vibrant art and music, Internet connectivity will ensure these families are empowered to reach their full potential in our increasingly digital society.”
Program participants will also have access to TELUS WISE, an innovative program dedicated to educating Canadians about Internet safety and equipping families with the tools they need to have conversations with their children and loved ones about online and smartphone safety.
“In an increasingly digital world, access to information and communication through Internet can make a big difference in the lives of many Albertans,” said Irfan Sabir, Minister of Human Services. “We are proud to support TELUS in creating an electronic pathway to affordable Internet that will provide single-parent families on Income Support or Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped with access to the resources they need.”
To ensure all families who participate in the program are equipped to access the wealth of resources the Internet offers, TELUS is collaborating with Alberta Computers for Schools (ACFS) to provide families who cannot afford a computer the opportunity to purchase a refurbished desktop computer or laptop at a greatly reduced rate. The Alberta Library will support the program by leading a network of libraries throughout the province that will offer online education in the form of modules available on local library websites, in support of program participants who have limited digital literacy education. TELUS has also partnered with the Royal Conservatory to offer online music education to low income families in Alberta. These programs will help develop young Canadian’s curiosity and appreciation for music, and are available for free to all TELUS Internet for Good participants.
“The Alberta Library and its member libraries work together to promote universal, barrier-free access to the materials and resources in Alberta’s diverse libraries, said Renee LeBlanc, acting CEO, The Alberta Library. “It is our privilege to partner with TELUS and the Government of Alberta to increase access to information and technology for an important and vulnerable part of our population.”
“Alberta Computers for Schools is excited to be a part of the TELUS Internet for Good initiative, said Kari Cope, Executive Director, Alberta Computers for Schools, “In today’s world, it’s vital that everyone have internet access. It’s not a luxury any more … it’s a necessity. Unfortunately, financial realities make this impossible for some. We are very pleased to be partnering with TELUS, The Alberta Library and the Ministry of Human Services to provide Internet and digital access for people across Alberta.”
• Approximately 15,000 single parent families are in receipt of financial support through the Alberta Works Income Support and Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped programs.
• When surveyed about reasons for not having Internet access, low-income parents have cited three main barriers: price, hardware, and education.
• Through this pilot program, eligible single-parent families – those identified to be the most vulnerable – will receive a coupon detailing how to activate $9.95 a month Internet service from TELUS.
• Participants will have access to up to 25 Mbps download speeds and 350GB of data per month.
• Through collaboration with Alberta Computers for Schools (ACFS), families who cannot afford a computer can purchase a low-cost refurbished desktop or laptop computer.
• Since 2013, Alberta Computers for Schools have helped ensure that over 23, 500 refurbished computers found their way into the hands of schools and non-profit organizations across Alberta including close to 3,000 devices provided by TELUS.
• TELUS is partnering with the Alberta Library to ensure that free digital literacy resources such as online learning programs are available to pilot participants.
• Eligibility for this pilot is based on having been a single parent family in receipt of financial support through the Alberta Works Income Support and Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped programs, and living at an address in a TELUS internet service area.
• The Provincial Government is facilitating the TELUS offer through a mail-out to eligible single parents informing them about the pilot program. No personal information has been shared with TELUS.
• This pilot is entirely funded by TELUS and comes at no cost to taxpayers or the government.
• A similar pilot was made available to 18,000 British Columbian single-parent families in October, 2016.
• In 2013 TELUS launched a program called TELUS WISE (WISE Internet and Smartphone Education), a free educational program for all Canadians focusing on online criminal activity such as identity theft and cyber bullying. The goal of TELUS WISE is to educate Canadians of all ages to be safer online in this growing digital society by equipping families with the tools they need to have conversations with their children and loved ones about online and smartphone safety.
• Learn more about supports available to families through the Alberta Works Income Support and Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped programs by visiting http://humanservices.alberta.ca.