The federal government says it will continue to provide free Internet access for community groups — at least for now.

Industry Minister Tony Clement says the Rural Broadband Strategy will foot the bill for community access sites, such as libraries, while his department’s Community Access Program is wound down.

Organizations that benefit from Industry Canada’s 16-year-old Community Access Program began receiving letters last week informing them that sites located within 25 kilometres of a public library would no longer be eligible for cash.

But after The Canadian Press reported on the letters, Clement called a news conference to announce Ottawa will ensure those groups will continue to receive funding.

Organizations that have used the current Internet access program include employment and youth drop-in centres, English-as-a-second-language programs, libraries, and seniors groups.

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