Planning and building strong communities today requires more attention than ever before. Leadership at all levels of government have worked long and hard to provide residents with basic services such as functioning roads and bridges, clean water and waste water treatment and fire protection and emergency response. Now efforts include rural and northern internet connectivity, as high-speed Internet service has moved to the top of the slate. For elected officials, connecting their communities and offering the type of service required for access to good jobs, information and educational resources, has been a challenge.
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has determined that access to Internet for Canadians is to be considered a basic service. In November 2018, they have set new targets and service levels that all Canadian communities should strive to meet. This includes:
- speeds of 50 Mbps download/10 Mbps upload for fixed broadband services
- an unlimited data option for fixed broadband services
- the latest mobile wireless technology available not only to all homes and businesses, but also along major Canadian roads
In the Winnipeg METRO Region and across Manitoba, in both southern and northern communities, leaders are grappling with how to address this. We have seen many communities across Canada, and the globe, rise to the challenges of providing basic Internet service to residents in various ways and a through a variety of different service models. Each model is uniquely created to meet the demands of their region as there is no one size fits all solution.
Here in the Winnipeg METRO Region local leaders have joined forces to tackle this challenge through JohnQ Inc., their economic development arm. This past December 2018, local leaders signed an MOU with two private industry partners and are moving full steam ahead with a model to connect the region that will ensure residents of the Winnipeg METRO Region and communities across Manitoba get the service they need.
As a resident of St. Andrews, Manitoba I commend the hard work of our local leaders for addressing this issue and look forward to my community being strengthened and better connected to ensure we remain strong and prosperous long into the future.
For more, check out this article on Addressing Rural & Northern Internet Connectivity.