Participation in the digital world is critical for the viability and economic sustainability of all communities, yet there is a significant gap between broadband service levels in urban and rural areas in BC. Some communities in the qathet Regional District (qRD) do not meet basic service targets, which means thy are unable to connect with medical advice, educational opportunities, employment, tourism, emergency preparedness and a universe of goods and services. Addressing this digital divide will increase the quality of life, improve health, emergency and educational services and allow communities to attract investment and participate in a broader range of economic activity.
The qathet Last Mile Connectivity Strategy will facilitate a collaborative approach based on qRD’s Public Engagement Framework on a community by community basis to define gaps, digital aspirations and determine the optimal infrastructure required.
The project activities include determining the service and access gaps through facilitated workshops and stakeholder interviews; the assessment of opportunities which will be created with improved connectivity; a technical assessment; the development of potential solutions; and recommendations for a short, medium and long-term strategy.
The potential aligns with regional, provincial and federal priorities to increase connectivity in rural and remote communities and the potential for long-term benefits is high. By providing small communities with facilitated access to the expertise required, they will be also be in a stronger position to access last-mile funding or investments which may not otherwise have the capacity to access.