There is a significant gap between broadband service levels in urban and rural BC. Many communities within the Strathcona Regional District (SRD) are identified by the federal government as not meeting basic service targets, if they have any service at all. Prompted by the Connected Coast initiative, which will construct $45M of fibre-optic “backbone” across Vancouver Island and Coast, the SRD began strategic planning to bring improved high-speed internet access to communities throughout the regional district.
This project will facilitate community planning to build out last-mile broadband infrastructure to eight SRD communities (Quadra Island, Cortes Island, Area A, Area D, Gold River, Tahsis, Zeballos and Sayward). A team of experts will be deployed to deliver presentations, facilitate workshops and determine optimal infrastructure requirements for each community. Upon completion, each community will have an action plan outlining digital aspiration, core economic development concepts and technical infrastructure required to enhance their broadband capacity.
The resulting strategies and action plans will ensure that new broadband connectivity is fully optimized for community development, economic diversification and growth. By accessing high level expertise through the SRD, the project will provide rural communities with a cost-effective method to develop the business cases required to access last-mile funding opportunities from senior governments or existing telecoms. The project was completed in 2020 and is expected to serve as a pilot and model which could be replicated in other jurisdictions.
Community Broadband Plans: