Rural communities throughout Canada experience unequal access to high-speed Internet. This ‘disconnect’ hinders the ability of rural residents, businesses, governments, and nonprofit organizations. Recently, Dr. Gibson was involved in a formal submission to the Government of Canada, advocating for changes to how broadband connectivity is delivered in rural and northern communities. The formal submission makes five recommendations to the Government of Canada:
- establish a minimum of 1 Gbps for all rural communities by 2025.
- establish a rural broadband advisory committee consisting of community and Indigenous leaders, businesses leaders, and nonprofit organizations to guide future minimum requirements, identify gaps in service availability, and assist in building strategies to overcome the digital divide. The minimum download and upload speeds should be reviewed by this committee every three years to ensure the levels are appropriate given technological advancements.
- eliminate the rural – urban digital divide by providing financial resources and incentives to ensure high – speed Internet services are available in rural communities
- provide leadership, financial and community – capacity resources to support a multi-modal approach to deliver acceptable high – speed service to all rural Canadians.
- provide financial resources and incentives to help build digital literacy and adoption in rural Canada.
The submission to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Industry, Science, and Technology was submitted by the Canadian Rural Revitalization Foundation, the Rural Development Institute of Brandon University, and the Rural Policy Learning Commons. A full copy of the submission to the Standing Committee can be accessed here: www.crrf.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/BroadbandConnectivityinRuralCanada-2017.pdf.