In early October, FMCC filed a submission to a parliamentary study on rural broadband. In our submission, we welcomed the Standing Committee’s focus on improving connectivity through an approach that demonstrates its impact on local rural economies, including community engagement. We stressed the opportunities that this project can have on local communities: that is, provide benefit to people living and working in rural, remote, Northern and Indigenous communities across the country.
We also recognized and supported the Standing Committee’s recognition of community engagement in this process. Opportunities for residents of rural, remote, Northern and Indigenous communities to substantively contribute to the design and use of policies and regulations impacting broadband infrastructure and services. Importantly, this includes a recognition of a range of development approaches.
Residents of rural communities should not be restricted to act only as consumers of broadband – they can also act as producers, owners, and operators. In this submission, we highlight the importance of ensuring that rural populations have opportunities to utilize broadband not just as an enabler for economic development in other industries and services, but also as a locally-owned and managed resource in and of itself.
The House of Commons Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology is currently undertaking a study on Broadband Connectivity in Rural Canada, and invites individuals and organizations to submit comments.
The motion for this study is as follows: “That the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology undertake a study on broadband connectivity, with a primary focus on developing a plan to improve rural connectivity, and demonstrating its impact on local rural economies, including community engagement; that the committee make recommendations that identify and address:
a) what constitutes acceptable high-speed service,
b) the financial challenges of implementing high-speed services,
c) the regulatory changes to encourage the implementation of high-speed service.”