In the current push to develop and boost Canada’s digital infrastructure, rural and remote areas serve as important pieces in the puzzle. In order to realize the country’s goals for a truly innovative and forward looking digital infrastructure that is competitive on a global scale, the needs of the rural and remote markets should be taken into thorough consideration.
Of course, providing for the digital infrastructure needs of the rural and remote markets is a formidable task that presents a number of unique challenges. Digital infrastructure development and services tend to closely follow the development of urban areas, where there is admittedly much larger demand for such services.
Even with these challenges, there is a lot that the government working in conjunction with the private sector can do. There are numerous new and innovative technologies that may be employed, including satellite and terrestrial wireless systems. The Canadian government for its part has implemented a number of potentially crucial measures, including directly providing funds, passing appropriate regulations, and encouraging market forces.
One of the most promising areas of development is in the service sector, where efforts are underway to provide a broader range of high-quality services to the rural and remote markets. This is an especially crucial concern considering the fast paced development of technology and the growing competition among different providers. Instead of adopting a cross subsidization process, the Canadian government has opted to establish funding initiatives that course funds to broadband developers directly.
There have been a number of promising developments with regard to funding, with the federal, provincial and territorial governments having contributed significantly to the establishment of a fiber backbone that will enable the provision of widespread access to high speed services to households in the rural and remote areas. These measures will help ensure access not only to basic broadband, but to the broadband capability necessary for economic development.