Fibre-optic broadband expanding, but some communities still left behind

SouthWestern ON Map

Three recent articles, two by the CBC’s  Zach Dubinsky (“Fast fibre-optic internet arrives in many small towns before big cities” and “Why super-fast internet may come from a company you’ve never heard of“) and one by The Globe and Mail’s Shane Dingman (“Super-fast Internet is coming – along with super-high pricing“) have highlighted the importance of ultra high-speed internet to communities across Canada – and the gaps that remain in making sure that everyone has access to the broadband services they need.

Connecting everyone in Western Ontario requires overcoming an infrastructure deficit of approximately $3 billion – and considerable attention to making sure that everyone has equitable access to high-speed connectivity. Without the SWIFT model in place, there is no mechanism for fairly and equitably addressing the service gaps facing communities that are battling inconsistent, unreliable Internet connections.Each one of the 3.5 million people that call Western Ontario home deserves fair access to affordable fibre-optic connectivity. SWIFT will provide this access by building a network that will provide up to 1 Gbps access for under $100/month.

While the steps forward noted in both Dubinksy’s and Dingman’s articles are certainly positive, to paraphrase Ritch Dusome, CEO of the Centre for Excellence in Next Generation Networks (quoted by Zubinksy in regard to Canada’s official 5 Mbps speed target for home internet service): we need to set the goalposts higher.