i-Valley Newsletter

Making regional broadband happen
January 2018
A round-up of news and ideas to create successful Broadband Development in rural and rising communities

broadband photo

Smart Community: “Smart” communities are those that use information and communication technologies to spark economic development, job growth and social prosperity. For the first time in history, these technologies also make it possible for rural communities to be as closely connected to the global economy as urban centres.

Newfoundland and Labrador Receive $40-million to Improve Rural Broadband

Northern Manitoba Gets $83-million for Rural Broadband
Need for Rural Service Recognized by CRTC
In a landmark ruling a year ago, CTRC Chairman Jean-Pierre Blais declared broadband internet service a ‘basic’ service following the explosion in usage over the past five years. “The future of our economy, our prosperity and our society — indeed, the future of every citizen — requires us to set ambitious goals, and to get on with connecting all Canadians for the 21st century,” said Blais in a news conference on December 22, 2016. The CRTC ordered the country’s internet providers to begin working toward boosting internet service and speeds in rural and isolated areas. It set new targets for internet service providers to offer customers in all parts of the country download speeds of at least 50 megabits per second (Mbps) and upload speeds of at least 10 Mbps.
In a practical step, the agency ordered providers to pay into a $750-million fund to help pay for the infrastructure needed to extend service to poorly-served areas.

“Social Broadband” – 50 Customers Can Trigger Rural Internet Delivery
Social broadband is a dynamic, community-based process to future proof the community from expected technological obsolescence, according to Tim Will of Catalpa partners. It affords the creation of a multitude of small, home- and farm-based businesses through inclusion of the community in the value chain of multiple worldwide markets.
“The process starts by reconciling the leadership of a poorly connected community to the fact that its broadband deficiency is not just a technical issue; political impediments aggravate the imbalance in rural broadband connectivity,” writes Tim in Broadband Communities magazine. He argues that communities need to follow the example of the electrical cooperatives of the 1900’s, where people formed decentralized non-profit organizations controlled by their rural members.
In order to create a viable rural network, Tom advises communities to start by forming a broadband committee. “If the broadband committee collects 200 commitments at the industry average of $50.00 per month for broadband, that’s $10,000 per month, or $120,000 annual revenue out of one little community. Now the community is in a position to negotiate instead of supplicate – and the wireless internet service provider (WISP) won’t need to invest a cent in marketing costs.” Most WISPs find that only 50 customers are needed to justify placing an antenna. Churches are ideal antenna locations.
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Rural Communities Need Broadband – AND Here’s Strategy For Using It
For communities in a study in rural Minnesota, investment in broadband paid off in less than a year. The key is to combine a technology plan that anticipates the future with a usage plan that offers training and encouragement. Read how they measured their success:

See a related article: “The Case For Community Broadband”: