Internet services in more rural areas of the Cowichan Valley Regional District will receive funding from the Island Coastal Economic Trust (ICET) READY program.
With the village of Gwa’yas’dums in the north of the island, the goal is to increase broadband speeds in rural and remote areas in order to develop community connectivity strategies.
CVRD will first conduct an assessment to identify its communities with inadequate broadband speeds, then create a connectivity plan that will “explore options to improve household and business access and enable the region to continue the financing of last mile infrastructure”.
“These are valuable projects that will strengthen pathways to essential online resources, building communities’ ability to attract and retain employees, remote workers and community members,” said Mayor of Ladysmith. , Aaron Stone, current Chairman of the ICET Board of Directors. “Improving broadband infrastructure is fundamental to bridging the digital divide and ensuring that all citizens can enjoy the full range of benefits that connectivity has to offer. »
CVRD’s Connectivity Plan includes a community consultation process to hear residents’ needs and desires, as well as to explain what already exists to connect residents and to advise residents on technology and network solutions and their costs. potential development.
“This process will allow underserved areas to develop their own connectivity vision and priorities,” said CVRD Board Chair Lori Iannidinardo. “The pandemic has highlighted more than ever that internet bandwidth and speed are crucial elements for healthy, livable and efficiently served communities.”