In 2021, the National Broadband Internet Service Availability Map was released, showing Internet service speed for rural and remote communities.
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission requires Internet users to have an Internet speed of at least 50 megabits per second (Mbps) download and 10 Mbps upload, which is 50/10. The map indicated which areas met this requirement and which fell short.
If an area has an internet speed slower than 50/10, it is eligible for a grant to improve service.
According to the initial map, areas such as Palling and Barrett Lake as well as outlying streets such as Omineca Way and Mountainview Drive are showing speeds below 50/10, while the majority of the populated area is showing internet speeds above 50/ 10.
In Burns Lake, the stats were similar, with areas like the south side of Burns Lake, Decker Lake, and some areas on the outskirts of town such as Richmond Loop and Railway Avenue showing internet speeds below 50/10, but main downtown shown above 50/10 speed.
Following the release of the map, local governments, including Burns Lake and Houston, expressed concern about discrepancies between the reported level of available broadband service speeds shown on the federal map and the connectivity levels that community stakeholders say they know.
Therefore, the Bulkley-Nechako Regional District participated in a 2021 Federal Broadband Internet Service Study to better understand the factors contributing to the discrepancy between Internet speed data published on the Federal Government map and community experiences in British Columbia.
The Government of British Columbia engaged TANEx Engineering to conduct the study to determine the extent of the possible discrepancies. These data indicated that 106 localities were identified as having possible discrepancies with the map. The report said there were no discrepancies in Houston, although in Burns Lake there were a few identified.
The Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) has been contacted to compile a detailed report of each of these identified locations, including Burns Lake, to see if these discrepancies are in fact accurate.
Burns Lake CIRA testing indicates that 50/10 of the results were recorded from just nine unique test locations and six IP addresses. unlike all downtown. Of the 194 tests conducted in the region, only 14 were at or above 50/10 speed.
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