Canada is among many countries redefining themselves as the global digital economy emerges. This is leading to an unprecedented opportunity for rural areas to access significant connectivity funding supports - providing regions and communities have strong, comprehensive connectivity plans. A comprehensive connectivity plan positions regional organizations and communities to leverage a variety of partners both in developing the infrastructure and e-solutions needed to address local challenges and improve lives.
What is a Connectivity Plan?
Connectivity infrastructure can be as critical and complex as other public utility infrastructure. Understanding the value of supporting investments for long-term community benefit is the starting point for effective connectivity strategies or plans.
For local governments, developing a plan for improved connectivity is a multi-step process that involves working with various partners to assess needs, assets, opportunities and infrastructure. Connectivity plans enable communities to make better, more informed connectivity-related decisions to achieve greater economic and well-being benefits derived from connectivity.
The Value of Planning
Today, every aspect of community planning involves connectivity--directly or indirectly. Planning ensures connectivity is aligned with current and future needs of communities. It also ensures investments in infrastructure that are expensive to build, maintain and upgrade are made once, leveraged and optimized, to achieve greater community and regional benefits:
- Increased awareness of community development opportunities (economic, social and environmental) that can be made possible through new or improved broadband access
- Understand and proactively address connectivity access and digital literacy
- Increase potential to attract future grant funding for broadband infrastructure into the region
- Increase potential for infrastructure investments to leverage program investments for e-solutions
- Increase potential for intelligent community applications that improve quality of life
- Increase potential to attract investment from major carriers and last-mile infrastructure providers such as smaller ISPs
- Increase ability to sustain rural and remote community populations
- Increased regional collaboration and cooperation on critical services
Where to begin
The Connected Communities program provides resources to guide local government and regional organizations in the early stages of developing regional connectivity plans. It describes practical approaches and suggested steps toward defining, planning and supporting community-led reliable and sustainable broadband solutions.
Learn how to access the available resources in the Connected Communities Handbook.