qathet Regional District (qRD) has selected Driftwood Communications to develop a connectivity plan that will bridge the internet connectivity gap and outline what is needed to pave the last mile within the regional district.
According to a media release from qRD, the project is supported through grant funding from Island Coastal Economic Trust, as well as a portion of qRD’s annual allocation of federal gas tax funds through the Community Works Fund.
The release stated that following up on great work by Joseph McLean of Full Solution Computers conducted in 2009, 2011 and 2016, assessing the current gaps in achieving full internet connectivity for the region, Driftwood is tasked with finding ways and means for addressing these service gaps.
Completion of the Internet Connectivity – Last Mile Plan will be on or before June 30, 2021, the release stated. Upon completion, the regional board will be presented with strategies and costs for bridging the gap that take into consideration objectives of the connected coast project, existing internet services in the region, and nuances specific to the identified service gaps.
The release stated that the project will focus on finding creative and effective ways to foster public engagement during COVID-19, to ensure the community has a voice in its digital future.
For residents in rural and remote locations, high-speed internet offers greater ability to connect by providing improved access to medical advice, emergency services, educational opportunities, and employment, the release stated.
“Improved connectivity infrastructure also affords substantial economic benefits for the region, as logistical constraints of a regional-based business are vastly improved by equal access to high-speed internet. These rural and remote businesses will now be in a position to better compete with their big-city counterparts the release stated”
qRD board chair Patrick Brabazon commented on Driftwood Communications’ qualifications in the release.
“They have an excellent track record,” he stated. “Based on their work performed for the Strathcona Regional District, we will be well served by their efforts.”