The Covid-19 pandemic restrictions showed how crucial access to broadband Internet speeds is to prosperity in the increasingly digital economy. It also revealed the inequality stemming from the digital divide in access between urban and rural regions across North America.
The Canadian and U.S. governments have made substantial commitments to investing in infrastructure to provide high-speed connectivity in underserved areas and to lower income populations. BTY brings extensive expertise in helping to translate those investment objectives into solutions in the built environment.
In Canada, the federal government has committed $2 billion in investment to connect about 750,000 homes to broadband in underserved communities. That figure is in addition to the government’s existing $1.7 billion Universal Broadband Fund.
A StatsCan survey shows 76% of respondents living in a census metropolitan area (CMA/CA) had an advertised download speed of 50 Mbps or more. But just under half – 48% — living outside those areas were able to connect to similar internet speeds.
High speed in Canada is 10 Mbps upload and 50 Mbps download
Canada’s goal is to connect 98% of Canadians by 2026, and all Canadians by 2030, with access to high-speed Internet. That means homes and businesses will have access to broadband Internet speeds of at least 50 Mbps for downloads and 10 Mbps for uploads.
In the U.S., the Infrastructure and Jobs Act allocates $65 billion to connect Americans to broadband. An estimated $42 billion of those funds will go toward building new infrastructure in places now unserved or underserved by broadband. Another $14.2 billion is earmarked to making broadband more affordable by subsidizing the cost through the Affordable Connectivity Program. The U.S. Federal Communications Commission defined broadband in 2015 as 25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload.
BTY’s professionals have provided Cost Management, Project Management and Infrastructure Advisory services on Telecommunications & Connectivity projects across North America, including to remote communities. One the firm’s first engagements in this sector involved the delivery of 1,100 kilometres of new fibre optics spanning the McKenzie Valley from Fort Simpson to Inuvik, in Canada’s Northwest Territories.
BTY is currently providing Infrastructure Advisory services on two separate large fibre-to-home broadband projects in Ontario. The projects will deliver a minimum of 50/10 Mbps internet speeds to subscribers in remote areas of the province.
In addition to fibre optics infrastructure, the firm has provided integrated project delivery services on several Tier 1 to Tier 4 data centres across Canada.