The Frontier Centre for Public Policy released a report today focusing on how to improve and expand telecommunications technology in rural and remote Saskatchewan. The report offers a model based on best practices from rural communities around the world.
Frontier Centre research fellow Roland Renner examines the challenges associated with providing reliable internet service to remote communities. Since it is often very expensive, telecommunications companies are typically reluctant to expand and modernize infrastructure far from urban centers.
As the world becomes more connected by the Internet, rural and remote communities will require improved telecom services in order to fully participate in the global economy. If telecommunications companies aren’t willing to make those investments, communities will have to find alternative ways to fill the gap.
Renner suggests that SaskTel and the Government of Saskatchewan should encourage small communities, rural subscribers, and band councils to form co-operative enterprises to build their own “last mile” fiber or wireless facilities that can connect to SaskTel’s infrastructure. He suggests this can be accomplished with funding, low interest loans, and training.
Following this model would allow rural and remote communities to improve their telecommunications capabilities, which could also increase their property values. Since Saskatchewan has a long history of using co-ops to provide services across the province, this model would be a natural fit for the province. Renner notes that:
“Combining SaskTel’s historic mission with these organizations to update the last mile in rural and remote Saskatchewan is an excellent opportunity to capitalize on two different streams of successful economic endeavours and make them both better and stronger,” said Renner.
Download the complete study here:http://archive.fcpp.org/posts/a-new-model-to-implement-next-generation-telecom-for-rural-and-remote-saskatchewan