More than 88 per cent of north Simcoe residents do not have access to basic high-speed internet, according to a recent broadband analysis.
A study of area broadband networks, conducted in part by the North Simcoe Community Futures Development Corporation, shows that the majority of residents in the region are underserved when it comes to high-speed internet.
“The question is not whether you have high-speed internet, but whether you have appropriate high-speed internet that is at a speed and a level that meets the needs of the public,” said Rob McPhee, who led the analysis project.
In 2011 the CRTC said all Canadians should have access to minimum download speeds of five Mbps and upload speeds of one Mbps. In 2016 this standard changed and minimum download speeds of 50 Mbps and upload speeds of 10 Mbps are now required.
The report states that a total of 88 per cent of permanent residents, 70 per cent of seasonal residents and 94 per cent of commercial buildings in north Simcoe do not have internet that meets the latest CRTC standards. Of those, 22 per cent of permanent residents, 33 per cent of seasonal residents and 21 per cent of commercial buildings don’t have access to internet that meets 2011 standards, let alone the latest service standards.
“When you look at it nationally, communities in the North Simcoe region ranked between 113 and 167 out of 168,” said McPhee. “The north Simcoe region is in the bottom 25th percentile of high speed internet connectivity.”
Beausoleil First Nation ranks second last in all of Canada in regard to quality of high-speed internet, with 100 per cent of residents unable to access 2016 service standards and over 50 per cent receiving internet that fails to meet 2011 standards.
“Our aim with this report is to seek out infrastructure builds through SWIFT (Southwestern Integrated Fibre Technology Network),” said Chris McLaughlin, general manager of the North Simcoe Community Futures Development Corporation. “We are going to be approaching them and trying to work with them to see if our region can be one of the first with some sort of project through the fund.”