The following report entitled “Current status of Broadband Connectivity in First Nations Communities in B.C.”, prepared by Dr. Ruth Williams and presented to the National Board, illustrates how the pandemic has highlighted a major challenge for Indigenous communities to fully participate and flourish in the Canadian economy.
“The question isn’t ‘can we afford to connect our First Nations communities?’ It’s ‘how can we afford not to connect them?’”
The lack of reliable broadband infrastructure, affordability, and adequate connectivity, including the inability to receive virtual services, such as remote healthcare and remote education, has been a long-standing barrier faced by many Indigenous communities across the country.
Additionally, the lack of general infrastructure in many communities, notably remote and northern communities, needs to be addressed. Although some progress has been made, significant investments will be needed to increase broadband capacity overall. Urgent review and analysis of community needs is necessary, and long overdue, to close the digital divide.