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September 21 and 22
2 days, 2 disciplines, 2 ways to participate – defining our professional roles and uniting to build more equitable, accessible and inspired communities.
Access to high-speed broadband internet services is essential for those looking to participate in modern economies and societies. This has proven especially true during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which has necessitated and accelerated the move towards online access to services, business functions, learning, entertainment, and communication.
Traditionally, private telecommunication companies have fulfilled broadband needs, often competing to offer cutting-edge services in dense urban areas. But what about sparsely populated rural areas that are more expensive to serve? What about those that cannot afford access to broadband internet services? What happens to children who cannot access education online, or individuals who cannot access online programs or services such as medical appointments? Can businesses with poor connectivity survive in the coming years? What is the role of regional (or local) governments that do not have the ability to regulate this industry and that have not traditionally been in the business of providing internet services?
In this session, Brad Anderson and Riaz Razvi provide a presentation on the Region of Durham's Broadband Initiative, describing their municipality's attempt to answer these questions.
The presentation discusses:
Broadband and why it is important — especially during the COVID-19 pandemic;
Broadband issues and gaps in Durham Region and the risk of being left behind;
The journey to develop a regional broadband strategy, including the challenge of defining the region's role;
The final broadband strategy and implementation actions;
Early days of implementation, including improving data through community consultation, forming partnerships, and better defining issues and opportunities;
Recognizing a window of opportunity, and making a critical pivot in order to capitalize;
Understanding the connection between technology, government investment, and the attraction of residents and businesses to a municipality;
The development of a regionally owned broadband network; and
The importance of collaboration, advocacy, and partnerships.
The presentation will conclude with final thoughts and conclusions, highlighting the lessons learned from working on a large, complex file in an emerging area of municipal interest.