Summary and recommendations:
Small towns and rural areas in Canada have much to offer – access to nature, lower cost of living, lifestyle advantages – but many are declining with dwindling populations, lower education and lower employment levels. While they have the potential to drive economic growth and innovation, small towns and rural communities often lack the broadband infrastructure needed to prosper. This report argues that government needs to:
- recognize the importance of rural communities in fueling innovation, testing new solutions, driving economic development and attracting foreign investment
- accelerate the expansion of citizens’ access to highspeed networks
- support solutions that strengthen linkages between smaller and larger communities and that attract and grow businesses in rural areas
- promote smaller communities so they can build partnerships and attract investment
- consider investments to address affordability of broadband connectivity and other digital services.