In December 2016, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission declared that fixed and mobile wireless broadband access was a basic service, "vital to Canada's economic, social, democratic, and cultural fabric." Canada has made significant progress in expanding broadband infrastructure, but many rural areas across the country continue to face unaffordable services, limited bandwidth capacity, and a lack of digital literacy training and technical support. The ACSRC is involved in two projects addressing these issue:

Regional and Intersectoral Effects is a regional collaboration project that was completed in June 2017.

We have only a limited understanding of:

  1. Exactly how rural broadband initiatives function as an inter-sectoral intervention in rural development;
  2. How regionalized vs. provincial and localized (municipal) initiatives intersect with (1);
  3. How different levels of policy-making (local, regional and provincial) can be pursued and adopt not only infrastructure but also programming in order to maximize the benefits noted by Ivus and Boland (2014).

Beyond Infrastructure is a knowledge synthesis project addressing the lack of comprehensive reviews of rural broadband adoption strategies.

This literature review cross references sources based on the determinants of broadband adoption that it addresses and the way in which it addresses them (interventions). Public policy can help address low adoption rates and stimulate a healthy, competitive broadband market by:

  • Focusing on supporting equitable access initiatives over forefront broadband technologies.
  • Addressing the shortage of demand-oriented broadband policies and strategies by creating locally relevant broadband content and services.
  • Supporting collaborative efforts, including public sector investment, in broadband initiatives.