Broadband connectivity is the next essential utility, as integral to a community’s growth and vitality as reliable electricity, clean water and well-maintained roads. Communities without ubiquitous, openly accessible and scalable broadband infrastructure risk becoming ghost towns along the information highway, as they lack the on-ramps and roadways required to help their residents and businesses compete and prosper in the digital economy.
To improve broadband infrastructure and access in communities, a clear roadmap is needed.
BDO can help your community create a broadband strategy based on market-tested approaches, customized to your unique circumstances and requirements.
How do the best communities actively manage broadband?
Intelligent communities recognize that equitable access to broadband is the right of every citizen, as it is a determinant to their ability to access healthcare, education, government and marketplaces. Intelligent communities often utilize the following strategies to manage their broadband infrastructure:
- Establish a committee or council to steer the course of broadband infrastructure investments in the community.
- Pass a motion at council that declares broadband an essential utility.
- Include broadband infrastructure in their Official Plan. BDO may assist with language for your Official Plan.
- Work with stakeholders to develop an Intelligent Community Plan that includes a strategic roadmap for implementing broadband infrastructure.
- Develop a Broadband Strategy that describes how the community will use digital infrastructure, information and communications technologies to support the achievement of the Intelligent Community Plan.
- Incorporate broadband infrastructure, connectivity, and applications into the community’s strategic plan.
- Develop strategies to deploy fiber-optic and Wi-Fi connectivity, controllers, and sensor devices to implement the Internet of Things (IoT) in community systems.
- Develop civil infrastructure standards for the construction of civil works necessary to support the deployment of fiber-optic cables and invest in enabling this infrastructure.
- Review their municipal access agreement (MAA) and revise as necessary to make it easier, faster, and cheaper for facilities-based telecom service providers to deploy fiber-optic infrastructure.
- Consider various organizational and deployment models for broadband infrastructure in order to develop a best practice specific to the community’s unique circumstances and requirements. BDO will provide a Comparative Assessment of best practice communities across Canada and around the world.
- Work with a local college or university to develop a protocol and funding mechanism to support the mapping of broadband infrastructure and the development of an econometric model. This will provide a better understanding of how broadband impacts employment, productivity and GDP.
- Make regular investments in digital infrastructure.
- Implement two or three IoT pilot projects to demonstrate the economic and social value of the digital ecosystem in action.
- Develop a business case to build, own and operate their own broadband utility.
- Apply for federal government funding programs to secure funds to underwrite the cost of broadband infrastructure deployments.
BDO can assist your community with the creation and implementation of all broadband strategies.
How can BDO help?
BDO, in collaboration with other subject matter experts, are uniquely positioned to work with communities to develop an Intelligent Community Plan and Broadband Strategy.
We have extensive experience creating strategies, assessments, feasibility studies, network designs, business cases, asset valuations, financial models, benchmarking exercises and organizational designs for a variety of clients ranging from provincial governments to school boards. BDO is currently project managing our clients’ network deployments and day-to-day operations, so we know first-hand how to translate well crafted plans into strong results. If you have any questions about broadband and how we can help, please contact your local BDO office.