Just as roads with power and telephone lines strung down the side were transformative for people and communities, the next evolution will be a robust digital grid connecting the Southern Gulf Islands and British Columbians in every community. Let’s use the opportunity of the current circumstances to develop our digital infrastructure.
We have all been challenged by Covid-19 and the weaknesses in our digital systems were exposed this Spring when millions of people in our province were forced to work from home and our children’s education went online. Many families are still in limbo with respect to their plans for the return to school this Fall and access online (or a lack thereof) should not be a factor in their decision making.
Every year the Legislative Finance Committee consults British Columbians about the budget for the following year. The 2020 consultation generated a higher volume of input than the committee had received in the last decade. According to the Deputy Chair MLA Dan Ashton (Penticton), digital connectivity “emerged as a central theme.”
Digital connectivity is a priority for British Columbians, and community leaders are looking to the provincial government for solutions. It’s an expensive proposition with many public and private stakeholders.
Despite the challenges there is a growing demand for a much stronger system that is widely accessible, perhaps requiring a variety of technologies to service rural, remote and isolated areas while ensuring that basic services are available at an affordable price. Let’s take advantage of this opportunity to invest in robust digital infrastructure.