News Release

CCA Launches New Project on High-Throughput Networks for Rural and Remote Communities

The Council of Canadian Academies (CCA) is pleased to announce that it has been asked by the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) to examine the legal, ethical, social, and policy (LESP) issues associated with deploying and adopting reliable high-speed internet in rural and remote communities.

Across Canada, many communities lack access to fast and reliable internet, resulting in their exclusion from education, healthcare, banking, employment, and other online services and innovations. High-speed internet access in rural and remote communities can be impeded by unreliable electricity supplies, limited accessibility of services, and high cost of devices and infrastructure. Along with providing benefits, there are challenges associated with the introduction of high-speed internet. It can undermine local businesses, reduce social participation, and increase exposure to electronic fraud.

With the launch of its High-throughput and Secure Networks challenge program, the NRC seeks to identify potential challenges and successful approaches to facilitate the development, regulation, commercialization, and adoption of new technologies for satellite, fixed wireless access, and fiber optic communications. In support of the program, the NRC has asked the CCA to assess the LESP factors associated with implementing these technologies.

“High-speed internet is important for all Canadians, and especially for those living in rural and remote communities across Canada,” said Eric M. Meslin, PhD, FCAHS, President and CEO of the CCA. “We look forward to providing the NRC with a comprehensive assessment of the evidence on this critical question.”

A multidisciplinary expert panel will be assembled in the coming months to examine and interpret the evidence and provide insight that can inform policy and practice in Canada.

The report will be available in 2021.

The Question: What are the legal, regulatory, ethical, social, and economic policy challenges associated with the deployment and use of high-throughput secure networks (HTSN) for rural and remote communities, including Indigenous communities, in Canada?

Sponsor: National Research Council Canada