The vision of WPS SMART is that as an area West Parry Sound become an active participant in the digital economy, creating good jobs and economic growth and sustainability
The rate of change created by technological advances is significant. In the near future you will hear more and more about 5G which will be a game changer, the advent of robotics (such as driverless cars), the internet of things where sensors are embedded into almost and devise or piece of equipment to name a few. These will all provide opportunities for us. As a community we need to be in the position to adopt and exploit the opportunities to ensure we reap the economic and social benefits and ensure we area relevant economically.
West Parry Sound like many rural communities in Canada is suffering from the digital divide. This is because we lack internet capacity and specifically the fiber trunks or backbone required to distribute the high speed, low latency, reliable internet services that we require
WPS SMART was incorporated in December 2015. Our mandate is to help create a thriving digital economy. First we need to solve the capacity problem and we have several initiatives planned or underway to achieve this. Solving the capacity problem can be achieved by the projects that we have underway or by working with or through others to
bring internet capacity into the area.
WPS SMART has just applied for funding from the Federal Government’s Connect to Innovate program for funding to build a 92 km fiber backbone. The Federal Government has committed $500M over the next 5 years to fund internet infrastructure projects. We expect that this program will be extremely competitive as the funding is very low when
considering the rural gaps across Canada. We will seek other sources of funding as well. For the Connect to Innovate program, The Township of Archipelago (by resolution) have agreed to be a guarantor of the WPS SMART application in the amount of $500,000.
We have several projects that we are pursuing as well.
It is our plan to participate in the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunication Commission (CRTC) Measuring Broadband Canada program. This program is intended to provide Canadian citizens with reliable and accurate data concerning broadband provision across the country. In December CRTC designated internet as a basic service and they committed $750M to be put toward infrastructure projects for areas that do not meet the targets set by CRTC. WPS SMART had been in communications with CRTC at that time where CRTC estimated that 18% of Canadians could not get internet at the target of 10 megabits down and one up. Unfortunately, it is expected that the estimate of 18% is very much understated due to the quality of information that is available. WPS SMART will pull together as much information as we can to ensure that the lack of internet in the area is made evident.
We would be pleased to meet with interested parties to discuss our initiatives further and answer