Columbia Shuswap Regional Distrit (CSRD) residents are being encouraged to participate in a province-wide Internet speed test.
Many B.C. communities have raised concerns the federal data on broadband Internet speeds may not accurately reflect the speeds experienced in homes and businesses, believing the speed to be good and functional when it may not be.
The CSRD already has data showing local Internet speeds are lower in some areas than the federal data indicates. Information and data analysis will take place this spring and summer with reporting of study results expected in fall 2021.
The regional district is participating in the independent study, which is being conducted by the B.C. Ministry of Citizens’ Services, Union of BC Municipalities, and Northern Development Initiative Trust.
Data collected from the test can be used to determine eligibility for connectivity funding programs to improve service.
A key step in this process is to identify which B.C. communities have noted inconsistencies between the 50/10 Mbps Internet speed that federal maps indicate should be available, versus actual Internet speeds currently experienced by residents and businesses in the area.
Communities with speeds of less than 50/10 are deemed eligible for the funding from federal connectivity grant programs.
Currently, Golden and area is shown as meeting service expectations, making the community ineligible for those grants.
The Southeastern BC Regional Connectivity Committee has identified 16 ineligible communities based on government data where a last mile fibre project could potentially connect rural residents if funding was sought through UBF.
The committee does not believe that these communities meet the standard for high speed Internet.
CSRD residents, businesses and community stakeholders can help ensure the correct data for Internet speed is recorded by taking part in a simple Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) test.
CSRD board directors are encouraging all residents to take part in the speed test. The more responses received from different locations across the region, the more accurate the broadband Internet speed data will be. The test can be taken multiple times in multiple locations, as Internet speed may vary.
The speed test can be accessed at https://performance.cira.ca/bc
Internet is an important issue to the region, as access to high-speed Internet services improves access to healthcare, education, culture, public safety and economic activity.
So far, 128,360 ISP tests have been run in B.C.