You need reliable, high-speed broadband in order to be a true smart city

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The government of Canada recently announced funding that will support communities in their research and execution of smart city applications.

Evergreen was selected as a third-party advisor to work with communities across Canada to facilitate access to information and guidance regarding smart city approaches. They will work with OpenNorth and Future Cities Canada, and will be funded under the Smart Cities Community Support program.   

The press release explains that all areas of Canada will be provided support, including small and medium-sized cities, rural, remote, Indigenous, Northern and isolated communities.

Here are the two categories in which Evergreen will provide support:

  • “One-to-one advisory and capacity services: offering communities deep and specialized support.

  • One-to-many advisory and capacity services: offering broad capacity-building supports that encompass awareness & community engagement, building & sharing community knowledge, and matchmaking & connecting the ecosystem.”

Evergreen will also be providing and conducting a grant program, an online Smart Cities Portal, a research network, community engagement events, workshops, and other types of informative events.

"The Smart Cities Challenge is about creating innovative, inclusive and sustainable communities that Canadians are proud to call home, now and for years to come,” says The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities. The Government of Canada is pleased to be working with Evergreen and its diverse partners to support communities large and small across the country as they explore and implement ambitious smart cities ideas to improve the lives of their residents."

I’m definitely open to funding for providing communities across the country with the guidance and information they need to embrace smart city applications - it’s a necessity - but I feel like the federal government may be putting the cart before the horse.

The Community Support Program and Evergreen will be working with small and medium sized cities, rural, remote, Indigenous, Northern, and isolated communities, but how are these areas supposed to embrace and explore smart city technology if they don’t have the broadband infrastructure to support it?

There is funding for building out broadband infrastructure in these underserved areas, but not enough. Plus, the CRTC just cut their funding standards in half, lowering the bar for the entire country. I don’t see how a community can strive towards smart city status with 25 Mbps download and 5 Mbps upload.

I’m happy to see the country prioritizing smart city support and design, but broadband development is an essential utility that can not be ignored, especially when discussing smart city development.

Campbell Patterson