Industry Calls for Re-Build of Canada’s Communications Infrastructure
Canada continues to fall further behind the rest of the world with respect to its national communications networks and related services, says a coalition of industry representatives.
The country has fallen nine spots in one year in the global ranking of Internet speeds, now ranking 14th behind Romania and others, reports the i-CANADA Governors Council.
The Governors say this drop has been accompanied by a continuing decline in innovation – Canada’s innovation rate is now second to last by population among 17 countries studied for the 2012 Conference Board Report on Canada.
“We have nothing on the horizon to match Google’s announcement of the performance and pricing of its new gigabit community service in Kansas City: its first ‘gigabit community’”, said Bill Hutchison Chair of i-CANADA, a coalition of political, academic and industry leaders representing the interests of communications, telecom and technology sectors.
He cited Google’s Access General Manager Kevin Lo, who specified clearly that Google recognizes broadband speed is directly connected to economic growth: “The last time we doubled the speed of broadband a whole new market evolved and spurred tremendous growth in the Internet.”
The i-CANADA Governors Council will meet in Montreal October 21, at which a call for guidance and support will be issued.
The motion that will be in front of the Governors Council states:
“The Governors Council of i-CANADA calls for the formation of a National Coalition in partnership with federal and provincial governments to support Canada’s urgent return to the global leadership position we once enjoyed in the coverage and cost/performance of our communications infrastructure.”
To support this initiative, the Governors Council will be expanding to 100 private and public sector leaders to include representative leaders from all sectors of Canadian society and geography.
A very respected international leader, Conor Lenihan, will be joining the i-CANADA Governors Council meeting in Montreal at the i-CANADA Summit Conference. Lenihan was the former Minister of Science and of Education of Ireland, a private sector executive in the telecommunications industry and is now the Vice President for International Business for Skolkovo, Russia’s new Innovation City.
“The Russians are investing heavily in Skolkovo – and in fact in Intelligent Communities in general – so this is seen as an ideal opportunity for i-CANADA Governors to gain insights into their programs,” explained Hutchison.
I-CANADA is working with some 50 Canadian communities to transform them into Intelligent Communities, with the sustainable employment, fast innovation and resilient social structures that come from this designation.
“The result we are hoping for, at the end of the work of the ‘Council of One Hundred’, is the transformation of Canada through a world class national communications framework and infrastructure that will provide a platform to support the many communities now working together to achieve i-Nation status thereby reversing Canada’s comparative global decline in innovation, productivity and broadband communications,” said Hutchison.
“Members of the i-CANADA Governors Council collectively cover a wide sector of Canadian society and by expanding the Council we will be well positioned to identify and support the necessary strategies around Smart/Intelligent communities that will support Canada’s social and economic transformation,” he added.
Comprising provincial Premiers, Mayors, and a broad cross section of other leaders, the i-CANADA Governors Council are the ones who are well positioned to accept this mission and vision: Achievement of the economic development, job growth and social prosperity now enjoyed in the world’s leading Intelligent Communities or Smart Cities.
The i-CANADA Summit is a concentrated one-day event for i-CANADA supporters, Advisory Board Members and members of the Governor’s Council, in which Governor Council Chair, Premier Alward of New Brunswick, will be joined by Mayors, CEOs and sector leaders to plot the course of Canada’s plans for “new economy” growth.