The District of Muskoka plans to improve the region’s internet.

Muskoka’s Regional Broadband Strategy will gather information on less connected areas and plan infrastructure projects to address them. The project is run by the Muskoka Economic Recovery Task Force’s Broadband Sub-committee, which plans to hire a consultant for the project by June 18. 

“The goal is to do everything possible to ensure that affordable and reliable internet services are available across the region, so that residents and businesses can fully participate and stay competitive in an ever growing digital world,” says John Klinck, District Chair and member of the sub-committee.

Klinck says that gaps in internet service affect everyone, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“There are a number of students throughout Muskoka that haven’t been able to connect for online learning, and of course we have a number of businesses that are in locations that don’t have good service, [which] drastically affects their ability to connect to the internet to promote and market their businesses,” says Klinck. “We even have a member of Muskoka District Council who’s unable to connect from home and has to travel to a public wi-fi location to participate in District Council meetings.”

According to Klinck, the sub-committee has been gathering broadband data over the last six months, and municipalities have been collecting similar information for even longer. The District will use that information to determine areas of focus.

Residents can take an internet speed test on the District’s website to help the information-gathering process.