Defining and Exploring Broadband Connections and Education Solutions in Canada’s North


  • Tammy Soanes-White Athabasca University, Aurora College



accessibility, broadband, connectivity, critical digital pedagogy, GIS, remote learning


The use of technology and need for connection across distance permeates all education environments; nowhere is this more important than in Canada’s Northwest Territories. Broadband and telecommunications issues within the Northwest Territories are complex due to its vast geographical area and community dispersion, making connectivity and accessibility inconsistent. Due to these conditions, the North relies on a variety of broadband solutions to improve Internet speeds and access to education at a distance. This paper analyzes the impacts that broadband capacity and Internet access have on remote education by examining geographic information system data, which offers a framework that connects spatial and temporal data to analyse accessibility of remote education. Characteristics such as spatial location of communities, infrastructure (road systems), and the overlay of various broadband options will illustrate constraints and (dis)connectivity in various regions and inform readers about the complexity of remote connections. Analysis of current upload and download speeds from various regions and their impact on access to education supports geospatial data and analysis that the digital divide in remote regions of Canada has increased and is widening. Improving equitable access to postsecondary education will require a greater reliance on technology-enabled practices to improve learning opportunities.


Author Biography

Tammy Soanes-White, Athabasca University, Aurora College

Tammy Soanes-White is a doctoral student in the Athabasca University Distance Education program and a researcher and Adult Learning Specialist in the Centre for Teaching and Learning at Aurora College, NT, Canada. She is a northern researcher and academic who promotes and advocates for technology-enabled solutions to improve remote education in the Northwest Territories. Currently pursuing a Doctorate in Education, specializing in Distance Education, Tammy’s research explores remoteness and its effect on higher education access and the importance of connectedness and connectivity within program design and delivery. Tammy has been involved in research and evaluation, examining a variety of solutions to engage and teach learners across the NWT over the past 25 years. During that time, many solutions have relied on a variety of teaching approaches, while considering the contextual relevance and viability of solutions in remote communities. Her interests are in improving students’ experiences and success through blended and face-to-face learning.


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