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«Delivered to | Northern Communications Information Systems Working Group c/o Government of Yukon Delivered by | Nordicity Date | Foreword The Project ...»

-- [ Page 1 ] --

NortherN CoNNeCtivity

eNsuriNg Quality CommuNiCatioNs

Delivered to |

Northern Communications Information Systems Working Group c/o Government of Yukon

Delivered by | Nordicity

Date |


The Project Steering Committee of the Northern Communications Information Systems

Working Group (NCIS-WG) is pleased to present the Northern Connectivity – Ensuring Quality

Communications report, produced by Nordicity Group Ltd.

This report builds on the 2011 Arctic Communications Infrastructure Assessment Report (ACIA).

This report proposes recommended goals and standards for broadband connectivity in the Territories, provides an analysis of the social and economic benefts of improving broadband connectivity and the consequences of inaction, and ofers a comprehensive implementation and engagement plan.

As in the ACIA report, an analysis of how other countries have initiated the building of networks in high cost regions was examined, to learn how these initiatives might apply to the Territories.

We hope this report provides useful information for NCIS-WG members, government stakeholders, and communications service providers to consider as they make strategic investment decisions for future connectivity.

We invite people to read this report, consider its fndings, and be part of the search for solutions.

Steve Sorochan Kellie Mitchell Government of Yukon Public Safety Canada Co-Chair, NCIS-WG Co-Chair, NCIS-WG Sachs Harbour, Northwest Territories Acknowledgements The Project Steering Committee of the Northern Communications and Information Systems Working Group was made up of participants from the territorial governments and the

Government of Canada:

Michael Corbett, Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency Major Terry Buehl, Joint Task Force North Michael Hurst, Industry Canada Kellie Mitchell, Public Safety Canada Brad Herriot, Government of Northwest Territories Hillary Casey, Government of Nunavut Steve Sorochan, Government of Yukon (Project Lead) The Project Steering Committee wishes to thank the following individuals for their signifcant

contributions to the NCIS-WG and the development of this report:

Major Tom Bachelder, Department of National Defense Dilprit Shergill, Public Safety Canada Nathaniel Alexander, Government of Nunavut Lisa Badenhorst, Government of Yukon Eddie Rideout, Governme

–  –  –

The Project Steering Committee also wishes to thank Centre for the North for their eforts in

producing this report. In particular:

Anja Jefrey, Director Adam Fiser, Senior Research Associate And the Centre for the North Team The Project Steering Committee wishes to thank the Service Providers for their cooperation and

assistance in the development of this report:

NorthwesTel team led by Mark Walker SSi Micro team led by Jef Philipp Telesat team led by Paul Bush The Project Steering Committee also wishes to thank the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency for providing the funds necessary to carry out this project.

This report, while principally the work of the Consultant team of Nordicity and Centre for the North, would not have been possible without the contributions of the following people and organizations: CRTC; Frank Gabriel and the TeleGreenland Team; Lorraine Thomas and the Imaituk Team; Doug Cunningham, Mike Cunningham, Geof Batstone and the Arctic Fibre Team; Jean Colas and Sabina Posadziejewski of Shared Services Canada; Tom Zubko of ICE Wireless; Kirt Ejesiak of Uqsiq Communications; Robert Hopkins of Openbroadcaster.com;

Michelle Beck of Telesat; David G Malcolm; Ken Spencer of Coman Arctic; and Robert Paschal of Pacomm Consulting group.

Table of Contents

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4. Implementation and Stakeholder Engagement Plan 15 Appendices Appendix 1 Glossary of Key Terms Appendix 2 Detailed Recommended Goals and Standards Appendix 3 Slow Roll Out Scenarios Appendix 4 Detailed Economic and Socio Economic Analysis Appendix 5 Stakeholder Engagement Appendix 6 Works Cited Cover Image: View of Yellowknife from Pilots Monument List of Tables Table : Financial Model Summary – Rolled-Up Analysis for the 3 Territories

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Table :

Table : Applications most used in the working environment Table : Average Throughput Needs Table : Frequency of Service Outages Table : Distribution of Northern Canadian Benchmarking Data Set Table : Residential Single Line Rate and Long Distance Plans Table 1 : Basic Cellular Voice and Voice with 1 GB Data Plans Table 1 : Lowest Cost High Speed Internet Packages (≥ 1500/384 kbps) Table 1 : Total Costs for Personal Telecommunications and High Speed Internet Table 1 : Recommended Bandwidth (Minimum Standards) Table 1 : Costs to Upgrade Current Network Infrastructure by Technology by Territory using baseline assumptions (Mackenzie Valley Fibre exists, and carrying only high priority trafc on redundant links.) Table 1 : Summary of Yukon Territory backbone capacity improvements Table : Summary of Northwest Territory backbone capacity improvements Table : Summary of Nunavut Territory backbone capacity improvements Table : Cost impact of moving to 100% trafc redundancy in network Table : Reference costs for new fbre builds in Yukon Table 2 : Reference costs for new fbre builds in the Northwest Territories Table 2 : Reference costs for new fbre builds in Nunavut (Assuming Existence of Arctic Fibre Backbone) Table 2 : Cost of network upgrades in the 3 Territories assuming new fbre builds are undertaken Table 2 : Comparing baseline scenario to new fbre build scenario – total costs Table 2 : Assumptions in the Cash fow model, for all Territories Table 2 : Yukon Financial Model Summary* Table : Northwest Territories Financial Model Summary Table : Nunavut Financial Model Summary Table : Financial Model Summary – Rolled-Up Analysis Table : Baseline statistics, per Territory Table 3 : Average download speed, 2013 (Mbps)

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Table : Costs to Upgrade Current Network Infrastructure by Technology by Territory using baseline assumptions (Mackenzie Valley Fibre exists, and carrying only high priority trafc on redundant links.) 1

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Figure Dynamic Optimization Model Figure : Capital cost per premises activated for fnal 10% in Australia Figure : Applications versus Service speed Figure : Percentage of communities below the recommended bandwidth service standards Figure : Dynamic Optimization Model Figure : Possible fbre builds in Yukon Figure : Possible fbre builds in the Northwest Territories Figure : Possible fbre builds in Nunavut (Refecting the Existence of the Arctic Fibre Backbone) Figure 1 : Flow chart of fnancial model Figure 1 : Free Cash Flow Figure 1 : Free Cash Flow Calculation

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Broadband connectivity is seen by governments around the world as an important enabler for economic diversification, growth and service delivery. Many countries have developed national programs to upgrade broadband networks to ensure all citizens can take advantage of the enormous potential of e-commerce, tele-health and distance education. In the Canadian Arctic, accessible, reliable and affordable communication services are seen as a foundation for Northerners to meet many of the socio-economic challenges they face, enabled by networks capable of handling 21st century applications.

There is much documented evidence showing the telecommunications infrastructure serving Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut has not kept pace with services available in many large Canadian cities.1 The Northern Communications Information Systems-Working Group (NCIS-WG) identified the need for a comprehensive strategy to improve communication services to the north, documented in the 2011 report “A Matter of Survival: Arctic Communications Infrastructure in the 21st Century“.2 Without a dedicated strategy to address the communications infrastructure deficit, the residents of the North are in danger of being left behind even as their territories lead Canada in GDP growth through increased development -- development that benefits Canada, but may not benefit northerners without strategic investments in the communications infrastructure.

With a robust communications infrastructure, northerners will be positioned to take full advantage of the economic, educational, governance and healthcare opportunities and bring their experience, expertise, and knowledge to help ensure responsible development of Canada’s Arctic for the benefit of northerners and all Canadians.

NCIS-WG commissioned Nordicity – a leading telecommunications and Information and Communications Technology (ICT) consulting firm to undertake this study, “Northern Connectivity: Ensuring Quality Communications”. The aim of this 2014 report is to identify measurable technical and financial solutions to ensure quality communication services. The study involves research and analysis in various areas, including user needs, network infrastructure and technology, financial sustainability and the economic impact of improving services.

The results of the analysis are incorporated into an optimization model developed for the project. The model allows for scenario analysis and evaluation of alternative options to ensure !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

aituk Inc., (2011). “A Matter of Survival: Arctic Communications in the 21st Century”, NCIS-WG Arctic Communications Infrastructure Assessment online at www.aciareport.ca bid., p. 181 quality communications services for all residents of Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut. The final chapter in the study provides recommendations and pathways for implementation of the connectivity strategy.

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The Arctic’s huge distances, few roads, and relatively small populations living in communities spread over vast distances means southern telecommunications finance models (designed to serve larger populations living in close proximity to each other) have not been particularly successful in delivering affordable, robust communication services across the three territories.

The key challenge is the North’s insufficient communications ‘backbone’ – the infrastructure that connects northern communities to each other and the rest of the world. There must be a significant investment to upgrade the Arctic backbone to meet people’s current and future communication needs.

Policy makers, service providers and the public want to know - how much will it cost to upgrade or build new backbone infrastructure to deliver the necessary bandwidth to ensure northerners are not left behind? Where will the money come from, and who will lead this initiative?

–  –  –

This report concentrates on capturing and analyzing the best available market, technical, financial and economic data for the development of a comprehensive connectivity strategy.

Detailed data, analysis and recommendations are provided in five key areas:

Setting a Target Broadband Speed: Recommends a minimum broadband target speed and service standards for northern households, businesses and governments, based on analysis of northern needs, infrastructure, projected traffic and a review of international standards; ( hapter 2) Calculating the Cost of Backbone Upgrades: Documents the cost of four options to upgrade the existing communications backbone to support the reliable delivery of minimum target speeds, with redundancy options, using a custom-built dynamic optimization model; ( hapter 2) Developing a Sustainable Financial Model: Estimating the financial incentive required to attract telecommunications Service Providers to participate in backbone development and service delivery, by examining the capital and operational expenditures and projected revenue over an 8 year period for each of the four options. The model also identifies the necessary annual subsidy to ensure low-income households can connect at affordable prices; ( hapter 3) Measuring the Economic and Socio-Economic Impact of Investment: Quantifies the economic and socio-economic impact of delivering increased Megabits per second (Mbps) to underserved communities, by examining the impact of increased GDP and jobs resulting from better services, and additional income from an increased tax base and consumer surplus; ( hapter 4) Implementing an Action Plan for Change: Proposes a mandate, structure, and step by step process for government to initiate a strategy that includes governmental, community and service provider input to fund and oversee the next generation of critical Arctic communications infrastructure. ( hapter 5) The results provide telecommunications service providers, policy makers, and investors with a starting point for solving the communications infrastructure deficit that currently plagues the Arctic.

The remainder of this Executive Summary provides the key highlights of each of these five areas.

SETTING A TARGET BROADBAND SPEED (Chapter 2) The consulting team gathered a range of inputs providing the basis to recommend a minimum average target of 9 Mbps down and 1.5 Mbps up.3 This target should be achieved by 2019 in order to meet projected consumer, business and government needs, while recognizing the constraints posed by the backbone infrastructure.

There are currently several telecommunications technologies used to connect Arctic communities. These technologies (whether fibre, microwave or satellite) dictate to a large degree what Internet speeds can be delivered to consumers and institutions, so setting realistic targets becomes particularly challenging in the Arctic with its mix of backbone technologies.

Currently, Yukon and NWT have an average of 2.6 Mbps per household (for microwave and satellite served communities), while Nunavut has an average of 1.5 Mbps per household (satellite only).

Countries such as Finland and Alaska have set ambitious targets of 100 Mbps per household to be reached by 2015 and 2020 respectively. This number has no meaning in Canada’s Arctic if there is no realistic way to make it happen. So rather than setting a target that does not recognize the unique Arctic geography and population distribution, the team approached the design of specific target speeds for different user groups using the following inputs, detailed in

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