«Delivered to | Northern Communications Information Systems Working Group c/o Government of Yukon Delivered by | Nordicity Date | Foreword The Project ...»
As implementation and stakeholder engagement activities are simultaneous and interdependent, they are addressed together in this chapter. Moreover, the recommendations discussed logically build upon previous chapters of this report. In particular, Chapter 2 Recommended Service Standards and Network Modeling details the core service standards for new infrastructure and Chapter 3 Financial Model provides fnancial scenarios for the implementation of new regionally-focused territorial connectivity initiatives that would meet current bandwidth requirements and set the stage for future enhancements. These standards and scenarios should be used as guideposts during the implementation of new infrastructure projects.
Recommended Activities for Implementation and Stakeholder Engagement The following recommended activities refect best practices observed from domestic and international sources, including, Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, past federal connectivity programs such as Broadband Canada and the National Satellite Initiative, and the United States National Broadband Plan (specifcally under the Alaska Broadband Task Force). T he plan for recommended activities also takes into account initiatives to encourage Aboriginal and local community participation in broadband development, including the Assembly of First Nation’s e-Community Strategy and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) funded First Mile projec Based on best practices and accountability frameworks of the agencies cited above, four key recommendations form the core of the Implementation and Stakeholder Engagement Plan are
Recommendation 1: Establish a high level Broadband Implementation Task Force. The key roles of the Task Force would be to clarify joint federal and panAssembly of First Nations. (2013). “First Nations E-Community”. Accessed September 11, 2013 from: http://www.afn.ca/index.
php/en/policy-areas/frst-nations-e-community The First Mile. (2013). “What is the First Mile Project?” Accessed September 11, 2013 from: http://meeting.knet.ca/mp19/mod/ resource/view.php?id=4035
the release of project funds, and monitor project progress on behalf of core stakeholders. See Tables 56 to 59 in Appendix 5 for suggested constituent departments and agencies of the federal and territorial stakeholder groups. In the remainder of this section, we lay out the necessary considerations for selecting the most appropriate constituents of the Task Force.
FEDERAL LEADERSHIP SHOULD BALANCE THE EXTENT OF OFFICIAL NEEDS, THE
STRENGTH OF PROGRAM FUNDING CAPABILITIES, AND THE STRATEGIC KNOWLEDGE OF
ARCTIC ISSUES.As reported in the ACIA report, the three largest federal departments operating in the Arctic – in terms of total employees (between 100 and 450) – are Aboriginal Afairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC), followed by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), and the Department of National Defence (DND). There are also eight medium sized federal departments with between 50 and 100 personnel distributed across the three Territories, including the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency (CanNor), the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Environment Canada, Employment and Social Development Canada (Service Canada), Parks Canada, and Public Prosecution Services. Remaining federal departments with responsibilities in the Arctic have fewer than ffty personnel, with the majority having fewer than ten stafers distributed pan-territorially.
The extent of each federal stakeholder’s ofcial presence in the Arctic is not necessarily going to determine its potential role on the Task Force. Historically, it has been departments with specifc telecommunications or infrastructure mandates, such as Industry Canada and Infrastructure Canada that have contributed the most substantial federal program funds to Arctic communications infrastructure initiatives. By comparison, northern agencies with historically smaller funding portfolios – notably CanNor – possess a special strategic understanding of Arctic issues and can help the various federal players understand each other and the needs and capabilities of other northern stakeholders, including their territorial and Aboriginal counterparts.
Moreover, departments such as AANDC and the RCMP, possess longstanding mandates to support northern social development.
Activity 1.1 Lead federal roles within the Broadband Implementation Task Force should therefore balance the extent of ofcial needs, with relevant program funding capabilities, and strategic knowledge of Arctic issues.
In this regard the NCIS-WG – with its balance of federal and territorial government stakeholders – could provide an organizational template or be repurposed and fully resourced to refect a joint federal and pan-territorial mandate to drive the development of new Arctic communications infrastructure. The resources required are not simply fnancial, though a base fund would be required to seed projects, and a dedicated budget would be required to support implementation and stakeholder engagement activities.
The Broadband Implementation Task Force must also possess the authority and administrative capacity to administer RFIs and RFPs, as required, and then evaluate and act upon the accumulated information and proposals. As it will be broadly representative of Arctic interests, it must also possess capacities to foster collaboration across federal and territorial jurisdictions, between public and private sectors, and with community and Aboriginal participants.
Furthermore, it must possess a terms of reference that stipulates its mandate and clearly explains the service standards and principles it seeks to uphold. The Broadband Implementation Task Force must clearly serve as a single point of contact for all stakeholders interested in the cause of developing new Arctic communications infrastructure.
The territorial governments share common concerns with each other and their federal counterparts to improve Arctic communications, but they each face unique regional challenges and have historically taken diferent approaches to addressing their needs. Given the singular development paths of each Territory, the Implementation and Stakeholder Engagement Plan must engage territorial leadership in the selection and implementation of projects according to regional needs and priorities.
Activity 1.2 The territorial governments and their relevant agencies should each lead the selection and implementation of their respective regional projects funded by the Broadband Implementation Task Force. This would be accomplished through regionally focused Project Gating and Implementation committees.
Long-term fnancial sustainability and funding models adapted to the needs of stakeholders are key to attracting funding partners for connectivity upgrades and/or infrastructure development projects. A variety of funding and/or contract models have been used and/or considered in the three Territories and best practice jurisdictions including public-private partnerships, territorialaboriginal partnerships, operator-aboriginal partnerships, operator funded, government operating subsidies, one time capital project fnancing, long term contract commitments from key clients, etc. (See Appendix 5 for a retrospective of case histories at the territorial level).
Activity 1.3 Upon forming and prior to initiating any regional projects, the Broadband Implementation Task Force should clarify the high level funding commitments and preferred fnancing models and approaches of key territorial and federal government departments. Long-term fnancial sustainability of Arctic communications infrastructure should be a guiding objective.
Once high level commitments and preferences are clarifed at a joint federal and pan-territorial level the Task Force members would then determine particular funding commitments and preferred models and approaches for each regional project the Task Force considers investing in. The refnement of commitments and preferences for each regional project occurs during the Project Gating activities discussed below (under Recommendation 2). Particular regional project commitments and preferences are then fully realized through successive stages of stakeholder engagement with operators, funders and other stakeholders during the RFI and RFP activities discussed below under Implementation (Recommendation 3). These activities are introduced in the Overview of Task Force Operations below.
Once high level commitments and preferences are clarifed at a joint federal and pan-territorial level, the Task Force members would then determine particular funding commitments and preferred models and approaches for each regional project the Task Force has under consideration. The refnement of commitments and preferences for each regional project occurs during the Project Gating activities discussed below (under Recommendation 2). Particular regional project commitments and preferences are then fully realized through successive stages of stakeholder engagement with operators, funders and other stakeholders during the RFI and RFP activities discussed below under Implementation (Recommendation 3). These activities are introduced in the Overview of Task Force Operations below.
Overview of Task Force Operations As will be discussed in Recommendations 2 and 3 below, for each regional project the Task Force funds, it should create two committees to inform and execute the project’s implementation and stakeholder engagement activities (See organizational chart below). The frst committee, Project Gating, takes logical precedence over the second committee, Implementation. Project gating activities generally have to be accomplished before project implementation activities.
We envision that the Broadband Implementation Task Force would possess a joint federal and territorial mandate, as well as a funding base, to achieve the pan-territorial strategy to improve Arctic communications infrastructure.
While the leadership of the Broadband Implementation Task Force would be comprised of high level ofcials responsible for connectivity concerns across the Territories, each regional project consisting of particular Project Gating and Implementation committees would be led by the specifc territorial and regional ofcials who best understand the requirements of their project(s) and region(s). These territorial and regional ofcials would be responsible for managing the specifc project RFIs and RFPs, and related project activities.
For each regional project, committees should be able to break of into as many ad hoc groups as activities may require. Regional projects and committees should also be relatively fuid and be able to share members and resources depending on the nature of their tasks or the requirements and availability of expertise. Knowledge, expertise and capacity must be shared across the broad federal and pan-territorial membership of the Broadband Implementation Task Force. In the plan of recommended activities discussed below a Project Gating committee for each regional project undertakes its activities without splitting into groups, while the Implementation committee splits of into three groups to better manage the relative complexity of recommended activities (See organizational diagram below).
Figure 2 : Organizational diagram of Task Force and Regional Projects
While it is expected that the Broadband Implementation Task Force will acquire a funding base upon receiving its joint federal and pan-territorial mandate, each regional project will likely be unique and may require matching contributions from territorial and regionally specifc stakeholders.
Activity 2.1 Each Project Gating committee must therefore, at minimum, clarify the fnancing role of its regional project’s core federal and territorial stakeholders.
We suggest two related action steps for each Project Gating committee as it undertakes Activity 2.1:
1 Clarify roles of public sector contributions (CAPEX) to match the Broadband Implementation Task Force’s base fund contribution (if required).
2 Clarify commitments and needs of dominant public sector client groups, (anchor tenants), and role of shared services departments e.g., in healthcare, education, corporate services, or government-wide, etc. For federal stakeholders this may include the involvement of Shared Services Canada. For territorial stakeholders this will include inputs from shared services entities such as NWT’s TSC or Nunavut’s CGS.
PROJECT GATING COMMITTEE
TO ALIGN CORE STAKEHOLDERS, CLEAR FINANCING HURDLES, AND CLARIFY OPERATIONAL
MODEL PRIOR TO PROJECT IMPLEMENTATION.Activity 2.2 While each Project Gating committee is not expected to know specifc engineering details about the infrastructure its core stakeholders want, it should clarify the operational model to be achieved.
An operational model specifes how ownership and management of proposed infrastructure is to be achieved, and defnes the working relationships and boundaries between public and private interests. It may refect decisions and policies that were formulated parallel to or prior to the Broadband Implementation Task Force, including NWT’s MVFL, the National Satellite Initiative benefciary agreements (in Nunavut and NWT), Yukon and NWT’s agreements with their incumbent or other service providers, and so forth. Each of the operational models resulting from these past decisions aligns particular solutions, principles, and targets with roles and responsibilities for network operators, project funders, community champions, and so forth.
To understand the implications of operational models consider the following examples, each refective of policy decisions made early in their respective project gating and implementation activities: 1) The Alaska Broadband Task Force, 2) Tele Greenland, and 3) the Alberta SuperNet.
See diagram below.
Figure 2 : Examples of Operational Models from Alaska, Greenland, and rural Alberta Figure : Demographics for Alaska, Greenland, and Rural Alberta