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

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There would also be significant negative socio-economic impacts in particular, in the delivery of health, education and other government services. The overall quality of life would be affected and while improvements are made in the rest of Canada as a result of improving technologies and better tools in these sectors, the North will be at a disadvantage since the technological requirements would impede proper functioning of these newer technologies.

The ability of the Territories to attract and retain talented workers and their families would be also be hobbled. The northern workforce - already characterized by retention difficulties in recruitment and retention – could become ever more unstable.

IMPLEMENTATION ACTION PLAN (Chapter 5) One of the challenges of moving the Arctic infrastructure agenda forward is in identifying who is responsible for finding and implementing solutions.

The NCIS-WG’s mandate is to provide a forum for stakeholders to engage in discussions regarding communications in the Arctic and, ultimately, to identify strategic recommendations leading to more robust communication capabilities in the North. But the NCIS-WG has no ongoing funds for developing or leading change to the status quo.

The report outlines an action plan in Chapter 5, to move from the discussion stage to the implementation stage to make long-term robust connectivity in the north a reality.

The report recommends the creation of a Broadband Implementation Task Force responsible for implementing the needed changes – along with the ability to gather and expend the necessary resources to make effective change.

The Broadband Implementation Task Force would be made up of federal and territorial government stakeholders with strategic knowledge of Arctic needs. The Task Force’s mandate would be to oversee the development of the next generation of critical Arctic communications infrastructure.

The Task Force would operate over a multi-year period, and requires federal and territorial government funding to complete the following tasks in its quest to develop the Arctic communications infrastructure. Through its own work and via a series of subcommittees,

the Task Force would:

Clarify joint federal and pan-territorial funding commitments;

• Provide guidance in the application and adaptation of the strategy;

• Direct implementation and stakeholder engagement around regional projects and • pan-territorial concerns;

Provide continuity and corporate memory;

• Obtain guidance from CRTC and relevant departments on regulatory changes that affect • the Arctic;

Have the authority to issue Requests for Information, and Requests for Proposals;

• Have the ability and mandate to evaluate and act upon the information collected.

–  –  –

*denotes new fibre sites, where costs are not included in the total cost for fibre upgrade. Costs are assumed to be paid for by Arctic Fibre for $0 in the model if main subsea network is built.

**denotes new fibre sites (undersea cable), using costing supplied by Arctic Fibre + estimated cost of installing capital equipment to connect the upgraded transport network to the first mile network, based on $500 per new subscriber ++ Unorganized areas not included in population data Chapter 1: Introduction and Background This report, titled Northern Connectivity – Ensuring Quality Communications, was commissioned by the Northern Communications Information Systems Working Group (‘NCIS-WG’) to “deliver a comprehensive plan for implementation of the recommendations for northern connectivity” contained in the April 30, 2011, Artic Communications Infrastructure Assessment (‘ACIA’) Report (www.aciareport.ca), titled Communications – A Matter of Survival.

The ACIA Report was initiated by the NCIS-WG to “provide information on the current state of communications infrastructure, identify future requirements, and provide insight into areas where federal and territorial departments could work collaboratively to solving communication challenges.”

The specifc objective of this report is:

“to produce a pan-Territorial Northern Strategic Plan, together with an implementation plan with specifc proposals for development of northern telecommunications connectivity that will ensure afordable communications to meet the present and future needs of northern stakeholders, including Arctic Security Working Group, Aboriginal Afairs and Northern Development Canada, Industry Canada, Infrastructure Canada, Territorial Governments, municipal governments, First Nations, NGOs involved in the telecommunications and information technology sector, private industry participants, and all telecommunications users.” The timing of this report is critical in light of the expiration of ad hoc and targeted federal funding program for rural and remote connectivity, and the growing recognition and understanding of the central importance of broadband to all Canadians.

–  –  –

Government of Yukon. (2012). “Request for Proposals: Northern Connectivity: Ensuring Quality Communications”. Page 9.

Imaituk inc. (2011). “Arctic Communications Infrastructure Assessment Report”. Page 7.

Government of Yukon. (2012). “Request for Proposals: Northern Connectivity: Ensuring afordable communications”. Page 10.

–  –  –


Using the ACIA Report as a starting point, this report takes current connectivity levels and recommends service standards based on current and future user group needs. This report estimates the costs of achieving the recommended service standards (reference scenario), and the economic and social benefts of achieving the recommended standards. This report also considers the impacts of certain proposed projects (e.g., Arctic Fibre, Mackenzie Valley Fibre Link) on the costing estimates.

The report then develops a strategic plan and implementation plan for achieving the recommended service standards.

This report is based on:

Secondary research (ACIA Report, benchmarking similar jurisdictions’ experience);

Primary research (online survey, focus groups); and, An updatable Dynamic Optimization Model.

The methodology and lines of evidence used for this report are depicted in the following fow diagram.

Figure : Methodology Flow Chart In our review of existing data, reports and other research sources we began with the ACIA Report, which provides a comprehensive and up-to-date synopsis of users, networks and Further to this report, we have compiled a list of previous research and data sources on telecommunications in the three Territories, as well as previous reports from global regions that share similar challenges as the three Territories.

applications in the North. From this research we have compiled and analyzed data on the

following key parameters:

User demand;

Operator plans;

Services and service packages;



Quality of service;


Governance; and, Regulatory and policy frameworks.

The same parameters above were used to benchmark the Territories relative to other similar jurisdictions with respect to policy objectives and best-practices strategies. These other jurisdictions (e.g., Scandinavia, Alaska, Australia, etc.) were selected based on comparability of characteristics such as population density, operating conditions and competitive environment within the three Territories.

We performed a comprehensive1 analysis of the range of technically feasible options, defned service standards (for bandwidth, Quality of Service, and redundancy); and identifed the corresponding capital and operating costs for those options.

The following parameters were identifed per project deployed or study undertaken:

Technology deployed (in the core network );

Timeline of implementation and services deployment;

Service standards retained;

Diferentiation between expanding and upgrading the existing transport network versus implementing a new one;

Capital costs (design, implementation, deployment, cost of capital);

Operating costs (human resources, maintenance, service, overhead etc.);

1 Subject to data availability issues inherent when comparing diferent jurisdictions.

1 The central part of the network.

Regulatory framework, issues and solutions;

Funding availability, issues and solutions; and, Role of local communities in network construction, network governance, and network operation.

The aim of the benchmarking exercise was to uncover:

1. Comparable service standards service standards for all of the Territories, per sector of activity; and,

2. Data on options for the subsequent Economic Analysis required to estimate the per-Territory cost and per-community cost of implementing this report’s recommendations.

The benchmarking exercise provided valuable context and information to understand the challenges and solutions in other similar jurisdictions. In arriving at our recommended service standards, we take these experiences into account but ultimately base our recommendations on current and projected user needs, and the particular circumstances of each of the three Territories.

2.1 Online Survey Data Collection Tool An online data collection tool was deployed to capture critical information from, and comprehend the needs and goals of, institutional users as a key stakeholder group.

Questionnaires were developed to focus on front-line management in larger institutional users such as health, education and government services (municipal, territorial, federal), as well as military and public safety organizations.

Needs of individual residential users, small businesses were referenced from secondary sources in the Territories and other best practice jurisdictions.

Stakeholders were queried on current and planned types of broadband applications and this enabled the development of broadband usage profles of the larger users. Stakeholders were also asked to discuss the impacts and infuence of current quality of service, availability of services, and pricing, and the degree to which these factors - individually or collectively – constitute barriers to access to, and/or usage of, services. Finally, stakeholders were queried on their willingness to pay and - for larger institutional users - their budgetary constraints. These types of questions address the economic and societal benefts of additional bandwidth, and the impacts of there being no additional bandwidth and/or a loss of current bandwidth.

2.2 Focus Groups To supplement information gathered through the online data collection tool and benchmarking, three focus groups were conducted in partnership with recognized researchers and community or business leaders in each of the Territories, using as a basis for discussion a list of key themes developed by the Consultant team and reviewed with the Client beforehand.

The focus groups served as an important means of gathering contextual, nuanced information not readily obtainable via the online data date collection tool. For example, whereas the online data collection tool asked respondents to identify various barriers to access, and quality of service issues, the focus groups allowed stakeholders to elaborate on the perceived causes of, and potential solutions to address, such barriers and issues.

Three focus groups – one held in the capital city of each Territory – were organized to engage larger institutional / government user groups.

In addition to the focus groups, the principal service providers in the Territories were also interviewed in order to better understand their current and planned networks and their operational issues.

This was done to complement our secondary research and survey results to ensure the accuracy of our profle of the key issues and potential strategies for northern connectivity.

2.3 Stakeholder Data Gathering Further to their role in facilitating the focus groups, the leaders of the focus groups and their associates in each Territory provided input to the research on upgrades and new initiatives to deploy microwave or fbre networks in the three Territories in the time since the ACIA Report1.

Operators, and service providers in particular, were queried on their current and planned networks, technologies, service oferings, and pricing. This information was used to update similar fndings found in the ACIA Report.

In designing the data gathering process, the stakeholder data-gathering process was made as efcient as possible, given ‘data fatigue’ in the industry resulting from a large number of past initiatives and studies. To do this, the Consultant’s core technical team reviewed the operators’ technologies and operations beforehand in order to be able to streamline discussions.

2.4 Analysis: Recommendation of Service Standards Based on the inputs from the various primary research (survey, focus groups) and secondary research (benchmarking) activities, and the results of our analysis, a model was created to quantify the minimum requirements for service standards in consideration of the following


Community needs (Aboriginal, municipal, territorial, etc.);

1 The ACIA Report, published in 2011, contained most – but not all - of the data up to 2010.

Types of applications and services that best meet those needs;

Regulatory and policy framework;

Service standards delivered in other jurisdictions; and Current technology.

2.5 Review and Updating the ACIA Report

The fnancial model is based on the information provided in the ACIA Report in terms of:

Population per community;

Identifcation of category of users per community; and, Identifcation of network connectivity: backhaul network and backbone network, including satellite connectivity.

Other studies - focused on ICT needs of northern communities - were used to capture minimum service standards for various user groups.

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