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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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2.6 Dynamic Optimization Model The Dynamic Optimization Model was developed to express the minimum service standards and associated cost estimates. Application of the Model generated optimized standards on a Territory-by-Territory, and community-by-community basis based on several dynamic (e.g., updatable) factors described as ‘modules’ (see Appendix 2 for full descriptions of each module).

This Dynamic Optimization Model, drawing on insights from the ACIA Report and an assessment of the main user groups’ needs, produced recommended service standards based on interactive modules that account for population, current and projected user trafc, the current backbone network, benchmarking against other comparable jurisdictions, and estimated costs. The Model enabled the Consultant team to validate and update the ACIA report. In the future, the Model will enable a rapid and efcient process for updates resulting from the introduction of new network technologies and applications, changes in capital and network operating costs and usage patterns 1 Figure illustrates the diferent modules and how they relate.

2.7 Analysis: Recommendation of Service Standards The inputs from the various primary research (survey, focus groups) and secondary research (ACIA Report, benchmarking) activities, produced the following essential information necessary

to quantify the minimum requirements for service standards:

Types of applications and services that best meet those needs;

Regulatory and policy framework;

Service standards delivered in other jurisdictions; and, Current technology.

Repeater Tower, Yellowknife, Northwest Territories Chapter 2: Recommended Service Standards and Network Modeling This chapter provides recommended goals and standards for Northern connectivity based on end user needs, and recommendations for how these needs can best be met. The cost associated with achieving these recommended standards is also provided.

SETTING THE STANDARDS

THIS CHAPTER ESTABLISHES RECOMMENDED SERVICE STANDARDS AND ASSOCIATED NETWORK

MODELING FOR NORTHERN CONNECTIVITY BASED ON USER NEEDS. NOTE THAT ACCESS AND

FIRST MILE COSTS ARE NOT INCLUDED IN THE SCOPE OF THIS REPORT.

Specifcally, this chapter:

Reviews and updates certain aspects of the ACIA report, specifcally the communityby-community bandwidth forecasts;

Surveys and reports on solutions developed to similar challenges in other jurisdictions, globally and nationally, with emphasis on comparable regions;

Provides recommendations on the service standards and customer expectations that

could be specifed for northern telecommunications, including:

Minimum broadband speeds;

Reliability;

Redundancy;

Service quality;

Service availability;and, Technology platform(s).

Provides an initial estimate of the costs to upgrade the current backbone network infrastructure (based on the ACIA Report and supplementary data received in the course of this project) to achieve the recommended services standards.

Access and frst mile costs are not included in the scope of this report. In the course of discussions with some stakeholders, it was stated that the access facilities in many cases can accommodate additional trafc, but that the backbone / middle mile facilities are the bottleneck.

As a next step in the evolution of this work, a more comprehensive research project and inventory exercise could be undertaken to better understand any limitations found in the access networks of various communities. In order to estimate access network costs, the economic model discussed in Chapter 3 assigns a cost per end user for access to the backbone network, thereby creating a proxy for access network costs for the purposes of economic modelling.

The complete strategic plan, including technical explanations of the methodology and assumptions is provided, in full, in Appendix 2 - Detailed Strategic Plan with Recommended Goals and Standards.

1. METHODOLOGY To arrive at recommended service standards, an optimization model was developed to produce optimized standards on a Territory-by-Territory, and community-by-community basis based on several dynamic (e.g., updatable) factors described as ‘modules’. This interactive and updatable ‘Dynamic Optimization Model’, drawing on insights from the ACIA Report and an assessment of the main user groups’ needs, estimates the costs of recommended service standards based on interactive modules that account for population, current and projected user trafc, the current backbone network, benchmarking against other comparable jurisdictions, and estimated costs.

The model is illustrated in the following fgure.

Figure : Dynamic Optimization Model

1.1 Review and Updating the ACIA Report

The starting point for this report was the following information from the ACIA Report:

Population per community;

User categories per community;

Existing network connectivity (backhaul network, backbone network, and, satellite connectivity).

Other studies - focused on ICT needs of northern communities – – were then considered to arrive at bare minimum service standards for various user groups using various diferent but





typical applications. Below are some examples of specifc services used by diferent user types:

A public safety / justice user would require 0.64 Mbps for basic emergency communications;

A user in the ‘Social Services’ sector would require 1 Mbps bandwidth to use webbased application for employment insurance, social assistance, etc.;

A public works user would require 0.128 Mbps for remote monitoring / control for building HVAC (heating, ventilation, air conditioning) systems; and, A recreational user would require 3 Mbps for online streaming video.

These examples of current user needs served as a starting point for projecting future demand and future trafc which any recommended network infrastructure would need to support. The actual bandwidth needs for each user group relies on modeling usage patterns and the use of multiple simultaneous applications. As an example, a public safety user requiring streaming video would also require 3 Mbps for that service. To arrive at fnal speed requirements, a blended average of services and speeds is used. Figure located further in this chapter illustrates the fnal speed requirements for the various user groups.

1.2 Trafc Estimation From the base starting point assumptions, trafc estimates were then developed for each community in each Territory The methodology used to calculate tra fc diferentiates user categories in each community, based on the recommended service speed standard assigned to each user category, and a principle of equal treatment for each user category across the three Territories.

Orthner, B. (2011) “Community Broadband Standards- Applications and Infrastructure” Accessed May 30 th, 2013 from:

http://www.kcdc.ca/media/pdf/CommunityBroadbandStandardsReport.pdf The method used in the ACIA Report is not based on the same assumptions or depth of analysis used in this study, and thus is not strictly comparable.

The following assumptions were then applied for the purpose of overall backbone trafc

estimation for each community:

50% of the total population is connected all the time during a 12-hour period per day;

Contention ratio (minimum guaranteed bandwidth for each user, depending on that user’s service speed) of 2% or 1:50 for all the service speeds when relying wholly on satellite technologies, and a contention ration of 10% or 1:10 for all service speeds where services are provided over fbre-optic or microwave technologies;

Consumer behaviour factor of 1.3 for all trafc. This is the trafc adjustment factor used by network planning engineers for comparable rural networks. Overall trafc volumes are multiplied by this factor to account for unexpected fuctuations is usage over time; and, The resulting volume of trafc was then subject to an analysis of time-of-day usage of the backbone (e.g., peak period demands vs. low period demands), to arrive at a single value per community of ‘average trafc’ for the backbone.

Based on the user needs analysis, and these assumptions, the ACIA Report underestimated network trafc - as illustrated in the following table.

Table : Average of estimated backbone trafc – This Report versus ACIA Report

–  –  –

As illustrated in Table, the backbone trafc generated to handle the service speed standards in this report is estimated to be between 147% and 463% of the forecasted bandwidth in the ACIA Report. This was an expected outcome as a result of creating a realistic trafc demand scenario assuming similar usage patterns between the North and South and examining technology and application advancements. Additionally, the trafc modeling in the Dynamic Optimization Model provides for far greater robustness of service during peak periods, and assumes the existence of upgrades in place. Without the investment and upgrades in the network, actual volumes would not grow to these levels.

When examining Nunavut in particular, the reader will note that the increase in trafc needs is less than that of the Yukon or the Northwest Territories. This is owing to the fact that the primary technology in use in Nunavut is satellite. The usage and trafc growth patterns for this technology are less than that of other technologies such as fbre optics and microwave. While the usage requirements are the same, the overall contention ratios are diferent with satellite technology, leading to lower absolute trafc projections. A change in technology would lead to a corresponding change in trafc behaviour. Detailed community-by-community comparisons can be found in Appendix 2.

KEY STAKEHOLDER NEEDS

KEY STAKEHOLDERS WERE SURVEYED TO VALIDATE THEIR CONNECTIVITY NEEDS. VIDEOCONFERENCING, DOCUMENT SHARING, AND FILE TRANSFERS ARE THE MOST SOUGHT

AFTER APPLICATIONS. WITHOUT BETTER CONNECTIVITY, THERE MAY BE IMPLICATIONS FOR

EMPLOYMENT IN THE THREE TERRITORIES.

1.3 Online Stakeholder Survey and Key Findings An online survey of key stakeholders was conducted to capture critical information, including user needs and user goals. The survey ran from April 27, 2013 to June 7, 2013. Approximately one third of the invited stakeholders responded, and about half of those respondents completed the full surve Many Northerners are adopting new communications technologies, but are still restrained from efectively using them by connectivity constraints. Applications that were identifed as being the

most important, but also the most impacted by connectivity issues included:

Video streaming;

Video conferencing;

Audio conferencing;

File transfer and document sharing;

Email attachment; and, Mapping and positioning.

The full list of applications, and user needs, is provided in Table below.

–  –  –

Bandwidth-intensive and delay-sensitive applications are the most used applications in the northern working environment. As indicated in the survey results, the most sought after workplace communication tools are video conferencing, document sharing and fle transfer.

Alongside these, Internet telephony (VoIP) and audio and video streaming are also being used more and more in the workplace. As seen in Table below, 70% of respondents indicated that their average throughput needs are currently above 6 Mbps in order to be able to run the applications they use most frequently with reasonable performance. Even so, service outages remain an important hurdle with over 60% of respondents experiencing at least 1 outage per month, as seen in Table below.

–  –  –

1.4 Benchmarking Benchmarking - evaluation by comparison – was done both domestically in Canada and also internationally against jurisdictions with similar profles to the three Territories. This was done in order to identify the relative position of the Territories vis-à-vis northern provincial counterparts, and to help estimate the costs of achieving enhanced connectivity by comparison to the experience of similar international peers.

2. DOMESTIC BENCHMARKING (TERRITORIES

AND NORTHERN PROVINCIAL REGIONS)

We compared personal telecommunications and high-speed Internet costs in Yukon, the Northwest Territories, and Nunavut with a sample of communities from northern provincial regions.

HOW THE TERRITORIES COMPARE

CUSTOMERS IN THE THREE TERRITORIES GENERALLY PAY MORE FOR LESS

Canada’s North is subject to the vicissitudes of high-cost serving areas. In terms of telecommunications services, this condition means higher prices for residential wire line, long distance, cellular voice/data, and residential high-speed Internet. Our benchmarking exercise fnds that an average Northern provincial consumer pays $137 per month for a basic basket of services, including a basic cell phone plan (~200 local anytime calling minutes), a home phone with long distance (~400 North American minutes), and high-speed Internet access (≥ 1,500/384 Kbps). By comparison, an average consumer in Yukon and NWT pays $150 for a similar basket of services, while an average consumer in Nunavut pays $171 per month. Overall the northern provincial average of $137 is closest to average southern Canadian rates. In a 2013 CRTC cost study that was methodologically similar to our northern benchmarking exercise, the average total southern cost was $131 per month Clearly the Territories are Canada’s highest cost regions.



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