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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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Ultimately, rather than being based on the national broadband strategy, the decision whether to provide 100 Mbps service to an un-served or under-served region is up to the larger telecommunications providers, given that most of the larger Finnish operators (and their US equivalents) have been declining lucrative government subsidies. In Finland, the reason for not taking advantage of the subsidies is because of the way in which they are applied: frst the telecommunications operator (or local cooperative or municipal company) has to pay the total investment cost from the start, then, and only after all the work is completed, the company may recoup some of those costs from state-sponsored aid Despite the non-uptake of government subsidies that are designed to meet the service objective as stated in the Finnish broadband national plan for 2009-2015, many regions have succeeded in expanding their networks. It is difcult to say, however, that these achievements are because of the national broadband strategy or despite it.

This illustrates that eforts in a developing national broadband plan may have to be focused on better understanding the needs of the various user groups for broadband connectivity to support various applications and how these will be accessed.

4 Farivar, C (2012) “Finland: Plan for universal 100 Mbps service by 2015 on track” Accessed March 26, 2013 from: http:// arstechnica.com/business/2012/10/fnland-plan-for-universal-100mbps-service-by-2015-on-track/ Farivar, C (2012) “Finland: Plan for universal 100 Mbps service by 2015 on track” Accessed March 26, 2013 from: http:// arstechnica.com/business/2012/10/fnland-plan-for-universal-100mbps-service-by-2015-on-track/ The challenge for connectivity in the three Territories is likely to share similar obstacles as in Finland - not the least due to sharing similar rural-and-remote population densities and geographical challenges – but also in terms of prescribing a national ‘across the board’ service standard for all citizens, regardless of geographic location The lesson to be learned from Finland is that simply providing fnancial incentives is not enough to support expansion of broadband availability. As illustrated in the case in Alaska below, a solid grounding in the technical aspects of expanding broadband availability and increasing speeds provides a stronger approach to achieving a region’s goals.

3.2 Norway

NORWAY – SIMILAR, BUT DIFFERENT

ALTHOUGH NORWAY IS COMPARABLE TO THE TERRITORIES IN TERMS OF TERRAIN AND

POPULATION DENSITIY, THAT COUNTRY’S SMALL SIZE AND GREATER WEALTH SET IT APART.

Norway’s service objective is in line with the “Digital Agenda for Europe” objective of 30 Mbps access for all by 2020 As of 2011, advanced networks are capable of delivering this speed service 54.2% of Norway’s total population. Access to download speeds of up to 2 Mbps is available to 95.9% of all households and 91.4% of all rural households in Norway.

As far as delivering broadband services is concerned, out of all the countries in the EU, Norway was found to be the most challenging – owing to its challenging geography, high proportion of rural population (48%), and one of the lowest population densities in the EU (16 persons/ sq. km). Despite these challenges, Norway is one of the richest countries in Europe, and it has used its wealth to establish comparable broadband infrastructure with the rest of Europe. The European Commission study found that: “[Norway] is ahead of the European averages on all the combination measures except for Total HSPA coverage (92% against the 95% average) and Rural Next Generation Access (NGA) (8% against 12%)” The study found that Norway’s diferences from the EU averages owed much to the geographical and population difculties in extending the level of coverage given by the Digital Agenda service standard to rural areas.

Although Norway can be seen as highly comparable to Canada’s three Territories - both in terms of geographical challenges and population densities, Norway is very diferent in the amount of money already invested in its communication networks.

Ibid The already high penetration of broadband in even the most northerly regions of Norway difers signifcantly from the sparse availability of broadband across Canada’s Territories. In Norway, 86% of households in the most northerly provinces have access to standard broadband speeds. In terms of access to 30 Mbps broadband speeds, households in central (rather than northern) provinces in Norway have less access than northern Territories. This is likely a function of population density in these respective areas. The reason why the most northerly provinces in Norway already have established broadband networks – even though Norway shares similar geographic and climate characteristics to Canada’s north – is likely due to Norway’s strong fnancial position, history of public investment and relatively smaller size in comparison to the vastness of the three Territories in the North American continent. This diference likely played a key role in enabling Norway to deploy broadband networks in the more northerly reaches of the country more easily than would be the case in Canada.

3.3 Alaska In June 2011, the Alaska Broadband Task Force established a goal of ensuring that by the year 2020, every Alaskan household should have 100 Mbps broadband connectivity, and be capable of accommodating a 10-times over subscription rate (in other words, at least 10 Mbps for every household) To accomplish this goal, it was acknowledged that current communication systems and infrastructure would need to be expanded and updated, especially the ‘middle-mile’.





The current communications infrastructure in Alaska consists of both microwave radio and fbre optic cable systems. Expansion of current microwave networks would require a new tower to be constructed at the distant end of each ‘hop’ (station location) – or around every 25 miles.

Implementing new fbre optic systems involves a much diferent set of issues, since the cost and efort involved in installing fbre optic cable varies signifcantly with the terrain encountered and this is by far is the major cost of a new fbre optics transport system.

On the basis of platform-specifc assumptions and the service objective of 100 Mbps, the Task Force developed metrics for the costs of expanding the current network in Alaska. Two metrics in particular provided straightforward estimation of network construction cost: (i) construction costs per mile; and (ii) cost per mile per downstream user. When expressed in those terms, decision makers are provided with a powerful rationale for the selection of the appropriate technology (microwave or fbre) for each network extension segment (e.g., based on the number of downstream users in a particular location).

Alaska Broadband Task Force (2011) “Purpose, Vision, Goals” Accessed March 26, 2013 from: http://www.alaska.edu/oit/ bbtaskforce/docs/Alaska%20Broadband%20Task%20Force%20Purpose%20Vision%20Goals%2006.30.2011.pdf

WHAT ALASKA’S EXPERIENCE TELLS US

THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN TECHNOLOGY COSTS AND USER NUMBERS IS IMPORTANT.

Construction costs per mile A comparison of microwave and fbre construction costs per kilometre (derived from the Alaska Broadband Task Force data) revealed that the construction costs per kilometer for both technologies are about the same for areas where there are between 200-300 downstream users.

Armed with this insight, in these instances the option to build fbre optic would be preferable given its very high upside capacity capability for a given number of downstream users (based on rural population densities).

These fndings are useful in developing the selection criteria for the most appropriate network technology to deploy in Canada’s Territories. The case for expanding connectivity in Alaska is similar to that in Canada’s three Territories – with both sharing similar geographical challenges and population densities. While the recommended broadband service standard may not be the same in Canada as in Alaska, the steps taken by the Alaska Broadband Task Force to expand and update broadband networks provide a solid technical basis for achieving their goals.

3.4 Australia Australia serves as a pertinent point of comparison given a number of similarities to the three Territories.

AUSTRALIA – SIMILARITIES ABOUND

CANADA AND AUSTRALIA SHARE SIMILAR POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC FRAMEWORKS, IN

ADDITION TO SIMILAR POPULATION AND GEOGRAPHIC CHALLENGES – INCLUDING HOW TO

CLOSE THE ‘BROADBAND GAP’.

In 2010, the Australian government announced the National Broadband Network (‘NBN’) project,

which promised to deliver the following:

Superfast broadband for all Australians, at afordable prices, with an objective of providing broadband via fbre to 90 percent of premises, and via next-generation wireless and satellite technology for the remaining areas; and Structural reform of the telecommunications industry by requiring NBN Co., a government-owned enterprise, to operate as a wholesale only, open-access network provider; and a commitment to improve the telecommunications regulatory framework in the transition to the NBN The cost of implementing this service standard is estimated to cost $43 billion in capital expenditure by deploying fbre to 93% of households, fxed-wireless to 3%, and satellite to the remaining 3% of households. Fixed-wireless and satellite are expected to deliver 12 Mbps, which would meet the needs of most current applications, and fbre is expected to deliver speeds of up to 100 Mbps (well beyond the needs of most current applications).

Construction Costs In the NBN plan, the Australian government selected fbre as the preferred network access technology to meet Australia’s future telecommunication needs. With the service objective of 100 Mbps, a single strand of fbre can carry 1,000 times this trafc – clearly making it the preferred technology for future-proofng a network. The cost of deploying fbre to most households was found to be afordable. Once fbre is deployed to over 90% of households, it becomes only 1.9 times more expensive than to deploy to only 50% of the population. However, once the fbre network is extended beyond 93% of the population, it was found to be too expensive, and so fxed-wireless and satellite network solutions would be sought as a viable alternative.

Rural and Remote Characteristics As indicated above, deploying high-speed broadband to the fnal 10% of households in Australia is difcult given the low population density (number of subscribers) and difcult terrain in what are highly rural and remote areas. By way of illustration, 90% of the total Australian population occupies only 0.2% of the country’s total landmass, 10% – or the rural and remote populations – cover 8.8% of the landmass, and the remaining 88% of land is uninhabited. In Australia, as in Canada’s three Territories, any solution for connectivity for these ‘fnal 10%’ of households must not only be capable of serving wide areas but also be fexible enough to accommodate communities with sharply diferent population densities and geographical challenges. This is why a mix of fxed-wireless and satellite networks is recommended in Australia’s NBN plan. As Figure below illustrates, the cost of connecting beyond 97% of households with high-speed broadband through either fbre or wireless becomes exponentially more expensive than satellite.

DBCDE. (2010). “National Broadband Network Implementation Study” Accessed April 15, 2013 from: http://www.dbcde.gov.

au/__data/assets/pdf_fle/0020/127550/NBN-Implementation-Study-complete_report.pdf Figure : Capital cost per premises activated for fnal 10% in Australia Source: DBCDE (2010) “National Broadband Network Implementation Study”. Exhibit 1-5 The case for high-speed connectivity in Australia provides a useful benchmark for measuring against the strategy for implementing high-speed connectivity in the three Territories. As Commonwealth nations, Canada and Australia share similar political and economic frameworks, in addition to similar population and standards of living. Canada’s climatic and geographical challenges – including the need to serve communities separated by saltwater present an additional level of complexity and costs. While the implementation considerations and recommendations as set out in the 2010 NBN report concern the challenges for ubiquitous highbroadband adoption and accessibility in Australia, careful review of the 84 recommendations provided in the report ofers crucial guidelines to consider in the implementation of strategies to deploy high-speed networks in Canada’s north.

4. FOCUS GROUPS

WHAT WAS SAID?

THERE WAS A CLEAR CONSENSUS THAT BETTER CONNECTIVITY IS NEEDED TO MOVE MORE

DATA AROUND QUICKER, MORE RELIABLY, AND MORE SECURELY, FOR A VARIETY OF USES, AND

THAT BETTER CONNECTIVITY WAS EXPECTED TO HAVE POSITIVE LOCAL IMPACTS IN TERMS OF

INNOVATION AND EMPLOYMENT.

To supplement information gathered through the online survey and the benchmarking exercise, focus groups with territorial government representatives were conducted in each of the three Territories to draw out key points of consensus as well as disagreement based on the following

seven key themes:

1. Current Status: Bandwidth Availability, Quality of Service, and Redundancy;

2. Service Providers’ Improvement Since 2010;

3. Lack of Redundancy - Impacts on First Responders’ Ability to Deliver Essential Services;

4. Budgetary Resources and Procurement models for Improved Connectivity;

–  –  –

6. Benefts of Better Connectivity; and,

7. Benefts of Better Connectivity Specifc to Human Resources.



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