This topic contains 48 replies, has 1 voice, and was last updated by  Brian Beaton 5 years, 7 months ago.

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  • #675

    Mark Wolfe

    Welcome to this discussion forum. It will be monitored daily, so please post any comments — including resources such as websites you’d like to share.

    And check back in — the discussion will continue.

  • #715

    Maggie Noden-Hamilton

    November 8 at 6:30pm there will be a overall discussion on research done to date and some of the most relevant issues and topics government and organizations are currently dealing with. Look forward to seeing you here Friday night.

  • #743

    Mark Wolfe

    Hi guys — so I won’t be here at 6:30 (social engagement — 1 of 2 I’m invited to a year, kind of thing).

    So, just a couple of notes: watch for Linda Vennard to send some key documents through on socio-economic/governance that should also be on the site; we met with the volunteers today and we’ll have lots of help in the rooms — including possibly technical, if Jeremy’s a bit of a PC nerd — will advise; and if we could all try to test the video software connections at some point, the better — let’s put that puppy through its paces and know its idiosyncrasies *before* it really matters; Lenie — those graphics we found on Google searches probably as good as it gets but only behooves us to make our own out of this conference that we publish.

    On that last note:our intent is to write up the symposium proceedings for publication that you will all get credit on, assuming the note-taking sings. Lemme know if you want some guidelines on that: the key is synthesis, not extensive notes verbatim. Hear what’s being said, don;’t just listen to/ape it. We’ll evolve the process over the two days but be sensitive to the undulations of the dialogues, its pitches and yaws often salient indicators in their own right of emergent meaning and significance.

    OK, enough waxing philosophical. Have a good discussion session tonight.

  • #745

    Lenie Lucci

    The definition of broadband is one that is constantly evolving โ€“ new technologies are pushing the limits of what is available for the average user and what it means to really be โ€œconnectedโ€
    I’ve been recently looking at some of the latest advances in broadband and beyond…

  • #747

    Lenie Lucci

    So, the big one – Mobile broadband

    Mobile broadband is expected to bridge the global gap of the connected and unconnected. It’s completely redefining what it means to have internet access as you don’t need to physically be connected to anything anymore ie. the ability to have full internet services on your mobile device. By the end of 2013 it is expected that there will be more than three times as many mobile broadband connections as there are conventional fixed broadband subscriptions.

    Technically, this process involves internet access being delivered through mobile phone towers.

  • #749

    Mark Wolfe

    Hi Lenie — Yes, I thin k you hit it on the head in ways that many at the symposium might not like to hear, necessarily. That piece out of Karlsruhe is indicative, I think of how fats wirelesss will evolve. The question is whether or not wireless is the long-term answer, given its vulnerabilities to interference, etc.

  • #751

    Maggie Noden-Hamilton

    Yes, Leni. Even though my focus has been socio-economic, I have been reading many articles on the use of 4G for rural communities vs hard wiring. Some say it is cheaper and easy to access to rural communities, yet others say it is less reliable than something like phone or cable lines. Thoughts?

  • #753

    Mark Wolfe

    Gotta run folks — just realized a major pain in the butt — you have to refresh all the time. Oh well.

    • #777

      Lenie Lucci

      oh wow, that’s a tough one, and my very non-academic answer is this – that’s not even going to be a real choice for a very long time. The way I see it, these companies have invested millions of dollars installing and upgrading their wired networks to provide faster fiber-based services – even if 4G was a better option – they’re not going to flush DSL.

      Now to respond more professionally, after my research I still think that these three things remain true about 4G
      -speeds in 4G are still far from approaching those available over fibre-optic cables
      -There is insufficient radio spectrum to allow wireless to replace fixed networks
      -Wireless network connections are usually more expensive, for less data volume and at a much slower speed

      However, kind of going back to my previous comments, how much data do we really need? For someone who is a lite user – 4G is a great alternative and makes things really easy. But in terms of large orgizational level access – not there yet from what I can see

  • #755

    Maggie Noden-Hamilton

    I posted a article yesterday out of the UK…there are many critics saying that the many of the companies that the UK government has given contracts to build the infrastructure to reach the rural communities has failed, is behind schedule, over budget and monopolizing the entire field, resulting in mobile companies not being able to get in on this market.

    • #779

      Maggie Noden-Hamilton

      You touched on a point that I read somewhere recently…the amount of radio waves out there…is there a chance we may run out and saturate the air waves?

  • #757

    Lenie Lucci

    Another article that I found was about the Supernet, but was really clear about it’s limitations to rural areas of Alberta. Example, Olds, Alberta – built their own community connection and became essentially their own ISP. This has to do with what we call the Middle Mile or Last Mile, where big infrastructure only goes so far and leaves a stretch of work to be done by the community, in other words, making the community cover the last mile.
    What Olds did was really inspiring and turns out that they have a ridiculous internet service now with download speeds matching Google Fibre networks! The interesting thing this brought up (something that was repeated in Google Fibre research) was that how much internet is too much internet? Do residents in Olds Alberta really need 1 gigabit per second speed (that’s 1000 megabits). To put things in perspective, a fast home internet speed with the major ISPs right now top out at about 250 mbps –
    This is also something of a concern, because ISPs are charging high rates for speeds that most households won’t ever need – more of a marketing gimmick than anything.

    • #797

      Lenie Lucci

      wow, nicely done Maggie! You are correct in your thinking
      Spectrum is scarce. A lot of my research would suggest that this scarcity will be particularly pronounced because of mobile broadband.

      One important approach being pursued today to increase the future supply of mobile broadband spectrum is to clear spectrum currently used by other services for use by mobile broadband services. The advantage of this approach is that the cleared spectrum can be operated at sufficiently high power to allow its use at existing mobile cell sites.

  • #759

    Olga Shapovalova

    Hi all,

    The topic that recently pops up in the governance-related material – is the efforts in UK, where the project to deliver the broadband to the rural areas is constantly falling behind due to incompetence and ineffectiveness of the government. The lack of expertise among the government officials involved prompts the minister of culture to seek help from the private sector.

    Another issue that comes up in both Canada and the UK is the lack of competition between the broadband providers to get engaged into the project of rural broadband rollout. In Canada, Bell Canada has a lot of influence, however is not delivering very impressive results. One of the solutions to this problem is the government regulation: government can facilitate this project by including rural broadband delivery ( a project is considered less lucrative compared to urban areas) as one of the conditions when issuing licences to Internet providers.

    • #765

      Maggie Noden-Hamilton

      Yes…you hit on a very important point…the cost of broadband. I read a recent article that stated that the cost per capita is much higher for broadband access in rural areas than in urban. Less people to pay for the infrastructure so the cost to run it has to be applied to the community…less people to spread out the cost, more money per person.

      • #769

        Maggie Noden-Hamilton

        Yes Olga…I read these same facts. It seems that many of the programs the government set up do not take into account many aspects such as culture, economic status, infrastructure, technological knowledge, etc. They simply give companies (only a few, which result in monopolies) money to provide the infrastructure, but no one goes in to see it through nor follow up with the results, leaving many communities with lots of equipment but problems.

        • #771

          Olga Shapovalova

          There were several article on how Bell Canada has not as of yet delivered its promises to connect several rural regions to fast broadband. There is also a financial aspect to it, since Bell does not invest as much as it is expected/has promised to.

    • #817

      Maggie Noden-Hamilton

      Interesting. Don’t even bring in the medical people who feel all these cellular waves running through us daily is causing more cancer. Another discussion entirely.

  • #761

    Maggie Noden-Hamilton

    In the socio-economic area that I have been researching, some of the biggest obstacles is that the Canadian government has not fully thought out the implications to rural communities when it comes to providing them access to broadband. For example, once they have been given the technology, who will maintain it, and who will teach it to others, and will the community really use it. Aboriginal communities, especially ones in the Arctic are finding this to be problems and long term planning was not part of the project’s focus.

    • #775

      Maggie Noden-Hamilton

      Do you know if Bell is the only company in Canada doing this? Do they have the contract all to themselves or are there other companies such as Telus working on bringing Broadband to rural communities as well?

      • #785

        Olga Shapovalova

        No, by the looks of it Bell is not the only company – Telus, Xplorenet, Rogers all come up within the rural broadband context – however, Bell seems to have the most influence

    • #783

      Lenie Lucci

      For sure. I guess you’ve looked into sites on net neutrality, there’s tons of stuff out there right now. I just talked about what happended in Olds Alberta – where they became their own ISP thanks to the Supernet. I think more and more rural communities should look to this kind of option.

      In my experience, the lack of infrastructure in rural environments actually lends itself to break up monopolies. I think it leaves room for more simple, independent services to come in. For example, Bell won’t spend the money to put in infrastructure in rural areas because it’s not lucrative for them – this is a huge window for other ISPs because it remove the monopoly…just my opinion

      • #793

        Maggie Noden-Hamilton

        Interesting. I wonder if there is not some political favoritism going on there.

    • #821

      Mike Zajko

      Test, test. Seeing whether this will post in-line.
      I’m a little late to this party (grad student at UofA, currently in Van) but look forward to next week.

      • #823

        Mike Zajko

        Some thoughts on the above. I spoke to a researcher today studying First Nations connectivity, and another concern he mentioned is that a lot of funding sources are one-time programs, making it difficult to plan for sustainability. Expertise is also an issue, which often has to come from outside the community. Community members who are trained to run the network may also then leave and apply their skills elsewhere.

        As for Telus, they effectively won the BC government contract for rural broadband (Connecting BC Agreement CBCA). A much different model than the SuperNet – Telus owns the entire network, and makes POPs available to local ISPs (on a non-compete basis for 3 years). The 3% or so remaining communities are to be served by satellite.

        As for lack of infrastructure leading to monopoly-busting, the way I would put it is that communities with a lack of infrastructure are led to build their own (this may end up being just as much if not more of a monopoly). The Olds model is fascinating, but there are a lot of question-marks about how appropriate it is for other communities. This type of build requires a very large investment, and there is a reason most municipal fibre projects are not as ambitious. Giga-fast, sure, but right now it’s really difficult to say how the economics will work out.
        My thoughts on SuperNet are still evolving, but there is quite a bit of grumbling about it among Alberta’s small players. Hopefully some of these will be articulated next week by those with first-hand experience.

  • #763

    Olga Shapovalova

    Lenie, I also found a lot on Olds as a successful example of rural broadband delivery

    • #789

      Maggie Noden-Hamilton

      Yes, but do these smaller companies have enough resources to hit all rural communities?

      • #799

        Olga Shapovalova

        It looks like they do not have enough resources or incentives to compete with bigger players. It all comes down to making profit in a lot of cases. One of the articles on Iqaluit said that the project of delivering broadband connection there is complicated by a small population base – so it is not worth while to get involved

    • #811

      Lenie Lucci

      in my specific case, not so much politics – more like economics.
      And yes, the smaller companies offer alternative ways of offering service – they make you install a phone line from them, and then give you internet through that

  • #767

    Olga Shapovalova

    Another problem with rural areas – is high prices and low speeds of the Internet. The prices differ across Canada, and the areas that need the access the most often have to pay four or five times more for a not very reliable connection. The same problems are faced in UK.

    • #787

      Lenie Lucci

      Nice!! great minds…
      I have no idea where this picture came from lol

      • #791

        Olga Shapovalova

        i was feeling pressured to put up one of mine ๐Ÿ™‚

    • #801

      Maggie Noden-Hamilton

      Yes, this is where some say 4G and wireless may be the answer, but there are still some technical problems with mobile access.

  • #773

    Maggie Noden-Hamilton

    Articles on the Internet and Broadband technology in communities in the Arctic, provide a interesting aspect. The culture of indigenous groups is one of storytelling and sharing of experiences. This is how they share their wisdom and ways of life. It has been long regarded that technology had little to offer to these communities, but some are now finding that media tools on the Internet can offer another way to, not only share their stories, but capture them to pass on and record for future generations. The problem is most of these communities are so remote that it is hard to get individuals out to administrate these problems and show the locals how to use them. There are not too many IT people living in the north.

    • #795

      Maggie Noden-Hamilton

      I could post a photo of my foot. Dropped a 45lb weight on it today…it is very pretty : )

  • #781

    Olga Shapovalova

    On the other hand, government involvement in New Zealand looks impressive: they have developed an agenda addressing five areas (education, business, health, government, and development). Each area is a responsibility of one particular ministry (Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education, etc). The programs and updates are published on the governmental websites (we have the links on our websites).

    • #813

      Lenie Lucci

      Oh man!! why were you lifting a 45 lbs weight??

  • #803

    Maggie Noden-Hamilton

    Hi guys. Are we done for the night? Just wanted to check before signing off.

    • #805

      Olga Shapovalova

      Good discussion tonight – it’s nice to see that these topics come up in all three areas – it is all interrelated. We can post more as we keep looking over sources for the website

    • #819

      Maggie Noden-Hamilton

      Legs…I can’t tell you how much it hurt..still hurts!

  • #807

    Maggie Noden-Hamilton

    I’m signing off then. talk soon.

    • #809

      Maggie Noden-Hamilton

      Sounds good.

  • #815

    Lenie Lucci

    sounds good ciao

  • #827

    Susan O’Donnell

    Hi everyone, looking forward to the discussion at the conference later this week. I just had to comment on many of the perceptions and thinking so far in these posts.
    1. mobile broadband has its limits, clear limits in rural and remote areas for providing community services such as telehealth that require high-bandwidth, reliable and managed connectivity. When thinking “community broadband,” think far wider than just individuals using it in their homes … there are many, many kinds of community services that need to use it too… this is especially important in remote communities
    2. First Nations are innovating with broadband! I had to smile at the references to Indigenous communities and how a big problem is that there are not many IT people in the North ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ The problem is people living in cities who think that rural and remote Indigenous communities need people in cities to help them. MANY First Nations and Inuit communities are doing it for themselves. See and what they need are appropriate policies and recognition of their efforts. I will try to get more material on the socioeconomic page of the Digital Futures website.. in the meantime, maybe you should look through some of the material there about how First Nations are innovating with broadband…

  • #843

    Mark Wolfe

    Good reality check, Susan. I should mention that we made the decision early on to not bite off more than we could chew, sort of thing, and so the question of First Nations and Inuit communities was bracketed out — for this symposium.

    Naturally, a successful event this week would only behoove us at the Van Horne Institute consider key partnerships in conducting follow-up events where/when appropriate.


    • #851

      Susan O’Donnell

      Hi Mark, thanks. I’m not sure what you mean by “bracketed out” – do you mean that the research and work of First Nations and Inuit communities will not be part of the discussion at the Symposium? There is a section in the socioeconomic resources on the event webpage that highlights Indigenous issues so I assumed this was to be one of the focus areas.

  • #877

    Mark Wolfe

    Hi Susan — no, not at all, we welcome discussion of the First Nations and Inuit cases as a comparative shedding of light on challenges, opportunities etc. in the round. Also, a couple of representatives of these communities are also scheduled to be in attendance at the symposium, so we very much look forward to see how the conversations evolve in that context.

    The bracketing out was simply an organizational decision on our part as a small, late-to-funding group to not provide a singular focus on these communities when we lacked time/resources to properly explore their issues in depth, or to invite in significant numbers representatives from these communities.

  • #929

    Mark Wolfe

    I think the problem word I used was “out” — I was drawing on my phenomenology background and had in mind “bracketing” as something like “included but not primary” but then threw in “out” colloquially. Sheesh. Sorry about that.

  • #1005

    Brian Beaton

    I want to thank everyone involved in this forum / workshop for helping me be able to participate online using these important tools instead of spending a day travelling there and a day returning home to New Brunswick. Everyone has a lot to learn about using and facilitating the effective use and promotion of these communication tools that can make them valuable to each of us. Living and working in small, remote communities demands access to these tools. This fact was recognized in 2001 in the National Broadband Task Force’s final report, The New National Dream BUT the governments have since left this development in the hands of the telecom corporations. After spending billions of dollars on building their own infrastructures, most rural and remote communities across Canada remain poorly served. As suggested in the Socio-economic sessions, it is time that public government investments be made in the communities and their public organizations instead of continuing to throw public dollars at the private corporate sector! I hope someone is listening and understanding how corrupt it is to be using public dollars in this way. Let the communities have the dollars to decide how best to proceed with the development of THEIR local and regional networks!!

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