BROADBAND & ASSOCIATED INFRASTRUCTURE MAPPING ANALYSIS PROJECT (BAIMAP)
It is has been a universal understanding for some time that access to high speed internet is essential for advancing our economy, quality of life and the sustainability of our communities. So why are there areas in Northern Ontario where high speed internet is not yet available to all our population?
In spite of the recognition of the need for better internet access, and the efforts of the private sector, Information Communication Technology Development organisations (ICTN’s) and provincial and federal funding programs, some areas remain un-served while others do not have the bandwidth capacity essential to serve the community needs. Due to low population densities, and environmental and geographic factors, private sector service providers have difficulty justifying the large investment necessary to extend basic service and increase the bandwidth capacity of their existing networks.
Blue Sky Net along with project partners has developed a sophisticated analysis tool that has mapped all broadband coverage in Northern Ontario. Through unprecedented participation from Internet Service Providers (ISPs) a comprehensive database of coverage areas and gaps has been created. Population and dwelling statistics were also superimposed on these coverage maps in order to determine the number of people and households who were likely impacted by a lack of sustainable access to broadband. All of this data was divided into over 18,000 smaller neighbourhood clusters as well as individual properties in order understand the impact of these undeserved areas.
A cost analysis was also conducted. With the participation from the ISPs operating in Northern Ontario cost estimates for expanding infrastructure in uncovered and under-covered areas were provided. Maps and data as well as the cost analysis were provided to government funding programs to aid in policy and budget allocations. Data was also provided back to all participating ISPs to assist them in visualising what opportunities may exist in expanding their business and network coverage into new, inadequately served markets.
Currently, Blue Sky Net has requested that FedNor extend support of this program for another year that will allow us to update any information that may have changed since the second data collection phase that took place in 2015.
Barrie Crampton demonstration at our BAIMAP launch
Some data collected from BAIMAP was used to create a public broadband access portal called “connectednorth.ca.” The main focus of this information portal is to provide consumers with information about service availability in their area. The site also provides opportunities for consumers to give input or feedback about their current broadband access. All of this information is used in developing a business case to improve services where they are needed.
Click on www.connectednorth.ca