Municipalities, communities, ISP, telecoms are quickly learning the two buzz words in Broadband – middle mile and last mile. They are mentioned in almost all funding programs for broadband provincially and federally in Canada.
The Middle Mile is an industry term that best describes the network infrastructure to the last mile ( i.e. local ) networks to ISP, telecom & cable carriers and the internet. The last mile refers to the technology providing connection services to and from a house, business or institution.
Nova Scotia Dept. of Business is expecting to announce the Middle Mile Strategy sometime this spring. BrightStar has been hired to put the strategy together and provided some updates recently in meetings held at Truro and Dartmouth in early March 2017.
One of the biggest new stories to hit rural Canada communities was “CRTC declares Broadband internet access a basic service” on Dec 22, 2016.. Imagine having 50 Mbps downloads and 10 Mbps uploads for your household residence or business in a your rural community. CRTC indicated that 82% of households and businesses currently have the above speed now. Stats Canada recently released some interesting census data – 82% of Canadians live in large and medium size cities. So one could figure most of rural canada doesn’t have it.
CRTC are asking internet service providers to contribute to a fund so that in 2021, 90% of households & businesses will have 50 Mbps download speeds and 10 Mbps upload speeds and 100% in 10-15 years..
Then reality hits …just 7 days earlier, Federal Gov’t Dept. of Innovation, Science and Economic Development announces $500 million program to bring Broadband to rural communities across Canada. The definition of unserved households was those who do not have 5 Mbps download speed and 1 Mbps upload speeds.
Recently, Nova Scotia Dept. of Business and Federal Gov't Dept .of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada have introduced two new Broadband programs to assist municipalities and communities. Both programs seem to be concentrating on Middle Mile (Backbone, Bandwidth, fibre) more so than the last mile.
The Nova Scotia Dept. of Business introduce late November, a new program called Municipal and Community Rural High Speed Internet Funding. This program is to help increase the number of households with access to broadband speeds of 5 Mbps or higher as well connect key pieces of community infrastructure - ie. Community Halls/Centres, Business Hubs etc.
Connect to Innovation program through Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada will support new "backbone" infrastructure to connect institutions like schools and hospitals with a portion of funding for upgrades and "last-mile" infrastructure to households and businesses.
The Federation of Canadian Municipalities recently submitted its final submission to the CRTC Review of Basic Telecommunication Services on May 25, 2016. In FCM’s view, the Commission’s current target speeds for broadband – a minimum of 5Mbps download and 1 Mbps upload are no longer sufficient to to meet the minimum needs of Canadians. It is interesting that the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) revised its benchmark for “advance” broadband access to 25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload and basic access to 10 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload.
CRTC and EKOS Research recently released the findings of “Lets Talk Broadband” online survey on March 18th. Close to 29,000 people completed the online survey.
Below are just some of the early highlights found to date :
a) 1 in 5 do not have a home phone, only half as many do not have a mobile phone.
b) Most customers get their internet service by cable however rural customers have Internet service delivered through telephone line, satellite, or fixed wireless
c) Many do not know their download speed or monthly data transfer capacity. Those who did reported unlimited internet and download speeds of over 25 Mbps. Rural residents reported dramatically lower download speeds and monthly caps.
For more information on the full report click here. Victoria County will be comparing the results of their survey with “Lets Talk Broadband,” (National) survey results.