Interventions Phase 2: University of British Columbia (Intervenor 785)

Document Name: 2015-134.227385.2539576.Interventions Phase 2(1$fjs01!).pdf
February 10, 2016

Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission Ottawa, Ontario

*** ***
Re: Telecom Notice of Consultation 2015-134-3
**** Secretary General:

On behalf of UBC, I would like to thank the Commission for this opportunity to share our perspective about telecommunications services in Canada. I want to focus on our needs around distributed, broadly available fast Internet access.

UBC is consistently rated among the world’s top universities, with nearly 60,000 students and over 5,000 faculty. Our university is more than our campuses in Vancouver and the Okanagan Valley. Our students live and work throughout British Columbia and beyond. Our researchers are in the field across Canada and the world. Our Faculty of Medicine alone includes researchers and students at nearly 100 locations throughout British Columbia’s large territory.

It is the nature of our connected world that wherever they are, our community members need fast and reliable access to the Internet. Whether taking online classes, sharing information with their peers, or collecting data for research, a robust Internet connection is essential for advancing and sharing their knowledge.

As we look to the future, we see three trends of concern:

Preparing for Growth. As more and more technology services move to the cloud, demands on bandwidth become ever greater. Today our average bandwidth demand is more than twice what it was five years ago. Research analysts advise us to continue to expect a 28% compound annual growth rate of bandwidth use. This implies that the current minimum bandwidth standard of 5/1 mbps will need to increase to 17/3.5 in five years.

At UBC, our own initiatives to ensure that UBC remains relevant and globally competitive are driving increased bandwidth use by our community members. Our Flexible Learning program transforms courses to deliver content and promote interaction online outside the classroom. Students require fast, reliable Internet connectivity to participate as active co-creators of learning.

UBC’s research relies on rich data sets collected from around Canada and the world. Remote sensors that monitor real time changes to climate, seismic activity, and more are sending more data from more locations. Health research, analytics, and personalized care in remote areas require fast data connections to produce better results and improved health care outcomes.

Bridging the Divide. Canada’s success in bringing broadband Internet to Canadian households has been extraordinary, but not equally distributed. As the CRTC has itself noted, access to broadband remains a concern for Canadian and First Nations communities in remote and rural areas.

This digital divide has real impact on our community. Our researchers live and work in these areas and need access to data and online services. Our outreach programs for students in remote areas, including First Nations students, are dependent on users’ ability to participate in online courses and conversations. UBC’s mission requires widening participation from people throughout the province and all of Canada.

Sustaining Reliability. Broadband Internet access is only useful if it is reliable. As an example, satellite Internet access is notoriously vulnerable to storms and snow. Wherever possible, UBC’s community members look for redundancy in Internet connectivity. Any single point of failure can isolate our students and researchers, preventing them from doing their work.

UBC encourages the Commission to consider carefully any measures that will provide sustainable, fiscally sound Internet bandwidth, especially in rural and underserved areas.

The current minimum standards for bandwidth will need to be adjusted upward on a regular basis to meet the growth in demand. UBC’s commitment to our community is dependent on this vital national infrastructure.

On the university’s behalf, I thank the CRTC for its attention.

Sincerely,
**** C. ****, Ph.D.
Interim President and Vice ****

Interventions Phase 2: University of British Columbia (Intervenor 785)

Document Name: 2015-134.227385.2539577.Interventions Phase 2(1$fjt01!).html

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