APPLICATION GUIDE CONNECTING BRITISH COLUMBIA PROGRAM

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1 APPLICATION GUIDE CONNECTING BRITISH COLUMBIA PROGRAM About the Province-wide Program Introduction The Connecting British Columbia Program is a province-wide program administered by Northern Development Initiative Trust (Northern Development) and is available to all eligible applicants. Program Purpose The Connecting British Columbia Program is a multi-year program. It helps to pay for infrastructure required to deliver high-speed internet connectivity at speeds to at least 5 Mbps down and 1 Mbps up to homes and businesses in rural and remote locales of British Columbia. The high cost of last mile infrastructure has been identified by communities, regional Internet service providers, community champions and advocates as one of the key barriers to expanding service to citizens in and around rural and remote communities in British Columbia. The Connecting British Columbia Program was created to eliminate last mile barriers, with an allowance for backhaul as necessary, enabling connectivity to more citizens in more parts of British Columbia. This program is the latest in a series of initiatives to connect British Columbians. Funding preference will be given to: Digital Canada 150: Connecting Canadians Projects Targeting projects that have successfully met the Digital Canada 150: Connecting Canadians Program criteria and require additional funding; or, New Projects Targeting rural and remote unconnected or underserved locales where terrestrial based Internet services are available at less than 5 Mbps; Targeting projects that provide terrestrial based Internet services; Targeting projects in which an investment would not be otherwise made unless the contribution is available; Targeting applicants with proven Internet service provider experience and business history; Targeting applicants who demonstrate the ability to deliver last mile services; and, Targeting applicants who can demonstrate the highest number of households connected for the contribution made through this program. Economic Benefits of High-Speed Internet Connectivity Affordable high-speed Internet connectivity is a catalyst for economic diversification. It opens the door to a global market by linking citizens to the digital economy and improving their ability to promote and trade goods and services. High-speed Internet connectivity also helps level the playing field between small businesses in rural and remote locations and their urban counterparts. With high-speed Internet connectivity, citizens in all corners of the province can: Connect and collaborate online and reduce the need to travel; Access more government services remotely; Access healthcare information; Access online educational opportunities. Published June 2015 Ver

2 Funding Available Northern Development will provide grants to eligible applicants, which best meet the program criteria to expand Internet service to more British Columbians in rural and remote areas. An individual locale will only be funded once and priority will be given to proposals with contributions, financial or monetized donations, that is secured or approved in principle. Strong preference is given to projects requiring 50% (or less) funding. Only projects with a demonstrated need are eligible for an advance up to 50% of the amount approved. Formal advance requests must be submitted on letterhead and accompanied by a supporting project cash flow forecast demonstrating financial need. An interim report may be submitted if funds are required prior to completing the project. Application Timing The Connecting British Columbia Program is a multi-year initiative. Applications will be reviewed as received, and funding decisions will be made at the discretion of the funder until the program budget is exhausted. Eligibility Eligible Applicants Applicants must be legally registered entities. Examples include: Local or regional Internet service providers; Community high-speed Internet connectivity organizations; Aboriginal organizations; Local governments such as regional districts or municipalities; Economic development organizations; Registered societies and associations. Those who cannot apply are the following (see Definitions section): National service providers; Individuals. Eligible Expenses Equipment and infrastructure including servers, fibre optic cable, repeaters, radio equipment, towers, backup power supplies and network high-speed Internet connectivity devices including upgrades and adaptations; Engineering and design including network, architecture and systems design and integration; Customer Premise Equipment used to connect the subscriber s premises to the Internet service provider s telecommunications network at a demarcation point. Examples include wiring, modems (DSL, cable, wireless), as well as antennae or other wireless equipment. One-time labour and installation costs for this project; Site survey, engineering and design for this project; GST or HST which is not refundable by CRA as an input tax credit or as a rebate; the portion of the PST which is not refundable by the respective provincial tax authority. Ineligible Expenses Ongoing operation costs such as leases, legal fees, audit fees, rent, land applications, co-location; Ongoing salaries and benefits; Financing and carrying costs; Cost of developing application; Fees paid to members of a Board of Directors for their time; GST or HST which is refundable by CRA as an input tax credit or as a rebate; the portion of the PST which is refundable by the respective provincial tax authority. Published June 2015 Ver

3 Assessment Criteria Applications will be adjudicated by an independent team of evaluators and will be assessed against the criteria below. Locale (% of overall score =10%) The application defines the unconnected locale(s) to be served. The application describes the number of unconnected citizens who will get service as a result of this project. The application demonstrates local government and community support. Current letters of support must be included in the application package. The application provides evidence that the proposed deployment of Internet services to homes and businesses is based on a realistic assessment of community needs and anticipated benefits. The application describes the impact that high-speed Internet services will have on the local economy. Corporate Capability (% of overall score =15%)* The applicant is not a national service provider. The applicant has demonstrated they have selected or are an experienced Internet service provider with the expertise and qualifications to implement the project. The applicant has demonstrated project management expertise and experience with overseeing high-speed Internet connectivity projects. The project is able to start quickly. The applicant has addressed rights of ways and permits in the timelines of the project. The Internet service provider is local or regional and can leverage existing infrastructure. The project milestones are reasonable. The applicant's corporate head office is based in British Columbia. The applicant has provided a map(s) that describes coverage for each Internet connectivity service offered in British Columbia by type (e.g., ADSL, fixed wireless or fibre) and estimated download speed. Coverage is to be displayed as a shaded outline on a Google Map (street view) background. Map(s) will be provided by the applicant with their explicit consent to allow Northern Development to distribute the information and make the information available to the public without restriction. Technology Used (% of overall score =15%)* The application confirms there is an Internet gateway, Point of Presence (PoP) or other backhaul capability in place in order for the project to proceed. The technical solution describes the type of network being installed, the type of technology to be deployed, where it will be used and how it will be installed. The technical solution adequately serves the projected number of subscribers (i.e., the connectivity supplied to the end user meets the definition of high-speed Internet connectivity). The solution can be scaled and supported to address future needs of the locale(s). The solution does not require the use of satellites for its primary backhaul technology. The last mile technology used to deliver the service to the customer is fibre, cable or fixed wireless. Leverage Existing Infrastructure (% of overall score =10%) The eligible applicant already serves the area, and proposes to deliver the solution in the proposal with a high-speed Internet connectivity of 5 Mbps or higher. The proposal includes both the upgrade to existing infrastructure (including backhaul) as well as expansion to currently unserved or underserved areas. Leverage Program Funding (% of overall score =10%)* Preference will be given to projects that incorporate other funding sources toward the total project cost. Published June 2015 Ver

4 Financial (% of overall score =35%)* The applicant has demonstrated that figures presented in the Project Budget and Financial Operating Plan are realistic; revenue and expenditure projections are reasonable. Total requested program funding has been identified and a detailed breakdown of eligible costs presented. The applicant has demonstrated all funding has been acquired for a timely start and completion of project. The numbers of users and the monthly rates have been identified. What is the cost per household to connect? A lower cost per household is preferable as this means that more people are being served per dollar spent by the Province. Quality of Application (% of overall score =5%) Is the contribution necessary to fill the funding gap and complete any portion of the project or not? If the funding will meet a minimum requirement and allow a project to proceed (as opposed to simply improve on a project that is already feasible, this is preferable as it will lead to more people being connected). Applicant has provided a quality proposal. The proposal gives confidence that the project can and will succeed. * Note: Application must meet a minimum of 50% threshold in each of the categories marked with an asterisk (*) to qualify for funding. Definitions Anchor Tenant: One or more committed customers on a network, often a business or government entity. Anchor tenants are important to identify for network sustainability. Backhaul: A network connection that transports data traffic from one Point-of-Presence to another or from a Point of-presence to a location that contains the Internet gateway. Bandwidth: The capacity for transferring data over a network as measured in bits per second (bps), kilobits per second (Kbps) or megabits per second (Mbps). Customer Premise Equipment: Refers to any telecommunications equipment located at a subscriber s premises that is connected to a service provider s telecommunications network at a demarcation point. Examples include wiring, modems (DSL, cable, wireless) as well as antennae or other wireless equipment. Dependencies: Also known as order of build, this is where separate projects depend on the completion of other projects in order to proceed. The diagram above indicates a series of projects exhibiting dependency. Project 3 requires the completion of Project 1 and Project 2, Project 2 depends on the completion of Project 1 and so on. The dependencies can also be described this way: Published June 2015 Ver

5 Demarcation Point: A point that separates the customer premise equipment from the service provider s network infrastructure equipment. Download: Data traffic travelling from the Internet to the end user. High-speed Internet: Also referred to as broadband, high-speed Internet is an always on fast connection to the Internet with a minimum download speed of 5 Mbps. Three of the most commonly used technologies to provide broadband are cable, DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) and wireless broadband. Monetized donations: Means contributions of goods or services, other than cash from third-parties. Internet Gateway: A network connection that provides access to the Internet for the service provider s last mile distribution system. Internet Service Provider: An organization that offers its customers access to the Internet. Last Mile Infrastructure: The components used to connect homes and businesses to the Internet service provider s Point-of-Presence. This may include routers, towers, antennae, fibre optical, cable, Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) equipment, cable modems, wireless radios and so on. Locale: Can refer to a neighbourhood, community, subdivision, town site, reserve or village in a rural or remote area. Milestones: Significant stages of completion for your project(s). National Service Providers: Internet service providers who also provide service outside British Columbia. Point-of-Presence (PoP): A facility where Internet service providers house servers, routers, switches and other communications equipment. A PoP is where an Internet service provider s last mile infrastructure connects to an Internet gateway. Risks: When projects depend on outside factors to proceed. This can include order of build, grants from other sources, matching funding, Crown Land applications and so on. For the purposes of the Connecting British Columbia Program, any risks must be clearly stated in your application. Scalability: The ability of a network to expand service to a larger area around the vicinity of the existing connected locale. Single End User: Where a single customer or business is the only user of the network. Contact Information For program enquiries contact: Northern Development Initiative Trust Fifth Avenue, Prince George BC V2L 3L2 Canada Published June 2015 Ver

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