GlobeConsult has developed a unique project methodology process for Community Broadband projects
that ensures objectives are met in a timely matter and funds are utilised efficiently.
There are several distinctive characteristics of our approach that make the methodology process both
unique and highly effective. More specifically, our methodology employs six fundamental principals:
community engagement, needs assessment, applications as drivers, aggregation of demand, assessment of
existing infrastructure and attraction of public/private sector funding to address the technology gap.
A critical part of this process is our approach to community engagement where we bring together a broad spectrum
of stakeholders from the community's education, health, government and business sectors as a way of mobilizing from
the grass roots. This distinctive approach is critical to ensure the development of applications is driven by network requirements as opposed to "build it and they will
come" so that communities specifically address the technology gap, build only the networks they require and are provided with the
foundation to attract public and private sector funding.
A key element in our feasibility analysis process is to emphasize community engagement as a way of mobilizing support.
This approach is critical to ensuring that proposed plans reflect the real needs of the community and not top-down solutions
imposed externally. In this area, we will follow an approach developed and proven on previous projects, an approach that
starts by engaging a broad spectrum of stakeholders. By doing so, we are better able to articulate the clients or community's
needs and objectives and establish an appropriate organizational framework for the project. This framework serves as an effective
sounding board for client input as well as a mechanism for network implementation. Working with local leadership, key agencies
and other stakeholders, our Project Team will provide ongoing mentoring at every step of the process. We believe that direct
community consultation creates a sense of ownership and commitment amongst stakeholders. This type of direct engagement also
serves to educate participants about the opportunities and potential of the initiative while at the same time reducing anxieties
and the threat of change. One approach to achieve this is through the use of facilitated discussion with stakeholders, administered
surveys and frequent contact with the client.
In this principal, our methodology focuses on conducting a comprehensive community needs assessment. Our Project Team will
arrange individual face-to-face interviews with appropriate stakeholders, users and key informants in the community. We will
utilize the survey instruments and community engagement process used successfully in previous projects over the past several
years. This process has been fine-tuned, replicated, customized and used in many communities throughout Ontario, across Canada
and around the world. Our team will work with the client to provide a list of contacts within all sectors, education, health,
social, government and business community. From this inventory of contacts, we will launch the needs assessment. Individual
face-to-face interviews are planned to ensure confidentiality is maintained. In some cases, focus groups are facilitated when
common groups of respondents can interact together in a common question and answer session. We will also set up a dedicated website to handle electronic access to the surveys and provide special questionnaires that
facilitate electronic input and submission where one-on-one surveys are not possible
Applications as Drivers:
Our approach focuses not on any specific technology but on the kinds of applications that respond to the community's needs.
In our model, the community first defines its requirements, selects the applications that respond to those requirements and
then develops a plan for implementing those applications. It is at this point that the question of what technologies are available
is raised to determine the best technical solutions to deliver the applications identified. This approach is the reverse of
the "build it and they will come" model that has been used elsewhere and that has led to technology investments that often
don't satisfy the users needs - it is neither affordable nor sustainable. In our model, there is full consideration given
to the community's existing situation and future potential. This comprehensive strategy identifies the assets upon which to
build the new infrastructure. In this sense, our developmental vision always remains directly connected to the community,
making the most of what it already has and ensuring that proposed new solutions meet requirements.
Aggregation of Demand
Our approach emphasizes collaboration and sharing amoing key shareholders in the interests of building the most cost-effective network
solution possible. In this case, we adopt the model of an Integrated Community Network (ICN) in which a number of dirrerent
institutaions and applications share the same infrastructure. This approach is a far more cost-effectice and less risky than the development
of standalone networks.
Assessment of Existing Infrastructure:
Various network architecture solutions along with various infrastructures and broadband transmission technologies
will be analysed for availability, applicability and cost. This will include but not limited to determining availability
and applicability of the latest infrastructure and broadband technologies for community environmet.
GlobeConsult and its associates have extensive experience securing public and private sector funding, in particular,
dealing with and implementing various government funding programs. We have worked closely with all levels of government
as well as the private sector. We were responsible for developing proposals and partnerships on past projects that brought
our clients many million dollars worth of investment in network applications and infrastructure upgrades.
Many communities will be eligible for government-sponsored funding programmes to support their network development projects
relating to the delivery of information services to their users. This could include, among others, a community portal,
government on-line services and GIS applications. Any public funding initiatives will be available to provide matching
funding for infrastructure development and applications. Based on the many communities that have adopted this process,
this government funding together with a business plan will attract additional private sector investment to upgrade the
infrastructure and provide new levels of service at equitable and affordable rates. Our Project Team typically evolves a
strategy for disbursing public sector funds so as not to jeopardize the use of these funds as matching funds for the
various government programs. Our expertise in this area allows us to correlate the contribution by the community into
efficient use of cash, work provided and in-kind support.