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Toward an Online Interactive Broadband Atlas for Ontarians Ministry of Government and Consumer Toward a Broadband Research Agenda for Ontario Toward an Online Interactive Broadband Atlas for Ontarians

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Abstract

This paper reviews existing paper-based and online broadband atlases, maps, indicators, data visualization projects and finder/locator services in Canada and internationally. Of the dozens of broadband mapping initiatives we found, we provide an in-depth analysis of 11 that exemplify the wide range of possible approaches. These include highly systematic international mapping efforts, local user-generated Google mashups, and academic analyses. We identify the types of data represented in these broadband maps, and ways of visualizing them. We do not provide a design for a Broadband Atlas itself, but rather a framework for understanding what a Broadband Atlas can be useful for and what it might include. To inform the development of a Broadband Atlas we offer such guiding principles as usability, usefulness, authority, aesthetics, engagement and preservation. We also highlight nine prospective themes or topic areas for an atlas relevant for developing a broadband strategy in Ontario. These include: 1. Technical Infrastructure 2. Service Availability, Quality & Affordability 3. Digital Inclusion 4. Economic Development 5. Ownership 6. Competition 7. Traffic Inspection & Management Practices 8. Public Sector Involvement 9. Decision-making by sector We further provide over a hundred indicators, drawn from the policy and mapping initiatives analyzed earlier. These indicators can be used, in various combinations, to support and develop the themes described in the paper, or other relevant themes. Finally, we review selected atlas framework technologies that provide promising ways to implement an Ontario-led online broadband atlas. Together, these findings may inform the Ontario government on key ingredients for the creation of its own online interactive Broadband Atlas.

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