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Matt Rapke, GIS Specialist

Matt Rapke

Matt is a GIS specialist with a background in data modelling, information management, data governance, data analyses, and business process analyses. He is currently a part-time student at the University of Guelph in the MSc Rural Planning Program. His goal in this program is to explore how land use planning decisions can be improved through the use of comprehensive spatial data sets.

“Happy Holidays and New Year Greetings from the R2B2 Team!”

As 2018 comes to a successful close, we wish you a happy holiday season.  Thank you for your continued support for helping to improve life (our mission statement at the University of Guelph) through regional and rural broadband research!

Dr. Helen Hambly | Associate Professor
R2B2 Project Leader
School of Environmental Design & Rural Development | University of Guelph
Johnston Hall 109 | 50 Stone Rd E | Guelph, ON | N1G 2W1
519-824-4120 Ext. 53408 | hhambly@uoguelph.ca
uoguelph.ca/sedrd/

Policy Brief – July 2018


Policy Brief 1: Benchmarking Internet Access Infrastructure Quality Gaps in Southwestern Ontario (2017)


Policy Brief 2: Rural Fibre and 5th Generation Wireless – Substitutes or Complements?

Speedtest

Welcome to the new R2B2 website!

We’re pleased to release this new updated website for the R2B2 project. We’re looking forward to keeping you informed about our activities in 2018.

Just a reminder, the SWIFT residential/farm and business surveys are continuing and your input for “Broadband for Everyone” in Southwest Ontario, Niagara and Caledon is greatly appreciated.

Future Projects

R2B2 is involved in a range of other regional and rural broadband action research activities. This includes relevant university networks such as Digital Futures. We also liaise with social innovation groups (e.g. Evergreen’s Mid-Size City Study), various digital initiatives by the Province of Ontario (e.g. OMAFRA, MEDEI, etc.) as well as federal agencies (e.g. ISED, AAFC, etc.). We welcome new collaborations and seek to ensure the best possible knowledge base for “all things rural Internet.” We do this not only for the sake of top-notch research and innovation, but also for the benefit of everyone living in Canada and Ontario.

Partnership Development

Regional and rural broadband is best understood as a system which is made up of different actors (e.g. rural and urban consumers, large and small telecoms, political leaders, researchers, engineering consultants, information technology firms, etc.), relationships of trust, governance and accountability and design elements such as financing, facilities and information.

After many years, even decades, of efforts to address broadband gaps in rural and remote areas of Canada, we know that changes in one part of the system are moderated by other parts of the system. For example, investment effectiveness is influenced by the quality of information used for the analysis. Improved analytics for investment decision-making are likely to affect change in other areas of the system, such as a shift to include new actors, or to improve existing relationships as well as financing.

R2B2 seeks to develop knowledge to enhance performance in each element of regional and rural broadband, but also to understand what happens when elements of the system change. This knowledge helps to leverage innovation, we believe, and ultimately, improve the delivery, uptake and use of connectivity in rural areas.

Future

R2B2 is involved in a range of other regional and rural broadband action research activities. This includes relevant university networks such as Digital Futures. We also liaise with social innovation groups (e.g. Evergreen’s Mid-Size City Study), various digital initiatives by the Province of Ontario (e.g. OMAFRA, MEDEI, etc.) as well as federal agencies (e.g. ISED, AAFC, etc.). We welcome new collaborations and seek to ensure the best possible knowledge base for “all things rural Internet.” We do this not only for the sake of top-notch research and innovation, but also for the benefit of everyone living in Canada and Ontario.

Other Projects

Town of Caledon

In 2016, R2B2 supported the Town of Caledon with a gap analysis of the current state of connectivity. Caledon conducts community engagement for digital inclusion and innovation opportunities. In 2016, Council established a “Broadband Levy” which collects $300,000 per year, or $11 per household, to facilitate internet services for residents and businesses, in alignment with Council’s Broadband Internet Workplan objective.

Town of Collingwood

Collingwood, Ontario has a thriving and growing business community largely due to its increasing number of new residents as well as seasonal residents and tourists. Local businesses in Collingwood are important stakeholders of broadband-enabled technologies. Some of these businesses operate across the country and around the world. In 2016, we assisted the Town of Collingwood to collect information about the current and future use of broadband as an essential utility. The Town is currently in the process of integrating this information into its planning.

Thematic Studies

R2B2 engages with a range of partners to conduct thematic studies. Some recent topics are:

  • Connectivity requirements in precision agriculture technologies
  • Telecommuting and home-based business internet access
  • Broadband for telehealth (including online mental health services)
  • Environmental benefits of rural connectivity

 

Halton Region’s Rural Broadband Study

Beginning in Fall 2017, and in collaboration with the BDO Canada, R2B2 Project supported the Regional Municipality of Halton’s rural broadband needs analysis. This involves an assessment of internet services in non-urban areas of Burlington, Halton Hills, Milton and Oakville. The focus of data analysis and mapping is the availability of broadband connections, the consistency and reliability of connections, and the cost of service. The findings of Halton Region’s Rural Broadband Study will help inform Regional Council about improving telecommunications infrastructure and services in its smaller communities and agricultural areas.