MCE 3: Fiber Broadband
The fibre optic MCE thematic maps displayed some interesting characteristics which the other layers did not. Firstly, the relative modernity of fibre optic broadband limited the well-connected areas of Canada to large urban centers and left the majority of the Western provinces with extremely high potential for broadband expansion within this category. The MCE for fibre greatly boosted the overall potential for improved broadband across much of Canada by excluding massive cities such as Toronto. In future studies, it would be wise to determine the exact location of fibre optic cables, however, this data is currently restricted from public access as it reduces the risk to the currently limited broadband infrastructure across Canada from being tampered.
Figure 15: Fibre connections in Western Canada
The Central Canada MCE outlines many areas of dense population in green, as fibre is often unsuitable for use outside of urban centers. This leaves the map areas outside of cities with drastically higher potential improvement values that were seen in either the cellular or copper MCEs. This reduces certainty about the variables that currently affect fibre optic broadband and would benefit greatly from dissemination of information publically. The central Canada map does, however, outline the locations within southern Ontario that could benefit from moving away from copper wire-based connections towards fibre optic lines. This is only seen in the fibre maps as the relative implementation of newer broadband in southern Ontario obscured data in both the copper and cellular maps.
Figure 16: Fibre connections in Central Canada
Finally, the Eastern Canada fibre MCE map shows similar results to the copper maps, such that the bulk of the potential benefit lies between urban centers along the shorelines of the maritime provinces. The areas are heavily populated, especially surrounding Halifax, where the outline of the cities is shown very clearly by the low potential benefit to further developing fibre optic lines. This area does, however, have some extreme outliers which are seen on the northern shorelines of Newfoundland and Labrador. These very small, densely populated areas have limited access to fibre optic broadband and as a result, achieve the extremely high potential for improved broadband. However, the high density is linked directly to the small land area studied and does not necessarily reflect the potential which introducing fibre would have on the area.
Figure 17: Fibre connections in Eastern Canada
List of Top Five Potential Locations for Improving Fiber Optic Broadband:
1.) Enfield, Saskatchewan
2.) Upper Miramichi, New Brunswick
3.) Paintearth County, Alberta
4.) Spiritwood, Saskatchewan
5.) Piney, Manitoba