Service delivery models

There is no single correct way to connect a community. Selecting the best service delivery model and partnership structure depends upon the resources and needs of your community. 

This section presents different options for implementing and maintaining a broadband network in your community. It aims to provide connectivity planners with background information to understand how connectivity is delivered to communities across British Columbia.

On this page, you will learn about:

Components of delivery

Broadband networks involve three components: Infrastructure, network operations and service providers.

  • Infrastructure: Refers to the physical components of the network, such as fibre optic cables or wireless towers. The owner of the infrastructure is responsible for funding the construction of the network.
  • Network operations: Refers to the operation and administration of the infrastructure. The operator of a network is responsible for monitoring and managing the performance of the network.
  • Service provider: refers to the company providing provision of services to customers.

Each component of service delivery is essential to provide connectivity to citizens, businesses and organizations of a community. However, the owner, operator and service provider can all be different entities.

The owner of the network pays for the construction of the infrastructure. They can either operate the network themselves or they can contract and pay someone else to run the network for them.

The operator then manages and maintains the network to ensure good performance. The operator also sells access to the network infrastructure and service to service providers. All revenues are then turned in to the owner.

After purchasing access to the network infrastructure from the operator, the service provider sells services to customers like internet and telephone services. They also provide customer service and tech support if needed. Service providers are the only ones having direct contact with end users, who may not even know who the owner and operator of the network are.

There is no single approach to determine who should be responsible for each component of service delivery, and there are many roles that local governments can play in broadband connectivity.

Service delivery model options

There are many roles that local governments can play in broadband connectivity. Each option is unique in its distribution of responsibilities among the participating parties.

One option is to let the market operate on its own, which is what has largely existed to date. In this case, private companies own, operate, and deliver services to residents and businesses. Another model is when local governments own and operate their own broadband networks. In between these two scenarios are various forms of partnership between local governments and private companies to share the risks and rewards of an investment in services. For example, local governments can advocate and provide support for projects, make municipal and regional assets available, offer financial support, or get involved in ownership.

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