Cybera’s data science team to explore Canada’s internet regulatory process

A year after launching its data science team, Cybera is now ready to take on external projects from stakeholders looking to discover the utility of their data. For their first major project, the team has received funding to examine the thousands of documents and testimonials that were provided to the CRTC for its 2016 “basic telecommunications service” consultation. Cybera’s goal is to help Canadians better understand how policy decisions are made to safeguard the internet.

“Materials submitted to the CRTC during its regulatory proceedings provide a wealth of information on how Canadians access the internet,” says Barton Satchwill, head of the data science team at Cybera, Alberta’s not-for-profit technology accelerator. “These materials are publicly available, but their varying formats — and the sheer number of them — make it difficult to find, aggregate, and analyze the data they contain. This is a barrier for those wanting to understand the key positions each party is taking, and what their impact is on the final CRTC regulatory decision.”

To address this barrier, Cybera’s experts plan to extract and analyze the publicly available data submitted to the 2016 CRTC Basic Service Objective consultation. They will focus on the positions of respondents and the evidence they provided, and how these views were referenced in the final decision. This information will then be made publicly available through reports, as well as open-sourced scripts and methodologies. This will enable others, including researchers, policy makers and journalists, to apply the same techniques to other consultation datasets.

The project, which begins today, is supported by a grant from the Canadian Internet Registration Authority’s (CIRA) Community Investment Program.

“The immediate goal is to give Canadians the tools to comprehend how the 2016 CRTC decision, which acknowledged that broadband internet is a basic telecommunications service, came about, so that they can better understand the rationale behind this decision,” explains Satchwill. “But longer term, we want to make these data science approaches more accessible, as we feel everyone can benefit from this transformational technology.”

Supporting Alberta's Data Science Needs

Data science has emerged in recent years as one of the most promising fields for economic development. Its scientific approach to analyzing data sources to extract and visualize descriptive, predictive and prescriptive insights offers benefits to almost every sector.

In its role as an innovation enabler, Cybera explores next-generation tools and platforms to increase efficiencies and economic opportunities for Alberta. To that end, the organization began developing a data science team in 2016 to accelerate the adoption of this technology in the province.

These experts are now available to Alberta’s public and start-up sectors to:

  1. Collaborate on data science for social good projects
  2. Build and make accessible data science tools
  3. Disseminate their knowledge of data analytics methodologies
  4. Give Albertans a competitive advantage by advising on the development and implementation of data products.

To find out more about Cybera’s data science initiatives, or how to explore a data science pilot project with Cybera, contact the data science team.


BACKGROUND

About Cybera

Cybera is a not-for-profit, technology-neutral organization responsible for driving Alberta’s economic growth through the use of digital technology. Cybera’s role is to oversee and develop the province’s cyberinfrastructure, which includes managing and operating the high-speed research and education network. Cybera has been an integral part of the Alberta technology landscape for over 20 years, providing key shared services — as well as innovation support — to post-secondary institutions, municipalities, K-12 school divisions, local business incubators, and the provincial government. Cybera currently serves over 650,000 Albertans, including 92% of all post-secondary students and 56% of all K-12 students in the province.

About CIRA

The Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) manages the .CA top-level domain on behalf of all Canadians. A Member-based organization, CIRA also develops and implements policies that support Canada’s internet community, and represents the .CA registry internationally. CIRA’s Community Investment Program supports initiatives that build a better online Canada. CIRA is actively building a stronger internet in Canada by funding projects with charities, not-for-profits and the academic community that are making the internet better for all Canadians.