Recipient Guide: Process for Submitting Required Milestone Deliverables

Note to Readers

This document contains information on minimum requirements to be met by recipients when preparing milestone deliverables as required by the Contribution Agreement (CA). The information contained herein is provided for ease of reference only and is subject to change without notice at the sole discretion of the designated Minister. Recipients should always refer to the relevant provisions of the CA. The CA takes precedence over this document in case of conflict or discrepancy.

This document does not limit or prejudice in any manner any right or discretion of the Minister, the Minister's representatives, the Auditor General of Canada, or anyone acting on behalf of the Auditor General of Canada, including, without limitation or prejudice to the generality of the foregoing, any of their rights or discretion under the CA to request and obtain from recipients or third parties information or documents in addition to, or different from, those specified herein.

Table of Contents

  1. 1. Purpose
  2. 2. The Milestone Reporting Process
  3. 3. Guidelines for Submission of Required Milestone Documentation by the Recipient
  4. 4. Milestone Documentation Requirements
    1. 4.1 Milestone 1: Network Design Complete
    2. 4.2 Milestone 2: Network Build Complete
    3. 4.3 Milestone 3: First Paying Customers
  5. 5. Progress Reporting and Milestone Submissions

1. Purpose

The purpose of this document is to provide Recipients who have entered into a Contribution Agreement under the Connecting Canadians Program (CCP) with instructions for preparing milestone deliverables, required by the dates set out in Annex A-2 of the Contribution Agreement.

2. The Milestone Reporting Process

As outlined in Annex A-2 of the Contribution Agreement, your organization has identified a number of milestones and deliverables and set dates to complete them throughout the project's lifecycle. You are expected to submit completed milestone deliverables to the Program to demonstrate that your project is being implemented as planned. These deliverables should be submitted as they are completed as per the timelines identified in Annex A-2 of the Contribution Agreement. These deliverables are then verified by program engineers to ensure completeness and to assess project progress. A program engineer may contact you should clarifications be required, or to advise you that the milestone deliverables have been approved if no additional information is needed.

The milestone deliverables, along with other tools, are used to assess whether projects are on track, and to assess the risk profile of the project on an ongoing basis. If for any reason it is not possible to submit the milestone deliverables following the completion dates identified, please contact the CCP Program Officer assigned to your file to discuss the situation.

As your project progresses, you should identify as soon as possible to the Program Officer any changes you are considering or that may have occurred unexpectedly to the specifics of the project and/or the project schedule. This will help avoid the risk that project changes are counter to the terms and conditions of your contribution agreement resulting in a claim being delayed or even denied.

3. Guidelines for Submission of Required Milestone Documentation by the Recipient

As part of the project monitoring and claims process, the submission of milestone documentation is required at key points in the project lifecycle. The milestone events are listed as follows:

Milestone documentation may be provided in multiple parts over time as new segments of the network are built. See Section 5 of this document for the procedure required to indicate which network segments a milestone submission applies to.

4. Milestone Documentation Requirements

Specific documentation must be provided to indicate to the Program that the milestones have been achieved. These may be provided as separate documents; a combined milestone report is not required, but is also an acceptable form of reporting. Recipients are encouraged to re-use internal documents as much as possible to reduce the burden of reporting. The Program will accept most common file formats for documentation, such as Microsoft Word, Excel, Visio, Adobe PDF, Google Earth, Mapinfo, JPG images and Autocad files. If you are unsure if a file format is acceptable, contact your Program Officer.

The following subsections detail the information that is required at each milestone.

4.1 Milestone 1: Network Design Complete

Once the network design is complete for a segment or the entirety of your proposed network, the following documentation should be provided to your Program Officer:

Final Network Design Documentation

An updated logical network diagram identifying all network sites, major equipment and interconnections should be provided. This diagram should be in the same format as in Annex A of your Contribution Agreement.

Updated site and equipment lists should be provided, using the same MS Excel templates as provided with Annex A of your Contribution Agreement.

If the network design has changed significantly from the design outlined in your Contribution Agreement (e.g., sites added, removed, or moved more than 1km; technological changes that impact performance or change the number of households covered), an accompanying document should be provided to explain the reasons for the change. Depending on the nature of the change, your Program Officer may contact you regarding updating your Aboriginal Duty to Consult Assessment or Environmental Assessment documentation.

Any further changes to the network design after the submission of Milestone 1 will require a Project Change Form to be submitted to the Program; contact your Program Officer for more details.

If the final network design remains unchanged from the design outlined in Annex A of your Contribution Agreement, a written statement confirming there are no changes is sufficient to meet this requirement.

Simulated or Estimated Coverage Map

An updated map indicating geographical coverage is required indicating the location of all project sites that apply to this milestone document submission. For wireless deployments, simulated or estimated coverage should be indicated. For wireline deployments, indicating the fibre/cable/copper wire routing is acceptable.

A distance scale and legend should be shown on the map.

If the final coverage map remains unchanged from the design outlined in Annex A of your Contribution Agreement, a written statement confirming there are no changes is sufficient to meet this requirement.

Compliance with Government of Canada Legislation and Policies

Documentation should be provided that indicates that the network design complies with all relevant Government of Canada legislation and/or policies including those administered by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC). The following are required at a minimum for all applicants:

  • For wireless networks operating in licensed bands (both access and backhaul), proof of licensing from the Government of Canada must be provided (i.e., license number).
  • For wireless networks operating in lightly licensed bands (e.g., 3.65 GHz), proof of registration with the Government of Canada must be provided (i.e., license number).
  • For any projects proposing the construction of new telecommunications towers, a statement indicating that tower sharing will be offered to 3rd parties, as well as terms under which such sharing will be made possible, in accordance with part D, section 4 of Annex A-1 of the Contribution Agreement. This statement should be signed by an officer of the company.

Evidence of Land Access for Project Sites

For all sites not indicated as "owned" in the Project Sites list in the Contribution Agreement, please provide supporting documentation indicating that you have been granted access to the project site for the duration of the project, or have an option to extend the lease for the duration of the project. Acceptable documentation includes copies of lease agreements, letters from land owners providing access as in-kind contributions, permits or resolution letters from the local government responsible for that jurisdiction authorizing the use of public land, Section 28 Permit for sites on First Nations land, or tower-colocation agreement with 3rd party tower owners.

If you own all project sites relevant to this milestone documentation, this step can be skipped.

Evidence of Required Gateway and Internet Services Including Sufficient Capacity and Public IP Address Allocation

The following documentation is required to show that there is sufficient wholesale Internet gateway capacity to support new customers on the network:

  • If wholesale capacity is purchased from a 3rd party, a copy of a contract or invoice indicating the gateway capacity contracted or purchased is required. In cases where capacity will be increased over the duration of the project, a letter from the 3rd party provided indicating that the extra capacity is available should be included.
  • Confirmation that sufficient IP addresses are available for the additional clients on the network.

In cases where the proof of capacity applies to the entire project, the information can be provided once for all sites and omitted in any subsequent milestone documentation packages.

Maintenance Plan

The maintenance plan should be submitted as a document outlining the following points pertaining to the ongoing operation of the network:

  • How will the network be monitored to detect failures in a timely manner?
  • Will the new network be serviced by existing technicians, or will new technicians be hired and trained? What is the expected delay to deploy technicians in case of a network failure?
  • How much spare equipment will be kept in reserve in case of failure? How accessible is this equipment in case of an unexpected failure?
  • What methods and strategies will be used to prevent and mitigate malicious cyber-attacks on the network?
  • Any other relevant information pertaining to the ongoing operation and maintenance of the network.

The maintenance plan can be submitted for the entire project if it applies to all project sites.

Upgrade Plan

The upgrade plan should be submitted as a document outlining the following points pertaining to planned future upgrades of the network after project completion, if any:

  • If no upgrades are planned, a statement indicating so is acceptable for this deliverable.
  • If plans exist to further expand the network, please provide a general description of the expansion area envisioned as well as a general timeframe for the expansion.
  • If plans exist for increases in network capacity, please indicate the order of magnitude of the increase, as well as the areas likely to be upgraded.
  • If a technology migration is planned after project completion, please indicate what the new technology would be, the general timeline for implementation and areas likely to be migrated.
  • Any other relevant information pertaining to upgrades to the network after project completion.

If none of the above apply, a statement indicating that there are currently no plans for further upgrades after project completion is sufficient to meet this requirement.

The upgrade plan can be submitted for the entire project if it applies to all project sites.

Test Plan

The test plan should outline the methods and procedures you will employ to test the network and measure performance of the network upon build completion. This should include:

  • A list of metrics that will be measured, such as throughput, latency, packet loss, etc.
  • Test equipment and software that will be used to perform the tests and measurements.
  • The project sites at which measurements will be performed, and the conditions under which the tests will be performed (with or without user traffic, time of day, type of traffic used, etc.)
  • If a limited user trial will be performed before the network is opened to paying customers, how will information from the trial be collected?
  • Any other relevant information regarding the performance testing of the network after build completion.

The test plan can be submitted for the entire project if it applies to all project sites.

4.2 Milestone 2: Network Build Complete

Once the network build is complete for a segment or the entirety of your proposed network, the following documentation should be provided to the Program:

Final "As-Built" Network Documentation

An updated logical network diagram identifying all project sites in the build, major equipment and interconnections should be provided. This diagram should be in the same format as in Annex A of your Contribution Agreement.

Updated site and equipment lists should be provided, listing all equipment installed at the project sites, as well as distributed elements, using the same MS Excel templates as provided with Annex A of the Contribution Agreement.

If the "as-built" network remains unchanged from the design outlined in the Milestone 1 deliverable, a written statement confirming that there are no changes is sufficient to meet this requirement.

Photographs of Project Sites

Please provide photographs of the project site(s), showing the equipment within racks and cabinets, towers and tower-mounted equipment. In cases where it is not practical to take a clear photograph of tower-mounted equipment after installation, a photograph of the equipment at the site prior to installation is acceptable.

Example photographs of project sites

Photographs totalling less than 10 MB in size should be provided by email. If the size exceeds 10 MB, contact the CCP Engineer assigned to your file to discuss other means of image transfer (mailed disk, FTP, image sharing site, etc.)

Project Build Signoff Statement

Please provide a statement, certified by a Professional Engineer or an executive officer, indicating that the network (or network segment) has been built in its entirety as per the "As-built" network documentation provided as part of the Milestone 2 deliverables.

In-Service Coverage Map

A map indicating the location of the newly-commissioned project sites and the coverage provided by these sites should be provided. For wireless deployments, simulated or estimated coverage should be indicated. For wireline deployments, indicating the fibre/cable/copper wire routing is acceptable.

Any test sites used to carry out the test plan should be indicated on the map, as well as the locations of any clients connected to the new network.

A distance scale and legend should be shown on the map.

Test Report

A report should be provided showing that the test plan has been executed, along with the results, measurements and analysis of the tests within. This test report should be signed off by a Professional Engineer or an executive officer.

4.3 Milestone 3: First Paying Customers

The following documentation should be provided to the Program once paying customers are connected to the new network (or network segment). In many cases, Milestone 3 will be achieved before Milestone 2; this is entirely acceptable.

Proof of Paying Clients

Provide a copy of a service agreement, contract or invoice with the first paying customer on the new network or network segment.

Proof of Internet Package Availability

Provide a link to your website or a copy of promotional materials providing the details of the service packages offered and coverage area for the new network (or network segments).

Marketing or Promotional Materials

Provide copies of any news releases, media coverage or promotional mailings related to the new network, if applicable. A range of existing documentation can fill this need such as community paper articles, reports, pamphlets, etc.

Launch Event Materials

Provide photographs and/or media coverage of promotional launch events, if applicable. These can be sent by email to the Program Officer.

In many cases, the information provided for Milestone 3 will be applicable to the entire project. If this is the case, please state this in your milestone submission and omit Milestone 3 submissions for subsequent network segments.

5. Progress Reporting and Milestone Submissions

Your CCP Program Officer will provide you with a CCP Milestone Reporting Checklist specific to your project in Microsoft Excel format. This sheet must accompany any milestone documentation sent to the Program Officer. If you have not received this sheet, please contact your Program Officer and it will be sent to you.

Before You Begin

Once you have the sheet, please save a copy as a template to be used for future milestone reporting. This sheet will need to accompany any milestone reporting packages sent to CCP.

Getting Started

When you first open the Milestone Checklist, a security warning in yellow at the top of the excel spreadsheet will appear stating that the macros have been disabled. In order to complete the checklist, you must first enable the macros by clicking the "Enable Content" button.

Figure 2: Screen shot of worksheet tabs

This Milestone Checklist has two tabs found at the bottom of the worksheet: Recipient_Input and CCB_Input. The only tab that needs to be completed by the Recipient is the Recipient_Input tab, as the CCB_Input tab is for internal use only.

Figure 3: Screenshot of pre-populated Project Info section

The top part of the Recipient_Input worksheet has two sections: one section for project information and the other section for recipient information is for identification; the section on project information has been pre-populated with your company name, your project number, the number of project sites, and the associated CCP Program Officer and CCP Engineer. The light gray boxes are pre-filled and reserved for CCP internal use.

Figure 4: Screenshot of recipient information section

Please complete the second section on recipient information, as highlighted in red. Please indicate the name of a contact person, as well as an email address and phone number. CCP will use this information to contact you if additional clarification about this milestone package is required. Once the information is filled out adequately, the boxes will turn green and the incomplete wording will disappear.

Figure 5: Screenshot of Microsoft Excel warning indicating that information is protected

The Milestone Checklist

The Milestone Checklist is a matrix of information, where the project site identifiers are located on the left-hand side and the expected deliverables related to Milestones 1, 2, and 3 are located on the right-hand side. This table will be pre-populated with the list of project sites that appears in Annex A of the Contribution Agreement.

Completing the Checklist

Simply check the boxes to indicate which sites this milestone deliverable submission applies to and the milestone activities that have been completed. All the documents and associated deliverables to be submitted must cover all the sites checked in this list. If a site has been removed from the network design, or moved from the original location by more than 1 km, please also check the box in the adjacent column entitled, "Site moved or dropped?" A justification for the removal or relocation of the site(s) must be included in the milestone package. As mentioned previously, if you are considering adding a new site, you must contact your Program Officer as soon as possible and provide a justification for the added site(s).

While it is possible to send a partially completed milestone package, the milestone is only considered to have been met when all deliverables for a milestone have been received and approved by CCP.

If a milestone deliverable, such as the maintenance plan or upgrade plan, is valid for the entire project, select the check boxes for all of the project sites. Submission of this deliverable for any other sites in the project will not be required.

All other areas on the sheet are reserved for CCP use.

Tips on Filling in the Checklist

In order to populate the checklist appropriately, please adhere to the following:

  • SELECTING A CHECKBOX: A single click will allow you to select the appropriate check box;
  • DE-SELECTING A CHECKBOX: A single click on the already checked box will de-select the box;
  • Do not modify the template by adding columns or adjusting formatting;
  • Do not double-click on the checkboxes, otherwise you will receive the following warning that the information is protected: Figure 6: Micrsoft Excel error notice

Almost Finished

Once you have completed the Milestone Checklist, you can save a copy and send it to your Program Officer with the associated deliverables applicable to the milestone.