The actual core of the broadband costing model relies on a population mapping model correlated directly to the 2006 Census block units and Dissemination Block Area (DBAs) from Statistics Canada.
There are approximately 500,000 Dissemination Block Areas (DBAs) in Canada, each of which has available data on both population and number of dwellings. Due to the simplicity of modeling, each of the DBAs was converted to a single point at its geographic center called a centroid. Note: the areas over 50 km2 were cut against water boundaries to capture only the land before the geographic center was calculated. This method of converting areas to points is illustrated in Figure 1.
Since there are approximately 500,000 DBAs and they are not uniform in size or shape, a raster grid for the model was created. The spectrum-grid cell hexagon (based on the CanHex model from Statistics Canada) was chosen to satisfy these criteria. The grid cell hexagons are almost exactly three kilometres in radius and are consistent throughout Canada. The only unusual splitting of these hexagons occurs at the borders of the provinces so as to observe data integrity at the provincial level. Hexagons that did not contain at least one DBA point were discarded. Figure 2 illustrates the hexagon model.
This approach yields precisely 49,999 DBA point associated hexagons in Canada.