Nunatsiaq News
NEWS: Nunavik September 12, 2018 - 3:30 pm

Nunavik maps its seabed ahead of fibre optic cable rollout

Once installed, communities will have internet speeds many times greater than now

SARAH ROGERS
IT Telecomms' survey vessel the Polar Prince navigates its way through unusually late sea ice in the Hudson Strait, as it maps the sea bed along Nunavik's coast. (PHOTO COURTESY OF IT TELECOM)
IT Telecomms' survey vessel the Polar Prince navigates its way through unusually late sea ice in the Hudson Strait, as it maps the sea bed along Nunavik's coast. (PHOTO COURTESY OF IT TELECOM)
IT Telecom crew members prepare to launch what's called the Gravity Corer off its vessel; the tool is used to collect seabed core samples. (PHOTO COURTESY OF IT TELECOM)
IT Telecom crew members prepare to launch what's called the Gravity Corer off its vessel; the tool is used to collect seabed core samples. (PHOTO COURTESY OF IT TELECOM)

KUUJJUAQ—A seabed survey is underway along Nunavik’s Hudson Bay coast, the first step in an effort to bring fibre optic cables—and faster internet—to the region.

IT International Telecom Inc. is about midway through a marine route survey, which started in Salluit on Hudson Strait and extends south along the Hudson coast to Chisasibi.

Currently there are two ships anchored off Puvirnituq, dragging what’s called a side-scan sonar, used to map the ocean’s bottom and find the best route to lay cable.

The work went ahead this summer thanks to $125 million in federal and provincial funding that finally came through in August, almost two years after the Kativik Regional Government applied for the support.

The KRG’s Tamaani internet is leading the project, which aims to bring fibre optic to western coast of the region and boost satellite capacity to Nunavik’s Ungava Bay communities.

“The goal is to take as many people off satellite as possible,” said Daryl Combden, the director of the KRG’s administration department, to regional councillors on Sept. 10.

Rocky outcrops and glaciers are among the biggest deterrents to laying cable, but it’s high tides along the Ungava coast that make an undersea fibre optic cable too costly at this stage of the project.

While the fibre optic network was originally set to reach Puvirnituq, Tamaani anticipates there may be enough funding to expand the network north to Akulivik, Ivujivik and Salluit along the Hudson Strait.

“By 2021, once the fibre optic is deployed, the Hudson coast communities will have a capacity of over a thousand times greater than what they have now,” Combden said.

“Right now our speeds are about three megabits per second to the home. When we have fibre optic, that will go to 50.”

With those communities off of satellite, that will free up capacity for communities along the Ungava coast.

Nunavik’s largest community, Kuujjuaq, was initially set to connect by microwave tower link in Schefferville. With a new fibre optic network set to reach that community by the end of the year, Tamaani will also consider a terrestrial link to Schefferville.

The Government of Nunavut has also surveyed the area around a handful of south Baffin communities this summer—including Iqaluit—which were considered in the original feasibility study.

But the GN has yet to say if it plans to connect to the Tamaani fibre optic network.

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(6) Comments:

#1. Posted by Surfer on September 12, 2018

South Baffin and the capital should be able to connect to this Fiber, it’s not that far away. GN get working on this!

#2. Posted by Manapik on September 12, 2018

I hope GN capitalize on them, charge them for rent, Hudson Bay is property of Nunavut “ Vive le Nunavut “

#3. Posted by Manapik on September 12, 2018

Nunavut Govt should charge rent to Quebec for using Hudson Bay

#4. Posted by Harry O on September 12, 2018

#3 Manapik - get educated!  The Nunavut settlement area (NSA) is not within the region the cable will be laid, however it is within the Nunavik Marine Region, an offshore land claim for Nunavik that shares the border of the NSA.  Before posting make sure you know the facts!

#5. Posted by Ken on September 13, 2018

GN there is Federal funding available, infrastructure funding, tap into it also like Nunavik has. Get connected with Nunavik or Greenland Fiber.

#6. Posted by Phil on September 13, 2018

#4 - the NSA and the territory of Nunavut are not the same. 

There are a number of areas where Nunavut’s boarders go beyond the NSA, and a few where the NSA is outside of Nunavut. 

For example, the islands in James Bay are within Nunavut, but outside the NSA.  Same thing with the small islands east of Sanikiluaq, right up against the shores of Quebec - they are within Nunavut. 

In the same way, the marine areas around Sanikiluaq are outside of Nunavut but are within the NSA. 

Borders and overlap issues are complex in Nunavut.

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