Fibre optic cable to be laid along Nunavik’s Hudson coast this year

KRG has applied for funding to extend the fibre network to more communities

The KRG’s plans to deliver higher-speed internet to Nunavik involve a combination of technologies, including fibre optic cable along some Hudson coast communities, a microwave tower link connecting Kuujjuaq to Schefferville, and surplus satellite capacity provided to the remaining communities. (Image courtesy of Tamaani)

By Sarah Rogers

Plans to lay fibre optic cable along Nunavik’s Hudson coast will go ahead this summer, putting parts of the region on track to receive high-speed internet by next year.

In March, the Kativik Regional Government awarded a contract to Alcatel Submarine Networks, the firm that will install an underwater fibre optic cable from Chisasibi to Puvirnituq, with branches off into Kuujjuaraapik, Umiujaq and Inukjuak along the way.

The KRG’s administration department told regional council meetings on May 25 that COVID-19 restrictions are not expected to delay that work.

“We expect [the network] will be ready and in service by December 2021,” department director Daryl Combden told the meeting, hosted this week from Kuujjuaq via videoconference.

The KRG’s internet provider, Tamaani, is planning to boost bandwidth across Nunavik starting next year, though only some communities will get fibre optic at first.

The region’s largest community, Kuujjuaq, will be connected by five new microwave towers to Schefferville, where the Naskapi First Nation is finalizing the installation of its own fibre optic network to southern Quebec. Pending a funding application to the CRTC, that link could be upgraded to terrestrial fibre.

Nunavik’s remaining communities will get surplus satellite capacity until the time when the region can extend fibre optic to all 14 villages.

That could happen sooner than later—the KRG has applied to the CRTC for funds to extend that fibre network from Puvirnituq through to Salluit, a project that would cost about $50 million.

Glencore and Canadian Royalties have both expressed interest in having their Raglan mine and Nunavik Nickel mine, respectively, connect to that fibre optic network, Combden said, and both would contribute financially—enough to possibly extend the link to Kangiqsujuaq on Nunavik’s Hudson coast.

Combden said the KRG is also in preliminary discussions with the Government of Nunavut to connect Iqaluit to Kuujjuaq by fibre optic cable, which offers the possibility of eventually branching that network into the remaining Ungava Bay communities.

The regional government says it hopes to connect the entire region to a fibre optic network by 2025.

Can we buy more capacity?

Some Nunavik residents say that extra bandwidth is urgently needed now, while people are working from home and videoconferencing more than ever.

“We can’t really work when our internet is so slow,” said Jennifer Hunter, a regional councillor for Kuujjuaraapik. “Can we buy more bandwidth capacity?”

Satellite capacity is capped right now in the region, Combden said.

Tamaani was able to purchase additional capacity for the Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services in Kuujjuaq and Puvirnituq over a six-month period to accommodate their increased usage during the COVID-19 pandemic, he explained, but only because it had the option to switch to a Telesat satellite in those two communities.

“So you won’t see a difference until we get that fibre in the water,” he told Hunter, whose home community of Kuujjaraapik will be the first one connected to the new fibre network.

Tamaani is still working to install Fibre to the Home to nine more Nunavik communities— technology that helps reduce internet traffic by linking a community’s buildings together with a network of fibre optic cable. That work has been delayed due to the travel restrictions currently in place in Nunavik.

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(9) Comments:

  1. Posted by Cell service on

    Are we getting cell service anytime soon?

    • Posted by This giant cord on

      It may be the key to having cell phone reception. I’m syked in having actual modern tech rather than the cave man style of Internet we have today.

  2. Posted by Ken on

    It would make too much sense for the GN to do this at the same time and possibly cut some cost. Dorset, Kim and Iqaluit getting connected, free up a lot of bandwidth for the rest of Nunavut.

  3. Posted by beneficiary on

    first of all get tamaani internet customers service better before installing fiber optic!.

  4. Posted by Stephan on

    Infrastructure Canada federal funding, where is the GN with this? Why aren’t the GN working together with Nunavik and applying for the same funding to do this at the same time or on their own too?
    GN needs to get proactive and get things done, So much federal funding available for infrastructure right now and the GN should be using it more then they have.

    • Posted by Wisdom on

      With all your wisdom and knowledge you are showing, can you tell me where you are getting your information from? No? I can tell you why, because the GN is already strongly involved in a fiber run that will connect Kimmirut and Cape Dorset as well as Iqaluit. Just wait one or max two years and it will be here

      • Posted by Really? on

        Really? With all your wisdom can you tell us where you got this magic information on the GNs plan to lay down fiber in one max two years? Is that insider information or just a bunch of bs?
        Would be nice if the GN can inform its residents about this big project that might be here in a year or max 2 years.

  5. Posted by Woody on

    Look how Sanikilluaq just gets a pass you by.
    I know it is in Nunavut, but most of the cable will be imbeded to Nunavut sea bottom.

    • Posted by Harrison on

      Sanikilluaq could be connected with new microwave towers, not as fast as fiber but much faster then satellite connection, cheaper too.

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