KRG offers fibre optic internet connection from Nunavik to Nunavut

Tamaani’s underwater cable to include branches for potential future connections to Baffin Island, Sanikiluaq

Fibre optic cable is seen here being laid in Umiujaq in 2021. (File photo)

By Jeff Pelletier - Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Updated on June 7 at 10:15 a.m.

Kativik Regional Government officials say Tamaani Internet’s fibre optic cable project will allow for extensions to connect to Nunavut.

The network currently serves four Nunavik communities along the coast of Hudson Bay: Kuujjuaraapik, Umiujaq, Inukjuak and Puvirnituq.

An extension to Akulivik, Ivujivik and Salluit is expected to be completed this year. All communities are scheduled to be connected by 2026.

At Umiujaq, a branching unit exists to potentially connect nearby Sanikiluaq to the network. And when Salluit gets connected, a branching unit will be installed to give Kimmirut, Kinngait and Iqaluit the option to join.

Dan Pellerin, a telecommunications special adviser with KRG, said Nunavik has been in discussions with the GN about opportunities to connect.

“We’ve presented the option of the Government of Nunavut connecting into Salluit, and then we would take their traffic down to Montreal and back up through Salluit; so Salluit over to Kimmirut, and then Kimmirut over to Iqaluit,” he said.

KRG is leaving a cable underwater for Nunavut to connect to but Pellerin said the decision use it lies with the GN.

The GN has presented several funding announcements and requests for proposals regarding fibre optic internet over the years, but nothing has come to fruition.

Hala Duale, a spokesperson for Community and Government Services, said in an email the GN is looking at various options for fibre optic internet.

Duale said it “recently cancelled a tender for an undersea fibre link to Iqaluit. With the tender cancelled, the department is currently examining options to advance, which include collaboration with KRG.”

Last month, Community and Government Services Minister David Joanasie said a recent request for proposals on its fibre optic project failed to produce any bidders.

“We are trying to look at other options around if other entities out there are looking to do a similar project as what we have been pursuing,” Joanasie said May 29 in the legislative assembly in response to questions from Iqaluit-Tasiluk MLA George Hickes.

“I am still committed to working with my colleagues here on how best to spend our capital funds, and fibre has been our priority for a number of years.”

In an interview Tuesday, Hickes described Tamaani’s internet rollout as “light years” ahead of any progress Nunavut has made in recent years.

“At the end of the day, we need fibre in Nunavut, and we need it in a cost-effective way that’s going to bring benefit to the territory,” he said.

“If there’s partnership opportunities, then those remaining funds could potentially be used for other infrastructure needs.”

KRG still welcomes Starlink

As installation work continues on Tamaani’s underwater cable, KRG officials say they still welcome SpaceX’s Starlink satellite internet services.

Daryl Combden, director of KRG’s administration department, estimates there are at least 600 Starlink customers in Nunavik and probably more than 2,100 using Tamaani’s services.

“We welcome Starlink capacity, it comes at a time where bandwidth is much-needed,” he said.

“Everything is going streaming now, so we welcome the bandwidth; however, we are still committed to completing our fibre optic network.”

Note: This article was updated to include a comment from Community and Government Services spokesperson Hala Duale

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(10) Comments:

  1. Posted by What can you do on

    My favourite aspect about internet access in Nunavut right now are the Starlink dishes on the Northwestel building in Iqaluit.

    Talk about a gleaming endorsement of their own service quality.

  2. Posted by Get your facts straight on

    We ain’t seen any Fibre optic yet here in umiujaq. Nunatsiaq, get your facts straight before you post publicly. We’re still getting under 1mbps downloads, time to resign Darrel, been there too long. Money might be good for you but you stopped long ago working for people.

    • Posted by Me wondering on

      Nunavik things? You mention a person at KRG, I’m wondering if the lack of internet is the incompetence of one or two people as sometimes is the case. If so then. We have a few people at KRG that are useless, and moving on will produce results, if, and only if, we get the right people. But Nunavik system incompetence that has saturated and infiltrated the guts of almost every thing worth anything. It could be a person or two, or the system is very broken with hundreds of incompetency. People that is. Or is it reality of where we are in the world, money don’t count.

  3. Posted by Connections are Avaialble on

    I’s great to know that submarine cable fiber connections are being built and working for communities in Nunavik.

    It’s also good to see the cooperation between Nunavik and Nunavut to improve connections for Iqaluit.

    Instead of just talking about it and planning for the future, it’s important to actually work on these projects and provide better connections right now.

    It feels like the internet in Nunavut has been put on hold because of conferences, trade shows, and talk by people promoting future projects that often don’t end up happening or get delayed or canceled due to lack of funding.

    All around Nunavut, high speed internet is available in Arctic. The GN needs to move forward on realistic projects right now, like the Nunavik connection.

  4. Posted by Beamer on

    Stalink is awesome and popping up like popcorn here in the western arctic ! We have no Fibre but this is the way to go… and it is portable !

  5. Posted by no starlink on

    Certain buildings won’t let you add starlink dishes to the building. I live in one. Qiniq is not on par with starlink or fibre-optic. Please get all Nunavut on better internet.

  6. Posted by What about electric vehicles on

    KRG, can you get electric vehicles in kuujjuaq? Since this internet fibre is being implemented, and electricity is involved, can you get on board with hydro Quebec? The reason I’m asking: the gas stations are a joke in kuujjuaq. If it wasn’t for northern, we be all stuck, no getting out. The other two gas stations are dysfunctional. Electric vehicles, bypass the uselessness, and have a way to charge the battery without the need for the lazy workers that are useless in the community.

  7. Posted by Tom on

    I won’t hold my breath when it comes to the GN, with a enormous annual budget the GN can barely get anything done, way too incompetent and with this fibre optics being given to the GN on a silver platter I bet the GN won’t be able to get it done, maybe in ten years.

  8. Posted by Go Starlink young man go Starlink. on

    I’m telling you now, go Starlink. Since we switched over , we actually have internet. None of this long gaps of nothingness. We have internet and it’s fast. Go Starlink.

    • Posted by Fibre is the way on

      Satellite is expensive and has a short life span compared to fibre, fibre once installed is good for long term, faster and in the long run cheaper.
      Starlink is good for gaping some areas where they can’t get fibre, for a secure stable connection fibre is better.


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