Nunavut seeks money to connect to Nunavik’s fibre optic network

Iqaluit would be 1 of 4 communities to benefit, minister says

Community and Government Services Minister David Joanasie said Tuesday that the Government of Nunavut is seeking funding from the federal government to pursue a possible fibre optic internet connection with Nunavik. (Photo by Jeff Pelletier)

By Jeff Pelletier - Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

The Government of Nunavut is seeking money from the federal government to pursue a possible fibre optic internet connection with Nunavik, says Community and Government Services Minister David Joanasie.

The Kivalliq Baffin Connector project would link Iqaluit, Kimmirut, Kinngait and Coral Harbour to Kativik Regional Government’s already existing fibre optic infrastructure, which currently is connected to seven Nunavik Hudson Coast communities.

Joanasie provided the update Wednesday to the legislative assembly.

Nunavut would connect via subsea cable to a branch near Salluit, he said.

When installing the cable near Salluit, workers left 1,500 metres of cable underwater so that the Government of Nunavut could connect – if it decides eventually to do so – said Dan Pellerin, a special adviser for telecommunications with KRG.

“They lift up the cable that’s sitting on the bottom waiting for them, and then they splice it in and then, we’ve got connectivity,” he explained in an interview.

Joanasie also talked in the legislature about Nunavut’s other ongoing fibre and low-orbit satellite internet projects, including the Katittuq Nunavut Fibre project, which has faced several delays.

That project aims to connect Iqaluit to Milton, N.L.

“[Katittuq] is encountering a budgetary shortfall attributed to factors such as inflation, high interest rates, and low exchange rates,” Joanasie said, adding that the GN applied for additional funding for that project last year.

He said his department is also looking to implement a “fibre solution” between Churchill, Man., and Arviat, Rankin Inlet and Coral Harbour.

Joanasie said the funding requests are through the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission Broadband Fund. He did not say in the legislature how much money Nunavut had requested.

The Department of Community and Government Services has submitted a “variety of proposals” to federal agencies to fund a fibre optic link to the territory, said Kiah Hachey, Joanasie’s political adviser. She said the department will not share dollar amounts while those proposals are under evaluation.

Iqaluit-Tasiluk MLA George Hickes — who has long criticized the GN for its slow implementation of better internet connectivity, especially in Iqaluit — said he would like to see a project actually get out of the planning phase and get built.

He said the GN should consider all options, but noted that KRG’s network is “leaps and bounds” ahead of anything that has been built in the territory.

“They’re talking about the west, the Churchill one, the one from Nunavik, the one from Newfoundland – it seems like there’s a lot of irons in the fire,” said Hickes in an interview.

“I would like to get a little bit more clarity on what some of the priority routes that they’re looking at.”

Hickes noted that Iqaluit, which has the highest volume of internet users in Nunavut, would not be the only city to benefit from getting a fibre optic connection; fibre would “offset” the territory’s reliance on satellite, and that capacity could be allocated to other communities.

“With satellite, there’s only so much data coming down and we’re taking a great big chunk of it [in Iqaluit], so if we don’t take that piece of the pie, it leaves it available for the rest of the territory,” he said.

“There has been extensive funds spent on these projects already and applications and a lot of work that’s put in from a lot of staff at different levels, so I’d just like to see the momentum actually build to a point where there’s actually a project brought forward.”

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(12) Comments:

  1. Posted by Concerned on

    Pretty interesting to consider connecting Coral Harbour to this Fibre Link line where the purposed Marine Protected Area that is currently being studied in and around Coral – if this MPA passes, it will really restrict the activities in and around southhampton island

  2. Posted by Inuk from Nunavik on

    Get your own !!!!!!

    • Posted by Northerner on

      Probably not always great. Might have to find a break in the line if it does occur. Inuk much for being stingy? Act like you paid for the whole bloody Fibre optic.

      • Posted by Northerner on

        Do you think we should have said that when nunavut handed nunavik muskoxen? It wasn’t that long ago either. Now your men hunt muskox thanks to nunavut.

  3. Posted by Digital Pro on

    Clearly, the GN know nothing about fibre optic networks.
    The Nunavik system is weak and flawed.
    Connecting Nunavut through Nunavik will leave Nunavut vulnerable.

    • Posted by Weak and Flwed How? on

      Can you elaborate on how the Nunavik line brings weak and flawed service? Genuine concern, as an Iqalummiuq. Thanks

  4. Posted by Ed on

    Starlink , problem solved. Money can now go into housing and Healthcare.

    • Posted by Tired on

      I can’t get Starlink. There aren’t enough satellites yet so I’m still on the wrong side of my building. I’d rather fibre either way though.

  5. Posted by art thompson on

    theres generally only 2 things that come out of the LEG. how they are looking for money or how something got screwed up.

  6. Posted by Old timer on

    Just go back to old school dial up we have all the wait we have.

  7. Posted by Mass Formation on

    Is the GN expecting all to drop Starlink and blindly go with fibre internet without knowing… monthly price, data caps or how hard throttled on usage?

    Kind of odd for an MLA, talking he just wants to get it done. Laying the fibre cable without knowing full costs or who the market is.

    Looking to Northeast Alaska where they experienced months without fiber internet service because of sea ice shredding the fiber cable.

    The GN must note Alaska’s massive move to Star Link. Where planes filled with hundreds of Starlink packages.

    Fast speeds. Able to do most tasks, games (latency), remote work, and video and music streaming. Plus the added easy portability to take to their cabins.

    And if Starlink reaches or gets even a bit closer to their dream 1Gbps speed? Who’s paying the fibre optic cable bills?

  8. Posted by How about on

    How about funding from within. Everytime someone comes up with an idea the hand goes out. How about just sending NU a box full of blank cheques pass them out and you just fill in the amount you want everyday.


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