A mobile Starlink connection sits on top of a house in Iqaluit. Starlink has given Nunavummiut who pre-order their satellite internet the chance to buy the hardware and have it shipped. The company’s internet speeds can be as much as five times faster than speeds in Nunavut. (Photo courtesy of Marcus Pine)

Starlink announces availability in Nunavut

Some jurisdictions have subsidized access to Starlink in remote regions; GN has no such plans

By David Lochead

Marcus Pine just might have access to some of the highest internet speeds in all of Nunavut.

He’s one of many people living in communities across the territory who have preordered Starlink satellite internet and received notices this week that the service is now available to them.

Pine, who has a home satellite on order from the company, decided to try out the mobile Starlink hardware he already owns for his RV when he’s down south.

It works, he said, giving him speeds of over 170 mbps.

“As soon as I heard about it, I was on it instantly,” Pine said of signing up for Starlink.

Up until now, high-speed internet has been inaccessible to people living in Nunavut, with the exception of Sanikiluaq, which received access to Starlink in April when the service become available in northern Quebec.

A 2020 report from Nunavut Tunngavik Inc., described the territory as the only Canadian jurisdiction where there was no access to internet speeds higher than 25 mbps and above.

“I feel like this is going to be a game changer for accessibility for people,” said Kevin Iksiktaaryuk, a Baker Lake resident who has not only signed up for a Starlink pre-order, but also runs a Facebook group called Starlink Nunavut.

Faster internet will bring with it more ease for streaming, video conferencing, and playing online games. It also will allow businesses in Nunavut to better operate, Iksiktaaryuk said.

The excitement online has been evident, with the Starlink Nunavut Facebook group’s membership doubling over the past week from approximately 150 to more than 300 people.

“I’m really hopeful,” he said of Starlink coming to Nunavut.

“I feel like it’s going to bring a lot of benefits to the community.”

Starlink is a division of SpaceX, owned by Elon Musk. The company has launched approximately 2,300 satellites into low-Earth orbit over the past several years, with the goal of offering high-speed internet across the globe, including its most remote regions.

High-speed internet is defined as download speeds of 25 mbps or faster. Starlink reports internet speeds between 50 to 200 mbps.

The company’s hardware costs nearly $759, and its monthly service charge is $140.

In comparison, Pine said he pays $158 a month for download speeds of 15 mbps, adding his internet speeds don’t always reach those levels.

Some Canadian jurisdictions, such as Quebec and Nova Scotia, have incorporated Starlink into their plans to bring high-speed connectivity to their remote regions. Nova Scotia announced this year that it will reimburse the installation cost to people who live in places where there is currently no access to high-speed internet.

Quebec refunds the installation cost to qualifying homes and provides a monthly discount of $40 per month to Starlink customers.

Nunavut’s Department of Community and Government Services told Nunatsiaq News in an emailed statement it has no plans so subsidize installation costs in Nunavut.

The GN and private sector have been working for years on connecting parts of Nunavut to high-speed internet through a fibre-optic connection.

In 2019, the GN announced a plan to connect Iqaluit, Kimmirut and Kinngait to a fibre-optic link. This project, estimated to cost more than $209 million, is projected to be in service by 2025.

Meanwhile, the private company CanArctic is raising money to fund a fibre-optic connection to Iqaluit.

Starlink and its parent company SpaceX did not respond to Nunatsiaq News in time of this publication for comment about its expansion into Nunavut.

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(38) Comments:

  1. Posted by $209 million……. on

    So the GN has sunk $209 million into fibre, but could give every person (would be less if it was by household) in Nunavut the starling hardware and it would only cost them $28.8 million…… Maybe they should have worked a deal with Musk to bring on the north quicker and ship them units? Also maybe we can get Elon to look into the Airlines, Fuel, and Food Security here? Just saying…….

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    • Posted by Fiber optic is more reliable on

      I’d rather have fiber than satellite connection any day

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    • Posted by Aasi on

      209 million could sure fix a lot of issues with drinking water, mental health facilities, or any combination of those…. it’s almost 2023 and no sign of fibre to Iqaluit becomin a real thing.

      There has been talk of fibre now for wl over 10 years, and it is no closer to fruition then it was in 2012. It’s never going to happen

  2. Posted by Northern Guy on

    Good news! I can see NWTel, Qiniq and Ice Wireless already starting to panic!

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  3. Posted by In 2025? on

    “In 2019, the GN announced a plan to connect Iqaluit, Kimmirut and Kinngait to a fibre-optic link. This project, estimated to cost more than $209 million, is projected to be in service by 2025.

    Meanwhile, the private company CanArctic is raising money to fund a fibre-optic connection to Iqaluit.”

    I’m guessing will see the second coming of Christ long before Fibre arrives in iqaluit for 2025 at $209 million. Does an Environmental Assessment need to happen?

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  4. Posted by onlooking on

    My suggestion on installing the dishis do not install it on top of house.. eventually it will leak in the future causing moisture already to moldy Nunavut houses.

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    • Posted by DYOR First, but… on

      I have been doing some research and I have found wall mounts for Dishy. The dish does move and has a “stow position,” so it does require a bit of mobility and may require special mounting depending on your household. People have reported that once your dish is up and locked onto the satellite stream that it doesn’t move often, some report it hasn’t moved at all in over a year of service.

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  5. Posted by John K on

    I want faster internet for sure. But I have concerns about stability and growth given Elon Musk’s proclivities and shortfalls.

    I have the money for it and I’d hand it over in a heartbeat if they shored up their management and got rid of the unpredictability.

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    • Posted by They’ll kick him out on

      If he keeps acting a fool the board of directors will kick him to the curb.

      I have similar reservations and I’m weighing the pros and cons. On one hand supporting a megalomania psycho. On the other hand throttled data at 52 kbps and 1,200 ms ping… As a photographer with modern camera file sizes I NEED that speed.

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      • Posted by Northern Guy on

        How these for uncertainties. StarLink is a huge money pit for SpaceX and its financial viability is a cause for concern to financial analysts. In addition, Star Link is already establishing data caps for users south of 60. What those caps are going to look will certainly drive my decision as to whether or not I put down almost $800 for Musk’s internet services.

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        • Posted by Bryan Vandenbrink on

          I don’t think that the Starlink network over the arctic is going to be an issue.

          The issues with Starlink elsewhere relate to hundreds of thousands of subscribers all trying to use it at once. From 500k to 700k this year alone.

          For the network over Nunavut, there is only ever going to be a max of about 40,000 subscribers. It’s literally the perfect use case for Starlink.

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  6. Posted by Umingmak on

    This is incredible news. This could change lives in Nunavut, as faster internet means better access to things like online courses & university, which could help to develop a more skilled, educated and sustainable workforce.

    The GN should absolutely be offering rebates, or at least tax refunds, to those who have Starlink installed.

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    • Posted by tour on

      With the Starlink, you can get rid of your cable because you can watch all tevee, movies, youtube etc all on one bill of $140/month

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  7. Posted by So Many Kids… on

    Starlink drops our northern ping from 900ms-1200ms down to 40-90ms! So many kids are going to realize they weren’t actually good at PubG and just knew how the Rubberbanding lag worked.

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  8. Posted by Fellow in the North on

    It’s honestly sad how little effort the Government of Nunavut puts into the best interests of Inuit. After the contamination of the drinking water, it was stressed by officials that slow speed internet does nothing but hinder and endanger people’s lives in some cases. Some people finding out 5 hours after the contamination was first discovered is unacceptable. And now here’s an opportunity to bring faster internet to Nunavut, where residents can pay less than the cost of the fastest speed Northwestel has to offer for 10 times the speed and with no restrictions. I think it’s horrendous that the GN won’t even consider ideas of subsidizing the costs, and would rather continue to push fiber optic, even if it means that it’s people are forced to wait even longer, with no alternatives. What a sad display of support, Inuit have it so extremely hard already and the GN continues to offer no support. I understand SpaceX is an American owned company, I understand Elon Musk is no golden boy that everyone can look up to, and I understand that Fiber Optic will always be better than LEO satellites. But I mean look at the facts, the GN and government of Canada have had this project of trying to connect fiber optic to Nunavut for over 10 years, with more and more delays each year. Not only that, you have to look at undersea fiber optic cable cable realistically, what if something goes wrong with a cable during the winter? Is Nunavut just expected to wait until the spring when the ice melts to have internet returned to them? We aren’t in a position where if one cable stops working we’re in a web where we can get our access through a different line, we’re being connected with one single cable to the whole network.

    Rising food costs, lack of housing, slowest internet speeds in all of Canada with the highest cost, absurd costs for travel. I can’t wait to hear apartment buildings not allowing it’s tenants to install these starlink dishes, as if there’s some better alternative that we can use. It’s clear the GoC and GoN don’t care. And frankly it’s just depressing…

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    • Posted by Par for the course on

      I’m not sure if ‘don’t care’ is the problem as much as complete obliviousness and incompetence, though in the end the results are the exact same… potato, potato (did you hear that?).

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    • Posted by Why on

      Why is the GN responsible to sub the installation or equipment cost?

      I believe everybody who want to have the service can purchase the equipment and have it installed. Do you have a cell? Who paid for it? Do you already have Internet? Who pays for it.?

      It’s time to wake up and not to rely on the good old GN for every little thing. Be happy that the service is available.

      Nobody ever asks for support to buy a 40 or 60 oz

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      • Posted by You Have No Idea on

        If you have a cell phone or internet service, then it has been subsidized. You don’t think NWTel has received a whole bunch of government funding? You don’t think the federal government provided funding to Canada’s big Telecom with getting their infrastructure up and running?
        This article even specifically states $209 million in government money for fibre. Infrastructure, including telecom infrastructure, does fall within the scope of government responsibilities, and in a remote region like Nunavut where costs are prohibitive, there is a very good argument to be made for subsidization.

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  9. Posted by War changes everything. on

    We can thank the US defence establishment for this leap forward in Arctic communications.
    Meanwhile, Telesat can’t get it’s LEO satellites built or launched, despite hundreds of millions in federal government support.

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    • Posted by Not residential on

      You are right with Telesat, but their LEO will not be available for residents. NWTel maybe can purchase bandwidth, but if they want to provide true high-speed traffic, they have to upgrade the “last mile” of connections (to your house) and guess who will pay for this

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  10. Posted by Nunaman on

    Starlink is good for those that have it in Nunavik, we do not get the “$40 subsidy yet, we are in Quebec but like most things Nunavik is an afterthought for the government of Quebec, we dont count except when they want our resources, water and minerals. NN needs to get its facts straight before saying we get the $40. It’s a simple call to someone in Nunavik. As for Elon Musk, until someone has a better service at a reasonable price I will stay with Starlink

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  11. Posted by true dat! on

    $209 million for fibre, pffftttt, at least $208 million will go towards “redundant research and study” instead and $1million for trip to Iceland, or perhaps Greenland to see how their internet works! lol. Elon is no golden boy, neither is Jeff Bezos. But between both of them, they surely have given northerners, (ok, ok, Iqalumuit for amazon) better options/deals than any Inuit org, GN or Feds have ever provided.

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  12. Posted by jimmyy on

    Does QIA, or will QIA get royalties from Baffinland, will they invest in elders homes in Nunavut? i.e. expansion of the Iqaluit facility. Baffin communities.

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  13. Posted by Chao on

    ¡Adiós Northwestel! Looking forward to returning your modem in my Starlink box.

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    • Posted by Save the box. on

      If Dishy fails for whatever reason (maybe it’s not wind rated for sustained blizzards) your box will be needed to ship dishy back and collect warranty.

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      • Posted by Chao on

        I honestly feel if I needed to return it I could explain the reason why I don’t have the original box anymore and Starlink Support would be cool with it lol Worse case scenario, I’m sure I could snag a box off of someone else in town if they required the Starlink box, but from what I’ve seen online, I don’t think that’s a requirement.

  14. Posted by inuk on

    Still not available in arviat, baker lake, chesterfield, coral, kimmirut, and whale cove

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  15. Posted by Elon jr on

    Hmm, seems like a good move to have starlink in Nunavut. I wonder how this will work if you live in an apartment building. Sure, it will be perfect if you live in a single family dwelling, but how would those who live in an apartment and have to put your satellite antenna on the roof of the complex be able to benefit when it’s next to impossible to access the roof

    • Posted by Try Something Unusual on

      Ask permission of building owners (or don’t) and rent a Zoomboom to gain access and do it yourself

  16. Posted by Cheslrey on

    Yes, S. L. is doing well in Nunavik, new customers. Also have been brisk sales or give aways in The Ukraine, but signals are being jammed, The info war.

  17. Posted by Tired of Qiniq Internet Service on

    I hope the Starlink can make an easier way to sever their customers in Nunavut! Such a ways to help elders who could not do it on their own! We elder’ needs this too and mostly…. does the Starlink serves to have T.V. too and that’s my question.

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