Watch your internet usage, Nunavik residents told
“We’re using all that we can”
The Kativik Regional Government is asking its internet customers to watch their usage as the region continues to struggle with outages and limited bandwidth.
Users across the region have experienced slow and next-to-no bandwidth in recent months.
At the source of the issue is the fact that the KRG’s Tamaani Internet is fed via the SES-2 satellite, which means more limited bandwidth than with fibre optic cable, and the organization is using almost all the available capacity.
Tamaani internet has over 3,500 residential customers who share a limited bandwidth pool, with download speeds of 1,200 Mbps, the KRG’s Daryl Combden told regional council meetings on Monday, Nov. 23.
Combden encouraged customers to prioritize internet use for household members who need bandwidth for work or studies, to turn off devices that aren’t being used, and to opt not to watch film and TV in high definition.
“The network is being used to the max,” Combden told regional councillors.
“Each device you have will slow down your internet a little bit more. We’re using all that we can.”
With the recent launch of the federal government’s $1.75-billion Universal Broadband Fund, the KRG plans to apply for $5 million from the Rapid Response Stream fund to increase internet capacity in the region.
Tamaani is already planning a major bandwidth boost across Nunavik that should be in place by 2022, with the construction of a new underwater fibre optic cable from Chisasibi to Puvirnituq underway. Kuujjuaq will connect to Schefferville’s fibre optic network via microwave towers, while the rest of the region’s communities will get increased satellite capacity.
The KRG is applying to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission and the Universal Broadband Fund to pay for various parts of that project.
In the meantime, Tamaani has freed up 50 Mbps of bandwidth for its residential customers that was initially dedicated to health authorities, which will offer customers in Kuujjuaq some increased capacity, Combden said.
“Tamaani is currently engaged in discussion with a satellite provider for additional bandwidth for its network but at this time, it is too premature to say how much additional capacity we will obtain or when we will actually get it,” Combden said.
Combden said the KRG is keeping its eye on the possibility of eventually using Telesat’s low-earth-orbit satellite constellation, though the federal government has said that service won’t be available to northern communities until 2022.