Xplornet says it came to an agreement with Telesat to continue limited services on the Anik F2 satellite in order to avoid ending services for customers without other Internet options. (Photo courtesy of Xplornet)

Xplornet to end service in some northern communities

Company will retire its use of the Anik F2 satellite at the end of 2020

By Sarah Rogers

Xplornet Communications Inc. says it’s retiring the use of one of its satellites later this year, which could jeopardize internet service for a number of its customers in both Nunavut and Nunavik.

The broadband internet provider, which services a number of remote and rural regions of the country, says it’s decided to end its use of Telesat’s Anik F2 satellite on Dec. 31, 2020.

“On account of the age of the satellite and the limited capacity it offers, we took the decision to retire the satellite from our services,” said Steve Van Groningen, Xplornet’s manager of corporate affairs.

“At the end of the year, we will stop using that satellite for our broadband services.”

Anik F2 was launched in 2004 with a projected lifespan of 15 years.

Xplornet couldn’t say how many customers it serves in Nunavut and Nunavik, but Van Groningen said the company counts clients “in just about every community.”

Most of those customers serviced by Anik F2 fall under the coverage of the four other satellites used by Xplornet and will be transitioned to the company’s other platforms.

The company will pay for any necessary equipment upgrades to facilitate that transition, Van Groningen said, and those customers will have the option to upgrade to plans with higher internet speeds and increased data capacity.

But there is a smaller number of customers in locations that are not served by Xplornet’s other platforms.

Customers in Cambridge Bay appear to be in that group. Xplornet client Jorgan Aitaok received an email on Aug. 12 saying his service will be discontinued as of Dec. 31, 2020.

“As this is the only Internet product offered by Xplornet where you live, this unfortunately means that we will no longer have an Xplornet option to provide you with Internet service,” read the email.

Aitaok said he’s disappointed to lose the service, mostly because there are so few options in Nunavut. He said he’s already paying over $200 a month for an 80-gigabyte package.

“I don’t know if I want to look right now,” Aitaok said. “I’d rather not go to Northwestel—they have too much of a monopoly. And Qiniq is way too expensive.”

In Nunavik, customers have even fewer options, while they await a new multi-technology internet upgrade, including a fibre optic network along the Hudson coast, expected to be in place by 2022.

In the meantime, some worry the potential loss of Xplornet’s service will be a strain on the region’s main internet provider, Tamaani.

“The Tamaani network is already really slow and unreliable,” said one Nunavik internet customer, who didn’t want to be named. “So by adding many more families, it will only get worse since not everyone’s homes are on the fibre optic system yet.”

Xplornet said it will be making contact with all its customers in both Nunavik and Nunavut in the weeks to come to let them know how service will be affected.

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(11) Comments:

  1. Posted by Old trapper on

    And I bin on waiting list for 3 years to get my dish to get installed so much for waiting then.?

    • Posted by UNGAVA on

      $200 a month for residential internet , wow, expensive

    • Posted by Donya on

      Consider it a stroke of luck for you. Explorer is high priced, horrible service that is unreliable, and customer service in India that is of little help. Save your money.. it’s not worth it.

    • Posted by Mike Richard on

      Research Starlink! Great timing to be able to ditch the slow internet and get really great speeds. No matter where you live. Will be faster AND cheaper. 20 ms fast!

  2. Posted by Another old trapper on

    Xplornet has record of poor service, but they have also received millions upon millions of federal funding over the years, they should switch to the Hughes satellites to continue service to northern Canada. Government of Canada has to do more to provide modern services. All the talk of providing services to northern canada is all talk

    • Posted by JohnnyNorth on

      Xplornet already uses Hughes satellites: Echostar 17 and Echostar 19. They don’t provide coverage to the communities in question.

    • Posted by alright on

      I was with Xplornet for about 5 years and each year from when i signed up they increased the price by $5/month. at the beginning i was paying $100/month but when i had enough and left them i was paying $125/month for same service. Just before i left them I asked why the prices were going up and they just said increased operating costs. I then asked when they would stop raising the cost $5/month each year and they said this would continue with no end to the rising cost. it was that moment i know i would leave.

  3. Posted by Northern Shopper on

    A double whammy. Not only will some folks lose their ISP but as service for others is transitioned onto other satellites, bandwidth capacity will become an issue. Fewer satellites with more people using them = slower internet speeds. Just another way that rural and remote communities are being “looked after” by Canadian telecomm.

  4. Posted by reader on

    It all depends on the installer and dealer who you deal with. The xplornet internet is good, gets me by , receive emails,browse, download, just as long as not abuse and over download. Really sad that they are closing down. Hopefully there will be something to get us by in future coming. Our large buildings/ schools/stores/cargo/hotels/warehouses/etc all rely on xplornet. Businesses are going to suffer now. Whoever you are reading this and you have a ISP Provider that has equipment and installer/dealer. Now is your time to advertise. We are looking.

  5. Posted by Justin on

    It will not really effect anyone West of Manitoba as western Canada struggles to connect to it anyhow. The satellite was introduced for the Atlantic/euro cruise and transport ships and Xplornet bought some usage on. Still have 2 primary Sat services

  6. Posted by Simon on

    Don’t worry. STARLINK is coming! Sign up for beta, show interest.

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