The federal and Québec governments and the Kativik Regional Government (KRG) are announcing $123.9 million in additional joint investments to offer households in Nunavik enhanced Internet services.
Parliamentary Secretary to the federal Minister of Rural Economic Development Stéphane Lauzon, Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Jonatan Julien, Québec Minister Responsible for Indigenous Affairs Ian Lafrenière, and Parliamentary Assistant to the Premier of Québec (high-speed Internet service section) Gilles Bélanger, today made the announcement accompanied by Vice-President of the KRG Lucy Kumarluk and Special Advisor, Telecommunications for Tamaani and KRG, Dan Pellerin.
Optical fibre to serve four additional Indigenous communities
First, through $79.9 million in joint investments from the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISEDC), the Société du Plan Nord (SPN), the Ministère du Conseil exécutif, and the KRG, by 2024 under Phase 6 of the Tamaani Internet project, the basic submarine optical fibre network will be extended to offer high-speed Internet access to the Inuit communities of Akulivik, Ivujivik, Salluit and Kangiqsujuaq.
An optical fibre transmission network between Kuujjuaq and Kawawachikamach
Moreover, an optical fibre transmission network may be built between the communities of Kawawachikamach and Kuujjuaq through nearly $29.1 million invested by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), ISEDC, the SPN, the Ministère du Conseil exécutif, and the KRG.
The upgrade will connect 1 119 households in the Inuit community of Kuujjuaq to high-speed Internet service. The project will require the installation of 440 km of optical fibre and the upgrading of a point of presence in the community of Kuujjuaq. The project will offer 10 Gbps capacity. The data rate is largely sufficient to offer high-speed Internet service that complies with the minimum standard demanded by the CRTC.
Renewal and enhancement of satellite capacity
To ensure the continuity of residential Internet services for all Nunavik residents, a joint financial contribution of nearly $5.9 million from ISEDC and the SPN has facilitated the renewal of the satellite transmission network agreement, to remain in effect until September 2022.
What is more, additional satellite capacity that enhances by nearly 50% the existing capacity has been purchased through joint investments of more than $8.9 million from ISEDC and the Ministère du Conseil exécutif.
Finalization of work in Phase 5
Since 2018, various levels of government have invested more than $250 million, including the sections announced today, to enable Tamaani Internet to build new service infrastructure.
Of the overall funding, $125 million has been earmarked for the construction of the fibre to the home (FTTH) optical fibre network in 10 Inuit communities not served in the preceding phases. Consequently, all northern communities now benefit from a last-mile network.
A 1 193-km optical fibre transmission network has been installed in Hudson Bay to connect the Cree community of Whapmagoostui and the Inuit communities of Kuujjuarapik, Umiujaq, Inukjuak and Puvirnituq to the Eeyou Communications Network in Chisasibi . A segment of cable in the submarine portion was left off Puvirnituq to allow for expansion of the network northward in Phase 6 described earlier.
« “The Government of Canada is pleased to be investing in these projects which will bring reliable Internet service to northern Quebec, improving access to health care and online learning services, and keeping people connected. We are also pleased to be providing funding to improve satellite capacity and speeds in Northern Quebec in the short-term. Since 2015, the Government of Canada has committed $7.2 billion to connect rural Canadians, including many in Indigenous communities, to better, faster Internet. We will continue making investments like these in rural and remote communities to help connect every single Canadian to quality Internet services. ”
Stéphane Lauzon, Parliamentary Secretary to the federal Minister of Rural Economic Development
“High-speed Internet access is essential both for the well-being of the population and the development of all regions of Québec. The upgraded network in Nunavik, a priority for the Inuit, corresponds to one of the 49 initiatives in the Québec government’s 2020-2023 Northern Action Plan. The plan, coordinated by the Société du Plan Nord, seeks to provide northern communities with the appropriate tools to live fully in their territory. ”
Jonatan Julien, Minister of Energy and Natural Resources
“Since high-speed Internet service is an indispensable tool in daily life, the members of the First Nations and Inuit living in the Nord-du-Québec region deserve reliable service the same as Quebecers living in urban environments. I am delighted to note that, through our concerted efforts, ambitious service upgrading projects will in the near future benefit several Indigenous communities. It is my hope that the consolidation of the digital link that connects them and the rest of the world will directly contribute to their rapid social, economic, and cultural development. ”
Ian Lafrenière, Minister Responsible for Indigenous Affairs
“Since quality Internet services are essential in a modern society such as Québec, the projects announced today, in addition to those under Operation High Speed, are a key element in the digital conversion and are contributing to the economic and social development of communities. Through our programs, the Québec government has spared no effort to accelerate the rollout of Internet services in the regions. We are, therefore, indeed proud to announce these major projects that will enhance high-speed Internet service in Northern Québec. ”
Gilles Bélanger, Parliamentary Assistant to the Premier of Québec (high-speed Internet service section)
“The financial contributions will enable the KRG to develop its high-bandwidth, high-capacity broadband network in Nunavik, which will enhance telehealth, education, justice, and the overall equality of digital experience. The remoteness of communities should not hamper access to quality Internet service. ”
Lucy Kumarluk, Vice-President of the Kativik Regional Government
“Since the invention of television and the telephone, Québec’s and Canada’s rural and remote regions have engaged in technological catching up to continue to participate in the Canadian and Québec economies while avoiding a brain and talent drain. Through this quality fibre optic network that will ultimately link 14 Nunavik communities, the region will be able in the medium term to provide information and communications technologies on an equal footing with its neighbours to the south. ”
Dan Pellerin, Special Advisor, Telecommunications for Tamaani Internet and KRG
- In 2004, the Kativik Regional Government founded Tamaani Internet, the first Internet service provider in Nunavik.
- According to Statistics Canada, the population of Nunavik stands at more than 13 188 in 4 529 households.
- To date, the Québec government alone has earmarked more than $1 billion to ensure that by September 30 all Québec households have access to high-speed Internet services.
- The Government of Canada is contributing to the Éclair I and Éclair II sections of Operation High Speed through the Universal Broadband Fund (UBF), which represents an investment of $2.75 billion to connect by 2026 98% of Canadians to high-speed Internet service, and all Canadians by 2030.
- Operation High Speed will ultimately give Québec the highest connectivity rate in Canada, i.e., nearly 100%.
Launched in March, July, and November 2021, respectively, the Éclair I , Éclair II , and Éclair III sections of Operation High Speed achieved total coverage in more than 181 000 households, in addition to the 58 000 households targeted by previous initiatives.
- On May 9, 2022, through an agreement with Space X Canada, the government announced that the satellite services of Starlink would be used to reach roughly 10 000 households that are difficult to access south of the 57th parallel.
- The work funded by Operation High Speed must be completed by September 30, 2022. It will facilitate connections with download speeds of at least 50 Mbps and upload speeds of 10 Mbps with unlimited data transfer capacity.
- To ensure that all households are covered by the conclusion of Operation High Speed, the public is invited to consult the interactive map online and contact the Secrétariat à l’Internet haute vitesse et aux projets spéciaux de connectivité at [email protected], to report missing addresses or service status errors.
- This initiative corresponds to Initiative 220.127.116.11 of the Québec government’s 2020-2023 Northern Action Plan (pursue the current project aimed at enhancing Internet services in Nunavik).