CanArctic Inuit Networks’ SednaLink Fibre to eliminate Nunavut and Nunatsiavut Connectivity Crisis by November 2022

CanArctic Inuit Networks Press Release
January 5, 2021 – Iqaluit, Nunavut 

CanArctic Inuit Networks unveiled details of 2,104 km fibre optic network between Iqaluit, NU and Clarenville NL which will dramatically improve connectivity in to Inuit Nunangat by November 2022.

CanArctic Inuit Networks will construct a double-armoured, repeatered 4-pair cable with 48Tbps eventual capacity between Iqaluit and Clarenville with four branching units planned in future phases to provide future connectivity to other parts of Baffin Island, Hudson Strait, Nunavik and Kivalliq.

A separate unrepeatered festoon loop will be constructed by a CanArctic affiliate from the backbone to serve the six Nunatsiavut communities of Nain, Voisey’s Bay, Natuashish, Hopedale, Makkovik and Postville,

This challenging and highly specialized sub-sea fibre deployment is backed by a proven team of subsea professionals with proper design, engineering and routing who will ensure project completion on time and on budget ensuring cheaper and more reliable connectivity for Nunavut and Nunatsiavut.

In Alaska, the private sector’s successful construction of a subsea fibre network resulted in bandwidth charges being reduced by more than 60% over a three-year period.  CanArctic Inuit Networks anticipates achieving similar results for SednaLink – with no requirement for Government of Nunavut capital investment.

This historic Inuit-led initiative to bridge the Arctic digital divide will save Nunavut and Nunatsiavut residents, businesses and governments millions of dollars in internet charges and increase productivity.  This fibre network will become an essential component in strengthening Inuit culture and language in Inuit Nunangat and will facilitate improved education and health care delivery while increasing economic development opportunities for northern business.

COO Madeleine Redfern, says “CanArctic Inuit Networks is ready to build this critical piece of Canadian Arctic infrastructure and eliminate Nunavut’s dependence upon unreliable legacy satellite and as yet unproven LEO satellite technologies which may become available in the Canadian Arctic at some point in 2023.”

“With the co-operation of all levels of government, we should be able to undertake the marine surveys and bury the nearshore cable conduits in August or September this year,” said CEO Doug Cunningham, “with the marine installation being completed in early October 2022.”

For more information contact: [email protected] or Madeleine Redfern 867 979 1167 or Doug Cunningham 416 613 6263.

SednaLink Backgrounder:

Capital cost of the backbone between Clarenville and Iqaluit is pegged at  $107 million, inclusive of a dual-fibre approach along separate routes in Frobisher Bay which will ensure network resilience through distinct shore landings at Apex Bay and Tarr Inlet. The design will accelerate expansion from two subsea branching units to communities on Baffin Island and through Hudson Strait to the Foxe Basin and beyond in 2023-24.  This second branching unit will also accommodate an interface with an eventual EAUFON fibre landing at Salluit, QC.  Preliminary network design and desktop surveys are well underway.

Concurrent with the backbone construction timetable, a CanArctic-affiliated company plans to develop a 478 km unrepeatered festoon fibre network off the Labrador Coast to serve the Nunatsiavut communities of Nain, Voisey’s Bay, Natuashish, Hopedale and Makkovik which are dependent upon limited-capacity microwave.

CanArctic Inuit Networks has made an offer to the City of Iqaluit to purchase the former Iridium satellite station near Apex Bay to serve as its cable landing station and as a carrier-neutral internet exchange. The project has very tight construction timetables in order to design, manufacture, install terrestrial tail ends, and allow civil works to be undertaken at Apex Bay and Tarr Inlet next August and September.  Any delay will push back the inservice date and potentially increase the cost to the project.

The eventual EAUFON extension to Salluit will improve network resilience, but as a primary route, the EAUFON is a longer span to competitive downstream terrestrial networks and internet exchange points.   The Hudson Bay route also involves three additional ice-prone landing points at Salliut, Puvirnituq and Chisasibi which entail incremental technical risk and insurance costs.

CanArctic’s backbone fibre has been designed to be near carbon-neutral, with the primary cable power-feed equipment being sourced with hydro-electric power from the Newfoundland grid.   The company is investigating the use of solar power to feed Iqaluit CLS batteries during the summer months.

The theoretical capacity of the CanArctic fibre will be 48 terabits whereas a satellite spot beam covering Nunavut has a capacity of approximately 10 gigabits.

CanArctic Inuit Networks will not determine retail pricing, rather provide neutral wholesale bandwidth to existing carriers, potentially enabling consumer pricing parity with fibered communities in the Yukon and Northwest Territories. Due to the minimal variable costs involved in the operation of a subsea fibre, increased throughput will result in materially lower gigabit unit cost in the future.

In the future, under Phase 2 and Phase 3 CanArctic Inuit Network can extend to other Qikiqanti communities and the planned terrestrial Kivalliq Fibre in Kitikmeot will eventually provide fibre connectivity up to 76% of Nunavut’s residents. Redirection of satellite capacity away from fibered communities to satellite-dependent communities will benefit all Nunavummiut.

The network will be named SednaLink to honour the Inuit mythological goddess of the sea and marine mammals.