Nunavut Government Takes Cable Plans In New Direction
Nunavut government backs away from Iqaluit-Nuuk fibre-optic cable. Focus is now on marine cable that will run past Nunavik to Chisasibi
By Jim Bell
January 22, 2021
The Government of Nunavut’s $209 million plan for plugging the territory into an ultra-fast fibre-optic cable will likely take a big detour this year, a government spokesperson told Nunatsiaq News earlier this week in an email.
“There has been significant work on this project over the past year as the GN had an opportunity to examine a new and emerging alternate route,” stated Angela Petru, the territorial government’s director of communications.
That new route would eliminate the original plan: a subsea cable connection between Iqaluit and Nuuk.
Instead, the cable would start off in Iqaluit, take a big right turn at the mouth of Frobisher Bay, then curl into Hudson Strait toward Hudson Bay.
There, it would connect with another cable that the Kativik Regional Government will start installing this year between Puvirnituq and Chisasibi.
At Chisasibi, the Kativik cable links up with a land-based line that runs to Montreal, where it will hook up with the North American backbone.
“This will create a higher value option for the GN to connect into the existing North America fibre system,” Petru said.
“[It will also] allow the GN to have a fibre backbone in the south Baffin region and moving west towards the Kivalliq for a potential future connection of that region into existing fibre in Churchill, Man.”
The Nunavut government is now working with the Kativik Regional Government and hopes to have a final route design done by this summer or fall. The territorial government hopes to be ready put out a public procurement seeking a firm to design and build the system in late 2021.
In its 2018 project description, the territorial government said a link to the Kativik cable would be added during a later phase, to provide a backup for the Nuuk connection.
Last May, the Kativik government signed a contract with Alcatel Submarine Networks to lay a fibre-optic cable between Chisasibi and Puvirnituq, with branches leading to Kuujjuaraapik, Umiujaq and Inukjuak.