Company surveys Arctic fibre optic cable route
Arctic Fibre to visit 7 Nunavut communities this week
Arctic Fibre, the company promising to bring faster and more reliable broadband internet to Nunavut, plans to visit seven communities this week.
The company is proposing to run underwater fibre optic cable from Tokyo to London. The cable would branch off to serve Nunavut communities and potentially mine sites in Nunavik.
The project is expected to cost $620 million.
Arctic Fibre CEO Douglas Cunningham says the company has raised the $230 million it needs to get the project off the ground. It will also borrow almost $400 million from the Export-Import Bank of the United States.
Arctic Fibre still needs permission from Nunavut regulators and finding the community landing sites is part of that process.
Cunningham said his team knows what the rules are when it comes to landing sites.
"We're very understanding of what the heritage is and not to disturb anything out here," he said.
"We're going to have a manhole and nobody will see it once it's covered over by sand. So we're following the rules that we need to."
The first stop was at Apex beach near Iqaluit Monday, where the team scoped out the area to see where it would be best to land the main fibre optic cable. Other stops will be at Cape Dorset, Hall Beach, Igloolik, Taloyoak, Gjoa Haven and Cambridge Bay.
Cunningham said people are much less skeptical about the project than they were last year.
"I think that was competitive posturing by the satellite provider," he said. "And they recognized that satellites could not compete with our technology just in terms of cost and performance."
The community visits are also a chance for the company to meet with hamlet and city officials.
Iqaluit's Mayor John Graham compared the project to the CP railway.
"The whole project's really exciting," he said.
"I don't profess to understand all the technical issues with it, or the technical difficulties associated with it but we're certainly behind it 100 per cent."
The team is scheduled to be in Cape Dorset and Hall Beach Tuesday.
The company says work could start next summer with the network up and running by 2016.