Nunavut communities seek cellphone service
SSi Micro working on 3G and 4G service via satellite
The need for better telecommunication services in the territory was raised on the second day of the Nunavut Association of Municipalities' annual general meeting in Iqaluit.
Igloolik's senior administrative officer Brian Fleming said people in his community really want cell phone service, and they have been working with different telecommunications providers for more than a year.
But Fleming said they're searching for "a balance between getting cell phone service established in a timely manner, but at the same time not getting something established that's going to be technologically obsolete."
Jeff Philipp, president and CEO of Yellowknife-based SSi Micro, said the company is working on getting 3G and 4G mobile devices — such as iPhones, iPads and newer Blackberry phones — to work on its satellite network.
"One of the services we recently built allows us to deliver 3G and 4G over satellite, so technically we can do this now," he said.
Philipp said he’s hopeful the new technology will be ready to demonstrate before the end of the year in one or more communities and then be available commercially.
SSi Micro has applied to the CRTC to interconnect with Northwestel to provide cell phone services, but Philipp said he's not sure when this process will be concluded.
Northwestel's monopoly on local phone service in the 867 area code ended May1.