NWT and Nunavut to benefit from $36M investment in satellite bandwidth by Infrastructure Canada

Infrastructure Canada press release ...

Northerners to benefit from better internet

August 29, 2008

Yellowknife, Northwest Territories - Fifty-six remote communities across Northwest Territories and Nunavut will soon benefit from enhanced broadband access, which will improve community sustainability in Canada’s North.

The Honourable Diane Ablonczy, Secretary of State (Small Business and Tourism), on behalf of the Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, along with Darrell Ohokannoak, Chairman of the Nunavut Broadband Development Corp (NBDC), and Darrell Beaulieu, President and CEO of Falcon Communications GP Ltd, today announced federal support of $36,415,295 for the expansion of broadband access across communities in Nunavut and the Northwest Territories (NWT) in Canada’s North.

Today’s announcement reinforces the Government of Canada’s commitment to advancing an integrated Northern Strategy that strengthens Canada’s Arctic sovereignty, protects our northern environment, promotes northern social and economic development and improves and devolves northern governance.

“Broadband is a key piece of modern infrastructure that supports the prosperity and well-being of communities. Communities across Nunavut and the Northwest Territories will now have affordable access to health and education services, telebanking and government services,” said Secretary of State Ablonczy. “Our Government is pleased to support these improved broadband service enhancements. We’re helping northerners connect to social and economic development opportunities.”

The projects in Nunavut and NWT will support enhanced satellite bandwidth management tools, the procurement of satellite capacity, and the upgrading of satellite networks to improve internet access in 31 communities in NWT and 25 communities in Nunavut. In addition, these upgrades will address many of the critical issues that these remote communities face such as improved delivery of health and education services, telebanking and access to government services.

“Broadband has already changed the lives of thousands of people in Nunavut. Infrastructure Canada’s latest investment will help us develop new services that will be important tools for the future of Nunavut residents,” said Mr. Ohokannoak.

Mr. Beaulieu commented “We are very pleased to play a major role in the implementation of broadband infrastructure and bandwidth capacity for the Northwest Territories. Residents of all our communities are able to access the World Wide Web, interacting with friends and families, businesses, governments and educational institutions.”

With a network service that spans 56 communities and 3.2 million square miles, these investments will continue to change the lives of many residents living in Nunavut and the Northwest Territories. If subscribers to the broadband service need network or technical support they are able to speak directly to a locally trained community service provider. These community service providers are making a big difference in the ease with which this expansion moves forward. Of the total federal contribution, $21,601,175 will be provided to the Nunavut project and $14,814,120 will be provided to the NWT project. Federal funding for the projects comes from the National Satellite Initiative (NSI), which was created to make affordable satellite capacity available to communities in remote areas of Canada. The NSI is under the sunsetting Canada Strategic Infrastructure Fund (CSIF).

Jean-Maurice Duplessis
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities

Lorraine Thomas
Nunavut Broadband Development Corporation
1-888-599-6232, ext. 3

Margaret Gorman
General Manager
Falcon Communications GP Ltd

Infrastructure Canada