Arctic Yearbook 2014 - Page 505

505 Arctic Yearbook 2014 Arctic Fibre Arctic Fibre is a Canadian project that aims to lay a cable under the NWP. The implementing company, also called Arctic Fibre, is based in Toronto. The cost of the project is estimated at $650 million (Cunningham, 2014). The cable will cover 15,700 km, linking London, Tokyo and Seattle. The cable should be laid in summer 2015, using the southern NWP, and linking seven communities in Nunavut (Canada) as well as seven more in Alaska (USA). In the Canadian North, the communities targeted are Cambridge Bay4, Gjoa Haven, Taloyoak, Igloolik, Hall Beach, Cape Dorset and Iqaluit, representing 52% of Nunavut’s population. Thanks to a partnership with US-based Quintillion, of Anchorage, Alaska, Arctic Fibre will link in the Alaskan communities of Prudhoe Bay, Barrow, Wainwright, Nome, Point Hope, Kotzebue and Shemya (Dischner, 2014). Figure 1: Arctic Fibre, in red with future extensions in yellow and orange. Image: M. Cunningham (2014) The system is scheduled to be operational by January 2016, for the Arctic segment, with the complete cable network operational by November of that year (Cunningham, 2014). The main objective is to link Asia, the United States, and Europe. Linking to Canada’s Arctic communities is a secondary objective, with only a few thousand households to be connected; certainly not worthy of an individual investment. For this reason, Arctic Fibre has requested a subsidy form Industry Canada to lay a supplementary cable that would link 17 additional communities in Nunavut and Nunavik, an additional investment of $237 million (CAN). With this addition, 98% of Nunavut and Nunavik communities will be connected (Arctic Fibre, 2013). Most of the financing for this project is however from the private sector, with financial institutions and international telecommunications companies playing a leading role. No public financing has been announced to date. Arctic Fibre’s President, Douglas Cunningham, regularly advocates for his company’s cable link that would offer, according to him, reliable, rapid communications with virtually unlimited bandwidth availability at a much more attractive price for northern communities than the Telesat Canada’s satellite service in Nunavut and Nunavik. For the moment, satellite is the only alternative for Internet there. Moreover, in August 2014, I