Yes, the People of the Canadian Arctic Might be Getting Fiber Before You
Jotham Sederstrom Aug. 15, 2013, 8 a.m.
Last summer, Mayor Michael Bloomberg launched a series of initiatives to expand the city’s broadband capabilities—specifically when it comes to fiber connectivity. But it’s no secret the city has a long way to go before access to fiber is widespread. In Brooklyn, for example, one businessman said his DSL connection is even slower than dial-up. And in rankings recently published by New America Foundation, New York only placed tenth on an international list of cities with fastest Internet speeds.
So maybe it should come as no surprise that the people of Nunavut—Canada’s northernmost territory, with a population density of 0.052 people per square mile and whose most populous city, Iqaluit, is home to around 6,000 people—might be getting fiber connectivity before you.
According to a July 25 statement released by Arctic Fibre—a company that helps develop fibre optic telecommunications in the Canadian Arctic—“The dream of faster, more affordable and reliable broadband telecommunications to Canada’s North will move one step closer to reality in mid-August as Arctic Fibre Inc. begins its physical landing site surveys at seven locations across Nunavut and one site in Northern Quebec.”
Throughout August, Arctic Fibre will conduct surveys in different Nunavut communities, finding ways to navigate the fiber around “ice conditions” and “environmentally-sensitive areas and habitat.”
According to an article in The Globe and Mail, residents of Nunavut currently use Internet provided by satellite, which is really slow and expensive. “Without significant improvement, download speeds in Nunavut will continue to be much lower than in the rest of Canada,” Nunavut premier Eva Aariak told The Globe, “Remote communities will continue to fall behind.”
Once installed, access to fiber would be expensive—about CD$419 (US$406) per megabyte per month—but The Globe reports that that price would decrease over time.
So there you have it, New Yorkers. While you’re still messing around with your slower-than-dial-up DSL connection in the country’s most populous city, a team of Canadians is working to install fiber in the Arctic. Good work, team. Good work.