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1. Executive Summary

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1.1 Communications: A Matter of Survival

The Arctic must have reliable communication networks to establish and maintain Canada's sovereignty, and to meet international obligations for ensuring safe passage for road, sea and air traffic… So too, is the requirement for modern communication services to Arctic communities—it is a matter of survival. […]

1.2 Assessment Background

This Arctic Communications Infrastructure Assessment (ACIA) was initiated by the Northern Communications and Information Systems Working Group (NCIS-WG). After a serious breakdown in communications infrastructure during a 2009 exercise, the NCIS-WG was tasked by the Arctic Security Working Group to look into the communication issues that were evident in the North, and look at ways to help solve the problems […]

1.3 Arctic Communication Issues and Recommendations

Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut have vastly different geography, history, demographics, history, economies and road infrastructure. But these Arctic territories all have serious challenges in accessing affordable, reliable communications services.

There are three realities that have led to the state of the Arctic communications infrastructure:

  1. The geographic facts make the entire Arctic region challenging from an economic perspective for building, maintaining and evolving communication services that meet users' needs at an affordable price, without significant public investment;
  2. The existing network investment models in the North are not meeting the rapid pace of increasing change and convergence of communication services available in the South.
  3. There is currently no comprehensive strategy for connecting all Arctic communities to the level of service required within communities or between communities.

This Assessment further identified specific issues common among all three territories. With each issue identified, the Assessment provides a recommendation, summarized below […]

1.4 Global Economic Insights

The three territories represent a difficult environment in which to operate. They are characterized by a small consumer base located across a vast geographic range. Nevertheless, suppliers of broadband do operate on somewhat of a competitive basis, but the majority of that competition is for government subsidies […]

1.5 Strategy Forward

Ensuring appropriate communication services may be one of the few truly affordable infrastructure efforts that will help to address some of the challenges facing northern residents, and the sustainability of communities in the long run….

NCIS-WG members can play a key role in assisting many other players within government and the private sector to move the agenda forward, working to solve the communication issues they helped to identify in the Canadian Arctic. […]

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Prepared for the Northern Communications & Information Systems Working Group by Imaituk Inc.
Report funded by Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency.
Site by Manoverboard.
© Government of the Northwest Territories 2011.