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4. Technical State Today

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4.1 Introduction

This chapter of the Assessment reports on the current state of the Arctic communications infrastructure, to clearly establish a baseline of existing services.

This chapter includes:

This chapter of the Assessment presents a snap shot of the current infrastructure at a given point in time based upon the current state of the technical infrastructure as reported by service providers in February, 2011 […]

4.2 Scope

The focus of this section of the Assessment is on the backbone services that link Arctic communities together and to the Internet backbone. In gathering the existing backbone data, only service providers currently in operation were consulted. This part of the Assessment includes only providers that responded, and which currently and directly serve communities in the Arctic.

The Assessment also documents the current availability of local Internet and cell phone services available to purchase, itemized by community […]

A large satellite dish against mountains, flags, and blue sky.

C-band satellite dish in Grise Fiord. Photo: L. Thomas

4.3 Approach

In order to ensure that data was captured in a meaningful and comparable way, a series of grids were developed in consultation with the key service providers.

Once completed the grids were reviewed, summarized and logical and physical network diagrams were developed based upon the provided data. These diagrams were then provided to the service providers for comment and any required changes incorporated […]

4.4 Service Provider Overview

There are a relatively small number of primary service providers in the Arctic. Nunavut and the Northwest Territories have two major service providers, and Yukon has one. Both of these providers are served by one satellite company […]

4.5 Technical Definitions Appearing in Data Summaries

Various terms are used in the remainder of this chapter. Technical definitions of words relating to bandwidth, local services, and backbone services have been provided here […]

4.6 Local Services Data Summary

This section describes the type of local Internet and cellular services available in the communities across all three territories. Where there are two providers (NWT and Nunavut) the data presented is aggregated between the two service providers…

Cellular and ADSL access in the Yukon is much more widely available than in NWT and Nunavut. It is important to note that cellular service is not readily available on the land between any communities, including along roads that link communities.

Costs to purchase access in communities is generally much higher than in the South. Also, service providers set monthly GB caps on Internet accounts to persuade heavy data users to manage their bandwidth usage carefully. The more the local service depends on satellite rather than fiber, the more likely there is a smaller GB cap or a higher price […].

4.7 Backbone Services Data Summary

In the east, Nunavut is completely reliant upon satellite services for all of its communities. Just to the west, Northwest Territories is a mixture of land-based services and satellite served communities. And in Yukon, all but one of the communities are served by land-based services. Not surprisingly, the existence of land-based backbone services coincides with the existence of roads linking communities together.

The following tables summarize the current aggregate capacity of the two primary service providers operating in the 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.