Arctic Fibre has completed the filing requirements for its submarine cable landing licences in the Canadian Arctic with the submission of a 226-page document to the Nunavut Impact Review Board, Public Works Canada and Industry Canada, which will pave the way for landing points to be determined. Arctic Fibre CEO Douglas Cunningham said: ‘Once the Nunavut Impact Review Board has reviewed Arctic Fibre’s application and makes a recommendation to support the project, the Minister responsible for Industry Canada can proceed with the issuance of a licence.’ Concurrent with the landing licence application, the Nunavut Planning Commission (NPC) has notified Arctic Fibre that its project complies with planning requirements along the route that it will take through the Nunavut region in Canadian arctic waters. The project has qualified for an exemption from further environmental impact screening by the Inuvialuit Settlement Region. Arctic Fibre will also submit its application to the Kitikmeot Inuit Association this week for easements across Inuit-owned lands on the Boothia Peninsula.
The stated aims of Arctic Fibre are to bring affordable broadband communications to Arctic regions while creating the lowest-latency network between Asia and Western Europe on a technically diverse, politically secure basis. The Canadian segment is an integral link within Arctic Fibre’s planned 15,700km network between Japan and the UK. Arctic Fibre will locate its midpoint landing station at Cambridge Bay, adjacent to the Department of National Defence facility (and meeting the substantial bandwidth requirements of the scientists stationed at the Canadian High Arctic Research Station). The company’s Alaskan affiliate, Quintillion Networks, recently completed its preliminary landing site surveys and will be submitting its application for landing licences to the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and appropriate Alaskan authorities in the first half of 2014. Quintillion Networks is a carrier-neutral network which will serve seven communities along the Alaska North Slope and Bering Sea. The Alaskan and Canadian Arctic segments of the network will be completed and ready-for-service by January 2016 with completion of the full end-to-end network between Japan and the UK in the third quarter of 2016, a press release claims. The Canadian segment of Arctic Fibre initially will provide virtually unlimited bandwidth (considering the sparse population) to 52% of the inhabitants of Nunavut (without government subsidy, the release notes). A proposal to extend the Arctic Fibre network to reach more than 98% of the population of Nunavut and Nunavik was submitted in February 2013 to Industry Canada, while in the meantime this proposal was supported by a resolution of the Nunavut Association of Municipalities earlier this week.