Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Company Completes Filing on Proposal to Run Broadband Line through Arctic

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Company Completes Filing on Proposal to Run Broadband Line through Arctic

Article excerpt

Company completes Arctic broadband proposal

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TORONTO - A Toronto company filed its final regulatory documents Tuesday and expects speedy approval for a proposal to run a fibre-optic line through the Northwest Passage.

"We're pretty well assured that that is going to happen fairly quickly," said Doug Cunningham, president of Arctic Fibre.

"Not that it's rubber-stamped, but we're very confident that we will be getting a licence forthwith."

Arctic Fibre has asked the Nunavut Impact Review Board and Industry Canada for submarine cable landing licences that would serve seven communities in Nunavut and just over half the territory's population.

The plans are part of a $600-million proposal to stretch a 15,700- kilometre-long cable from Japan to Newfoundland, where it would connect to the northeastern United States.

Running fibre-optic lines through the Northwest Passage instead of to the U.S. coast, across the country, then back under water again would shave 29 milliseconds off data transmission time between Tokyo and London, the company says. That's a significant edge for high-speed financial traders.

As well, the line would add stability to global information flows by adding another physical route. Cunningham said current lines run through regions with either geological or political instability.

Arctic Fibre's plan would also bring "virtually unlimited'' bandwidth to Cambridge Bay, Gjoa Haven, Taloyoak, Igloolik, Hall Beach, Cape Dorset and Iqaluit. Those communities include just over half of Nunavut's population.

The cable could also connect with Kugluktuk, but that hasn't been decided yet.

Cunningham said Arctic Fibre also has a $240-million proposal before the federal government for spur lines off the main trunk that would connect to communities along the east and west sides of Hudson Bay as well as up Baffin Island's west coast. That would include about 98 per cent of Nunavummiut, as well as several locations in Arctic Quebec. …

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