Arctic Fibre Inc. will conduct a Nunavut site tour, which runs Aug. 19 to Aug. 24. The Arctic Fibre team hopes to meet with elders, mayors, hamlet council members, hunters, community land resource committees and other residents to find the best locations for backbone cable landing sites.
Using private investment, Arctic Fibre proposes to lay a $620 million undersea cable between London and Tokyo, running through waters off Nunavut and Alaska. To pay for connections to an additional 23 Nunavut and Nunavik communities, Arctic Fibres has applied to Industry Canada for $237 million worth of funding.
The determination of the cable landing locations and Boothia Crossing route will form part of the company’s submissions to the Nunavut Impact Review Board (NIRB) and the Nunavut Planning Commission (NPC). Approvals from NIRB and NPC are prerequisites to the issuance of an International Submarine Cable Landing Licence from the Minister Responsible for Industry Canada.
Arctic Fibre submitted its licence application to Industry Canada last October but finalization of the survey schedule required ice clearance at all landing points. The finalization of landing site locations will enable Arctic Fibre to refine its undersea routes and undertake the detailed marine studies later this year and with the bulk of the work being completed in 2014. The scheduled in-service date for the $620 million backbone network between London and Tokyo is December 2015.
Arctic Fibre was founded by Doug Cunningham. It is privately owned by “Network Research Inc.” but the company says its ownership be expanded to include Canadian insurance companies, pension funds and First Nations developmental agencies as well as a mix of foreign carriers from China, Japan, the United States and the United Kingdom.
Arctic Fibre’s plans are both bold and ambitious. There are enormous risks in laying undersea cable in an inhospitable part of the world. For starters, the financial risk is huge.