High-speed Internet comes to Nunavut: Northwestel officially launches new broadband satellite network

Monday, September 17, 2018

Iqaluit, NU – Northwestel and members of Nunavut’s cabinet today officially celebrated the launch of Northwestel’s new high-speed broadband satellite network serving Nunavut.  Iqaluit, Nunavut’s capital and largest community, is the first to have the high-speed network commissioned, and all 25 Nunavut communities will have access to the network in the coming months.

Northwestel’s Tamarmik Nunaliit network provides up to 20 times more capacity to Nunavut communities than the company’s previous generation C-Band satellite network.  The network harnesses Telesat’s recently launched Telstar 19 VANTAGE ka-Band satellite, which uses high-throughput spot beams to deliver significantly more Internet capacity to remote communities.

Northwestel President Curtis Shaw acknowledged the importance of partnerships with Telesat, the Government of Nunavut, and the Government of Canada in making the Tamarmik Nunaliit project a reality.  Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) contributed $49.9 million to the open access satellite backbone network through the Connect to Innovate program.  This network is available to all internet service providers in Nunavut.

15 Mbps residential Internet beginning in October

Using this new open access network, Northwestel will offer 15 Mbps Internet packages – three times faster than what is currently available – beginning next month.  The new 15 Mbps service will include 100 GB of monthly usage, all for $129 per month.  Northwestel will also begin to offer a new 5 Mbps package for $80 per month, with savings of $100 per month over current rates.

Iqaluit will be the first community to receive the new Internet packages beginning on October 1.  Residents can pre-order at the Nunavut Trade Show on September 19.

The new 15 Mbps service will be available in Cambridge Bay, Arviat and Rankin Inlet by the end of the year and in all Nunavut communities in 2019.

Alongside Northwestel, another Bell company is expanding broadband wireless service to every community in Nunavut. Bell Mobility is now trialing its LTE wireless network in Iqaluit and Rankin Inlet and 13 more communities are expected to be connected by the end of the year. Using the new open access satellite network for the backhaul portion of its LTE wireless network, Bell plans to offer LTE coverage in all 25 Nunavut communities in 2019.


“Nunavummiut are entitled to the same level of vital infrastructure as their fellow Canadians.  I am pleased to see this investment to raise internet access within the territory, and I will continue to advocate for increased broadband and connectivity with our partners across the country.  Our people and our economy depend on it.” – The Honourable Lorne Kusugak, Minister of Community and Government Services.


“Access to high-speed Internet is not a luxury; it’s an essential service that all Canadians should have access to, regardless of where they live.  Our communities need this service to do business, upgrade their education and build stronger communities.  Thanks to the Connect to Innovate program, more people will be able to participate fully in the digital economy.” – The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development.


“As a Northern company, Northwestel is proud to deliver the next generation of satellite Internet to Nunavut in partnership the Government of Canada and the Government of Nunavut.  This Tamarmik Nunaliit network will significantly improve broadband Internet services for schools and health centres across Nunavut while enhancing access and innovation opportunities for residents and businesses in every community.” – Curtis Shaw, Northwestel President.


“Working with our colleagues at Northwestel and Bell Mobility to deliver enhanced broadband network access in Nunavut, including bringing wireless service to some communities for the first time, has been one of the most rewarding network builds Bell has ever undertaken.  We are proud to be part of this celebration with Northwestel, Telesat and the Governments of Canada and Nunavut as we work to ensure people in all regions of Canada can access the economic and social benefits enabled by advanced broadband networks.” – Stephen Howe, Chief Technology Officer, Bell Canada.


More information about Northwestel’s Tamarmik Nunaliit project is available at nwtel.ca.