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Nuvitik Fibre Networks Arctic subsea cable

Nuvitik Arctic NetworkNuvitik’s objective is to build subsea cable fibre infrastructure in Canada’s North, linking all Arctic communities with state-of-the-art fibre technology. In Canada’s north, internet is slower and more expensive than anywhere else in the country and Nuvitik fibre aims to address this digital divide.

The CRTC has set new target speeds for broadband Internet access across Canada* of at least:

  • 50 Mbps for downloads (data being downloaded from the Internet, including files, web sites, pictures, music, and movies)
  • 10 Mbps for uploads (data that is being sent to the Internet)

and yet broadband speeds in Nunavut, Nunavik and Northern Labrador are falling well below these target speeds.

State-of-the-art Nuvitik fibre technology

Capable of potentially unlimited bandwidth, Nuvitik’s Arctic subsea cable network will be laid offshore of the Hudson Bay, Hudson Strait, Ungava Bay and into the Arctic Ocean and up Davis Strait. The Nuvitik cable design is the only solution with redundancy loops. The cable is not continuous into every shore station but designed as a backbone with branching units to the shore station to prevent a single break rendering the cable inoperable.

We are partnered with the best of the subsea cable industry, bringing experts in every field of this complex endeavour, from environmental assessment, permits and permissions, site, ice and marine surveys, route design, cable manufacture, installation, procurement, logistics, engineering works, cable maintenance and management. State-of-the-art cable technology will be deployed in the cable shore stations. A typical cable shore station comprises a Dry Plant and a Wet Plant. The Dry Plant is the segment between the beach manhole and the cable shore station, comprising of land cable, power feeding equipment (PFE) and submarine line terminal equipment (SLTE). The Wet Plant lies between the beach manholes, consisting of submarine cable, repeater/gain equalizer and branching unit.

The cable itself will be an armored submarine cable that will have 8 pairs of strands. For this type of fibre-optic cable, data need be transmitted only in one direction on a strand (simplex). The Nuvitik fibre network is designed as a repeated system, where repeaters boost the optical signal at every 100 kilometres. In a repeated system, the loss of a shore station does not incapacitate the network. The cable network with DWDM technology will provide 10Gbit/s wavelengths with a design capacity of up to 64 waves per fibre pair. This world-class internet performance will multiply current satellite data rates by at least 1000. As the demand for bandwidth grows, the cable capacity may be increased with the use of more pairs and modulations.

Nuvitik fibre timeline

A short open-water season in the Arctic region dictates implementation over a three-year period with year 1 devoted to environmental assessment, acquiring permits, site visits and ice/marine surveys and procurement. Installation of the backbone will commence Spring-Fall Year 2 and continue through Summer Year 2. Once engineering works are completed and signed off at each community landing, connections can go live with the first phase locations lit up for service by Fall Year 2. Connections will continue with engineering works through Spring-Summer Year 3 until all the network is live and operational. Network Operation Centres will monitor and manage the cable 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

* June 2017, CRTC Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission

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