History: Page 2 of 3

The Nunavut Broadband Development Corporation has played a pivotal role in bringing affordable and reliable Internet access to all Nunavut communities. Over the period 2003-2016 (projected), NBDC has secured and managed investments totaling over $66 million for broadband initiatives in Nunavut.

The original QINIQ business plan (under a federal program called BRAND - Broadband for Rural and Northern Development - or sometimes Infrastructure I) covered funding for up to 2,000 subscribers at the end of a 9-year planning horizon.  In fact, the 2,000 subscriber mark was reached in 9 months (by the end of 2005-2006) and the QINIQ network operator was forced to fund all the additional subscribers as there was no way to stop the increased usage and growth or to ration the available funded bandwidth for the first 2,000 subscribers.

After much discussion, beginning in 2008-2009 additional funding (called Infrastructure II) was provided by Canada and matched by SSi Micro to cover usage in the QINIQ network beyond the initial 2,000 subscribers covered in the original business plan. This new funding round also included money for moving large files, funding for video conferencing and bandwidth for Nunavut classrooms. As in the first round, the funding was procured using the federal government procurement system MERX. SSi was the only compliant bidder for this round. 

In 2010 SSi Micro Ltd, without matching government funding, increased the target speed for the base, low cost account ($60 per month) to 384 Kbps as this is the minimum speed for video conferencing and allowed 3 GB of transferred data per month. 

Since the second round of funding (Infrastructure II), Industry Canada has announced a new broadband investment program with a target download speed of 1.5 Mbps (and other defining parameters) compared to 0.25 Mbps (256 Kbps) for the first round of funding and 384Kbps as the current QINIQ base account. Originally awarded in May 2010, contract negotiations between the Government of Canada and the SSi Group of Companies were not resolved until 2012. Although not a party to the agreement, NBDC was called upon to mediate the discussion on several occasions to ensure that the project would go forward and Nunavummiut would benefit from improved connectivity. The new Attigiallak plan, available for $80 a month, was launched across Nunavut on June 4, 2012 and provides a download burst speed of 1.5 Mbps and a monthly bandwidth allowance of 10GB. There is currently no federal program on the horizon to keep broadband Internet access affordable in Nunavut after the investment ends in 2016.