Battling the digital divide
While accessible and affordable landline phone service in the North is recognized as a “basic service” and supported through the National Contribution Fund, broadband access in the North has been supported by a series of finite government programs, the last of which is set to expire in 2016. Over the past decade, Internet service offerings in Nunavut have seen only incremental improvements while services in the south have improved significantly. The current telecommunications regime is not adequately meeting the evolving needs and aspirations of Nunavut users and unless significant change is realized, the digital divide within the North and between North and South will continue to widen.
All communities in Nunavut deserve and indeed require the same level of telecommunication services and any plan that would see some services only available in some communities is incomplete, inadequate and inequitable. No single technology, no single vendor or service provider will meet all of Nunavut's needs, or indeed all of the North’s needs. The challenge is to develop a funding model, with a sustainable source of funds, to support equitable, affordable and reliable service delivery, including broadband, in all Northern communities, using the best backhaul technology in the best location and encouraging competition and innovation in the last mile.
ICT Skills Shortage
The Information and Communication Technology (ICT) indudstry in Nunavut is growing and there is a shortage of ICT professionals with skills ranging from entry-level support to senior network administrators. There will be many job opportunities for local Nunavut residents as people start to see this industry as a viable job option, and pursue the necessary training to get up to speed.