A Brief Recent History of ICT in Nunavut

Government gets online

With the creation of Nunavut in 1999, the Government of Nunavut (GN) set up its own network, including an active help desk, with vastly improved access to computer networks for Nunavut government employees. This expansion created jobs in ICT within the Government of Nunavut.

For those outside of the GN, information and communication technology (ICT) support was not readily available outside of the three regional centres of Iqaluit, Rankin Inlet and Cambridge Bay. Some communities had dial-up access, but service was spotty, and people relied more on phones and fax machines than the Internet.

Everyone else gets online

Until 2005, only a handful of communities in Nunavut even had dial-up. The only “better than dialup” service in Nunavut was provided in some government offices, and in Iqaluit with DSL service launched by NorthwesTel in late 2004.

In 2005, two commercially-available services launched, linking all Nunavut communities via satellite.  The QINIQ network connected all 25 communities with a large satellite dish that then used wireless connectivity to connect users to the shared satellite dish. NorthwesTel also launched NetKaster, installing small dishes directly with customers in a number of communities.

Land claims organizations such as Nunavut Tunngavik Inc, and the various Regional Inuit Associations, along with Institutes of Public Government could connect their offices located all over Nunavut.

The hamlet office in each community could link their computer networks to other hamlets and the Government of Nunavut.

Thousands of computers added

And finally, businesses and the public could get online. Thousands of new computers got hooked up in Nunavut, as people finally had reliable, affordable Internet service in all 25 communities.

Linking Nunavut communities in 2005 was a game changing event that has created a need for experienced, skilled workers in ICT to serve the ever-increasing demand for ICT services and support to all sectors of Nunavut.